by Tyler Cowen
on June 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm
in Political Science, Religion, Science |
At Cardiff University, students found it easier to pretend to be gay than Christian.
Here is more, from Evan Selinger, interesting throughout.
“interesting throughout”: but so badly phrased that some readers (see the comments) wondered whether he’d got the results arse-about-face.
I think if you are in academia you have to come up with confusing measurement ratios. I’ve never been crestfallen when someone presented their results in percentages.
So when reporters say “Economic stat X is was 20%” but has increaed by “10%”, that’s not confusing at all.
No, you are right, they do that too, and that’s the time I’m disappointed in how they use percentages.
I was mostly referring to the identification ratio referred to as “right answers minus wrong answers divided by the total number of trials” and then saying 0.4 is greater than 0.7, but not a statistically significant difference.
I am one of those readers. After reading the piece, it seems that a higher IR indicates you are MORE able to mimic the behavior of the other group. Did I misunderstand the instrument?
Well, yes, duh. They are taught in school growing up that Christians are horrible and cause atrocities.
To be fair, I don’t think that gays have ever declared war on the Muslim world or tortured Spanish Jews.
Oh, I thought we were referring to real atrocities like mixing stripes with polka dots or wearing socks with sandals.
I don’t know; there are suspicions about some of those Popes…
“To be fair”? I’d hate to read what you have to say when you aren’t “fair”.
On the other hand, gays DID smash the Persian and Egyptian Empires (Alexander the Great). And conquered France and England before overthrowing the republican government of all of Europe (Julius Ceasar).
And Richard the Lionheart… oh wait he DID declare war on the whole muslim world.
What was your point again?
Presumably none of these alleged gay people did what they did for the sake of their sexual persuasion.
With the Christians, things are otherwise.
I don’t remember Jesus telling them to do any of that.
The Muslims declared war on the Christian world in the 7th century, and managed to conquer (and destroy) quite a large chunk of it. It’s not as if the Christians started it.
Fighting back is wrong if you win, this is why Israel has been condemned by the UN more often than any other country.
Settlement building != fighting back, but you already knew that.
I’m guessing you don’t know Israel tried to give large areas back to Jordan, which refused to take them, or that they actually demolished a lot of their own settlements.
But I guess people launching rockets at you have every right to expect to keep living next door. Fighting back is wrong!
In fact, the Muslim world declared war on the rest of us in 637 Anno Domini.
After 1,000 years of invasions and mass murders they were stopped at Vienna. That’s about 3,000 miles from Mecca.
They recently started it again. If you can blame Christians for 500 year-old atrocities, you have to apply the same standard to Muslims. Or, as I suspect, you are merely a bigot.
I am not endorsing it, but tell me, how does a Spanish atrocity committed 520 years ago affect anyone or anything in 2012?
For what it appears to be worth, you may as well drop that degree in the nearest sewer.
For those of you who (apparently like Doc Merlin) choose to comment without clicking through, “easier” does NOT mean easier because there was less social opprobrium (which is what I assumed before looking too); it means easier to pretend to be something you’re not.
So they are saying that heterosexuals could better pretend to be homosexual more easily than someone who is not Christian could pretend to be Christian. This is not at all surprising to me – in one case you are merely shifting the target of desire, in the other you are being asked to believe in a supernatural being.
Of course the article goes on to say the differences were not statistically significant so you can thank me for reading it for you so you don’t waste your time…
I did click though. And I know what it meant.
My point was that its harder to pretend to be something you are taught is evil.
It is also harder to be something complicated than something simple.
I noted the comparison was between “homosexual” (ie. a feeling) versus “an active christian” (ie. a range of beliefs, knowledge and regular behaviours).
It’s easier to learn about gay culture than it is to learn about practicing Christian culture by watching television. If you want more people to be able to fake being a practicing Christian, you should make better television shows about practicing Christians – maybe “Christ and the City” or “Six Feet Under but with Eternal Life.”
If only Christians were a majority religion with a church pretty much every couple miles in the west that indoctrinates children from birth. If only…
FTA: “the difference between 0.4 and 0.7 isn’t quite statistically significant”. My guess is that it has less to do with this imaginary persecution the Christian majority feels, than the fact that to be gay you simply need to be gay, whereas to prove you’re Christian one might assume you can talk about things like going to Church or the Bible.
It’s not just being able to talk about the Bible or going to church, it’s that even if you know about those things, it’s very hard to understand the internal mindset of someone who is religious when you yourself aren’t. It’s one thing to answer a question on the doctrinal differences between Catholics and Lutherans or a bit of Bible trivia, it’s another thing entirely to try to explain the experience of being “born again” when you have no idea what it feels like to really, truly believe in (g/G)od.
