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Just Thinking About Science Triggers Moral Behavior

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the when-tempted-to-rob-a-bank,-ponder-orbital-mechanics dept.

Science 347

ananyo writes "The association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior, according to a study by researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara. The researchers hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. In the first, participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the 'wrongness' of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science. Those reporting greater belief in science condemned the act more harshly. In the other three, participants primed with science-related words were more altruistic."

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I hypothesize.. (4, Insightful)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44688771)

that these researchers falsified this study to detract attention from all their previously falsified studies.

Re:I hypothesize.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688861)

The falsifiers are just part of the standard deviation.

Re:I hypothesize.. (2)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#44689019)

Nobody ever told them that deviating in the standard way isn't as much fun.

Re:I hypothesize.. (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689037)

Yea, those outliers are much hotter.

Re:I hypothesize.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688883)

"Check out this study, it shows that scientists are more moral than commoners, so I could not have been the murderer. Try questioning the cook, I hear he has a BA in Roman Art, and we all know what kinds of murderers Rome is famous for."

Re:I hypothesize.. (1, Troll)

bluelip (123578) | about a year ago | (#44689013)

Wish more Democrats in the US thought about science.

Re:I hypothesize.. (0, Troll)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689051)

funny, I wish more republicans thought about science.

Democrats too, but they are only quasi-evil.

Re:I hypothesize.. (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44689363)

funny, I wish more republicans thought about science.

Democrats too, but they are only quasi-evil.

Conversely, one would think that thinking about religion and faith would trigger moral behavior, but, sadly, I haven't found that to (generally) be the case. [ I'm not trolling, just offering my (disappointing) observation. Perhaps I need to meet a different (but not necessarily better) class of people... ]

Personally, I think most politicians only think about money, power and getting re-elected (perhaps the first two are redundant) - for their own selfish desires.

/cynical

Re:I hypothesize.. (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44689395)

You'll find that thinking about spirituality usually triggers moral behaviour, e.g. Bahá'í , Yoga, Taichi, etc...

Belief in anothers experiences can't compare to belief in your own experiences.

Re:I hypothesize.. (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#44689407)

> Conversely, one would think that thinking about religion and faith would trigger moral
> behavior

One wouldn't. A 2000+ year old book (older, in some cases) fraudulently constructed by ignorant, illiterate peasant halfwits from a time before justice and democracy is not conducive to challenging beliefs or finding accurate answers to relevant problems. That's why the most religious countries are the most fucked.

Re:I hypothesize.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689273)

It's not that hard to believe.
"Thinking about science" might mean just "thinking rationally", which might make you exclude exaggerated reactions, make you consider better the problem...

Of course, it all depends on the researchers definition of morality...

just defining what morality is might be worth of a study... let alone test it...

Re:I hypothesize.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689279)

As you stated, any statistical approach is fundamentally flawed by design.

Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688785)

It seems like the study's results would be consistent with either hypothesis...

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688901)

It seems like the study's results would be consistent with either hypothesis...

Or logical thinking.

Heck, just plan "thinking" would probably do since most people don't bother to do that before reacting.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44688971)

It seems like the study's results would be consistent with either hypothesis...

Or logical thinking.

Except that altruism is not logical.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (5, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689075)

To a certain degree it is. Your genes will not survive in the long run if your species does not.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689161)

To a certain degree it is. Your genes will not survive in the long run if your species does not.

Except it isn't. Altruism is the absence of self-centered thinking or selfishness. Using your example, altruism would strive to help the species survive without regard to ones own genes, and so would likely strive to help more than just one species survive.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689101)

Why is it not logical? Because you don't agree with the goal? A behavior is not illogical just because it doesn't prioritize survival above all else, or something such as that. I see nothing inherently illogical about it.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689141)

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689177)

If you think there is a difference between the two, you have issues. The many is just a bunch of fews.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689243)

Vulcan whoosh.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689145)

Except that altruism is not logical.

From a given irrational and selfish perspective, maybe not so much.

From a perspective of evolutionary biology, it's how we got here and formed societies in the first place.

But, hey, if you think "I got mine fuck society" is a logical position -- you might not be quite the rational entity you think you are. In fact, you might be a douche bag who drank the Kool-Aid.

