So HúmanLíght has cóme and góne (or stíll perháps is hére),
to célebráte "compássion, hópe, and reáson" fór the yeár.
The chíldish mÿth and sélf-decéptive fíction hás been húrled,
repláced by gládsome trúth of háppy fúture fór our wórld:
a fúture buílt by peóple whó exíst as fleéting líghts,
snuffed oút at lást and fínallÿ by dúmb amóral níght(s) --
peóple whó in trúth and fáct agaínst that chíldish mÿth
are útterlÿ and ónly máde of... whát the héck is thís?!
"Compássion, hópe and reáson?" Nó. They thréw that "mÿth" awáy.
And yét still wánt to célebráte those thíngs on Chrístmas Dáy,
forgétting theír own teáchings thát they wánt to teách at schoól:
they woúld have dóne much bétter tó keep Ódin ín their Yúle!
A troúblemáking wánderér, whose ónly sácrifíce
reveáls a cóming tríumph óf brutálitÿ and íce
all reáson ánd compássion, hópe and jóy destróyed at lást
and nóthing úp abóve him knóws or cáres of jústice pást.
To strúggle éven hópelesslÿ agaínst that fínal rúle
might bé heróic épic! -- but hópe is fór a foól.
So táke your pleásures whíle you cán, for nóthing bétter cómes,
and buíld your wólfen stréngth by meáns of tríbalístic súms.
Survíval óf the fíttest ís the bío-lógic wár.
...And yét you keép on reáching oút for sómething míssing: MÓRE!
Sómething yoú have thrówn awáy as ónly chíldish dreám,
for sómething thát you clóse your éyes agaínst, insteád of screám,
imáginíng a háppy fúture thát can néver bé,
if whát you reálly thínk is trué is Náture's déstinÿ.
Áll your ówn beháviors áre at bóttom ónly ghósts;
not rátionál or móral, háunting crúmbling creéping coásts.
I únderstánd you wánting tó affírm your soúls yoursélves,
as rátionál and móral:
BUT THÁT WOÚLD MEÁN YOÚ'RE ÉLVES!
Creátures móre than náturál, exísting bÿ the gífts
of Reáson ánd Morálitÿ -- which yoú denÿ as mÿths!
Or ráther you dény such thíngs, excépt to táke their pláce,
as thoúgh you "náturallÿ" transcénd the láws of Náture's spáce.
Súch a cóntradíction cánnot bé called rátionál!
You woúld have dóne much bétter tó keep Reáson, ín His stáll,
as the "reáson" for this Seáson, and for évery seáson, toó:
poúring oút His lífe to feéd and sáve both mé and yoú.
A míghty kíngly Pówer fár beyónd the skiés abóve,
and a húmble cáring Shépherd gíving oút Himsélf ín lóve,
sháring ín our líves and deáths; knówing áll our míserÿ;
vólunteéring fór a thróne upón a cúrs'd and paínful treé:
páying fór this neútral fiéld of Náture thát He máde,
where His chíldren cán exíst to pláy or múrder wíth a bláde,
or súffer ínconvéniencés when caúght betweén the sheáth,
and swórd of Náture's pleásures ór the típs of Náture's teéth!
Such a Náture ís impórtant ín which creátures cán be grówn,
but it cánnot bé the fínal trúth and groúnd of ús alóne;
not if wé beliéve in lóve, compássion, jústice, hópe and reáson:
válues whích -- as húmanísts! -- we célebráte this seáson.
And yét -- béing bórn in rísk: whére's the jústice thére?!
Ónly íf we háve a Fáther Whó agreés to sháre
our paín, our fáte, and thén to sháre with ús His fáte as wéll:
to ríse one dáy beyónd our deáths and rend the gates of hell!
You wánt a fínal jústice ín a faír togéthernéss?
Withoút a Lóve as groúnd of Áll you ónly énd in léss!
Nót illúsions of peóple;
nót a compétitive schísm;
not éven a lóne Authóritÿ,
and nót an átheísm:
ónly óne philósophÿ, if trué, can réassúre
that reáson, lóve and jústice wíll in ús one dáy be púre.
