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Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds

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This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

 

"Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds"

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/11/05/religious-upbringing-associated-less-altruism-study-finds

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

 

"Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds"

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/11/05/religious-upbringing-associated-less-altruism-study-finds

 

 

Which voice are you going to listen to?

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/religious-americans-as-neighbors-insights-from-american-grace

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What did those godless heathens say about us now? I think we should kill those complaining gits!

Oh, and I am not donating to their charities either.

Edited by The Nehor
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Yeah, there is that, and also, the whole question of how altruism is defined is messy and complicated (cf. Superfreakenomics for a lengthy treatment of this). 

This is a "soft science" study out of the social sciences, and they are notoriously agenda-driven to show a desired outcome. The authors want non-religious people to be more altruistic.

I'll bet tithes and offerings don't compare well to their metrics, right?

ETA: From the article:

Quote

 The study assessed the children’s tendency to share—a measure of their altruism—and their inclination to judge and punish others for bad behavior.

Where do Mormons score on the University of Chicago's scale of "inclination to judge and punish others for bad behavior?" :rolleyes:  According to that, because we "judge" and "hate" in the Church against immorality, etc., then we aren't as altruistic as people who have "less inclination to judge and punish others for bad behavior?" 

Those are funny goalposts for "altruism."

Edited by rongo
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5 hours ago, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

"Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds"

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/11/05/religious-upbringing-associated-less-altruism-study-finds 

How does that fit in with kinship altruism and reciprocal altruism as discussed here:  

 

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6 hours ago, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

Wait for the next study that contradicts this one LOL

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9 hours ago, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

Teach your children to be coldhearted tightwads. When they inevitably rebel against you they will become altruists. Then you can tell them it was a joke and everyone can have a good laugh about the whole thing.

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9 hours ago, pogi said:

Oh golly, let me guess..... ;)

 

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I sub in the classroom and the majority of children are LDS..I know because they are in my neighborhood, or in other schools there are signs, be it a CTR ring, a BYU t-shirt etc. And they are very kind and thoughtful! They are taught this. I hope it gets to their very core and being. I'm sure it will! So I can definitely give a thumbs up, I'm sure there are rotten eggs in the LDS church but for the most part, I feel a sense of safety around the LDS students for some reason, maybe it stems from being part of their culture/tribe, but really it isn't. That's all I got to say about that!

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One flaw I see in almost all social science studies is that participants know it's an artificial situation. People just don't act the same way in artificial situations. For instance, I sometimes like to cheat when I play board games. It makes it much more fun to me. But in real life, I'm almost obsessively honest. In a study, I don't know how I would behave.

Anything that involves self reported data is also hard for me to take seriously. People lie to make themselves look better, even when it doesn't matter.

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The study is not without potentially serious issues but at the very least, the response by the media was vastly hyperbolic:

One can find lots on it. I had linked a much more thorough commentary to it a pastor friend but can't find it at the moment (and don't want to take the time to hunt it down). Still, here is a quick grab of some commentaries:

https://futurism.com/no-science-does-not-say-that-religious-children-are-more-likely-to-be-immoral/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/children-with-a-religious-upbringing-show-less-altruism/

https://www.quora.com/A-study-link-in-details-finds-that-religiosity-decreases-altruism-and-increases-punitive-behavior-in-children-Does-it-reflect-a-universal-truth-or-is-the-study-flawed

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On 1/12/2018 at 8:57 PM, Calm said:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01167-7

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01167-7

I think given that stickers are such a trivial resource, I am not that impressed with the study.  Even young children can recognize that not having stickers is not that damaging to a person and having them has little effect on how happy someone is.  I would be more impressed by showing the sharing of something more important, including food or a favorite toy or where the child knows they will have to go without something that will lead to discomfort for them.

There may also be a difference between helping someone who is not present and helping someone that they directly interact with.

One very limited task is not enough, imo, to demonstrate much of anything.

----

So religious kids appear to be more caring in the sense they see others getting hurt as more significant?  And Muslim children tend to think stronger punishments are needed...is this necessarily a bad thing?  If they understand punishment leads to someone not harming another again, it seems like it shows how important it is to them to stop others from being harmed.

There are so many ways one could interpret this...

I was thinking the same basic thing - religious children are less altruistic because when other childen hurt someone the religious children think the mean child should be punished harsher than non religious children think the child should be punished?

Now it would be interesting to know what the suggested punishments entail. If the harsher punishment is longer time in time out that is a very different stor than if they suggest a whipping. 

I understand the judgment conclusion, in part, but not the altruism conclusion on that part of the study. However, if you are going to look at judging the study needs to look at behavior that may seem less hurtful. It would be interesting to see the differences in punishment suggestions across several different things besides hurting another child like lying or stealing.

Edited by Rain

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I had a father start up a religious charity, hate my guts growing up, get in nasty fights that ended up in firearms pulled on eachother and he almost killed my mother, I enjoy watching garbage people kill eachother and riots in liberal cities break out.  Uhh, do I fit the mold?  Father sure talked about Jesus a lot.