Re:Moral thinking, or Black-and-White thinking? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44689149)

Except that altruism is not logical.

It's extremely hard to find an example of pure altruism that doesn't have benefits for one's self or family/community.

I postulate (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#44688821)

John Nash, and his Game Theory.

Re:I postulate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688931)

I postulated you postulating that.

The Ideal of Science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688825)

I think it'd be more fair to say that the IDEA of science (impartiality, seeking truth, etc) being a moral pursuit would make people act morally.

Anybody who has read any science news published in the past decade or so knows exactly how easily it can be to twist science to support a political or economic agenda. Case in point, science says that smoking causes cancer. How many studies were published, funded by tobacco companies, saying that it was harmless? The same can be said about the Wage Disparity, effects of HFCS and climate change to name a few.

The ideal of scientific study is great and might stimulate people to behave morally. But I'm curious if that would hold for people that believe in the lofty ideals of anything.

Re:The Ideal of Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689255)

I wonder if the bias of science towards morality isn't because they described science in altruistic terms in the questionnaire.

Re:The Ideal of Science (2)

evilRhino (638506) | about a year ago | (#44689425)

Real science requires reproducible results. There were no studies published showing that smoking was harmless because you can't duplicate that result, the controversy was that numerous studies proving that smoking was harmful were either suppressed or blocked.

Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44688831)

The human cultures that are most exposed to modern scientific education are also those with birth rates below replacement levels. So, for whatever reason, scientific education is co-related with the decline of human civilization. If it leads to the decline of human cultures, it is not moral.

The reason that the researchers found scientific thought leads to moral behavior is because the researchers have a flawed definition of what is moral and what is not. Which is to be expected, because they're scientific researchers.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688913)

Where the crap did you dig up that definition of "moral?"

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44689095)

Where the crap did you dig up that definition of "moral?"

I went back to basics and made choices.

I am a person. Do I have value? Yes, I've decided that I do.

Does humanity have value? Yes, I've decided that it does.

So, the most fundamental basis of moral behavior has to be, "Does it cause us to destroy ourselves."

If behavior causes us to destroy ourselves, it is immoral. Full stop.

After that, I begin to consider the quality of the human experience. It is always better to exist than to not exist, but it is better to avoid suffering and afford humans dignity after the fundamental goal of survival is met.

For example, it is better if birth control makes it possible for people to have families that are more likely to survive and thrive, and afford women more dignity.

But, if every woman on Earth decided that they were going to just skip having children and focus on their careers, it would then become moral to rape them into pregnancy and force them to bear their children to term, and immoral to stand by and watch humanity become extinct because we don't have the stomach to do what needs to be done.

That's a ridiculously extreme example that will never actually come to pass, of course, but it illustrates the way in which behaviors become moral or immoral depending on the situation.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2)

Beardydog (716221) | about a year ago | (#44689285)

This all seems to assume that a birth rate below replacement ends inevitably with extinction, which is stupid, nonsensical gibbledypoop. The fact that we aren't currently keeping up doesn't mean we wouldn't pick up the pace if the planet started to get a little sparse. There are seven billion people, and I see nothing wrong with having a few less, as long as we're doing everything we can to keep the current batch alive. Letting people die is unethical, but not cranking out new ones isn't even on the scale.

This is you: http://www.xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689299)

You just demonstrated another flawed definition of morality.

How does it stand up to the question of capital punishment for murderers? Murderers destroy other humans, which would be translated as "Humans destroying themselves." Can executing murderers be moral? If so, how is it different from the murderers' actions? You're still killing a human which is "destroying ourselves" using the same translation as before.

Enjoy continually creating circular logic to try to plug this hole.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44689423)

I've been putting together a system that I think would be effective in pulling us out of this nosedive. I started in on an essay to explain it at one point, though I haven't worked on it recently... been designing the software needed to support it.

http://slashdot.org/journal/492191 [slashdot.org]

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year ago | (#44689025)

The human cultures that are most exposed to modern scientific education are also those with birth rates below replacement levels. So, for whatever reason, scientific education is co-related with the decline of human civilization.