In célebráting húman líght, becaúse you hópe you cán,
don't thrów awáy the Reáson Whó
enlíghtens évery mán.
FROM THE CHRISTIAN CADRE
2013 Christmas Eve
The members of the CADRE maintain this blog for commenting on various items of interest to apologetics. We welcome input. E-mail us at email@example.com.
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So HúmanLíght has cóme and góne (or stíll perháps is hére),
Is God necessary for humans to love?
A study supposedly shows that atheists are more motivated by compassion than are religious people. Atheists have used this in various ways to show that atheist can be moral, that religion doesn't produce compassion and so on. The study is "My Brother's Keeper: Compassion Predicts Generosity More Among Less Religious Individuals." First published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 00 (0) April (2012) 1-8. The authors were Laura R. Saslow and Bob Willer, et al. It was published on line before print and can found in a pdf:
They want to know, if religion makes people more pro-social does it make them more compassionate? If not then can non religious people be more compassionate? They use giving money to charity as the benchmark, and thus decide that non religious are more compassionate not because they give more money but because they have fewer motivations to do so in addition to compassion. So they see non religious motivation as being compassion that is left after other motives of religious people are stripped away, motives such as doctrine and teaching. Religious people, on the other hand, have more than one motivation. Let's look at the methodology and results.Past research argues that religious commitments shape individuals’ prosocial sentiments, including their generosity and solidarity. But what drives the prosociality of less religious people? Three studies tested the hypothesis that, with fewer religious expec-tations of prosociality, less religious individuals’ levels of compassion will play a larger role in their prosocial tendencies. In Study 1, religiosity moderated the relationship between trait compassion and prosocial behavior such that compassion was more critical to the generosity of less religious people. In Study 2, a compassion induction increased generosity among less religious individuals but not among more religious individuals. In Study 3, state feelings of compassion predicted increased generosity across a variety ofeconomic tasks for less religious individuals but not among more religious individuals. These results suggest that the prosociality of less religious individuals is driven to a greater extent by levels of compassion than is the prosociality of the more religious.
Across three studies, we compared the influence of compassionon prosocial tendencies among more and less religiousindividuals. In Study 1, we examined whether religiosity wouldmoderate the relationship of trait compassion on prosocialbehavior. We hypothesized that trait compassion would bemore critical to the generosity of the less religious than themore religious. In Study 2, we tested whether a compassioninduction (vs. a neutral video) would increase generosityamong less religious individuals, but not among more religiousindividuals. In Study 3, we assessed if momentary feelings ofcompassion would predict increased generosity across a varietyof economic tasks for less religious individuals but not morereligious individuals. By measuring and manipulating compas-sion, and measuring various forms of generous tendencies andbehavior, across three studies we test our hypothesis thatcompassion is more integral to the generosity of the lessreligious versus the more religious
They used a scale. Items include:
• "When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards them."
• "Other people’s misfortunes do not usually disturb me a great deal." (reverse-scored)
That's how they measure compassion.
Study 1 yielded evidence in suport of our main hypothesis: religiosity moderated the relationship between compassion and pro-social behavior such that the compassion-to-pro-sociality link was stronger for less religious individuals than it was for more religious individuals. Further, these results held while controlling for gender, political orientation, and educational attainment--variables that might otherwise account for our findings. IN sum, these findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals this relationship is particularly robust for less religous individuals.That's the result for study 1. The others are similar.
Obviously there are definitional issues that need to be addressed. There is a methodological problem involving the nature of their definition of religion. How do they define religiosity? They say more religious are more conservative, but are they just saying religion = conservative thus not counting liberals as motivated?
Participants indicated the strength of their religious identity. The scale was recoded so that higher values represent greater religiosity: 1 (no religion), 2 (not very strong religious identity), 3 (somewhat strong religious identity), and 4 (strong religious identity), M¼2.99, SD¼1.03. Single-item measures of religiosity have been found to have sufficientreliability and predictive validity in other work (Gorsuch & McFarland, 1972).
