Do I smell a right-wing Christian rat behind Ohio State’s psych quiz “controversy”?

rat_phone

Yesterday I published Ohio State University teaches Christians are stupider than atheists. I came across the story on Google News, thought, “Here’s a bit of fluff I can have some quick fun with before I get back to writing my novel,”—and blip I wrote what I did.

The website that originally “broke” this story is Campus Reform. This morning, poking about the Campus Reform website, I found this on their Mission page:

As a watchdog to the nation’s higher education system, Campus Reform exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.

Our team of professional journalists works alongside student activists and student journalists to report on the conduct and misconduct of university administrators, faculty, and students.

Campus Reform holds itself to rigorous journalism standards and strives to present each story with accuracy, objectivity, and public accountability.

A few clicks later I learned that Campus Reform is owned and operated by the hyper-conservative The Leadership Institute. Here’s a bit about them:

The Leadership Institute identifies, organizes, and trains conservative college students to promote and defend their values on campus.

Institute programs prepare thousands of conservatives each year. Conservatives learn how to:

· Form independent conservative student groups
· Manage grassroots-oriented campaigns
· Publish independent conservative school newspapers
· Communicate a conservative message using the media

Gee, I wonder why the complaining OSU “anonymous student” knew nothing about the Psych 1100 class that had so offended him or her (see below)—and why exactly they were quoted as having said:

I understand that colleges have a liberal spin on things so it didn’t surprise me to see the question … . Colleges will tolerate pretty much any religion other than Christianity.

I smell a rat. A lowdown, lying, cheating, right-wing Christian rat trying to drum up a little cheese for itself.

Ugh.

It pains me to have at all contributed, however cursorily, to the lie that there was any credibility whatsoever to the original story. Me, helping to further the agenda of hardcore right-wing Christians!

So sad. So wrong. So … what can totally happen when you’re trying to keep two blogs going and write a (major) first novel.

After reading my post yesterday my good friend Dan Wilkinson got interested in what the story behind that story might be. Dan getting interested in something is like a coke-detecting police dog getting interested in a suitcase. It’s kinda scary. But awesome to watch.

Courtesy of Dan “Sniffy” Wilkinson, here is what’s really going on with OSU’s Psychology 1100 classs:

First we have the class syllabus. As you’ll see, it’s a totally normal, duly formidable college class.

One of the tools used in the class are the online LearningCurve quizzes. As you may recall, the particular Learning Curve question that has caused such a stir is this one:

unnamed

Here are a few other LearningCurve quiz questions (which taken altogether comprise only 10% of the grade for the class):

salaries

smarts

liberal

Notably, all of the quiz question are pulled directly from Psychology, the textbook used in the class (which Dan managed to get hold of, and which is on Amazon here—for only $159.48!). Each includes exactly where in the book information informing that question can be found. So literally none of the quiz questions should be a surprise to any student in the class.

While the above questions might at face value seem inflammatorily ill-informed, within the context of the class they make perfect sense. And those are only four of the (it looks like) hundreds of questions derived from the chapter of the textbook dealing with what intelligence is and isn’t, the history of testing intelligence, the uses, abuses and shortcomings of such tests, and the complexity of entire issue.

The authors of Psychology thoroughly explore the findings that certain groups consistently test higher or lower on intelligence tests, carefully considering the factors that contribute to that result:

Although the average difference between groups is considerably less than the average difference within groups, Terman was right when he suggested that some groups perform better than others on intelligence tests.

But do group differences in intelligence test scores reflect group differences in actual intelligence? …

Some groups outscore others on intelligence tests because (a) testing situations impair the performance of some groups more than others and (b) some groups live in less healthful and stimulating environments.  There is no compelling evidence to suggest that between-group differences in intelligence are due to genetic differences.

Interestingly, intelligence test scores also seem to be fairly good predictors of a person’s political and religious attitudes: The more intelligent people are, the more likely they are to be liberal and atheistic (Deary, Batty, & Gale, 2008; Lynn, Harvey, & Nyborg, 2009; Reeve, Heggestad, & Lievens, 2009; Stankov, 2009). All in all, intelligence tests scores are excellent predictors of a remarkable range of important consequences. IQ clearly matters.