Not true. Humans have increased their numbers until the entire planet is full of us and vast areas of its surface have been taken over to provide us the food that we need. In an environment with massive, untapped natural resources which can be developed and exploited to serve an every increasing population you may have a point that to sustain civilization you need to grow and expand. This is arguably no longer the case.

If we want to sustain our civilization we have to find a way to switch from growth through increasing our numbers to a stable population. This is concerning because it is extremely hard to do since nature generally seems to take the "grow or die" approach...but when to grow is to die (either from fighting for limited resources or from a lack of resources) then we have to find another way and it is hard to imagine that science will not the route to finding it.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44689027)

The human cultures that are most exposed to modern scientific education are also those with birth rates below replacement levels. So, for whatever reason, scientific education is co-related with the decline of human civilization. If it leads to the decline of human cultures, it is not moral.

They're also those with effective/available birth control, female equality, and education.

Don't worry, though - as soon as we build our AI's and fusion reactors, humans will have more time to boink, pursue art, and raise families. It takes science, though, if you want to do it without famine and pestilence.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Kuruk (631552) | about a year ago | (#44689029)

We are over populating the planet as is.

A decline in breeding is a welcome balance.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689107)

Not really. Earth can easily sustain 10 to 14 billion humans with a good use of technology. That could go into the hundreds of billions if we could accept getting our protein from algae vats.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2)

Kuruk (631552) | about a year ago | (#44689179)

And where would the rest of the biosphere live if we rock into the hundreds of billion.

What is our goal ? To fuck until we can't move ?

Our basic nature is to breed. We can follow that or grow up.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44689245)

Our basic nature is to breed. We can follow that or grow up.

The fundamental duty of all living things is to recreate themselves. After you do, something changes inside you that causes you to realize that you're not the center of the universe. That's called "Growing Up".

If you haven't bred yet, you're still a child. You shouldn't be allowed to vote, any more than any other mewling babe.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689303)

After you do, something changes inside you that causes you to realize that you're not the center of the universe. That's called "Growing Up".

But I have no delusion that I'm the centre of the universe, and therefore see no reason to have children. It seems that most other intelligent people have already come to this conclusion.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689371)

Our basic nature is to breed. We can follow that or grow up.

The fundamental duty of all living things is to recreate themselves. After you do, something changes inside you that causes you to realize that you're not the center of the universe. That's called "Growing Up".

If you haven't bred yet, you're still a child. You shouldn't be allowed to vote, any more than any other mewling babe.

That is the biggest BS I have read in a while. There are plenty of people that have bred multiple times and yet to grow up or actual act like adults or they let their kids run wild (being non-responsible towards their kids because they are selfish as parents.)

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Kuruk (631552) | about a year ago | (#44689373)

We need to step up and stop.

Breeding is over. We can kill anything we can grasp...extinct anything larger than a medium dog.

We can farm anything anywhere we want.

What is our goal. We won. We can breed all we want now. Challenge over.

All that is left to beat is insects, virus's and bacteria. The more we fuck the more they grow....so we need a new angle.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689375)

Breeding is for animals. The people who make a difference are focused on changing Minds not reproducing Bodies. I mean, it's great that you made some more humans and you're really proud of that, even though you could have done it with no higher brain function at all. But your vote, as a breeder, counts for very little next to all the votes of your offspring, who have been learning from me and will vote for me.

Humans are just a substrate, a temporary phenomenon. People go on. Humans are pitiful, weak bags of mostly water that can't go anywhere too hot or too cold, can't handle high pressures or low pressures, fall apart for the slightest reason. But People can be so much more than that. And they will be, long after the breeders die out. We don't hate you, we just don't care very much about your primitive biological urges.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44689251)

What is our goal ? To fuck until we can't move ?