That's a pretty shallow understanding of religious faith. That's going to be a problem for them. It's not just a matter of 'either you are religious or you are not'. There are levels of commitment. It's not too absurd or hard to prove that those who are more deeply convicted and who have had spiritual encounters would take the teachings more seriously and be willing to live by them. This has major import in two ways. First of all because it means that there's more involved than just feeling compassion and giving. Their major study says that non religious people have compassion as a motivator more so than religious people. That doesn't prove that religious people are less compassionate. It means that religious people might have three or four motives for giving and compassion might not be the main one (like doctrine or teaching might be more important). Non religious people will have mainly just that, compassion. This is the way the study has been understood by critics. "That doesn't mean highly religious people don't give, according to the research to be published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. But compassion seems to drive religious people's charitable feelings less than it other groups." One of the study co-author's says:
"Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns."In other words it's not that the religious people are less compassionate but that they may not use compassion as the top of the lexically ordered value system they go by.
The other reason knowing the depth of commitment matters, is because "religious" covers a lot of ground. It includes people who don't feel the love and those who do. If you don't examine them in separate groups the averages will probably be dragged down by the less committed group. Like having bad students brings down the class average. There is a lot of evidence that those who experience the real spiritual side of their faiths are more giving and have more social consciousness than those who don't. Andrew Newberg says the kind of faith is what make the difference in terms of the result of faith upon the subject.
h+: In your new book, How God Changes Your Brain, you argue that religious fundamentalism can actually be good for you. How do you figure?
AN: It really depends on the nature of the belief. Fundamentalism, per se, isn’t bad or good. It all depends on the nature of one’s beliefs. We’ve found that if one’s beliefs are positive and loving and compassionate that can have a very profound effect on one’s health and happiness. But the opposite is true. If you believe in a punishing god, or if that fundamentalism preaches hate and anger — then the effects are going to be bad. Anxiety levels will go up, a stress response can occur, and like any stressor, if that continues for long enough, it’s going to impact health outcomes in a negative way. The real point is that what we believe has a very direct effect on the quality of our lives and we need to remember that.Two major studies of mystical experience found that those who experienced the form of spirituality known as "mystical" or "peak" experience tended to have increased sense of social consciousness and became more giving. These studies are by Greely and Wuthnow.
Other positive consequences of religious experience include being less authoritarian and racist, less materialistic and status conscious, and showing more social concern and more self-assurance (Greeley 1975, Wuthnow 1978). In fact, it is in large part because of such consequences that scholars continue to acknowledge the importance of the experiential dimension of religion, even if not many study it.There are some studies that show religious people either have a high level of pro social behavior and/or generosity and compassion. John Lieff reports higher moral development among mystics.
It's important to understand that just doing the two hours a week in chruch and hearing that we should love and be good to people is not enough to change one into a Mother Teresa. Those who have had actual spiritual encounters with the divine have been changed. They will always be the minority and so the average is drug down. There are studies from scholarly sources that show not only giving and compassion associated with religious belief, but pro social behavior in general. The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion finds:
An important discrepancy seems to exist between self-reports and laboratory studies regarding prosociality among religious people. Some have even suggested that this involves moral hypocrisy on the part of religious people. However, the assumption of the four studies reported here is that the impact of religiousness on prosociality is limited but exists, and does not reflect self-delusion. In Study 1 (N= 106), religious young adults tended not to use indirect aggression in dealing with hypothetical daily hassles. In Study 2 (N= 105), female students' religiosity was associated with willingness to help close targets in hypothetical situations but the effect was not extended to unknown targets. In Studies 3 (N= 315, 105 triads) and 4 (N= 274, 109 targets), religious targets not only reported high altruistic behavior and empathy, but were also perceived as such by peers (friends, siblings, or colleagues) in three out of four cases. Other results from the studies suggested that the prosociality of religious people is not an artifact of gender, social desirability bias, security in attachment, empathy, or honesty.
One critique against the kind of study Saslow conducted with laboratory conditions, is a study of Israeli Jewish women published by McGill University that seems to indicate the short comings of laboratory conditions. The study indicates that religious prompts have to be backed by real world cues that reinforce the religious training.