In short, there’s nothing whatever wrong or suspect about OSU’s Psychology 1100 class.

I wish I could say the same for the pathetic Leadership Institute.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Thank you, Dan.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      And thanks to John for crafting something coherent and compelling out of the detritus I sent his way!

  • Guy Norred

    Well, the perhaps it is ok that these stories are not showing up on my phone.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Have I mentioned recently how much Dan Wilkinson (or Wilkerson if you prefer) ROCKS?!?

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      He’s ridic with his aplomb.

    • Andy

      But can he use a knife and fork?

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        My presumption is that he has opposable thumbs….but, you know, I’ve never actually seen them.

      • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

        What are these knives and forks of which you speak?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Well if not, there is always a spork.

        • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

          I’m pretty sure that Leviticus considers the spork to be an abomination since it divideth not the tines.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Thanks for taking the time to research this. It comes across as less credible to have an atheist commenter go “The test was probably on some studies that have been done about IQ tests”. Plus, there are so many times I’ve had to deal with people who could have done five minutes of research to clear up problems. Basic stuff, even, like the definition of atheism. So thank you very much for this.

    Another thing you’d think would be in there is the idea that IQ tests stink as a real measure of intelligence. Often, they test what a majority group can remember about their culture. I’d be more worried about atheists knowing more about religion than Christians.

    And good luck keeping an eye out for groups like The Leadership Institute. Some people just want to leave the world less educated and feed their brand of religion with the ignorant. That’s why people worry that college will turn their kids into liberals and atheists.

  • nopaniers

    According to the largest study I’ve read (Kanasawa), atheists have an average IQ of 103, which is virtually indistinguishable from the mean (of 100). That’s less difference between atheists and the average than there is between sets of identical twins.

    It doesn’t mean that if you have an IQ of 125, you’re likely to be atheist, because religious preference is only very weakly correlated with IQ, and there are many more Christians in the US than atheists.

    I’ve actually done the numbers. Assuming a Gaussian distribution, and the means as given by Kanasawa, and assuming that US is 20% atheist, and an average IQ of atheists of 103: someone who has an IQ of 125 is over twice (2.14 times by my calculation) as likely to be Christian.

    The question is clearly wrong.

    • friendly reader

      Polls put the American atheist and agnostic population at about 5%. I don’t know how that affects the math.

      And even if there was a stronger correlation, than that STILL doesn’t mean that EVERY person with a higher IQ will be atheist or liberal. That question is bad for a whole bunch of reasons related to understanding how statistics work.

      • nopaniers

        If the population of atheists/agnostics was about 5%, that would make it around 8 times more likely for someone with an IQ of 125 to be Christian.

      • Andy

        Most of the polls I’ve seen put it higher than that. Or did you mean 5% for each?

        • friendly reader

          I’d have to look it up wherever it was I saw it recently, but don’t mistake “Nones” (20%) as being completely synonymous with atheists and agnostics. A lot of “nones” falls into the “spiritual but not religious” category.

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            Would a place where the “spiritual but not religious” gather be a nonnery.

      • Psycho Gecko

        I guess they count the modifier on theism and atheism as separate because of a lack of education on what the term means, but I have to wonder how many of the “agnostics” group are agnostic atheists and how many are agnostic theists.

        There are also the ones who say they don’t affiliate with any religion (nor are they necessarily “spiritual”). Overall, the entire grouping that is collectively referred to as the “Nones” is about 20% of the population of the U.S., and it’s only growing. As far as anyone can tell, one of the main reasons is that younger generations aren’t as religious as older ones, and older folks are dying off.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      The primary study the text uses to support the conclusion that intelligence test scores are fairly good predictors of a person’s religious attitudes is Lynn, Harvey, & Nyborg, 2009: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289608000238. That study found that “in a sample of 137 countries the correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God is 0.60.”

      • nopaniers

        You can’t go from saying that the size of a small minority being weakly correlated with IQ, to saying that if a person has an IQ of 125 they are a member of that minority.

        I mean, you could do the same with Renault drivers. For the same reason that atheism is correlated with intelligence in the study you cite (namely, that it’s more popular in Western countries than in the third world), driving Renaults also is. But that doesn’t mean that if someone has an IQ of 125 that they drive a Renault.