Word.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689369)

I am not suggesting we should. But we can build up and down. We don't really need to spread out that much until we are well on our way into the 10s of billions. The point I am making is that we are a long long way from being genuinely overpopulated if we actually used our technology.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | about a year ago | (#44689385)

Asimov's Trantor had, if I remember correctly, 40 billion at its peak and that was basically one planet-wide city. Or you could go up an order of magnitude or two and use Coruscant at a trillion people. Of course if you do that, you run into a problem [irregularwebcomic.net] or two [irregularwebcomic.net] or three. [irregularwebcomic.net] If you're wondering if a webcomic author is a good authority on the physics of a fictional city, he's not just a webcomic author. [dangermouse.net]

Of course, we COULD use that science to send some of those billions of people to planets or celestial bodies other than Earth. Keep a few billion folks on Earth, send a couple million to orbiting habitats, and put the rest on Mars and its moons as well as Earth's moon.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689069)

Rising standards of living generally lead to a decline in birth rates. People can afford to engage in other fun activities besides sex, and they need time to do those things, which raising a huge family of kids does not permit. It's an economic question, not a scientific one.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689077)

To respond in a shiny sciency-sounding way, correlation does not prove causality. In other words, perhaps there is some besides or in combination with science exposure that depresses birth rates.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689097)

And what exactly is moral conduct in your book?

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689171)

Having fewer people does not imply an automatic decline of human civilization. Without that poor assumption, the rest of your argument falls flat.

Re:Their definition of "Moral" is the problem. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44689443)

The human cultures that are most exposed to modern scientific education are also those with birth rates below replacement levels

Which is good, because the Earth is beyond carrying capacity. Increasing the population when we're about to run out of petroleum based fertilizers and become unable to feed billions of people is immoral.

So, for whatever reason, scientific education is co-related with the decline of human civilization.

Population is not the same as civilization. Civilization is not even proportional to population.

Acedemic Dishonesty shouldnt exist then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688849)

Oh, but it does

Science is about as pure as a cribhouse whore (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44688851)

Moral behavior? Nah, "science" is only a justification used to confirm what people already know to be "true". If the conclusion leads the wrong way, then there is automatically something wrong. The scientist is then attacked and discredited. Read The Return of the Ugly, Racist Pseudoscientist with a Small Penis [archive.org] to discover how one man got smacked in the face for saying, "Hmm...that's odd." The link goes to archive.org because naturally, the post was deleted due to the response - "SHUT UP!" And then of course the flaming about his small penis.

Warning: may not be applicable to you (5, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#44688853)

Note: Psychological studies performed on US undergraduates generally don't apply to humans in general.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/17x/beware_of_weird_psychological_samples/ [lesswrong.com]

Remembering the people who were Psych majors in school, I'd say that they probably were the least representative sample of humanity possible.

Re:Warning: may not be applicable to you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689151)

Not to mention the many factors they didn't control for. It could just be that people are more 'moral' when they think of authority, and they equate science with authority. Which is sad, since science is the opposite, and rather subversive.

Blowing stuff up (3, Funny)

Drethon (1445051) | about a year ago | (#44688857)

Usually when I think of science I think of blowing stuff up...

Re:Blowing stuff up (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#44688929)

Is stuff people, Drethon?

-- A concerned reader

Political correlation (0, Flamebait)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#44688863)

A likely correlative effect: those who "believe" more in science are, on average, people less influenced by the hyper-misogynistic and "fuck you I've got mine" narratives of the US right-wing (proclaimed alongside the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific propaganda of the same groups). The less time you spend watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh, the more likely you are to be both more "scientifically-minded" and less a fan of rape. Scientific rationality and "humanist" motivations have become indelibly tied together in the general public's mind thanks to the right wing propaganda machine's persistent war against both.

Re:Political correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689093)

The brainwashing is working on you.

I always have felt it was ironic that the liberal side of this country wants to allow women to walk around topless, young teens dress like Miley Cyrus, and promote sex outside marriage......don't you think these three things will entice more men to rape women who do this stuff and follow this creed?

And then the left is trying to say they are more concerned with rape than those against the over sexualization of young girls and women?

It's a simple fact that those right wingers you so hate donate more time and money to charity than the left. So the "I've got mine" mentality obviously is not right-wing mentality. Also, where does the anti-intellectual and anti scientific sense come from? I'm not sure where you get this idea. The old trick of saying lies over and over again and getting people to believe them does work, so I'm not sure if you're trying that strategy here or if you simply are blinded to the truth and can only see what your liberal friends push.

I've always loved how the left says they love children and the right hates kids but then the left is pro-abortion and the right is pro-life. Just ironic. I could go on and on.