To “be gay” means what, though? Holding hands with another guy? Having your shoes match your belt?
I don’t know about “persecution” but there is certainly a lot of criticism, esp. from academics, of Christians that would not be made of other religions, esp. Islam. Some of it is oikophobia, but a lot of it is simply cowardice — Christians have a long tradition of quietly enduring persecution (“turn the other cheek”) that is central to the faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians That’s why authors of books critical of Christianity aren’t dodging suicide bombers like Salman Rushdie, and why there weren’t riots over “Piss Christ” like there were over the Mohammed cartoons.
“After some stylistic editing, the complete set of questions and competing answers were sent out to nine other gravitational wave physicists who were asked to identify who was who. Seven said they could not figure it out, while two pinpointed Collins as the physicist. Nature was sufficiently impressed to include a one-page news account, “Sociologist Fools Physics Judges.”
Puzzled by the 2-0 result (since 50/50 was expected to be the best possible outcome),”
That’s a 9-0 result.
It’s status struggle, all the way down. It should be no surprise to readers that gays have more status and power in academia than Christians.
(It need hardly be said that it’s easier to accurately imitate a mainstream group than a marginalized minority; deaf/normal, color-blind, normal, etc.)
But in the United Kingdom, until very recently, almost all (say) Members of Parliament or businesspeople were Christian and almost none were openly homosexual. Therefore, it is hard to see how Christians are less mainstream than homosexuals in British culture. Furthermore, students are not part of academia.
The point is that culture is changing. Young people aren’t what you just described.
Power and status shift slowly. Power and status in the United Kingdom shift exceedingly slowly. Status is not allocated on the basis of recent changes in preferences among young people. Young people do not allocate status. Practicing Christians are not marginalised in the United Kingdom, except to the extent that (like homosexuals) they are a small percentage of the population (perhaps 10-15% Christians, 2-5% homosexuals). Christians are much more mainstream in the United Kingdom than homosexuals in line with those numbers.
“Therefore, it is hard to see how Christians are less mainstream than homosexuals in British culture.”
How many brit tv shows showcase Christian culture? How many showcase gay culture?
When making an argument to data, it is customary to present the data to which one alludes. To make a data-based claim without providing the data is a bit pathetic and seems like innuendo. Did you know that culture is mostly not transferred by “brit tv”, but by families and peer groups?
And yet, living in the City of Sin, I can’t go two blocks without seeing a cross.
I don’t care – believe what you like, and missions to help the less fortunate are fine with me. But claiming that somehow Xians are underrepresented in academia, with no evidence, ignores how pervasive it is in daily life. And as pure anecdata, I’m friends with several academics who assure me that Xians are well represented in their ranks. Evangelicals have a problem, for pretty obvious reasons.
Sentences to celebrate. After centuries of persecution, it’s time gays caught a break.
There’s a reason homosexuality is, at best, just tolerated by virtually every religious tradition, including Buddhism. Unless you keep things like homosexual behavior, incest and high degrees of sexual promiscuity marginalized, your society will go extinct. The future already belongs to the religiously observant.
Thus, it will be truly ironic when gay-mad places like Sweden and Britain become Muslim and patriarchal.
If you don’t fear and loath homosexuals, then people will stop wearing pleated pants, which, in turn, eventually leads to Sharia law. It is known.
Ignoring the snark, what people will stop doing is reproducing. Dysfunctional atheists who can’t reproduce themselves will be replaced by Muslims in Sweden and Britain, Catholic and Evangelical Mexicans in the US, Hasidim and Amish in other regions, etc.
So not hating homosexuals makes heterosexuals have less children. Fascinating.
What do you consider “not hating?” Perforce, enough people will have to have an “ick” factor about homosexual activity in order to have a replacement rate of population growth.
Well, if you can force homosexuals to marry heterosexually and have children, your society will have a few percent more children. It’s the same reason prostitution was generally frowned upon — not good for making future soldiers — er, children.
More so than heterosexuality, fertility generally was prized — thus a lot of cultures practiced pederasty or homosexuality but this was accepted as long as they were making children, too.
Of course, today things are very different. I think fairly roon Europe will adjust their immigration and Islam will grow up.
A-G, my best friend is a gay dude, who has gay sex with other gay dudes, yet I have not once though, “Vaginas are lame – I gotta get in on that gay sex action!” Still just interested in making babies with the wife. I don’t think the “ick factor” is what is holding people back from balling just anyone with two legs and a pulse.
Homosexuality if far more stigmatized in japan than in the west and yet they have the lowest birth rate in the world.
Shouldn’t sexual promiscuity actually cause society to thrive rather than go extinct?