We may conclude based on the results that reports show higher charity and volunteering among the religious not because they are more altruistic, but rather because these individuals live in an environment that more often pressures them to give, in accordance with popular moral codes. As explained previously, worship rituals and holidays often contain cues to give money and time (Shapiro 1971; Bird 1982; Cascio 2003). Without exposure to customs designed in part to solicit donations, it is possible that the non-religious inclination to give often lies dormant.
Those findings might seem to be anti-religion as a force for giving, but it must be pointed out the atheists would have the very same motive to exaggerate giving. They have social cues and a social movement (many tend to be politically liberal) that endorses compassion and giving. In those studies that involve self reporting there would be a motive to exaggerate one's own giving.
A study by Einlof in Sociology of Religion Quarterly consisting of life narrative interviews from midlife in the United States, "examines how religious values, ideas, and language motivate prosocial behaviors." This includes giving and self sacrifice and living up the teachings of Christ.
Using ratings from independent coders, statistically significant relationships were found between most of the themes and prosocial behaviors, particularly for respondents who engaged in multiple helping behaviors. In addition to documenting the relationship between religious ideas and values and helping behaviors, the study demonstrates how language mediates the relationship between the social and personal aspects of religion.
A reader of this blog, Yonose, had a cogent criticism:
I saw the Brothers Keepers' study from the link. It is interesting nonetheless. If there's a positive correlation between compassion, empathy and prosocial behaviour, this would actually imply that, somehow, less religious people need to be fed of compassion more consecutively, to do any good deed with our human brethren, by applying constant sense data by stimuli and induction. All of the above seems to be correct. I don't see anything weird about that by now. As a consequence, this would also mean that less religious people are easier to be lied to with political propaganda e.g. like SOME extremist environmental alarmists. Where I believe the study is somehow flawed in context, is the linking of a positive correlation between prosocial behaviour and the making of good deeds per se as universal, because many people who love to be vocal about their lack of religiousness, just like to do good deeds in a preferential way: most probably they will help non-religious people only. Such behaviours have been demonstrated by themselves over and over. It is just overly simplistic to have a positive correlation with compassion, by induction, lack of religiosity, and then conflating such, with the actual making of good deeds to people. There is not a single trace in that study that confirms which types of people they had helped, whether religious or not.
This would also imply that the idea of correlating actual charity with lack of religiousness is not a universal statement, and that it is completely falsifiable, and in consequence, it is not possible to make a proof that "Atheists have more compassion than religious people".That's where I agree that there's a double standard with these types of Atheists. This is just reduced to a mere political game. Have these types of Atheists forgot about their intellectual roots??
These high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpufThese high integration states were also correlated with peak experiences including inner calm, maximum wakefulness, alertness, lack of fear, effortlessness, a sense of perfection, and a sense of being “high.” In an unusual finding these people also had higher moral development, better self-image, better sleep and a better reputation. - See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extraordinary-mental-states-5-spiritual-and-religious-experiences#sthash.tr6LYxOk.dpuf
 Laura R. Saslow, Robb Willer, Mathrew Feinberg, Paul K Piff, Katharine Clark, Cacher Kelntner, and Srina R. Saturn. "My Brother's Keeper: Compassion Predicts Generosity More Among Less Religious Individuals."Social Psychological and Personality Science (April 26, 2012) 1948550612444137
 Staff Writer, "Atheists More Motivated by Compassion Than the Faithful," Live Science. (May 1, 2012) online resource
 Andrew Newberg quoted by Steve Kotler, "The Neurology of Spiritual Experience," h*, Sept. 2009
 Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, William H. Swatos, Jr. editor
 John Lieff, Searching for the Mind, Online resource.
 Vassilis Saroglou, Isabelle Pichon, et al. "Prosocial Behavior and Religion: New Evidence Based on Projective Measures and Peer Ratings" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
 Salomon Israel and Maoz Brown, "Faith, Fellowship, and Philanthropy: Giving Rates as a Function of Religiosity among Israeli Jewish Women," McGill Sociological Review, Volume 3, February 2013, pp. 36-54.
