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(Philly.com)   Being "born again" linked to more brain atrophy, according to pivotal new paper from the Journal of Trolling Research   (philly.com) divider line 199
    More: Obvious, Duke University Medical Center, HealthDay News, hippocampus, spiritual practice, religions and spiritual traditions, brain atrophy  
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7030 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 May 2012 at 1:11 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-01 01:48:25 PM  

loonatic112358: yea, i'm not so sure on that


Which part are you disagreeing with, and can you provide some counter-examples?
 
2012-05-01 01:51:12 PM  
WHY IS ANYONE HERE TRYING TO ANALYZE THIS RESEARCH????
 
2012-05-01 01:51:47 PM  

Gyrfalcon: WHY IS ANYONE HERE TRYING TO ANALYZE THIS RESEARCH????


Boredom?
 
2012-05-01 01:52:12 PM  

indylaw: AssAsInAssassin: It does not refer to atheists, who clearly tend to be more skeptical and critical of superstitious dogma.

I'd venture to guess that most atheists don't pay much attention to religious doctrine or dogma. They decide that church is "gay" or believing in God is "stupid" and decide that they want their Sunday mornings to sleep in, guilt free. When questioned, they buy a Hitchens book that they never read and wave it around while calling religious people stupid because belief in God is delusional.


Wow. You have described me to a T.
 
2012-05-01 01:53:03 PM  

abb3w: indylaw: I'd venture to guess that most atheists don't pay much attention to religious doctrine or dogma.

Pew Forum data suggests you're wrong, there. While they may think the doctrine and dogma is bull, they tend to know it pretty well. Atheists/Agnostics tend to be more knowledgeable about religion in general than Christians, and about Christian beliefs more so than most sects of Christian. (White Evangelicals and Mormons tend to know more than Atheists/Agnositics about Christianity in particular, but not religion in general.)

Generic "Nothing In Particular" may be more like what you're thinking of, however.


Respectfully, that survey (and it's unclear to me whether the participants were chosen at random or whether they were participants who chose to take the test and were therefore self-selecting) deals with knowledge of basic religious facts or facts about things peripheral to religion (like application of the Establishment Clause).
 
2012-05-01 01:53:31 PM  

Gyrfalcon: WHY IS ANYONE HERE TRYING TO ANALYZE THIS RESEARCH????


So you are saying that anything that conflicts with your beliefs should be ignored... got it.
 
2012-05-01 01:53:57 PM  

lacydog: I was working a temp job to put myself through this 6 weeks of unpaid training recently, and the last day I spent with a born again Christian. About 2 hours in to the 10 hour shift, he asked "Are you a churchgoer"? Like an idiot, I told him no. When he asked why, I told him it was because I was an atheist.

He looked downright shocked, and spent a good portion of the rest of the day asking me about it and whether I'd like to go to church with him sometime.

I think Jim Cornette said it best (referring to born again and noted complete asshole Shawn Michaels): "I've noticed that people start talking to god when nobody else wants to farking talk to them anymore"

That being said, I have a good friend who's a BA, and she's fine to me about it. And there are some people that, for whatever reason, are absolutely made better by converting (like ex-addicts). So while I don't hate most born again folks, I generally try to avoid them. Much like Jehovah's Witnesses.


As an alcoholic and addict I'd have to disagree with that. Addicts and alcoholics who become all god-happy and born again are hardly better, sure they're not drunk or high but they are just as obnoxious as when they were. Being "born again" usually makes them think that god has got their back and nothing will go wrong ever again. As soon as they relapse (most of us will more than once before we finaly sober up) they swing over to either "I hate god", or "god hates me and wants to punish me". They are always looking for a magical answer to their problems and rarely take resposibility for themselves.
 
2012-05-01 01:54:53 PM  

Gyrfalcon: WHY IS ANYONE HERE TRYING TO ANALYZE THIS RESEARCH????


Sheesh... you expect me to, like, do my job or something?
 
2012-05-01 01:56:35 PM  

AssAsInAssassin: indylaw: AssAsInAssassin: It does not refer to atheists, who clearly tend to be more skeptical and critical of superstitious dogma.

