One thing that nearly always accompanies scientism is historical cluelessness. When somebody adopts the Way Of Science, they fall spell to the idea that only that which is most recent counts, because that which is most recent is where progress happens. History, then, is of no real interest, except to show the past is the place we have—at last!—escaped from.
Hence scidolatry, the worship of science. Hence scientism, the name of the religion, is yet another form of progressivism. Which should come as no surprise, really.
This coupling of scientism with immediacy is what partly explains Time‘s latest headline, and the motivation of those who did the work that inspired it. Here it is: “Here’s Why Some People Are More Religious Than Others.”
Throughout all of human history, before scientism came along, nobody would have thought to make such an asinine statement—or conduct such a foolish study (described below). And that’s because the word religious didn’t mean what it means now, in the face of scientism. Religious was always used in a context where the hearer knew of what specific religion was meant. For instance, in the Catholic Church we still speak of “women religious”, meaning sisters and the like. The question “What makes her religious?” has an answer, all right, but a mundane one.
Religious in scientism (which permeates our culture) now means somebody who is spiritual, but in a way that is unfriendly to Science. People are allowed, even encouraged, to be spiritual, of course, which is different, because spiritualness (and not spirituality) acknowledges the True Boss, which is Science.
Before getting to the article, here’s what Time said:
It may have little to do with education; psychologists now believe that religiosity is linked to whether you solve problems intuitively or deliberatively.
When it comes to predicting the kind of people most likely to be religious, brainiac scientists used to be everyone’s last guess. The more educated a person was, the thinking went, the more likely they were to question the supernatural.
But the supposed divide between science and religion—in which religion was seen as the less-educated person’s “science” of choice—has ironically been subject to little scientific debate, until recently.
Several years before Pope Francis became pope of the Catholic Church in 2013, psychologists began to debunk the idea that being more educated meant a person was less likely to be religious…
How far back do History go? Several years afore 2013.
First, did you catch the jibe, encased in scare-quotes, about religion being a person’s science of choice? This tells us were dealing with scidolators.
Second, notice that these priests of scientism called psychologists treat those holding beliefs about the supernatural (supernaturalists) as in need of scientific explanation, because in scientism all is Science. It is axiomatic in scientism that the material is all there is, thus the supernatural cannot exist. And any evidence which shows that it does, in the forms of miracles, revelations, the presence of religious, and so on, must therefore be aberrations of one kind or another, usually mental. Scidolators are committed to this belief—committed, get it? get it?
Very well, a supernaturalist must be suffering from a misperception or a physical or psychological malady. Misperceptions are mostly out as an explanation for why people converted to or why they live out a religion, except in circumstances like this), so scidolators usually turn to malady.
Now we’ve seen fMRIs and the like used to explain supposed physical differences in brains of supernaturalists and scientismists (folks who accept scientism who might not also be scidolators), and indeed this is a growing industry of medicalizing belief. But these efforts are vastly outnumbered by psychological investigations, at the least because these are cheaper and easier than medical tests.
Science demands numbers, and psychologist oblige by creating questionnaires with answers to which numbers are assigned, and then they pretend these numbers accurately gauge hideously complex human emotions, like whether people are “people are either deliberative or intuitive”. Such bizarre actions can only be explained by scientism.
Anyway, that’s what we find in the peer-reviewed paper “Divine Intuition: Cognitive Style Influences Belief in God” by Amitai Shenhav, David G. Rand, and Joshua D. Greene. From the Abstract (here and below I strip out the references):
Some have argued that belief in God is intuitive, a natural (by-)product of the human mind given its cognitive structure and social context. If this is true, the extent to which one believes in God may be influenced by one’s more general tendency to rely on intuition versus reflection. Three studies support this hypothesis…
Byproduct. The supernatural is not considered seriously, because if it were, then there would be no need to make up questions about “intuition versus reflection”. But make them up they did. In one of their efforts, the authors admitted participants “completed a three-item Cognitive Reflection Test, which we used to assess cognitive style.”
That’s right: three simple questions were all that was needed to plumb the depths of “intuition and reflection.” Other questions were assigned numbers which explained, to a level sufficiently convincing to our authors, about the participants’ “belief in God”. How simple Science is!
You know what followed. Lots of wee p-values and heavy theorizing and no notions about such trivial matters of cause or its direction, and no awareness that the burden put on a few bare questions was too much for them to bear.
Yet the authors were still full of vinegar and said their work “showed that intuitive thinking predicts belief in God.” Why intuition? Because of “reasons related to more general features of human cognition that give rise to tendencies toward dualism, anthropomorphism, and promiscuous teleology.”
Promiscuous teleology! Somebody’s got a sense of humor. The authors have this: “From a dual-process perspective, these processes are hypothesized to produce automatic judgments that can be overridden through the engagement of controlled or reflective processes, with reflective processes enabling or supporting judgments based on less intuitive explanations.”
Those poor intuitive bastards. But at least the authors admit, “it does not follow that reliance on intuition is always irrational or unjustified.” But the implication is that it is in this case.
The last mark—always a true sign—of scientism is the unwarranted boasting of the powers of Science. That present here? You decide. Here’s how the paper wraps up.
[T]he present results are noteworthy because they help explain a profoundly important and elusive social phenomenon in terms of more basic cognitive tendencies, ones with observable effects across a wide range of psychological domains. How people think—or fail to think—about the prices of bats and balls is reflected in their thinking, and ultimately their convictions, about the metaphysical order of the universe.