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          Who is saying that the size of a small minority is weakly correlated with IQ? All of the studies I am aware of, including the one cited, found a strong correlation between atheism and a higher IQ. IQ correlates with all sorts of traits, such as academic performance, job performance, health, wealth, attitudes and basic cognitive abilities.

          • nopaniers

            I think you are sidestepping the main issue. If you take the correlations reported in any of the studies, no matter what you call them, strong or weak, none of them come close to justifying the claim that you should expect someone with an IQ of 125 to be atheist.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Given two people with different IQs, you can expect the person with the higher IQ to have more education, better grades, a better job, make more money, live a longer life, have faster reaction times and be more liberal and less religious than the person with a lower IQ. From Psychology: “The fact is that intelligence test scores are highly correlated with just about every outcome that human beings care about.”

          • Andy

            Yes. The first question is poorly asked, though. I would not expect any of those 4 possibilities to be more likely to be true than not in America. Christians outnumber atheists probably 4 to 1 in America. With that in mind, are we supposed to believe that more people with an IQ of 125 or higher are atheist than Christian?

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I completely agree that, on it’s own, that question isn’t very good. But in the context of that section of the textbook and the many, many other questions about intelligence, the question doesn’t seem to me to be particularly problematic. And, even if you get that question wrong, or just skip it, it’s enormously easy to still pass the quiz.

          • Jill

            “And, even if you get that question wrong, or just skip it, it’s enormously easy to still pass the quiz.”

            – which greatly amuses me. In the final analysis, perhaps it’s smarter to ignore the question entirely. :)

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Through my years of school I’ve certainly encountered plenty of horrible multiple choice questions on exams and quizzes … and yet somehow I was still able to make it through and carry on with life!

          • Jill

            Isn’t that something? ;) I love how things work out…

          • http://shiphrah99.etsy.com Shiphrah99

            Way way way back in the day, my BF took the SATs and ACTs (shows you how far back that was) on the same day, and by the end was totally fried. Naturally, American History, her worst subject, was the very last exam. So she drew a picture of Fritz the Kat, filled in whatever bullet was closest. And scored an 89% on the damn thing.

          • Psycho Gecko

            I guess it would help to know how much of the population in the U.S. has an IQ of 125 or higher and see how close it is to the numbers for atheism. It’s a flawed way, but I think you have to take into account that not everybody’s running around with an IQ of 125 or higher.

          • nopaniers

            Yes. That’s not the claim that the quiz was making though.

            If someone has an IQ of 125, you should expect that they are Christian, not atheist. Why? Because the population of Christians is much larger than the population of atheists, and so there are statistically many more that have an IQ of 125 than the number of atheists with that IQ. The small advantage in average IQ between the two groups makes a small, but insignificant change to that. If the quiz was going to be right, atheists would have to be much smarter than Christians on average, not just marginally.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            The specific concept from the text that the question is tied to is: “The more intelligent people are, the more likely they are to be liberal and atheistic.” Could the question have been worded better? Perhaps. But it’s trying to drive home exactly the same point as the other quiz questions pictured above are: there’s a correlation between IQ and religious belief. The LearningCurve quizzes have a mix of questions that speak only terms of generalities and questions that are worded in terms of specific examples. I think both types of questions are useful, because they force you to think about the concepts in different ways. How would you word the question to avoid the problems you see with it?

          • nopaniers

            If I were to ask the question, I would at least include the correct answer: None of the above.

            Generally in statistics you need a 95% confidence interval to make specific statements like this. You’re going to be hard pressed to get that when the difference between the two groups (in terms of IQ) is so small.

            If I were to ask questions about it, I would have a series of specific statements, and the answer would be consistently “None of the above”. I would make it into a lesson in not drawing unwarranted conclusions from small correlations.

            > But it’s trying to drive home exactly the same point as the other quiz questions pictured above are: there’s a correlation between IQ and religious belief.

