Analytical thinking incompatible with religion?

Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds
Those who think more analytically are less inclined to be religious believers than are those who tend to follow a gut instinct, researchers conclude.,0,5374010.story

Something sure to rile up the religious right, I am sure, since there are already reports circulating that conservatives tend to do less analysis than their liberal counterparts. I haven’t delved into the primary literature on either report, largely because social science seems a wee bit of an oxymoron to me (yes, I have heavy ‘hard science’ biases), and as is often the case in the science I am more familiar with, these studies could either be seriously flawed or, due to reporter’s bias, might actually even be concluding the opposite (as is often clear to me from my reading on science research reporting).

The article is quite interesting, though, as it could easily be modified to discuss the fairly simple ways to encourage people to change from hunch-driven decision making to analytical-driven decision making and leave the whole bit about religion aside. I often find myself working to validate my hunch (or gut) driven decisions with analysis (and often get quite frustrated when my hunches fail to measure up) and it could be interesting to try to trigger analytical thought patterns with some of the ‘tricks’ mentioned in the article. I generally find it difficult to think analytically (in my college standardized tests that is always where my lowest scores were, sometimes as low as the median (and a source of frustration to more than one professor I did research for)) and tend to make decisions based on inspiration (which is not to say that I don’t perspire a lot, just the opposite, I tend to perspire more because I often don’t find analysis easy). It would seem from the article that I would be the type of personality that would lend itself toward strong religious thought patterns, but I don’t feel that. Now, if you strip out the religious angle, I am a pretty damn good fit for what the article describes, though I bet there would be vastly fewer readers of the research if they left that angle out.

Author: Tfoui

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