Friday, June 19, 2009

Conservatives Are Unenlightened Cretins: New Study Finds

O.k., that may be a little harsh, but here is a study that becomes more and more offensive the further one reads. This study recalls the pseudo-science of Phrenology which was used to supposedly "prove" the superiority of the "Aryan" brain, by head-shape, over those of other races.

The main argument of the article is that nature plays almost as much a part in human response to events as nurture. People who are disposed to morality are also more likely to be disgusted by things than those who are not. These are concepts that seem neutral on the surface, but as you read on, an agenda begins to be fleshed out.

David Pizarro, a psychology professor at Cornell University, says,

Liberals and conservatives disagree about whether disgust has a valid place in making moral judgments . . . Some conservatives think there is inherent wisdom in repugnance, that feeling disgusted about something - gay sex between consenting adults, for example - is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm.

He continues,

People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seems to be recruited for moral judgments.

Pizarro, himself, gives the purpose and the aim of the study, and it's pretty poor. His reasoning runs along these lines. A) There appears to be a difference between those who are disgusted by "immorality" and those who are not. B) (presumed) There is no God who has revealed his nature or a moral standard to man. C) Therefore, there must be something innate within specific individuals that separates them. D) Further, because there is no definitive standard for morality, in his view, it is lowered to an emotional reaction (namely, a negative one; disgust). If we follow the logic along its inevitable trajectory we see that: E) If morality is an emotional reaction that arises within some and not others, we can isolate and diagnose the naturally occurring reasons for the trait. F) Because morality is an obviously problematic trait (according to the perspective of the scientist and the article's author), we will try to find ways to remove those traits from society.

This article tries to assign an identifier for conservatism and moralism. And, to add insult to injury, the author of the article, Roy Britt, claims that these "moral" people are more likely to become "the worst cheats because they pursue what they believe to be a moral end at all costs."

This last statement is very telling, not about the subjects of the study, but about the conductors of the study themselves. Notice that he says that “they pursue what they believe to be a moral end.” Obviously, the author of this article does not hold a high view of moral people and sees no basis for morality except for emotions. The author does not appear to understand the concept of morality. The question for us, then, is what do we believe morality to be and what is the basis for living in a moral way?

I cannot answer for all conservatives, because conservatives are not all the same. Neither are they all believers in Jesus Christ. It may well be that some conservatives base their morality on personal bias. We who are Christians, however, see the basis of morality in the nature of God and man. We believe in the God who created man (Genesis 1:27) and revealed himself to mankind (Gen 17:1; 26:24; 28:13; Exodus 3:1-8), giving his law to the Hebrews at Sinai (Ex 20:1-23). He has given Scripture to reveal his set-apart and righteous nature as well as his desire for human action (John 7:38; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The reason humans are to act with morality is because they are to reflect the nature of God (2 Corinthians 3:15-18; Colossians 3:9-10). So the Christian bases his or her morality on the Scriptural self-revelation of God. Scripture is the definitive and unwavering source of morality for the Christian. The Christian cannot base their morality on opinion or personal bias because that is tantamount to setting themselves up as their own God, which is precisely the problem with the practical atheist.

Both the author of the article and the scientist conducting the study are bringing their own personal biases to the study. They are making the exact subjective moral claims they accuse the caricatured moralists of. They also appear to be advocating their personal claim of immorality over the morality of others. So who are the morons related to this study?

Here are some verses related to the subject:

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

…Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2)

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God. . . (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)

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A warning: when "science" is used to isolate a group of people as inherently different, persecution is not far behind. Expect more of these studies to trump up more "proof" that those who hold to traditional values are backwards and even dangerous to the health of society. Expect more people to listen, too.

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