Ok, now I await the usual insults and hate messages that ignore my points like the school bully beating up the smart kid because all he has left is his hatred.

Re:Political correlation (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#44689185)

See the above AC post for a perfect example of my point. Note, how the right-wing mindset approaches the issue of rape: it's the fault of the woman for wearing the wrong kind of clothes (seducing those poor, innocent, helpless men into raping them). Such attitudes indicate the typical connection between right-wing ideology, and assigning less blame and approbation to the rapist in a date-rape scenario (she must've deserved it for inviting him in for drinks, right?).

RTFA (2)

ranton (36917) | about a year ago | (#44689309)

The researchers performed four studies, and only one was looking for mere correlation. Unfortunately that is the only one the summary mentions. One of the other studies primed the subjects with scientific words in a crossword puzzle, and just thinking about those words caused people to behave more morally. Now I am not sure how good the controls in their experiment were but it looks like they tried to remove correlation from the other three studies.

You can attack their methodology, but based on their research there really was a causal relationship between scientific thinking and moral behavior.

Re:RTFA (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#44689403)

I read the article. My point is that I suspect the appearance of causality, even in those cases where participants were conditioned with "scientific" or "non-scientific" lingo beforehand, is mediated by political propaganda, which form a subconscious association between "science" and political liberalism (thanks to the right wing's persistent popular use of anti-intellectualism in conjunction with anti-human ideologies). Talk about "sciencey" things, and you'll fire up the parts of a typical American's brain that are also generally activated in more "politically liberal" contexts; not because science is fundamentally more "socially progressive" in itself, but because the American right has worked to systematically exclude rational, "scientific-sounding" discourse in the public sphere in favor of racist/sexist/emotional appeals.

Re:Political correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689343)

I read my news from NPR, Fox News, and Huffington Post. Where do I fit on your generalization of intelligence?

Re:Political correlation (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#44689427)

In my scientific mind, I believe that most of the "harm" done by rape is just people being pissy little coddlefish. We stand up a whole horrific narrative about rape, burn it into everyone's mind, and then wonder why it's so damaging when someone gets raped. People who don't buy into it see it as an experience to be survived or escaped, and have no abnormal psychological trauma. Many people develop more psychological trauma after being raped due to the whole "group support" thing, feeling like they're not feeling hurt enough because everyone's telling them their experience was so terrible--they begin to believe it more strongly, it becomes worse.

In other words: society's complete demonization of sexual crimes (not just violence, but child molestation) creates most of the pain and suffering from these crimes. Society should instead treat these as crimes, determine that they don't fit in with the so-called rights they feel people have (that is, those guarantees which people require in order to feel secure in society--impossible to guarantee, but supported by enforcement via physical force), and handle them as such. Stop telling victims that they are now damaged, and instead tell them to build a bridge and get the fuck over it and that the criminal perpetrator is the one who bears blame and is defective.

Second, people believe in a just world. This is required for normal human psychology--people believe in a just world because it's required for them to rationalize the world's problems away. Bad things don't happen to good people; bad things happen, but good people get a break and will come out better in the end. Otherwise life is despair. The truth is bad people only need to get away with it and their lives are a hell of a lot better than moral, upstanding folks'. In fact, if you want to make the world a better place to support you, you should be a cutthroat morally bankrupt robber baron until you're rich enough to effect positive change on the communities around you, which achieves both at once.

Science also tells us that women are not men; but people use "scientific" arguments to argue that they're the same. No social or physical differences, no intellectual differences, nothing. Women and men think exactly the same way and are just as capable at all tasks in exactly the same situations at all times. Scientifically this is bunk. Women are more socialist and emotional than men in general. Popular political opinion tends to be egocentric: people want what's good for them, or what sounds good to them; men going "I want/need XXXX for free that I can't afford and rich people should pay for" and women going "we should all share and get along, and nobody should have to go without food and doctors" will garner the same output but are obviously not the same thinking.

this makes little sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688865)

In what way specifically does a "belief in science" influence morality at all? Futhermore, what the hell is "belief in science"? Science was invented to strip away the need for belief by extrapolating facts. This entire study is full of bakas.