On line versoin posted by McGill University: http://www.mcgill.ca/msr/volume3/article3
 Christopher J. Einolf. "The Link Between Religion and Helping Others: the Role of Values, Ideals, and Language." Sociology of Religion Quarterly Review (2011) doi: 10.1093/socrel/srr017
first published online April 6, 2011.
On Huff post there is an article by Matthew Hutson, author of The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking. The article is called "All Paths Lead to Magical Thinking." (Posted: 09/19/2013 8:32 pm).
In recent years, psychologists have come to understand religion and paranormal belief as resulting, in most people, from simple errors in reasoning. You believe in God or astrology or a purpose in life because you apply ideas about people -- that they have thoughts and intentions -- to the natural world. Some display this tendency more than others, but it's there in everyone, even atheistic heathens like me. What has not been clarified is exactly how the various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural -- until now.
He presents a tour de force in the form of a bunch of studies that supposedly prove that religious belief is magical thinking. "In the November 2013 issue of Cognition, Aiyana Willard and Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia report on the relative influence of three cognitive tendencies on three types of supernatural belief, as well as the role of cultural influence." This study supposedly shows that "cognitive biases explain religious belief."
several studies show that people who think more intuitively are also more susceptible to magical thinking. One intuition that's been proposed as a foundation for religious thought is Cartesian mind-body dualism, the idea that a mind can exist independently of a body. (See chapter 5 of my book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, "The Soul Lives On.") This proposition allows for souls, ghosts, spirits, and gods, all made of disembodied mind-stuff. Explanations for dualism include belief in free will and the mutual inhibition of brain areas responsible for pondering feelings and physics.Of cousre that doesn't say that any of these studies show that religious belief is magical thinking. Instead they present a possibility based upon the notion that more intuitive people are susceptible to magical thinking. So that says "if you are not careful you might do some magical thinking." Nor is a link provided between being more intuitive and religious belief. Although I would not doubt that believers are more intuitive, but the lack of prevision of that link is telling.
There just brings up a bait and switch that the Aiyana and Norenzayan study is pulling off. They discuss their methodology:
We used a path model to assess the extent to which several interacting cognitive tendencies, namely mentalizing, mind body dualism, teleological thinking, and anthropomorphism, as well as cultural exposure to religion, predict belief in God, paranormal beliefs and belief in life’s purpose. Our model, based on two independent samples (N = 492 and N = 920) found that the previously known relationship between mentalizing and belief is mediated by individual differences in dualism, and to a lesser extent by teleological thinking. Anthropomorphism was unrelated to religious belief, but was related to paranormal belief. Cultural exposure to religion (mostly Christianity) was negatively related to anthropomorphism, and was unrelated to any of the other cognitive tendencies. These patterns were robust for both men and women, and across at least two ethnic identifications. The data were most consistent with a path model suggesting that mentalizing comes first, which leads to dualism and teleology, which in turn lead to religious, paranormal, and life’s-purpose beliefs. Alternative theoretical models were tested but did not find empirical support.Notice that anthropomorphism is not linked to religoius beilef but they are going to use it anyway because it's involved in belief. In fact all of these things are descriptions of various overlapping historical artifacts form religious thought because it goes back so far in human history. Most of them have not been disproved, none of them are magical thinking. What's the link bewteen teleology and magical thinking? Teleology means an end goal, so religious thinking is teleological if and only if it assumes there's a creator who has a plan that's being fulfilled. Why is that in itself magical thinking? It's just logical if there is a creator. Has teleological thinking been proved to always be wrong? No, of course not and it's logical if there is a creator. So actually they are just begging the question. They are assuming there can't be a creator so therefore anything connected with belief must also be connected with magical thinking. This probably goes back to the biases of anti-clerical prejudice, that religion is superstition. So they start with the assumption religious beilef must be magical thinking because it's superstition, thus they just look for typical aspects of religious thought (many of which are connected to ancinet religious texts) and assume it's all magical thinking. No psychological link is provided that proves that teleological thinking is magical thinking.