            That worries me. I mean, it’s not the only wrong answer. The asking “If you were comparing the mean IQ of different viewpoints on religion, which of the following would you expect is true?” is also incorrect. Some Jewish groups have a much higher IQ than either atheists or Christians, so the most correct answer is actually (d) it depends on the religion.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I think then, your issue is ultimately with the authors of the textbook, and by extension, the consensus of modern psychologists.

          • Jakeithus

            I have to agree that it’s just a horrible multiple choice question in general. What one would expect to be true is that both are Christians, given that the question is being asked in an American context and Christian’s are the largest religious group by a large margin.

            Aine is more likely than Theo to be an atheist, but the question makes it seem like most people with an IQ of 125 will be atheists, and I don’t think that’s the case.

            Hypothetically, the question is like this. Imagine it was shown that people of Chinese heritage are more likely to have a lower IQ than someone of Canadian heritage, and the test was being done at a Chinese university. Jimmy has an IQ of 100, Phil has an IQ of 125. Which statement would you expect to be true? The answer would have to be Jimmy is Chinese and Phil is Canadian. It’s ignoring the fact that China has a population 45 times that of Canada, and any difference in intelligence is largely overshadowed by that.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Your reasoning, based on this question alone, seems sound. But, having just read the textbook chapter on intelligence, and then having gone through the lengthy quiz associated with that chapter, the correct answer and the concept it was trying to reinforce were very obvious to me. Yes, one can pick a part the question on several grounds, but that is often the case with multiple choice questions: they are simply not the ideal format for dealing with complex issues. And in light of that, it’s highly appropriate that this question alone would have virtually no bearing on a student’s success in the course.

          • Jakeithus

            I would hope there is more to the course than just students achieving success in it; maybe something like actually understanding how the world works.

            While it might make sense within the context of the chapter, it doesn’t necessarily in real life. As someone who has studied educational theory, this is what is called the Hidden Curriculum, or the unintended lesson that is being taught. Based on this question alone, that lesson is: there are more high intelligence atheists than high intelligence Christians (rather than simply as a percentage of each group).

            Now maybe this misunderstanding is cleared up in the rest of the course and in the description of how statistics work. Without knowing more about the course, I cannot say.

  • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

    The problem with statistics is separating causation from correlation. For example nicotine stained fingers can be shown to have have a high correlation to lung cancer but do cause it. Both are caused by smoking but only one increases the risk of lung cancer. So it could can be argued that nicotine stained fingers are a good predictor of increased lung cancer risk even if they are not the cause.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      That is EXACTLY the point that the textbook for this course repeatedly drives home. There is a well-established correlation between race and intelligence test scores: African Americans test consistently lower than Caucasians. But the reasons for this — the actual cause — seems to have nothing to do with the genetics of a particular race, and everything to do with a variety of other complex social, economic and cultural factors. So, while it is true that someone with a higher IQ is more likely to be an atheist, that also doesn’t mean that greater intelligence causes atheism.

      • Andy

        Also, the “more likely” thing can be misleading. Sometimes it’s made to appear statistically significant in the interest of trying to prove a point when it’s really not very. News shows use this all the time (here is one example).

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          Very true. And any student who actually reads the textbook for this course will be fully aware of some of the horrendous mis-uses of intelligence testing and the complexities of correlation and causation.

          • Psycho Gecko

            The Pastafarians maintain it as part of their religious beliefs, noting that an increase in climate change has correlated with a decrease in the number of pirates.

          • http://shiphrah99.etsy.com Shiphrah99

            Ramen!

  • Sven2547

    When a story arises in right-wing circles about anti-Christian persecution in the United States, it is BS 99.9% of the time.

    In many other countries, it can be (and often is) quite real.

    In this case, the statistics question was idiotic, but only in the misapplication of what statistics mean, not out of some anti-Christian bias.

  • MarcusRegulus

    Comments are pretty good on this topic. Allow my two shekels worth.
    Way back before there was dirt (1968), I had a course in Psychological Tests and Measurements. The prof constantly emphasized that in psychological testing, the built in bias of the test designers almost always gave the results they were (even unconsciously) seeking.
    Over the years, I have made a fun pastime out of playing with aptitude/personality/intelligence tests. Even the vaunted MMPI can be skewed by a person with average intelligence who knows how to game the answers.
    While the cheesy (sorry, couldn’t help myself) initial report may well have been a student assignment in propaganda placement (but you gotta admire their chutzpa), there may also be some amount of validity in the notion of academic blind-sidedness (because, how many who make it to tenured professors have a bias against religion and “other superstitions”?