I'd venture to guess that most atheists don't pay much attention to religious doctrine or dogma. They decide that church is "gay" or believing in God is "stupid" and decide that they want their Sunday mornings to sleep in, guilt free. When questioned, they buy a Hitchens book that they never read and wave it around while calling religious people stupid because belief in God is delusional.

Wow. You have described me to a T.


I aim to please.
 
2012-05-01 01:58:16 PM  

Epicedion: Which part are you disagreeing with, and can you provide some counter-examples?


the waspy part

there's plenty of protestants in colors
 
2012-05-01 01:58:58 PM  

Evil Twin Skippy: Gyrfalcon: WHY IS ANYONE HERE TRYING TO ANALYZE THIS RESEARCH????

So you are saying that anything that conflicts with your beliefs should be ignored... got it.


Oh....I guess that answers my question, and any followup questions I might have asked.

That's exactly what I said, Skippy.
 
2012-05-01 02:00:12 PM  

indylaw: had98c: Those with no affiliation also showed the same shrinkage? It's go Protestant or go home? Seems pretty dubious.

Conservative evangelical protestants ("born-agains"), Catholics and atheists all have in common that they unquestioningly believe what others have told them, and so have less cause to learn and think about what they have learned. It's natural that their hippocampi would be atrophied.


Well if that's not a troll, I don't know what is.
 
2012-05-01 02:00:18 PM  

loonatic112358: it's not like i'm required to make sense now is it


Not with a username starting "loonatic", you're not.

indylaw: There are undoubtedly some atheists, Catholics and even evangelicals that do study and think about the arguments for and against their beliefs.


Trivially true. The more interesting question is about the relative ratios.

indylaw: As for sociological data? No, I'm not a trained sociologist, nor am I at a school where I have access to social science journals.


There's more than a little out there on the web in Open Access stuff, and from research groups like Pew and the like, if you've an amateur interest. The GSS also has a web-interface available to play with; though it's not too relevant to that particular question, it's useful for a lot of others.

indylaw: Admittedly I have nothing but anecdotes and experience.


The aforementioned Pew data and the Altemeyer/Hunsberger study suggest that your andecdotes and experience may be the result of confirmation bias influenced selective recollection, and/or your local environment not corresponding to a representative sample of the US.
demotivators.despair.com


tortilla burger: This looks to me like a set of completely random data.


It may end up not being worth a hill of Jelly Beans.
Still, somewhat interesting in the meanwhile, until further work gets done.

Gyrfalcon: It's true. I have studies.


The doodle on your lunch napkin is not exactly what is normally meant by a "study".

Epicedion: I do have one quibble: religious groups (especially in the south, where this study was focused) tend to be demographically self-sorting.


Probably worth trying to control for in a followup study, yes.
 
2012-05-01 02:02:14 PM  
Or does your brain dying feel like a mystical experience?
 
2012-05-01 02:03:55 PM  
That journal has a rejection rate of 30%. Don't trust it.
 
2012-05-01 02:04:25 PM  

indylaw: abb3w: indylaw: I'd venture to guess that most atheists don't pay much attention to religious doctrine or dogma.

Pew Forum data suggests you're wrong, there. While they may think the doctrine and dogma is bull, they tend to know it pretty well. Atheists/Agnostics tend to be more knowledgeable about religion in general than Christians, and about Christian beliefs more so than most sects of Christian. (White Evangelicals and Mormons tend to know more than Atheists/Agnositics about Christianity in particular, but not religion in general.)

Generic "Nothing In Particular" may be more like what you're thinking of, however.

Respectfully, that survey (and it's unclear to me whether the participants were chosen at random or whether they were participants who chose to take the test and were therefore self-selecting) deals with knowledge of basic religious facts or facts about things peripheral to religion (like application of the Establishment Clause).


No, it's pretty well studied that atheists/agnostics have a broader/more in depth knowledge of religious facts and beliefs than many of those who claim to profess those beliefs. The reason being the more they learned, the more they realize it is all bullshiat and thus become atheists/agnostics.
 
2012-05-01 02:04:30 PM  

abb3w: stuff


That's all well and good, and if I were a sociologist out for real objective answers, I'd be in a library and not on FARK. In the meantime I'm getting a kick out of a subset of internet atheists flailing about like retarded children, and your reasonableness is harshing my mellow.
 
