Something for the amusement of your irony meters ….
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15-07-2017, 04:46 AM
Something for the amusement of your irony meters ….
I put this comment on Cranach’s blog on the Evangelical Channel at Patheos
( )
It seems to have disappeared, and the number of comments has gone back to 259 (260 when I put mine on). I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and check again later, but it would be quite ironic if it had been removed from a blog crowing over how much more closed-minded atheists are. Smile

I’ve just had a detailed look at the article claiming these conclusions. I’m a retired psychology professor who specialised in research methodology, so critiquing this sort of research used to be my bread and butter. My apologies if someone has already done this, but I don’t have the time or inclination to go through all the previous 259 comments to check.

The study reported four measure of “closed-mindedness” - Dogmatism, Intolerance of contradiction, Myside bias: arguments, and Myside bias: conviction.

Atheists were less dogmatic than theists - mean of 2.34 versus 2.50 (low scores show more openness to the possibility of reassessing and changing opinion), with a probability of 0.020. Atheists were less tolerant of contradiction than theists - mean of 2.28 versus 2.01, with a probability of 0.046. (Probabilities of less than 0.050 are considered significant differences in social science research.) The description of the "Intolerance of contradiction” measure was as follows: “This construct was measured using three pairs of short statements, each pair presenting two seemingly contradictory scientific findings (statements selected from Peng & Nisbett, 1999). Participants were asked to rate, on a 9-point Likert scale, the extent to which they thought each of the six findings was true. The rationale behind this measure is that people who are intolerant of contradiction will have more difficulty in accepting the seemingly contradictory findings as equally true (or false). Thus, if they evaluate one scientific finding of the pair as true, they will tend to judge the other as very false.” Interestingly, the reliability (alpha) of this scale was not reported, which is standard for social science research. As the reliability of one of the other measures was reported as 0.63 (anything less than 0.70 is considered problematic), the fact that this one wasn’t reported makes me wonder what the level was.

Here’s a description of the scale, from Peng & Nisbett (the Uzarevic et al study only used three statements, but didn’t say which ones):
"The opposing statements were superficially incompatible but were not true contradictions of one another. This left room for a dialectical approach - for finding some degree of truth to both statements. The first issue concerned whether strong or weak family ties are optimal for individual social ability. The second issue was about smoking and weight. Two findings were presented, one of which suggested a high correlation between smoking and being thin and the other of which suggested otherwise. The third issue concerned whether eating white meat is healthier than eating no meat at all. The fourth issue dealt with whether older or younger inmates should be released first in a prison overcrowding crisis. The fifth issue concerned whether there is currently a trend toward global warming."

Here are two examples of the “seemingly contradictory scientific findings" taken from the six statements in Peng & Nisbett, referred to in the Uzarevic article.
"Statement 2A - A sociologist who surveyed college students from 100 universities claimed that there is a high correlation among college female students between smoking and being skinny.
Statement 2B - A biologist who studied nicotine addiction asserted that heavy doses of nicotine often lead to becoming overweight.
Statement 3A - A health magazine survey found that people who live a long life eat some sorts of white meat, e.g., fish or chicken.
Statement 3B - A study by a health organization suggests that it is much more healthy to be a strict vegetarian who does not eat meat at all.”

This strikes me as a very weak methodology for measuring “intolerance of contradiction,” and, coupled with the non-reporting of a reliability measure, suggests that the earth-shattering conclusions reached in the popular reporting and the title of this blog should be taken with very large doses of salt and skepticism.

The "Myside bias: arguments” measure did not show a significant difference between atheists and Christians (although the results reported in the summary table were presented to make it appear that they were on a casual glance). The "Myside bias: conviction” did find a significant difference. This "indicates that a person finds arguments opposing their own opinion less convincing than the arguments favoring it,” hardly an example of "closed-mindedness" and "intolerance.”

Finally, the effect sizes for the findings for the four measure of “closed-mindedness” are reported - this is a quantitative measure of the strength of the findings, and helps with the interpretation of the substantive, as opposed to the statistical, significance of a research result. This statistic, although reported, is often ignored in any discussions of the results. In this case, the effect size ranged from 0.01 to 0.02 for the four results. It means that 1% to 2% of the variation contained in the data is explained by the findings reported in the Uzarevic article. Let that sink in. This is hardly a world-shattering indication of anyone’s "closed-mindedness,” either atheist or Christian.

I also put this comment on the Scientology blog and it also seems to have disappeared.

"In my life, I’ve had a lot of fun peaking behind various “wizard’s” curtains and finding a snake oil salesman.”
Interesting comment for a scientologist to make ….

OK, I can understand that one disappearing. Smile

It appears that us atheists are just too dogmatic for some theists to handle![/font]
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15-07-2017, 06:24 AM
RE: Something for the amusement of your irony meters ….
It's a pity they removed it, if they did. This is a lot more informative than the article. God and the comments Facepalm

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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