Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The above question is one that has often been asked and the answer has been found to depend on how you define "religious". But generally, psychological research -- such as mine -- has found no association between orthodox Christian beliefs and racial prejudice. That does not suit the religion-hating Leftists at all, however -- as "racist" is one of their handiest terms of abuse. So we find an attempt (under the heading "Authoritarianism, Religious Fundamentalism, Quest, and Prejudice") by the ludicrous "Bob" Altemeyer to salvage something nasty from the situation.

Altemeyer relies in his research very heavily on a scale (set of statements) of his own devising called the Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) scale. As the very name of it implies, it contains a "mixed bag" of statements. Many are worded in a very aggressive and punitive ("authoritarian") way but there are also in the scale statements such as: "National anthems, flags and glorification of one's country should all be de-emphasized to promote the brotherhood of all men" (from p. 305 of Altemeyer's 1981 book). Now how many conservatives would agree with that statement? Very few, I suspect. So agreeing with the aggressive and hostile statements of the RWA scale can get you a high score on it but just rejecting characteristically Leftist statements can also get you a high score on it. So whether any given correlation with the scale arises from its conservative character or its authoritarian character is simply unknowable.

So Altemeyer's failure to recognize that simply being conservative could lead you to get elevated scores on his RWA scale leads him to lots of apparently profound conclusions that are in fact much more parsimoniously (simply) interpreted. For instance, he concludes: "people raised in no religion are apt to be the least authoritarian [conservative] respondents". But all that that finding really tells us is that modern-day North American Christians tend to be conservative. Big news! In a similar vein he supports his assertion that high scorers on his RWA scale [conservatives] are characterized by "deplorable behavior" by showing that they were more supportive of Republican President Richard Nixon and were more opposed to Communists and more dubious about homosexuality. Again: Big news

Anyway, Altemeyer's whole approach is so silly and naive that it does not deserve a full critique so I will simply move on to a few remarks on what he says about religion. His first interesting statement is this one: "For example, in a study of 533 University of Manitoba students tested in the fall of 1987 by Altemeyer, the RWA Scale correlated .48 with a measure of acceptance of Christian beliefs, the Christian Orthodoxy (CO) Scale ( Fullerton & Hunsberger, 1982). It also correlated .41 with a measure of prejudice against most of the minorities mentioned a few paragraphs ago. But CO scores correlated precisely .00 with prejudice". In other words, Altemeyer found what I found 15 year before him (not that he mentions my work) -- that orthodox Christian beliefs have ZERO correlation with racial prejudice.

That pesky finding did not defeat him, though. He went back to the drawing board and came up with his own measure of religious belief -- a "Religious Fundamentalism" (RF) scale, which was essentially a set of statements that were very dogmatic about the truth of religion. And he went on to show (Phew!) that that scale DID show a small (.30) correlation with racial prejudice. But here's the kicker: Altemeyer's scale of religious belief deliberately EXCLUDED all specifically Christian statements of belief! Even an atheist with a passionate belief in flying saucers could get a high score on it! There is a later study here which also used Altemeyer's scales and that study confirms that high scorers on Altemeyer's RF scale (but not Christians) tended to be simple-minded. So once again poor old Alty tried to fudge his data and failed. All he has really shown is that racial prejudice (but not Christianity) tends to be simple-minded.

It may finally be worth noting that my earlier study used a measure of religious dogmatism too (which I called the "religiocentrism" scale) but my scale was specifically Christian in content. And guess what? It too showed NO correlation with ethnic prejudice. So it was only by taking the Christianity out of religion that nutty old Altemeyer could show that religious people were bigots. What a laugh! Only too typical of Leftist psychology, however.



Steve "Finefrock" and his friends have been having fun promenading among the Lefties of Santa Monica wearing pro-Arnie t-shirts. You can guess how much intelligent discussion that elicited from the Lefties! Maybe someone should however tell Steve that "boot" in German is "Der Stiefel", not "Das Boot". But his proximity to Hollywood probably means that he was just joking about a famous submarine movie.

PETA kills animals wholesale: "Hypocrisy is the mother of all credibility problems, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has it in spades. While loudly complaining about the "unethical" treatment of animals by restaurant owners, grocers, farmers, scientists, anglers, and countless other Americans, the group has its own dirty little secret. From July 1998 through the end of 2004, PETA killed over 12,400 dogs, cats, and other "companion animals" -- at its Norfolk, Virginia headquarters. That's more than five defenseless animals every day. Not counting the dogs and cats PETA spayed and neutered, the group put to death over 85 percent of the animals it took in during 2003 alone. And its angel-of-death pattern shows no sign of changing.... PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year in income, much of it raised from pet owners who think their donations actually help animals. Instead, the group spends huge sums on programs equating people who eat chicken with Nazis, scaring young children away from drinking milk, recruiting children into the radical animal-rights lifestyle, and intimidating businessmen"

The lies of Edgar Snow: "The new biography Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday shows that every major claim made by Snow was false. Rather than opposing the Japanese invasion, Mao had welcomed it. He hoped the Japanese would engage and destroy his rival, Chiang Kai-shek, and would also draw Soviet troops into China. Mao avoided armed conflict not only with the Japanese but also with the Nationalists. Rather than being a champion of independence for his country, Mao since the 1920s had been an agent of the Soviet Union, taking its arms and money, doing its bidding, and accepting its control of the Chinese Communist Party. He knew his only hope of gaining power in China was with Soviet support, a belief ultimately confirmed in his takeover of the country in 1949. Mao was no agrarian reformer. He redistributed no land and liberated no peasants. His initial "red base" at Ruijin in Jiangxi province, southern China, had been achieved not by a revolutionary uprising of the masses but through military conquest by the Red Army, armed and funded by Moscow. His rule was identical to that of an occupying army, surviving by plundering the local population and killing anyone who resisted".

A pretty reassuring article here explaining why "suitcase" nuclear weapons are a myth.

I have just put up here a review of recent research on the genetics of IQ, civilization and race by Chris Brand.

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. And on Social Security see Dick McDonald


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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