2012-05-01 02:05:31 PM  

StrangeQ: No, it's pretty well studied


It's an important and popular fact...
 
2012-05-01 02:08:05 PM  
"According to the study, people who said they were a "born-again" Protestant or Catholic, or conversely, those who had no religious affiliation, had more hippocampal shrinkage (or "atrophy") compared to people who identified themselves as Protestants, but not born-again."


So is the group properly defined as:

("Born-again" Protestant) or ("Born-again" Catholic) or (No affiliation)

Or

"Born-again" (Protestant, Catholic or No affiliation)


Not that "Born again none-of-the-above" makes much sense, but if the intent was to include people who had no affiliation then became born-again, they could have worded that better.
=Smidge=
 
2012-05-01 02:10:14 PM  
I still can't believe that a study about religious beliefs shrinking your brain actually makes sense and matters to anyone around here.

And yet it does.
 
2012-05-01 02:11:21 PM  
spatula-city.org

Seriously, this exact research (right down to the theory as to why it happens) has been around for about a year, and even showed up here on FARK.

Even the linked article says "Wednesday, May 25", and provides its source: "SOURCE: Duke University, news release, May 19, 2011"
 
2012-05-01 02:11:40 PM  

loonatic112358: there's plenty of protestants in colors


As I said, this study was focused in the South, where religious groups still tend to self-segregate.

The question of religion in the South is itself nearly a question of socio-economic status (bringing with it access to healthcare) and race.

The non-born-again Protestants they're referring to are probably by bulk United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and possibly Episcopalian, which in the South are mostly middle to upper class, and mostly white. If you do just about any study where "middle-class and up white people" is a group, you're probably going to find they outperform the other groups.
 
2012-05-01 02:11:52 PM  

indylaw: reasonableness is harshing my mellow.


he's always terrible about his reasonableness, it's pathetic, not even flaming like the lot o trolls
 
2012-05-01 02:14:32 PM  

indylaw: StrangeQ: No, it's pretty well studied

It's an important and popular fact...


Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

I'm sorry, were you saying something?
 
2012-05-01 02:15:20 PM  

Smidge204: Not that "Born again none-of-the-above" makes much sense, but if the intent was to include people who had no affiliation then became born-again, they could have worded that better.


It makes a certain amount of sense to me. It just simply means you're unaffiliated but religious (that's the camp my mom's in -- believes in God and the Bible, but hates organized religion), and have some life-changing religious event that makes you feel "born again."

Me? I'm somewhere in the agnostic / atheist quadrant myself. If I ever feel "born again," I'll get my head examined.
 
2012-05-01 02:18:25 PM  
I see Dumbass McTrollerton conveniently bolded the wrong clause in the quotation.
 
2012-05-01 02:22:30 PM  

indylaw: Respectfully, that survey (and it's unclear to me whether the participants were chosen at random or whether they were participants who chose to take the test and were therefore self-selecting)


Covered in the methodology. Essentially: no more self-selecting than the typical Gallup response.

I'd note, this looks like seeking reasons to justify discounting the source of dissonant information.

indylaw: deals with knowledge of basic religious facts or facts about things peripheral to religion (like application of the Establishment Clause).


Er? Sentence fragment unclear.

However, the breakdown is more or less: Five questions on the Old Testament; two on the New Testament; two on variant Christian doctrines; three on figures in Christian history; two on Judiasm; three questions on Mormon history/teachings; two on Islam; two on Buddhism; two on Hinduism; one on Greek mythology; two on the definitions of atheism and agnosticism; and four on (as you note) the role of religion in public life.

Also, several nonreligious topics, not counted in the above score.
 
2012-05-01 02:23:11 PM  
Well, this is just as good as place as any, I suppose.

This weekend, I saw a guy that was quite a bit younger than me that I hadn't seen since I was in high school. I also met his wife, who is a nurse. Somehow during the conversation, she brought up the appendix (the human organ) and how it was useless. I say "well, it is now, but at some point it had a use." Her answer, "no, it never had a use." I say "sure it did, but it whatever it's purpose was, we evolved and no longer needed it". Her answer, "oh, you're one of those people who believe man evolved from monkeys."