When he says "several studies" he links back to his own website for the book 7 Laws of Magical Thinking (he uses the number 7 rather than writing "seven" seems infantile). So his article is just a rehash of his website. What are these studies what do they really show? Those are the ones that supposedly show that intuitive thinkers are apt to be suckers for magical thinking if they are not careful, but does it access the percentage of the time that they are not careful? Can't we still check the results by our own logic and empirical data?
One such satment in disclosing these "several studies:"
Psychologists who study the origins of religion say belief in God relies on several intuitions, including a teleological bias (the assumption that certain objects or event were designed intentionally) and Cartesian dualism (the belief that mind can exist independently of the body). So to become an atheist one must second-guess these automatic ways of thinking. And recently a number of studies have supported the idea that belief in God is influenced by cognitive style–how much of a second-guesser you are.Why is teleology "intuitive" any more than it is logical? If God is what you believe in then is it not logical to assume God has a purpose in crating? it's not prove that necessarily intuitive. Not that they link intuitive thinking with magical thinking. His comment about Cartsteian thinking is ironic since major aspects of atheist thinking is also based upon Cartesian thinking. E.O. Wilson's world view is largley Cartesian and he produced evolutionary psychology which is important to atheist thinking.
One such study: paper published last year in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General by Amitai Shenhav studuents took cognitive reflection test and answered questions. This is so telling he says "The number of intuitive (incorrect) responses they gave on the CRT was correlated with their belief in God and immortal souls," so in other words intuitive means "wrong." How could one possibly study the validity of intuitive thinking when one defines it as "wrong form the outset? Moreover, they are judging it wrong because it's connected to God, is that not also what makes it "intuitive?" They are just running around in circles demanding that what they believe has to be true and using their baises as the basis for proof. When we look at the actual tests on the study (see link above) we find that the real way they administer it (reported badly by Hustson) was to compare math answers arrived at intuitively with the persons individual belief in God. They compared believers answers to non believers answers. We are infer that the believers missed more. Actually that would mean that intuitive thinking does not correlate to belief in God and that the better intuitive thinking is done by non believers. Why? Because they got more math problems right by intuitive means. That would destroy their link from intuitive thinking to magical thinking. Wouldn't it also matter what one used intuitive sense for? Perhaps intuitive sense is better at God finding than at mathematics. What if that's what it was made for? Massimp Pigliucci sights research and argues that intuition is domaion specific. Some things lend themselves to it and some don't. 
Moreover, both studies demonstrated that intuitive CRT responses predicted the degree to which individuals reported having strengthened their belief in God since childhood, but not their familial religiosity during childhood, suggesting a causal relationship between cognitive style and change in belief over time. Study 3 revealed such a causal relationship over the short term: Experimentally inducing a mindset that favors intuition over reflection increases self-reported belief in God. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)So in other words because they have some evidence that initiative thinking is part of the stronger religious belief that means that religious belief is produced by intuitive thinking which is mostly wrong and is magical thinking. There are a number of things wrong with that methodology. That's not the same as proving that religion itself is derived from intuitive thinking. That is not even investigating the logic that goes into it. Nor does it investigate the right answers in one's personal life that lead to believe, they don't even offer a theological measuring devices for such answers. Putting up a bunch of math problems is not valid. People don't arrive at belief by just saying "I sense that God is really there." There is a sense of God's presence that people have and they are totally confusing that sense with 'intuitive' thinking,' they don't have it they don't know how it feels or works so they assume it's "intuitive." Moreover, the term "intuitive" can refer to different things. There's no link that the kind of intuitive thinking (guessing) about the math is the same kind done by religious thinkers.
There's an article in N.Y. Times that illustrates scientific work depending upon and being conformed by intuitive thinking. The article is a chapter form a book by Philip Lieberman, Eve Spoke, Human Language and Human Evolution. The book is based upon scholarly work.
