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Thread: Do people think atheists are immoral?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Do people think atheists are immoral?

    I suppose others saw this article on the World Today web site?

    It discusses a paper by Gervais et al in Nature Human Behaviour in which the authors claim that people are more likely to assume a person who has committed immoral acts is more likely to be an atheist.

    The statistical analysis used is fine. But the interviewing methodology involves describing a person who commits an immoral act and then asking the respondent if the person is more likely to be (a) a teacher, or (b) a teacher who is an atheist. i.e. either X or (X and Y).

    I'm not familiar with this as an interviewing technique. So I hunted down another paper by Gervais in Plos One where he does a similar study but substitute "atheist" by various religious options like "Buddhist". As you may guess atheists come out rather badly.

    I don't doubt the researcher's work but I have to wonder if this is an elaborate form of a leading question, particularly as the immoral acts described are very nasty (e.g. "necrobestiality") and pick up on confirmation bias. This is research that definitely needs repeating!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Toontown, in the Bible Belt.

    Default Re: Do people think atheists are immoral?

    @Ptah: It's been seen, all right.

    This thread deals with Gervais' paper.

    Iím not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.

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