I wanted to argue, but I was drunk and couldn't quite figure out which way I wanted to argue (discuss the differences between micro and macro evolution, explain to her that evolution does not mean "man came from monkeys", or just ask her if she believed that God was infalliable how it was possible that he made the mistake of creating something that doesn't have a use). Being drunk, I could not have argued anything intelligently and just kind of sat there.

When a friend took up the slack and started questioning her, she turned it into a no other life exists anywhere in the universe type of conversations. I just had to back away and let them argue.
 
2012-05-01 02:25:31 PM  

StrangeQ: indylaw: StrangeQ: No, it's pretty well studied

It's an important and popular fact...

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

I'm sorry, were you saying something?


Those are all articles citing the single poll which abb3w cited. By that token, it's "pretty well studied" that atheists have degenerate brains.
 
2012-05-01 02:29:26 PM  

indylaw: By that token, it's "pretty well studied" that atheists have degenerate brains.


I like how you confuse no religious affiliation with atheism.
 
2012-05-01 02:31:14 PM  

lockers: indylaw: By that token, it's "pretty well studied" that atheists have degenerate brains.

I like how you confuse no religious affiliation with atheism.


So atheists have a religious affiliation?
 
2012-05-01 02:32:54 PM  

indylaw: lockers: indylaw: By that token, it's "pretty well studied" that atheists have degenerate brains.

I like how you confuse no religious affiliation with atheism.

So atheists have a religious affiliation?


we may as well summon letrole at this point and let him ply his old schtick
 
2012-05-01 02:34:57 PM  

StrangeQ: No, it's pretty well studied that atheists/agnostics have a broader/more in depth knowledge of religious facts and beliefs than many of those who claim to profess those beliefs.


Do you have other citations beyond the single previously-mentioned Pew study, or is this just "It is known" being tossed out Dothraki-style?

StrangeQ: I'm sorry, were you saying something?


All of those are popular press accounts about the single aforementioned Pew survey.
Do you have any other studies to point to?

indylaw: In the meantime I'm getting a kick out of a subset of internet atheists flailing about like retarded children


The empty subset is trivially always a subset. =)

indylaw: your reasonableness is harshing my mellow.


Yes. That's one reason I do it.

im14u2c: Seriously, this exact research (right down to the theory as to why it happens) has been around for about a year, and even showed up here on FARK.


It's a slow news day. The Admins may get around to flipping a repeat back to a redlight at some point.

loonatic112358: he's always terrible about his reasonableness, it's pathetic, not even flaming like the lot o trolls


I prefer to save insult and abuse for special occasions.
 
2012-05-01 02:35:56 PM  

indylaw: StrangeQ: indylaw: StrangeQ: No, it's pretty well studied

It's an important and popular fact...

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link

I'm sorry, were you saying something?

Those are all articles citing the single poll which abb3w cited. By that token, it's "pretty well studied" that atheists have degenerate brains.


Well, until you can find anything proving otherwise, the fact stands. I'm sorry your ignorance(religion) has blinded you, but it has.
 
2012-05-01 02:37:46 PM  

StrangeQ: I'm sorry your ignorance(religion) has blinded you, but it has.


You can do better than that.
 
2012-05-01 02:37:50 PM  
abb3w
I prefer to save insult and abuse for special occasions.

Oh. Well I was looking for an argument. I didn't realize this was abuse. Sorry, I'll head down the hall.
 
2012-05-01 02:39:01 PM  

verbaltoxin: abb3w
I prefer to save insult and abuse for special occasions.

Oh. Well I was looking for an argument. I didn't realize this was abuse. Sorry, I'll head down the hall.


heh
 
2012-05-01 02:40:18 PM  

abb3w: Do you have other citations beyond the single previously-mentioned Pew study, or is this just "It is known" being tossed out Dothraki-style?


Do you have anything offering counter evidence, or are you just using the "lalala-your facts are contrary to my unsupported beliefs so I can't hear you-lalalalalala" style?
 
2012-05-01 02:40:43 PM  
FTA: "when you feel your beliefs and values are somewhat at odds with those of society as a whole, it may contribute to long-term stress that could have implications for the brain."

This fits with other studies showing prolonged high stress is bad for the brain. Which, speaking as one whose beliefs and values have always been very much at odds with society as a whole, from me gets a big "DUH!"