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      You’re right that bias is something we should be on guard against. The textbook for this course discusses bias at length, and especially in regards to intelligence testing.

    • Linnea912

      Oh, the MMPI is fun to mess with. :p It’s validity and reliability are extremely low (learned this in my I/O psych class in college), so I don’t know why it’s been taken so seriously for so long.

  • AlanOne7

    Everybody here is completely missing the point. Does this presentation ever claim that Muslims, Jews or Hindus are less intelligent than atheists? No, of course not.

    Atheists say that Christianity is one religion out of a hundred. Fair enough. Now, go around making fun of Muslims, Jews, and Hindus – in public, be specific – and see what happens.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      I pledge allegiance, to your crotch …. Wait.

      • BarbaraR

        Great. Now I have a mental image that’s going to creep into my dreams.

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          Of me saluting this .. flag crotch? I do shudder to think of the overall dream in which that image would figure.

          • BarbaraR

            It couldn’t be any worse than the night I dreamed Bryan Ferry and I were chasing a poodle through the sewers.

      • Jill

        That one took me a while…
        Only my second cup of tea so far this AM.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lotharson

    Hello dear John.

    While I’m myself a progressive Christian actively supporting the acceptance of Gay couples into the Christian Church, I realize I can no longer endorse your tone and rhetoric.

    I’m also against the Christian Right and expose quite often their false priorities and distortion of the Gospel.
    But in spite of everything, I view them as human beings created in God’s image and NOT as right-wing rats . As a German liberal theologian rightly pointed out: “Fundamentalisten sind auch Menschen” = “Fundamentalists are human too”.

    Even if it might be a daily struggle, should it not be our duty to love our fundamentalist foes as ourselves? I’m not pretending to be a better person than you because I fall short in countless other respects.

    But I think it’s really a pity if your laudable and praiseworthy defense of Gay people degenerates into self-righteous hatred.

    So I really hope you’ll back away from your rhetoric and adopt a more constructive tone because you’re unlikely to change the hearts of fundies while using such words.

    Otherwise, I also feel pretty irritated by the psychological Quiz. It is extraordinarily reductionist in that it defines “Christians”, “Atheists” and “Liberals” as homogeneous groups. This is very far from being the case, there are numerous conflicting groups, ideologies and movements within Christianity and atheism and merging them together has a very poor scientific value.

    I’d be interested if such IQ comparisons were carried out between VERY specific groups (such as “Secular Conservatives” against “Evolutionary theists”) to see what come out of it.
    What is more, it is far from being certain that there is such a thing as intelligence which can be fully grasped by a unique measure such as IQ. Its assessment also depends a lot on psychological factors such as motivation, impulsiveness and anxiety.

    Anyway I wish you all the best and hope you’ll begin to see Conservatives as fellow humans.

    Lovely greetings.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      It’s just a matter of semantics. To my mind it is much more condemning to call, as you have, fundamentalists “foes,” than it is to employ the hoary pejorative “rats” to describe The Leadership Institute. I’m calling one clearly nefarious organization “rats.” You’re calling millions of people your sworn enemies. And I’m the one using unconstructive rhetoric?

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      “What is more, it is far from being certain that there is such a thing as intelligence which can be fully grasped by a unique measure such as IQ” This is certainly true. This idea (the complexity and multi-faceted nature of intelligence) is a significant part of Psych 1100′s section on intelligence, comprising far more textbook space and quiz questions than the correlation between IQ and religious belief.

  • Robert McHenry

    Duh… of course atheists and liberals are smarter that conservative christains… Lets face it… conservative christians insist on being willfully ignorant of science and demand that mythologies from the bronze-age be seen as “science”… which only proves their lack of intelligence.

    Religion offers easy answers to the complex existential questions… which is why the phrase “opiate of the masses” stuck.

    • Gregory Peterson

      The Bible is pretty much from the Iron Age, I think, though some stories have some Bronze age roots.