Over the past thirty years my colleagues and I have studied monkeys, chimpanzees, infants, children, normal adults, dyslexic adults, elderly people, and patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and other types of brain damage. We have also examined the skulls of our fossil ancestors, comparing them with those of newborn infants and apes. The focus of these studies has been the puzzle surrounding human evolution. Why are we so different from other animals, although we are at the same time so similar?...In some deep, unconscious way we "know" that dogs, cats, chimpanzees, and other intelligent animals would be human if they could only talk. Intuitively we know that talking = thinking = being human. The studies discussed below show that this intuition is correct.This may upset young earth creationists, which I don't mind doing, but it doesn't disrupt my Christian faith because I don't see evolution as a disruption. Nor does it disprove the existence of the soul because that depends upon answering the question "why is it we did evolve to talk and other animals did not? There are two points that refute Hutson's ideas: (1) not only does religious belief depend upon intuitive thinking of a kind (at certain points) but so does scinece as well. (2) this scientist thinks that the intuitive thinking is proved correct by the scinece. So intuitive thinking is not always wrong. Some studies backing this up have shown that the correct results of intuitive thinking, while not better than other forms of knowing, are not worse.
U.S. Navy reserach has yielded so much scientific data backing the notion that there is an intuitive sense that aids troops in battle that they started a program to teach troops how to be more intuitive.
Research in human pattern recognition and decision-making suggest that there is a "sixth sense" through which humans can detect and act on unique patterns without consciously and intentionally analyzing them. Evidence is accumulating that this capability, known as intuition or intuitive decision making, enables the rapid detection of patterns in ambiguous, uncertain and time restricted information contexts, that it informs the decision making process and, most importantly, that it may not require domain expertise to be effective. These properties make intuition a strong candidate for further exploration as the basis for developing a new set of decision support training technologies.Ivy Estabrook, program manager at the office of Naval Resarch, says, "There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions."
Published in Popular source Sarah Moore form Alberta School of Business and colleagues from Duke and Cornell have produced research that proves that the first choice one makes is often the right choice.  That certainly implies an intuitive choice. While Trisha Greenhalgh discusses research that shows that intution is a valuable aid in medical diagnosis and that it improves with critical thinking about the process.
Intuition is not unscientific. It is a highly creative process, fundamental to hypothesis generation in science. The experienced practitioner should generate and follow clinical hunches as well as (not instead of applying the deductive principles of evidence-based medicine. The educational research literature suggests that we can improve our intuitive powers through systematic critical reflection about intuitive judgements--for example, through creative writing and dialogue with professional colleagues. It is time to revive and celebrate clinical storytelling as a method for professional education and development.Not only is it not unscientific, not only can it assist in medical care, but it there's a large body of literature that shows it can be improved. How can it be improved (meaning the answers are right) if it's no good and it never works and it's just magical thinking?
(1) None of the studies demonstrate a real link between intuitive thinking and religious belief. They make an unsupported assertion that teleology and other quasi religious ideas are intuitive thinking. The closest thing to a link is one study that shows that believe was strengthened apart form family tie, but that does rule out logic, empirical data, discussions with friends and individual thought.
(2) The studies that claim to link religious belief with magical thinking are doing a bait and switch whereby the substitute intuitive thinking. They don't bother to consider the venue or the domain but merely assume that if intuitive thinking is wrong for math then it must be wrong for all things. They assume intuitive = magical, probably because they think belief in God is magic or supernatural is magic. Then they assert that since intuitive thinking doesn't work in one domain it work in any domain. Since that tag that as religious thinking then religious thinking is wrong. They actually prove nothing at accept that they are biased against religion.
(3) A vast body of scientific research disproves the idea that intuition is always wrong and doesn't work. It's not only backed by science it's part of science. I give examples of scientific work that is based upon intuitive thinking. It's not more special and unique to religious thought than is logic. Nor is it always wrong. The scientific reserach shows it has it's place where it's right, that including not only some scientific work but also medicine.
Massimo Pigliucci, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life , New York: Basic books, 2012.
Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964) is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at CUNY-Lehman College. He is also the editor in chief for the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology. He is an outspoken critic of creationism and advocate of science education.
 Shenhav, Amitai; Rand, David G.; Greene, Joshua D. "Divine intuition: Cognitive style influences belief in God." abstract on line: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 141(3), (Aug 2012), 423-428 abstract on Apa Psychnet http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/xge/141/3/423/ accessed 10/2/13.