According to A-G, anything ‘liberal’ = the end of humankind
And kudos to MD, thanks for the LOL
American blacks are comparatively much more promiscuous and it doesn’t seem to be doing them too well. In fact, they require enormous transfer payments from the less promiscuous in order to sustain their society. There are also high rates of promiscuity among homosexuals, and it damn near killed all of them.
People get jealous and hurt, kids like to have both parents in the household, and sexual contact is a notoriously efficient vector for spreading microbes. I can’t think of any reason why a promiscuous society would thrive.
Can you just picture this guy, and what his life is like? -shudder-
Priceless. Life as a Tolkien book of warring races.
I’m curious. What does the name “msgkings” mean?
“Priceless. Life as a Tolkien book of warring races.”
Yeah, there clearly is no such thing as a distinct black culture society in America.
With comments like ivvenalis’, it’s hard to understand black grievance. I mean, they’re obviously not real Americans and a part of real American society, with their distinct culture and all. What’s their f-ing problem?
With inane comments like msgkings’, it’s no wonder people miss CBBB.
Oh, for a rated commenting system at MR!
You would think it would, but it just doesn’t. The traditional Romans withered away, and there is plenty of (albeit anecdotal) evidence that childlessness became increasingly common among them by AD 200, the French aristocracy’s birthrate plummeted in the century before the Revolution, and of course the modern West. Hard to blame the first two on the Pill either.
Gnostic, your comments are full of anti-gay nonsense. Declining fertility in Europe has virtually nothing to do with the normalization of homosexuality. It is the result of heterosexuals choosing to have smaller families. And there isn’t the remotest chance that Sweden or Britain will “become Muslim” in the foreseeable future, but even if there were, it wouldn’t have anything to do with homosexuality, either.
Always thought MR’s readers glorified their libertarianism. The comments on here show me I was wrong: just run-of-the-mill conservatives, fiscally and socially.
MR readers mostly keep quiet. Decent scholars used to comment a few years ago. Now it’s mostly fans of various bloggers with repugnant views about racial minorities (Barack Obama = America’s Half-Blood Prince), women (fems) and anyone who isn’t in the most oppressed social group in human history, the humble WASP.
In the sampling I’ve done reading some past comments the mix doesn’t seem to have changed much.
The hard-core economics has receded somewhat, but then again so has the hard-core economics of the posts which probably drives the comments.
This is essentially a philosophy of science post that people are mistaking as political based on the selection of the excerpt.
If you wanted to talk substantially about the excerpt I wouldn’t begin to know how to mimic a Christian, and I are one.
I know, right? The good old days when we worshipped non-Asian minorities and women so we could pat ourselves on the back for how enlightened we were.
Treating minorities and women as human beings = worship. Got it.
Treating everyone as mere human beings would mean proud Cherokees like Liz Warren would never be able to aspire to higher office, and Barack Obama would just be some guy who with a racist pastor who dated composite women in college. No, a thousand times no, we must embrace our oikophobia and elevate The Other above our shameful whiteness.
Well, unless The Other works hard and quietly assimilates into our culture, like those damn Asians.
Why couldn’t Liz Warren aspire to public office under your fever dream scenario? I really don’t understand your point.
And yeah, Obama does prove that black people have it made in America. To paraphrase Chris Rock (again, since you racewarriors keep at it here): “There’s not a single white person in the entire country that would trade places with me, not a single one. And I’m rich!”
You really think Liz Warren’s awful scholarship got her hired to a position where she was repeatedly promoted as a woman of color? Oh, that’s so cute!
I don’t know if “black men have it made” but there’s an enormous (and often quite explicit) double standard — even someone like you has admitted Barack Obama would never have been nominated with his nonexistent credentials and baggage of corruption and dishonesty were he not black.
As for Chris Rock, that’s possibly the stupidest thing any celebrity’s ever said.
I mean come on, I know you’re committed to a racist society now and forever, but you can only seize the white farms and hand them over to people who promptly collapse the country so many times before everyone’s going to realize there’s a cultural problem here that has nothing to with the color of anyone’s skin.
This kind of attitude is why so many people fell hook, line and sinker for Obama’s autobiography, which upon checking turns out to be full of material misrepresentations and fabrications about his racial history, from being ostracized as a black in Hawaii to his father being tortured by the British to his stepfather being killed by the Dutch fighting for independence to his parents being married at Selma to his mother’s medical insurance… it just goes on and on and on, if he weren’t a Historic Black Candidate he’d have been laughed off the national stage.
I’m not sure I wouldn’t trade with Chris Rock if I could take my wife and kids with me. I kind of like my life.
