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November 2015
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Barn till religiösa föräldrar är mindre generösa än barn till icke-religiösa föräldrar

Låter en studie lite för rolig för att vara riktigt korrekt är den förmodligen det. Så vad säger ni om de här forskningsresultaten, som de summeras i the Guardian?

Almost 1,200 children, aged between five and 12, in the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study. Almost 24% were Christian, 43% Muslim, and 27.6% non-religious. The numbers of Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic and other children were too small to be statistically valid.
They were asked to choose stickers and then told there were not enough to go round for all children in their school, to see if they would share.

Att dela med sig av klistermärken fast man inte måste blir en variant av det som inom spelteorin kallas för diktator-spelet. Vad gjorde då barnen? The Economist summerar:

In truth, the dictator game is not much of a game, since only one of the participants actually plays it. In Dr Decety’s version, each child was presented with a collection of 30 attractive stickers and told that he or she could keep ten of them. Once a child had made his selection, the experimenter told him that there was not time to play the game with all the children at the school, but that he could, if he wished, give away some of his ten stickers to a random schoolmate who would not otherwise be able to take part. The child was then given a few minutes to decide whether he wanted to give up some of his stickers—and, if so, how many. The researchers used the number of stickers surrendered as a measure of altruism.
The upshot was that the children of non-believers were significantly more generous than those of believers. They gave away an average of 4.1 stickers. Children from a religious background gave away 3.3. And a further analysis of the two largest religious groups (Jews, Buddhists and Hindus were excluded because of their small numbers in the sample), showed no statistical difference between them. Muslim children gave away 3.2 stickers on average, while Christian children gave away 3.3. Moreover, a regression analysis on these groups of children showed that their generosity was inversely correlated with their households’ religiosity. This effect remained regardless of a family’s wealth and status (rich children were more generous than poor ones), a child’s age (older children were more generous than younger ones) or the nationality of the participant. These findings are, however, in marked contrast to parents’ assessments of their own children’s sensitivity to injustice. When asked, religious parents reported their children to be more sensitive than non-believing parents did.

För kul för att vara sant? Nej, det verkar vara en bra design, ett stort stickprov och korrekt statistik, så det är svårt att hitta uppenbara fel på studien. Den som menar att slutsatserna är felaktiga bör istället upprepa experimentet på ett annat stickprov för att se om slutsatsen står sig. Vill du själv granska studien så finns rapporten tillgänglig här.

För en mer kritisk läsning, gå till bloggen Why Evolution Is True.

Men tills studien är falsifierad: Vad var det vi sa? Religion förgiftar allt, inklusive barnuppfostran.

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