Study finds link between viewing pornography and becoming more religious

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    Riiiiiigh.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    Studies show that subscribing to John Oliver’s YouTube channel makes one more suspicious of media reports of studies, but I will say the usual suspects don’t seem to be in play for this one.Report

  3. Avatar veronica d
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    says:

    The actual study is here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2016.1146203

    Some of the data looks plausible enough. For instance, figure 3 shows an unmistakable “dip and then rise,” which is unlikely to be computational artifact. (Compare this with the “religious doubts” graph in figure 1. That sudden jump on the edge of the graph is the sort of thing that happens when fitting data near the edges.) In any case, correlation ain’t causation — which I’d love to see a serious causal analysis, Pearl style. But all the same, it’s curious.

    Religiosity is a thing. Bluntly, in the modern, scientific world, to continue firm religious belief is going to select a certain population. In other words, there are so many confounders in a situation like this, I don’t see how we can conclude anything except, “Things are weird.”Report

  4. Avatar veronica d
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    says:

    As an aside, I hate study questions like this:

    To measure religious doubts, respondents were asked: “In the past 6 years, how often have you had doubts about your religious faith?” Responses ranged from 1 = Never to 5 = Every day or almost every day.

    The problem is, it asks about my religious faith, which is a thing that does not exist. So do I have “doubts”? I guess, but it’s more that I’m basically certain that there is no god. So how do I answer that, to give useful information to researchers? Should I say, “I have doubts ever day,” when in fact I feel no doubt at all about my beliefs?

    (Perhaps they have a lead-in question that lets atheists/agnostics skip this part.)

    Anyway, it forces me to guess what the researchers are trying to learn, which is at odds with my hyper-literal brain. It leaves me confused. When I encounter a survey question like this, I usually close the browser window. I’d rather provide no data than bad data. Blah.

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    Short version: every question contains hidden assumptions. Make sure you think through what those assumptions are, and give those who don’t fit the frame some way to indicate this.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    “Oh, God, yes!” is not necessarily a sign of religiosity.Report

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