Rob Hoey
Sharing my thoughts one post at a time

Study: Religious kids less generous than secular kids — not!

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Let’s be real, the mainstream media does not view religious people favorably because their religion is progressivism or leftism.

A study undertaken in 2015 claimed that kids who were religious were less generous than their non-religious counterparts. It was proven wrong, but the agenda-driven media continued to use the original findings in spite of the proof they were invalid. [H/T Daily Wire]

The retraction took about four years!

More than 80 media outlets covered the erroneous conclusions in “The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World,” including the Boston Globe, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times and Scientific American, said Psychology Today.

Azim Shariff is a religion and pro-social behavior expert and was asked to review the study data. His previous findings had shown the opposite effect of religion on children: that religious households and environments showed increased generosity, Psychology Today said.

Shariff found an error in the data analysis method and published a paper on his findings the following year in Current Biology — the same journal in which the original study was published.

Of the gazillion media outlets that covered the false findings, only four picked up on the corrected data, the magazine reports. The other outlets were too thrilled with the negative findings on the effects of religion, which, ironically, were as true and accurate as their reporting.

In fact, Psychology Today said articles just last month in Buzzworthy and Truth Theory still cited the original flawed paper saying religious children were less generous. The magazine said the study’s “influence seems to continue even after it has been shown to be wrong.”

Finally the 2015 study was retracted in August of this year.

“When we reanalyzed these data to correct this error, we found that country of origin, rather than religious affiliation, is the primary predictor of several of the outcomes,” the retraction read. “While our title finding that increased household religiousness predicts less sharing in children remains significant, we feel it necessary to explicitly correct the scientific record, and we are therefore retracting the article.”

Gee, you think that a poor religious country would tend to give less charity due to the fact that the giver’s own need for help would affect the outcome?

Psychology Today acknowledged that “correction mechanisms in science can sometimes work slowly, but they did, in the end, seem to be effective here. More work still needs to be done as to how this might translate into corrections in media reporting as well: The two articles above were both published after the formal retraction of the paper.”

The magazine also cited their own research on the same topic at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard, and found similar results to that of Shariff. Using a meta-analysis, they went beyond simply exploring whether religious children are more or less generous as children, but delved into how their religious upbringing shaped them over time:

1. They found that during childhood and adolescence, those who attended religious services regularly were subsequently 29 percent more likely to have high levels of volunteering than those who did not.

2.  Those who attended services regularly were also 87 percent more likely to subsequently have high levels of forgiveness.

3.  Those who prayed and mediated regularly were 47 percent more likely to have a high sense of mission.

4. Those raised religiously were protected from depression, drug use, and risky behaviors and more likely to have higher levels of happiness in young adulthood.

The finding are things the left and the media [but I repeat myself] do not want to admit. It makes it difficult to justify abortion and other aspects of their agenda. And it keeps people from making leftism their religion.

About the Author
A retired New York City psychotherapist having practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, because it actually works. Relocated to Ottawa to be close to our daughter, son-in-law and our grandchildren. I blog about U.S. politics, terrorism, satire and the culture wars. Currently working on my third novel, a suspense spy thriller in the same order as Brad Thor but with more humor. My personal blog is Brain Flushings at:
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