Since 2006 I've taken to self-medicating with alcohol. It takes the edge off the stress, and anyway I might as well shrink the rest of my brain to match the damage from all that cortisol.
 
2012-05-01 02:41:38 PM  

indylaw: StrangeQ: I'm sorry your ignorance(religion) has blinded you, but it has.

You can do better than that.


No point. You can't have a rational discussion with someone holding inherently irrational position.
 
2012-05-01 02:41:39 PM  
Re: TFA, I have been repeatedly assured over the years that my brain is not shrinking. It's that my evolutionism is the tinfoil hat keeping god out of my brainwaves. So for all of you out there, take note: one sheet of Reynolds stops the almighty god.
 
2012-05-01 02:41:49 PM  

StrangeQ: Do you have anything offering counter evidence, or are you just using the "lalala-your facts are contrary to my unsupported beliefs so I can't hear you-lalalalalala" style?


Well this should be fun.
 
2012-05-01 02:42:12 PM  
This just in! People who make themselves dumber become more stupid!
 
2012-05-01 02:42:36 PM  

verbaltoxin: Re: TFA, I have been repeatedly assured over the years that my brain is not shrinking. It's that my evolutionism is the tinfoil hat keeping god out of my brainwaves. So for all of you out there, take note: one sheet of Reynolds stops the almighty god.


is this revive almost dead memes day?
 
2012-05-01 02:42:42 PM  

loonatic112358:

I used to have no problems sleeping in on some sunday mornings

until i volunteered to run the sound at a start up church


Traitor.
 
2012-05-01 02:44:18 PM  

The One True TheDavid: Traitor.


in what way, i don't recall making too many specific declarations of faith or non faith
 
2012-05-01 02:46:17 PM  

StrangeQ: indylaw: StrangeQ: I'm sorry your ignorance(religion) has blinded you, but it has.

You can do better than that.

No point. You can't have a rational discussion with someone holding inherently irrational position.


Irrational? I hold rational beliefs that are predicated on assumptions that you disagree with.

There's nothing irrational about believing that God exists. It is an assumption. It is also an assumption that the gravitational force does not reverse itself. You don't know that to be true, but it hasn't been disproven.
 
2012-05-01 02:48:11 PM  

indylaw: So atheists have a religious affiliation?


Rather, the "None" response to the usual question about religious affiliation actually includes several sub-groups, which can be refined by more precise questioning. Only about a tenth of the "Nones" self-identify as atheist; about another roughly one-in-six self-identify as agnostic. Something vaguely like half of the "Nones" remain generically "believe in a personal god" theist. (Oddly, so do about one in twenty of those who self-identify as "atheist", which probably says something about the limits of surveys....)

If you care, you can look through Pew's 2008 Religious Landscapes Survey.

Alternately, we can go to "bald is a hair color" silliness.
 
2012-05-01 02:49:55 PM  
FTFA

"Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That's how you make atheists."

That is a great idea.
 
2012-05-01 02:50:57 PM  

2CountyFairs: Well, this is just as good as place as any, I suppose.

This weekend, I saw a guy that was quite a bit younger than me that I hadn't seen since I was in high school. I also met his wife, who is a nurse. Somehow during the conversation, she brought up the appendix (the human organ) and how it was useless. I say "well, it is now, but at some point it had a use." Her answer, "no, it never had a use." I say "sure it did, but it whatever it's purpose was, we evolved and no longer needed it". Her answer, "oh, you're one of those people who believe man evolved from monkeys."

I wanted to argue, but I was drunk and couldn't quite figure out which way I wanted to argue (discuss the differences between micro and macro evolution, explain to her that evolution does not mean "man came from monkeys", or just ask her if she believed that God was infalliable how it was possible that he made the mistake of creating something that doesn't have a use). Being drunk, I could not have argued anything intelligently and just kind of sat there.

When a friend took up the slack and started questioning her, she turned it into a no other life exists anywhere in the universe type of conversations. I just had to back away and let them argue.


I believe that current research suggests that the function of the appendix is to provide a safe location for helpful guy bacteria which might otherwise be lost during a bought of diarrhea. So it sill works, but is less needed in an environment with clean water and cooked food.

So next time, let your conversation flow towards nipples, on men or otherwise.
 
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