Re: this makes little sense. (1)

techprophet (1281752) | about a year ago | (#44688947)

How would you phrase it then? "Value placed on the scientific method" would be what I'd go for, but it doesn't communicate the thought nearly as succinctly as "belief in science"

Re:this makes little sense. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44689133)

Sounds like a nice example of "correlation does not imply causation". They have found two beliefs associated with the same sort of bias and managed to demonstrate that they occur together in some people.

Re:this makes little sense. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689213)

Science does not remove belief. It removes the baselessness of belief. Belief in that which is proven is viable under science. Belief in that which is disproved is not. There are shades of grey in between those two absolutes.

To get metaphorical, belief is tempered by the flame of science. The ephemeral wisps of faith are burned away, leaving behind a purer stronger truth.

misandry and "science" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688899)

This confirms my view that feminist (misandric) people think that their male hate bigotry is based on science and not on emotions, similar to the nazy germany where racism was "science".

Re:misandry and "science" (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44689009)

This confirms

It confirms nothing except that some people get away with bullshit studies.

feminist (misandric)

Oh, I can do the same thing: communists (mass murderers), capitalists (child enslavers), Microsoft users (clinical retards).

Re:misandry and "science" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689049)

nazy germany

It's "Nazi Germany", you ignorant fucktwat! And we weren't racist, we hated all gays and Jews equally regardless of their race.

--Sincerely, A Spelling Nazi

Re:misandry and "science" (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689221)

And this confirms you can not really spell Nazi.

These people don't know how to conduct a study (3, Informative)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44688903)

Simply using scientific language isn't exactly science. It could rather be going after specificity. If you prime me with a bunch of IF/THEN TRUE/FALSE terms and then ask if something is wrong I'm going to be more inclined to give a more literal and less nuanced opinion.

For example, is it wrong to feed the bears? Of course it is... its against the rules, encourages the bears to see humans as a food source, and makes them less inclined to gather food from the wild. So... its wrong. But at the same time its not especially immoral.

If you prime me with true false information I'll just say its wrong. But if you expand the point there might be more going on there.

I don't think science has anything especially to do with morality. It does have a great deal to do with truth seeking but its truth seeking for its own sake and not some higher calling. That is not to say scientist are not moral people or that they're not helping humanity. Merely that there is no causal link between morality and science.

Re:These people don't know how to conduct a study (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about a year ago | (#44688945)

A fed bear is a dead bear!

Science is about truth (2)

Kuruk (631552) | about a year ago | (#44688915)

The pursuit about understanding can only go one way.

Science is about truth.

Faith can be about anything. Its make believe after all.

Is this a real university? (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44688935)

The fuck is "wrongness", and how does one rate it?

And why does "condemning an act more harshly" make you more moral? Does this mean scientists are more likely to support Sharia law? you know, that legal system based entirely on science and reason.

Re:Is this a real university? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689163)

And why does "condemning an act more harshly" make you more moral?

If you want rapists to go prison for 1 billion years rather than a mere 100 years, then clearly you're far more "moral" than the other cretins.

I've actually seen this sort of broken logic used before to conclude that pornography makes people callous towards the suffering of women...

Re:Is this a real university? (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689237)

how is sharia based on science and reason? Apostasy and Heresy are punishable by death under sharia, where they should be rewarded and encouraged under a scientific and reasonable system of law.

Re:Is this a real university? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44689301)

whoosh....

Related perspective: religiosity and intelligence (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#44688983)

The relationship between religiosity and intelligence is also intriguing and not too dissimilar in its foundations.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence [wikipedia.org]

No low IQ people are atheists. :D

I guess that phenomenon is related to the current study on morals and beliefs in science.

Re:Related perspective: religiosity and intelligen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689257)

All that relationship proves is that those with high IQ are quick to assume something based on little fact. There is no fact at all that there is no God, whereas there are many facts that point to God existing.

Please name one fact that proves God does not exist.......you won't be able to.

However, if you look at the big bang, most people don't realize that the chances of the big bang resulting in the creating of molecular bindings is so remote that the reason for the whole multiverse theory is to account for this odd possibliity. They had to have some answer for how our particular universe came to be as it is and so the answer was well, "We're simply part of a trillion trillion trillion etc number of universes. Most of those have nothing but explosions going on and ours is one of the few universes that can support the building blocks of life" --See entropy.

