Robert Audi: Rationality and religious commitment | SpringerLink
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Primed and ready
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Robert Audi: Rationality and religious commitment
Volume 54 , Issue 2 March Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer.
Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot your password? Their study, published in this week's issue of Science 1 , offers evidence that when people engage in analytical thinking, they are less likely to express strong religious beliefs.
A belief or disbelief in religious figures is underpinned by complex cognitive processes that researchers are only beginning to investigate. My experience is that it seems to be extreme views of any sort, whether religious or the opposite, that are the real enemy of analytical thinking. What this valuable and stimulating study reveals, however, is the difficulty of subjecting religious belief to scientific scrutiny.
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- Rationality and Religious Commitment by Robert Audi (2013, Paperback).
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It is important that we make the effort to do so — not least to understand how and why religion may promote ignorance, bigotry and conflict. That is why the objections and caveats to this study are so obvious, albeit no less pertinent. Both sets of volunteers constitute only a limited sample, as Gervais and Norenzayan acknowledge. During the tests, volunteers were either engaged in a task that surreptitiously elicited analytical thinking, or were given a control task.
These 'priming' tests were of varying degrees of subtlety. It is well established that such priming can elicit specific modes of thought; for example, improving performance in analytical tests 2. One of the attractions of this approach is that it can say something about causation.