I wouldn’t trade places with Warren Buffett. He’s my rich idol (except for his politics).
All Chris Rock’s statement might indicate is that we might be less willing to trade places with others than we think.
Maybe because faking being gay just requires changing one variable, while faking being Christian requires many?
To put on being gay, you’d just talk about sex or love as you would, but remember to replace the word “she” with “he” (or vice versa). There is literally no other requirement to being gay. Religious belief is somewhat more complex.
I’d also query whether those who were judging were gay. I, almost by definition, don’t know what it’s like to actually be gay, so I rely on my own straight person’s perception of what a gay person is like — which is precisely what the faker is doing. So provided we both have roughly the same straight person’s perception of gay, he’d seem authentic enough to fool me. (This may be addressed in the paper, I didn’t click through to the original source)
Maybe because the question were asked by people who were not gay, but were of had been Christian at some time in their life. Could a well informed person fake being a physicist if a physicist had been asking the questions?
Wonder how hard it’d be to try and fake being a gay Christian……..
The original article started with a demonstration of someone pretending to be a physicist who fooled 9 physicists.
I think you blew it with your ‘sentences to ponder’.
The article is indeed interesting throughout. Do read the whole thing.
The gay/Christian thing is basically a sidelight, but apparently, it’s such a charged issue, the comments uncharacteristically begin to resemble stupidblog.com.
Do you suppose That
At Pat Robertson’s University
Students Found It Easiert to Pretend to Be Christian
Than to Be Gay?
This comment wins.
I posted on the Atlantic’s comment section:
“The author has gotten the algebra wrong somewhere. He must have, for if the number right was smaller than the number wrong, the results would be negative, eh? The author may have gotten the particular ratios correct, but he failed to communicate clearly and accurately the method for the ratio, or its logic.
Still, this is probably a minor quibble – he presents the case of a type of inquiry that is interesting and possibly useful. The concept seems easily enough understood to me.”
This certainly seems to be a more charged question here. Lots of anger in these replies. Personally, I think it would be easier to pretend being gay than being devout Christian, because being a devotee of any religion requires a higher level of expertise – either interactional or contributory, no matter. I like the idea about posing the same question at the Pat Robertson U – but how many agnostics or atheists could you find there?
I did a Google search and found what I think is the paper in question here: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=harry%20collins%2C%20non-christians%20imitate%20christians&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CFkQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cf.ac.uk%2Fsocsi%2Fcontactsandpeople%2Fharrycollins%2Fexpertise-project%2Fimgame-research-proposal.doc&ei=yd7jT9WkEY6C8ATEgIGACg&usg=AFQjCNHrxsQAe4IqHbOT_VF6Gc2jO2cF-g&cad=rja
The writers state: “The fifth column shows that it is easier for active Christians at a British University to pretend to be non-church-goers than for non-church-goers to pretend to be active Christians. As can be understood, these differences reflect the extent to which the minority cultures (in the UK active Christianity is nowadays a minority practice) are not understood by the majority culture as compared to the extent to which the embedding culture is understood by the minority.” I think, as the authors state later in the piece, that there is a world of difficulty here. First, “active Christian” is contrasted with “non-church-goers.” This doesn’t seem quite precise. How often must one attend church in order to be designated “active Christian”? Is my son, who self-identifies as Christian but rarely attends church, thus not an “active Christian”? Second, as the authors admit, a sample of humanities students at a specific university hardly tells us much about the general ability of large groups of people across a wide range of life experiences to identify with a group of which they are not members. Third, whereas as the authors assert, people who regularly attend church constitute a minority in Britain, nonetheless British culture and civilization are saturated with Christian concepts and ideas. Would this be the case in say, Saudi Arabia? Finally, even “active Christians” by the authors’ definition don’t necessarily recognize one another as “active Christians” across widely divergent denominational lines. Much more precision is called for.
Pretty sure Tyler just trolled everyone in this thread. Expertly done!
I just find it amazing that a very interesting article about Turing and the Turing test is referred to in one sentence which doesn’t really have anything to do with the Turing (man or test). That it then dominates the comments is even more terrifying.
The real question is: Do I now stop reading this otherwise excellent blog?
I think you realize that there are two types of commenters (well, as many types as there are commenters): those who rarely comment and those who use the blog as a springboard for commenting.
I think it’s fascinating that the guy could mimic a physicist so that 9 out of 9 physicists could not tell he wasn’t a physicist. This has huge implications. Noone seems interested.
But thats not hard to do. I had a friend who did the same thing. It has to do with learning the jargon. (He kept a 3×5 card of jargon in his chest pocket.)
He was a linguistics undergrad student who somehow got an internship CERN and was pretending to be a particle physicist.
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