I'm not a scientist and don't explain this all perfectly, but see http://magisreasonfaith.org/pdf/Magis_FactSheet.pdf for more info.

Re:Related perspective: religiosity and intelligen (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44689271)

There is a correlation between atheism and intelligence. But there are still plenty of idiotic atheists out there.

Scientist discover that... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44688995)

scientists have above average morals.

In other news, 90% of all people say they are above average drivers.

when the science is biology - human anatomy (1)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#44688997)

my thoughts certainly aren't moral ;-)

Re:when the science is biology - human anatomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689259)

I wouldn't limit it that much. I'd certainly judiciously screw over other people to get my family ahead if I reasoned only by my scientific training.

nonsense squared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689041)

(1) Since when is harshness condemnation the definition of moral?
(2) Since when was a psychological priming study science?

Worked well in WW2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689073)

With eugenics.

finding mr. perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689079)

i don't understand woman sometimes.
they do their hair, add makeup and dress up for hours.
they do this so they STAND out, saying "notice me!"?
then you talk to them and they're all "go away. don't look at me."
my take is that they're really dressing up for the off chance
of crossing path with MR. PURFECT.
everybody else is just collateral emotional wreak after the encounter.
-
or maybe "bi-polar" and "being a girl" is the same? having two competing "X" chromosomes and all : P

everyone wants to believe their class is better (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44689085)

Scientists want to believe they are more moral, liberals want to believe they are more intelligent, etc etc etc and people exist to tell them what they want to hear. This is not news.

Makes sense to me (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#44689087)

Seems right. After all, I know that thinking about religion makes me want to do evil and go out and kill people.

In a related study (1)

jriding (1076733) | about a year ago | (#44689127)

The association between religion and the belief that âoe I am pure and you are going to hellâ is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more immoral behavior, according to a study by researchers at the University of Kansas. The researchers hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception that my religion makes me better then you â" its emphasis on myth-seeking, self-importance and irrationality privileges above all else. The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. In the first, participants read a bible passage of a date-rape and were asked to rate the 'wrongness' of the offense. Those reporting greater belief in religion condemned the victim more harshly stating âoeshe probably deserved itâ. This was also followed up with the strong believe that if it was a âoerealâ rape then her body would just reject any possibility of pregnancy.

Really? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44689137)

Reeeeeeealy? Weapons research? (physical, chemical, biological, your choice) Profitizing common herbs into expensive medicines? Researching social engineering? Moral? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Time (2)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44689215)

"Greater belief in science?"

"Emphasis on truth-seeking?"

"Science as a moral pursuit?"

Science is an academic discipline. It is not concerned with truth, morals or beliefs. It is concerned with fact. Science is the process of deriving fact from hypothesis through observation and experimentation.

Facts are data. Truth is meaning. No matter what experiment is being conducted, science cannot ever provide meaning. It can only provide facts.

Science has absolutely no connection whatsoever to morals. They are two utterly disconnected fields of human endeavor.

When people start advocating a greater "belief" in science, it leads one to conclude that either science is becoming a religion or these people are trying to fill a void in their lives.

Science by definition is AMORAL (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44689269)

An ideology / process by definition does not morals, aka amoral. Only scientists are moral.

Science doesn't ask "Can we build nukes?" nor "Should we build nukes?" only _scientists_.

Re:Science by definition is AMORAL (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44689323)

grammar fix: ... does not have morals ...

PLoS ONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689321)

Slashdotters: please don't reproduce anything from PLoS ONE. The journal is a notorious joke.

Papers I have reviewed for PLoS ONE (in my field of biology) have been poorly written garbage.

PLoS ONE is where shitty datasets and negative results go to die after being written up in the most lazy way possible.

Tell That to Aperture and GLADOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44689361)

Tell that to the poor employees @ Aperture Laboratories, who gave their lives installing the morality core, to stop GLADOS from flooding the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin. And she was in it for the SCIENCE after all.

Same thing with regards to a certain Mr.Cave Johnson. "Safe science? why not marry safe science if you love it so much". Not very moral, especially that using hobos for testing volunteers. Who wants to make $60?

Let alone using his own employees as test subjects.

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