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On 1/12/2018 at 9:57 PM, Calm said:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01167-7

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01167-7

I think given that stickers are such a trivial resource, I am not that impressed with the study.  Even young children can recognize that not having stickers is not that damaging to a person and having them has little effect on how happy someone is.  I would be more impressed by showing the sharing of something more important, including food or a favorite toy or where the child knows they will have to go without something that will lead to discomfort for them.

There may also be a difference between helping someone who is not present and helping someone that they directly interact with.

One very limited task is not enough, imo, to demonstrate much of anything.

----

If religious children are more stingy with their stickers, what makes you think they'll be more generous with something they would value even more?

 

On 1/12/2018 at 9:57 PM, Calm said:

So religious kids appear to be more caring in the sense they see others getting hurt as more significant?  And Muslim children tend to think stronger punishments are needed...is this necessarily a bad thing?  If they understand punishment leads to someone not harming another again, it seems like it shows how important it is to them to stop others from being harmed.

There are so many ways one could interpret this...

I see this as a mixed result. Religious children seem to have a stronger sense of justice, but a weaker sense of mercy.

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On 1/12/2018 at 1:08 PM, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening.

I don't.  My children are better off with religion in their lives than without. 

My children are learning to pay tithes and fast offerings.  They know that the latter goes exclusively to help people within our ward boundaries, and that the former goes toward all sorts of endeavors which are calculated to help others both spiritually and temporally.

My children are learning the value, and inconvenience, of service.  We help families move in and move out.  My kids regularly help in various service projects in the neighborhood.  My kids serve in the YM/YW organizations.  We invite families and individuals to our home for meals and activities.  My wife and I consistently tie these things to the duties arising from discipleship:

  • "And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.  And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul."  (Alma 18:27-28)
  • "And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely."  (Alma 1:27)

Service to our fellow man.  Love.  Sacrifice.  These are the things which I am teaching my children.  And this moral code arises expressly from the principles taught regularly and emphatically by the LDS Church.

On 1/12/2018 at 1:08 PM, Gray said:

I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

Sure.  We all have room for improvement.  For LDS parents, Mosiah 4:10 comes to mind: "If you believe all these things see that ye do them."

And Alma 34:28: "And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith."

Our religion is not something we keep on a shelf except for a few hours on Sunday.  Consider these 2015 remarks by Elder W. Christopher Waddell:

Quote

In the April 2014 general conference, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded us: “We best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and serving them. The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Selfless service—forgetting ourselves, responding to the needs of others, and laying down our lives in their service—has always been a characteristic of disciples of Jesus Christ. As King Benjamin taught more than 100 years before the birth of the Savior, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

James reminds us that an essential aspect of “pure religion” is found in our service to others as we “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). “Pure religion” is more than a declaration of belief; it is a demonstration of belief.

"A demonstration of belief."

Yep.

Thanks,

-Smac

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"If religious children are more stingy with their stickers, what makes you think they'll be more generous with something they would value even more?"

Because I know people who don't put much thought into sharing as adults until they see an actual need and then they will give the shirt off their back, as they say.

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On 1/12/2018 at 7:57 PM, Calm said:

There are so many ways one could interpret this...

Yes, such as the study is but one more attack on people of faith.  Based on what I see regularly with regard to funds, food and services provided to those in need (for example Haiti, New Orleans, Florida, etc.,) religious contributors and volunteers are well represented.  I think it is a bogus study.

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I don't know about bogus...I see it as quite limited in what it can say.

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6 countries, 195 children from each country......and this is a signifiant enough group of Christian, Muslim and the most noble, benevolent, charitable children of all, Atheists?  Me thinks not.  In reading the article it did seem to have an agenda to prove that religious parents raised immoral children and that religion was not needed for a socially just society.  Of course, we have to close our eyes the much grander social experiments found in Russia, Cambodia, etc. 

Reading more about the actual analysis it reported that the study group contained:  Children from non-religious households (n = 323) are more altruistic with an anonymous beneficiary than children from religious families (n = 280 Christians; n = 510 Muslims).  Having lived in the Middle East for an extended period I was surprised that Muslim children were found to be both less altruistic and more punitive.  I still think that the study group is too small to draw such broad generalizations about the study topics.

The study did state in the first paragraph:  "Over the course of middle childhood, sharing approaches equality in distribution."  If this is an accurate statement what is the value of the analysis?  Using a small study group they have essentially determined that primary age children are supposedly less altruistic and more punitive than their more enlightened atheist children.  However, by the time all the children achieve middle school there was no measurable difference between the groups.  

It is vital to read the actual study to gain an understanding of what was actually found rather than the highly misleading deductions from those with a social agenda.