  • Christian Elder

    “A lowdown, lying, cheating, right-wing Christian rat”, with a statement like that I’d say you more of a progressive liberal, than a Christian. Actually, the only way I could characterize a Christian as progressive is if they are making progress as a co-laborer in the harvest, otherwise the label is, I believe deleterious to the true cause. Anyway, before making another such statement may I refer you to the Book of Ephesians verses 4:29-32 – ”

    29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

    30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

    32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      The King James Version. Gee. What a surprise.

      • Jeff Preuss

        Hey, shush! That’s the version I read. :)

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          I LOVE the KJV. But it’s also invariably the translation quoted by fundies whenever they’re online-lecturing about “the true cause.”

          • Jeff Preuss

            Oh, you’re gonna burn in….Phoenix or something. :)

            Yeah, the KJV is often the text quoted with the claim of “the Bible is clear!” on {insert subject here} yet, since it’s the furthest removed from what currently-used English is like, by definition it is the least clear of what is ostensibly still our language.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Oh Jeff, stop being deleterious to the true cause.

          • Jeff Preuss

            I’m sorry, I saw that and read “delicatessen” and now I want a reuben.

          • BarbaraR

            If you’re getting a Reuben, get me one too.

          • Christian Elder

            Do you actually know what a real fundamentalist is, or do you just like to make fun of them? A true fundamentalist believes in the fundamentals of the faith, which is grounded in doctrinal truth, obviously with the Word as the authority.

          • BarbaraR

            We are very aware of what fundies are. The fact that they lend themselves easily to mockery notwithstanding, this is a safe space for people who are progressive, non-fundie, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic, LGBTQ, and open to discussion without insisting their way is the only way God approves of.

            If you are open to discussion of other faiths and interpretations without judgement, you’ll be welcome. If you persist in saying your truth is the only truth and anyone who disagrees is going to feel the fires of hell, you will be shown the door.

          • Robert McHenry

            A true fundamentalist states they believe in the literal truth of the bible because their minister told them to… and then proceeds to ignore nearly 90% of the rules and regulations in the bible because their minister tells them to… so essentially fundamentalist chistians are only good at following what their minister tells them to do… not a very enlightened group… and not a very smart one either.

      • Christian Elder

        I, of course have several versions, but I like to start with the KJV, I enjoy the olde English, and it is often much clearer in intent.

        • Psycho Gecko

          Get thee to a nunnery.

        • J_Enigma32

          You mean Late Middle English, Early Modern English. You wouldn’t be able to read Old English:

          Fæder ūre þū þe eart on heofonum,

          Sī þīn nama ġehālgod

          Tōbecume þīn rīċe,

          ġewurþe þīn willa, on eorðan swā swā on heofonum.

          Ūre ġedæġhwāmlīcan hlāf syle ūs tō dæġ,

          and forġyf ūs ūre gyltas, swā swā wē forġyfað ūrum gyltendum.

          And ne ġelǣd þū ūs on costnunge, ac ālȳs ūs of yfele.

          Sōþlīċe.

          That’s Old English. That’s actually the Lord’s Prayer in Old English.

          Fun observation: because of the T/V split, God uses “thee” and “thou” instead of “you” and “ye” throughout most of the Bible to express familiarity.

          In Middle English, “thee/thou” were how you’d address your best friend, wife, servant, or children. “You/ye,” meanwhile, was reserved for your boss, and others of a higher social rank.

          This is identical to the “Tu/Vous” split in French, as it should be, since English has more in common with French than it does any other language, including German (although if I recall my German correctly, German also has a T/V split; I know Portuguese has one, but since i learned Brazilian Portuguese first, I’ve walked away with the impression that split is about as important as it is in Modern English). It played a similar role, too, where “Thou/Thee” was “Tu” and “You/ye” was “Vous” (pronounced VOO if you don’t know French).

          By the time the KJV was authored, “thou/thee” was already starting to fall out of fashion. In fact, it was becoming something of a classist insult to refer to someone as “thou,” because referring to them as “thou” if you had a higher social rank was actually taken to mean you were belittling them.

          Thus, “thou/thee” fell out of use and were eventually recycled as stuffy, formal sounding pronouns to modern day ears. You remained, meanwhile (ye, too, but only in some parts of England).

          So here’s a question: if the intent is clear, did you know that God is written using “thou/thee” to express a more familiar and personal god? Because if you didn’t what else are you missing?

          • Jeff Preuss

            I could totes read that; it’s an Olde English recipe for banana bread.

          • Christian Elder

            I agree the older English I referred to in the King James version would be more appropriately referred to as early modern English. As denoted in Wikipedia – “The translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible intentionally preserved, in Early Modern English, archaic pronouns and
            verb endings that had already begun to fall out of spoken use. This enabled the English translators to convey the distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural verb forms of the original Hebrew and Greek sources.”

    • BarbaraR

      I am certain you know exactly what the “true cause” is and that no one here fits into that very narrow little definition.

      • Christian Elder

        The true cause of course is getting people saved. Saved from what? From the wrath to come, from death, hell and the grave. If you don’t believe in salvation or that it’s not worth sharing then it’s safe to assume you are not saved. Sadly, then you are on the road to perdition. Not a joking matter according to my copy of the book.

        • BarbaraR

          While you are entitled to your version and interpretation, telling people they’re wrong and going to hell is a fast way to find yourself blocked here.

          We allow for discussion but dogmatism is unwelcome.

        • Psycho Gecko

          I don’t have to worry. As any true bible scholar could tell you, someone who has eaten from the tree of life doesn’t have to worry about death or hell. Genesis 3:22: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”

          Gotta love them loopholes.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Le sigh.

  • http://geographer70.wordpress.com/ Ian B

    Thanks for the update! I read the first post and wasn’t sure what to think (I had no context) and this helped enormously.

  • AshevilleDream

    So just because conservatives are involved, there is some evil-doing going on?

    • Robert McHenry

      yup

  • Jeff Rickel

    The whole premise is illogical. People are not born Christian, The choice about whether to devote your life to following Jesus Christ rather than serving your selfish desires and judging whether there is or should be a God occurs later in life. Anyone, from one with some sort of physical or mental disability to a genius or athlete is capable of becoming a Christian. My understanding of IQ is we are born with a certain potential to achieve an IQ. The two are not related. One is a choice in how to focus and live your life. Second Premise, No intelligent person or one possessing a high IQ could be a Christian. Is this historically accurate. I doubt it considerably since you would have to discount Pascal, Newton, Galileo. The third reason is reason and science yourself. If they developed from a Christian viewpoint as opposed to a NonChristian religious viewpoint then the argument also falls flat. Science and most early universities are Christian in origin. The idea that there is a creator who created the universe to follow certain laws, drove the Christian thinker to try to understand those laws. Which separated the current science we now enjoy. I think the problem with the Psychological department is that they didn’t correspond adequately with the History department, nor do any sort of research to see if the underlying premises were correct or even trying to understand the basis of what they were criticizing.

    • BarbaraR

      …You created a Disqus account for this?

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “Science and most early universities are Christian in origin.”

      I know that Western Civ teaches that Western Civ is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but…

      Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642)
      Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662)
      Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727)

      “The first universities in Europe with a form of corporate/guild structure were the University of Bologna (1088), the University of Paris (c. 1150, later associated with the Sorbonne), the University of Oxford (1167), the University of Modena (1175), the University of Palencia (1208), the University of Cambridge (1209), the University of Salamanca (1218), the University of Montpellier (1220), the University of Padua (1222), the University of Naples Federico II (1224), and the University of Toulouse (1229).” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University

      However,

      “The University of al-Qarawiyyin or al-Karaouine (Arabic: جامعة القرويين‎) is a university located in Fes, Morocco. The al-Qarawiyyin mosque-university was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 with an associated school, or madrasa, which subsequently became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the historic Muslim world.” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_al-Qarawiyyin

      “One scientist in particular stands far above the rest. He is Ibn al-Haytham, the great polymath who lived from 965 to 1040.” Source: http://lostislamichistory.com/ibn-al-haytham-the-first-scientist/

      List of Muslim Scientists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Muslim_scientists

      Then there’s Greece:

      “The Platonic Academy (sometimes referred to as the University of Athens), founded ca. 387 BC in Athens,Greece, by the philosopher Plato, lasted 916 years (until AD 529) with interruptions.[5] It was emulated during the Renaissance by the Florentine Platonic Academy, whose members saw themselves as following Plato’s tradition.