 Philip Lieberman, "The Mice Talked at Midnight," except from Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution, New York: W.W. Norton, published in New York Times, on line http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/l/lieberman-eve.html accessed 10/2/13
AJ Giannini, ME Barringer, MC Giannini, RH Loiselle. Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive and intellectual (rationalistic) modes of information processing. Journal of General Psychology. 111:31-37 1984.
 Office of naval research Basic Research Challenge: Enhancing intuitive deicsion making.
Office: Office of Naval Research
 Ivy Estabrook, uoted in Channing Joseph, "U.S. Program to Study How Troops Use Intuition," New York Times, Wednesday (Oct 2, 2013) story filed March 27, 2012, 5:09 pm on line
Leon Watson ."why we are right to trust out gut intincts:Scientists discover First Decision is the Right One." Mail online updated 30 (August 2011)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031848/Why-right-trust-gut-instincts-Scientists-discover-decision-IS-right-one.html accessed 10/2/13
Trisha Greenhalgh, "Intution and Evidence--Uneasy Bedfellows?" BJGP:British Journal of General Practice. 52, (478) May (2002) 395-400. On line article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1314297/ accessed 10/2/13
The last time I blogged, I mentioned the Humanist Ten Commandments (HTC) which have been
proposed on the American Humanist Association (AHA) website by Christian Hagen,
the communications assistant for the AHA. As I noted, the AHA through Mr. Hagen
has proposed the HTC allegedly as an opening for discussions which "might bridge the gap" between
evangelicals and nonbelievers over “universal values.”
Thus we propose herein to provide such a list, a Humanist Ten Commandments, that it might serve to aid those questioning the moralities of the universe regardless of their religious belief or nonbelief.
5) Thou shalt use reason as your guide. Science, knowledge, observation, and rational analysis are the best ways to determine any course of action.
6) Thou shalt not force your beliefs onto others, nor insist that yours be the only and correct way to live happily.
7) If thou dost govern, thou shalt govern with reason, not with superstition. Religion should have no place in any government which represents all people and beliefs.
But even if these are more moderate Secularist who merely mean that we should not be incorporating religious doctrine into law, then HC7 is essentially declaring that Christians should cede public policy to the Secularists because they hold the only correct view of the world. Consider, as an example, the gay marriage debate. Supposedly, only Christians oppose gay marriage because of their blind faith in the Bible. Looking at it from the Secularist viewpoint, Secularists (who are largely in favor of gay marriage) will obviously have the correct view of the issue since free of the “superstitious” beliefs that are clouding the view of Christians. In other words, Christians need to shut up and keep their religion in their churches where it belongs while letting the wiser, knowledgeable, scientific, reason-based Secularists to make the decisions. But that’s simply not how the United States government has been set up. Christians, being citizens, are allowed to advocate and argue for their view of what constitutes a good society consistent with their Christianity in the same way and to the same extent that Secularists are free to advocate and incorporate in law their beliefs. Neither side can put into law a provision that requires a particular means of worshiping or not worshiping God. But this provision is the Secularists’ attempt to “have their cake and eat it, too.” They want to have their point of view (which is a religious belief) declared the only legitimate view for governing so that they can strike down any law that comes from a Christian world-view as promoting religion.
At a summit of Nobel Peace award winners in Warsaw, Polish Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa called for a “secular Ten Commandments,” a guide for universal values that transcend religious beliefs. The response has been a heated debate among secularists about what could constitute such a guide. And while some have criticized the idea for being too dogmatic, others have embraced the notion of a set of rules which might bridge the gap between evangelicals and nonbelievers.
[The kin selection theory] says that an organism trying to pass its genes down to future generations can do so indirectly, by helping a relative to survive and procreate. Your brother, for example, shares roughly half your genes. And so, by the dispassionate logic of evolution, helping him produce offspring is half as good for you as producing your own. Thus, acting altruistically towards someone with whom you share genetic material does not really constitute self-sacrifice: It’s just a different way of promoting your own genes.