Edited by Storm Rider
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2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

6 countries, 195 children from each country......and this is a signifiant enough group of Christian, Muslim and the most noble, benevolent, charitable children of all, Atheists?  Me thinks not.  In reading the article it did seem to have an agenda to prove that religious parents raised immoral children and that religion was not needed for a socially just society.  Of course, we have to close our eyes the much grander social experiments found in Russia, Cambodia, etc. 

Reading more about the actual analysis it reported that the study group contained:  Children from non-religious households (n = 323) are more altruistic with an anonymous beneficiary than children from religious families (n = 280 Christians; n = 510 Muslims).  Having lived in the Middle East for an extended period I was surprised that Muslim children were found to be both less altruistic and more punitive.  I still think that the study group is too small to draw such broad generalizations about the study topics.

The study did state in the first paragraph:  "Over the course of middle childhood, sharing approaches equality in distribution."  If this is an accurate statement what is the value of the analysis?  Using a small study group they have essentially determined that primary age children are supposedly less altruistic and more punitive than their more enlightened atheist children.  However, by the time all the children achieve middle school there was no measurable difference between the groups.  

It is vital to read the actual study to gain an understanding of what was actually found rather than the highly misleading deductions from those with a social agenda.

Reading the study an relating it to parenting, it has always been a challenge to teach children to share.  My take away is that children from religious homes have more self confidence to express their wants at a young age.  As their brains form and they gain empathy through experience, they become more generous.  It seems logical to me the altruism learning curve would take a steep climb for the religious child during adulthood.  Generalizing from my non scientific observation in news articles (Al Gore's charitable contributions, etc.) Non religious adults tend to be altruistic with other people's money. 

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On 1/12/2018 at 3:08 PM, Gray said:

This study came out a couple of years ago, but apparently I missed it. As a parent I find this disheartening. I wonder if there is anything religious families could do differently to see the better outcomes non-religious families are seeing in their children?

 

"Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds"

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/11/05/religious-upbringing-associated-less-altruism-study-finds

 

 

1) it’s a well known fact. one that has been repeatedly reconfirmed by multiple studies, that religious people are much more generous givers to charity than the non-religious so-called secularists.

2) The only way this study would hold any weight for me would be if the supposed greater altruism found in the secularists means that they give more of their time and more of their money to charitable causes than do the religious people (children become like their parents). Talk is cheap and lip service is to compassionate causes is meaningless and utterly impotent without actual charitable giving and visible self-sacrifice. The whole problem with liberalism is that it’s adherents are generous with other people’s money, not their own.

3) The only study of this type that should be meaningful to the Latter-day Saints would be one that compares children from active LDS families with their non-religious secular counterparts. In this instance, the test of human compassion would be between non-religious children and children who are being influenced by living prophets of God and taught the restored gospel of Christ, by word and deed, at Church an in the home.

Edited by Bobbieaware

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While I see flaws with the conclusions made in the study I think we can sometimes be blind to the things we should pay  attention to. 

None of my children are in that age bracket any more. I will have less influence on grandchildren when they come. I work with 8 year old cub scouts though. 

Making no statements that the study or conclusions are correct, but because everyone can improve I ask: What things can we learn from this that will help the children and grandchildren to share better? How do we help them to judge righteously? 

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4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

6 countries, 195 children from each country......and this is a signifiant enough group of Christian, Muslim and the most noble, benevolent, charitable children of all, Atheists?  Me thinks not.  In reading the article it did seem to have an agenda to prove that religious parents raised immoral children and that religion was not needed for a socially just society.  Of course, we have to close our eyes the much grander social experiments found in Russia, Cambodia, etc. 

Reading more about the actual analysis it reported that the study group contained:  Children from non-religious households (n = 323) are more altruistic with an anonymous beneficiary than children from religious families (n = 280 Christians; n = 510 Muslims).  Having lived in the Middle East for an extended period I was surprised that Muslim children were found to be both less altruistic and more punitive.  I still think that the study group is too small to draw such broad generalizations about the study topics.

The study did state in the first paragraph:  "Over the course of middle childhood, sharing approaches equality in distribution."  If this is an accurate statement what is the value of the analysis?  Using a small study group they have essentially determined that primary age children are supposedly less altruistic and more punitive than their more enlightened atheist children.  However, by the time all the children achieve middle school there was no measurable difference between the groups.  

It is vital to read the actual study to gain an understanding of what was actually found rather than the highly misleading deductions from those with a social agenda.

Since I know you like to avoid misleading deductions.... I'm not sure that  you can find support from the study for the bolded portion of your post?  In the very short literature review section of their summary they cite a previous study that showed altruistic behavior in general increasing as the child ages.  Where is the measurement between groups?  I haven't read the full linked paper, just the abstract.  So, I might be missing some critical info.

Speaking of social agendas.... what is your rationale for mocking the children of athiests in this post?  I don't think that was necessary, even if you disagree with the findings.  For a more positive and cautious approach, you might want to read Calm's very reasonable analysis of the paper earlier in this thread. 

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