      Around 335 BC, Plato’s successor Aristotle founded the Peripatetic school,…”

      Timeline of ancient higher learning institutions. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_higher-learning_institutions

      Timeline of science:

      “From their beginnings in Sumer (now Iraq) around 3500 BC, the Mesopotamian peoples began to attempt to record some observations of the world with extremely thorough numerical data. But their observations and measurements were seemingly taken for purposes other than for scientific laws. A concrete instance of Pythagoras’ law was recorded as early as the 18th century BC—the Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet Plimpton 322 records a number of Pythagorean triplets (3,4,5) (5,12,13) …, dated 1900 BC, possibly millennia before Pythagoras, [1]—but an abstract formulation of the Pythagorean theorem was not.” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science_in_early_cultures

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      The odds of anyone becoming the adherent of any faith has a much more to do with geography and culture than choice. If you live in the US, you are born in a culture steeped in a Christian culture, with some varieties scattered lightly about. If you live in Bahrain, well you are born into a culture steeped in Islam. In Tibet, Buddhism is the predominate religion of that culture. In Bangladesh, Hinduism predominates. The odds of one picking Christianity, a tiny minority faith, in Bahrain, Tibet, and Bangladesh are quite small, simply because it is not a common part of that culture.

      As for science being Christian in origin..AtalantaBethulia covers part of it. There were many early scientists prior to the advent of Christianity. Men and women who were pioneers in their fields in medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, zoology, etc. lived and worked centuries before Christ

      • Jeff Rickel

        Thank you for your reply. It was thoughtful, well written, and points out some areas I hadn’t considered deeply or communicated very well.

        In America we practice and believe in a high degree of individualism, individual rights and individual choice. I think this affects how we view things and how we view religion and God. In many other cultures to a high degree religion is part of your group identity, the culture, family, and belief system are much more interconnected then we see here. This can affect our ability to look at other cultures and religions.

        In America we choose religion. I grant that we grow up in a certain environment, but at any time, especially after we become adults we can choose whether to follow or reject the system of belief common to our family and environment. In other countries if someone gives up the religion they may be viewed as giving up their culture and their families as well.

        There is much more freedom of choice here than we would see other places. I agree that in America, if we have to choose a religion, we would probably choose a variation of the Christian religion here because of our exposure to it and our countries history.

        Unlike other cultures, we are not born into what I would call “true Christianity”. We may be born into a “Christian” culture and may do “Christian” activities growing up, but at its heart, what I call “true Christianity” is a choice and actions stemming from that choice. It is choosing to belong to God and rely on HIM. “True Christianity” is to let God have total control of our lives, to desire and serve HIM, and to turn our backs on our old way of life, our selfishness and our desire to be in charge. It involves cleansing of our rebellious nature, and acts that have hurt God, ourselves, and other people. True Christianity is also a choice to trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a means to being forgiven by God and receiving the power to live for God and enter into a close relationship with HIM. God promises to receive us, forgive us, and change us to become better people. In a way he adopts us and we become HIS children as well as HIS servants. The Bible also compares the relationship to a marriage. I think an Western non-arranged marriage would be a good model. We choose at one point to enter into marriage, and each day we must choose to be faithful to that marriage and honor our commitments and responsibilities to it.

        As to your point about some forms of science existing before Christ, you are also correct. But the belief in an orderly God who created the universe, and gave it certain laws and rules to live by is consistent with the underlying beliefs and assumptions of the Judeo/Christian religion. This religion has done much to support and foster, and create the proper environment for the discovery (or rediscovery of many of the laws) the universe runs by. I will reference two articles and a video here. I can’t discount the possibility of bias in the articles, but I think the facts and history are basically accurate and consistent with other books and articles I have read or am aware of on the subject. The videos are good.

        http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0131.htm

        http://creation.com/biblical-roots-of-modern-science.

        http://vimeo.com/15618059

        Intro to above: http://vimeo.com/13536164


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