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Fear of Death Makes People Into Believers (of Science) 434

sciencehabit writes "Nothing, some say, turns an atheist into a believer like the fear of death. 'There are no atheists in foxholes,' the saying goes. But a new study suggests that people in stressful situations don't always turn to a higher power. Sometimes, they turn to science. Both athletes preparing for a big race and students asked to write about their own death showed a 15% stronger belief in science than those under less stressful situations (abstract). 'In stressful situations people are likely to turn to whatever worldviews and beliefs are most meaningful to them,' says study co-author, Anna-Kaisa Newheiser, a psychologist at Yale University. And many people find the scientific worldview more compatible with their own."
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Fear of Death Makes People Into Believers (of Science)

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  • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Friday June 07, 2013 @06:53PM (#43941685)

    WTF? The base of science is doubting everything

    Not doubting everything; there are a few assumptions held --- though they may seem so "obvious" that you don't even realize making them. For example, the assumption that the universe is somewhat "repeatable" and amenable to mathematical and logical description: if an experiment about one thing in one circumstance can't tell you anything about other things in other circumstances, then science is entirely useless.

  • Re:Observation: (Score:5, Informative)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian@bixby.gmail@com> on Friday June 07, 2013 @11:11PM (#43943451)
    My dad had a customer who had been a paratrooper in Normandy. My brother made some dumb remark about 'no atheists in foxholes', and Dick snapped back at him, "More atheists are made in foxholes than anywhere else, because no god worth worshiping would allow something like that to go on!"
  • Re:Observation: (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSeatOfMyPants ( 2645007 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @03:16AM (#43944393) Journal

    In most uses of it [wikipedia.org], there's also no consciousness, which hopefully would also mean no inhibitions, fear, or concern about stress.

  • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:31AM (#43945979) Homepage Journal

    Don't blame God for shit that is caused just because people don't know how to maturely get along with other people.

    Have you read the Bible? Because if you believe what's written there, people were getting along just fine, learning technology and how to make bricks instead of using stones. Building a city and within that city a tower taller than any ever built before, as a monument to what they could accomplish together. "And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:5-9)

    So yeah, His response to people maturely getting along with other people was to scatter them all over the Earth, and making them speak different languages to make cooperation more difficult.

    For God to disallow it would be to interfere with the the freely made choices that created that situation, invalidating the very purpose of giving us free will in the first place. If God were to just turn around and stop us every time we make a wrong choice, then what on earth would the point be of giving us a free will?

    Unless we're freely making making the right choices, right? Then He gets to interfere, and it somehow doesn't invalidate free will.

    Look pal, I don't have a problem with people who believe in God, or have any religion whatsoever. As long as religion isn't brought into science classrooms, or used to make government policy, I'm fine with it. I do, however, hate this tendency of religious people to praise God for everything that turns out well, without giving credit to the work humans put into it (You walked way from that horrible car accident: clearly God saved you. The engineers designing the crumple zone and mercilessly doing crash tests obviously had nothing to do with it), while simultaneously blaming humans and leaving God blameless for everything that's bad (God didn't put you in foxholes, people's decisions did it). You can't do that. Either you believe He interferes with the world, in which case He has to take part of the blame for our suffering, or you believe He doesn't interfere with the world, in which case He doesn't get part of the credit for our successes.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson