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Thread: Religion and Higher Education.

  1. #1 Religion and Higher Education. 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    In an effort to move this section of the forum away from unfounded opinions and empty rhetoric, I have been looking into the articles in scientific journals.

    The first article I looked at was "Religion and Higher Education: Current Knowlege and directions for future research" by DAMON MAYRL and FREEDEN OEUR, Department of Sociology, University of California at Berkeley. Some of the findings that this article reports are quite surprising. The abstract of another article in Social Forces Volume 85, Number 4, June 2007 sums up some of the more surprising findings:

    Many Americans exhibit declining religiosity during early adulthood. There is no consensus about why this occurs, though longstanding assumptions suggest the secularizing effects of higher education, normative deviance and life course factors. We evaluate these effects on decreasing frequency of religious practice, diminished importance of religion and disaffiliation from religion altogether. Results from analyses of the Add Health study indicate that only religious participation suffers substantial declines in young adulthood. Contrary to expectations, emerging adults that avoid college exhibit the most extensive patterns of religious decline, undermining conventional wisdom about the secularizing effect of higher education. Marriage curbs religious decline, while cohabitation, nonmarital sex, drugs and alcohol use each accelerate diminished religiosity – especially religious participation – during early adulthood.
    Another focus of the Mayrl and Oeur article was the effect of religious affiliation on student acheivement. There are good studies showing a very strong correlation between religious attendance and academic sucess in high school and a strong correlation with GPA in college, however data on religious attendance after entering college is lacking, and there is another study suggesting that this latter positive correlation may be entirely due to the effect of higher acheivements in high school. It should be no surprise that studies show that fundamentalist beliefs can hinder academic achievement, and that excessive religious involvement can have a deletorious effect on academic achievement in college. The conclusion seems to be that this question of the impact of religious involvement upon academic achievement at the college level is an area where more and better research is needed.

    The second half of the paper focuses on suggesting area where further research is needed.
    1. Better measures for sprituality and religiousity
    2. Connecting studies of adolescents and college students
    3. Need to make distinctions between different types of colleges
    4. How campus religious activities affect the college environment

    The articles final conclusion is as follows:

    Religion plays a larger role on colleges and universities than it is often given credit for. Students have extensive religious and spiritual commitments, though for many students they may not be a priority during college. Religious practice declines during the college years, yet religious beliefs appear to be maintained—though exactly what happens to them is a source of considerable debate. Religion appears to exert a positive influence on students’ lives in some respects, though it does not convincingly appear to improve students’ academic performance or emotional well-being. While there has been increased scholarly interest in religion on campus in recent years, the amount of high-quality research remains low relative to the scope and urgency of the debates. Improved methods can help clarify ambiguities in existing research traditions, while new research into the demographic and institutional contexts of student religious engagements would greatly enhance our understanding of the role of religion in the academy.


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    i think this has a fairly simple answer. the academic world is set up similar to the religious world.
    the academic world sets its staple from the get-go that you should "just have faith" that all you learn will have a use further on in life.
    free-thinkers on the other hand, are always burdened by the question "what use do i have of all this knowledge?" while living in the academic world.
    most free thinkers doesn't see a need to learn something unless there's a specific use for it.
    another thing is that most free-thinkers don't need to attend school to get a career.
    programmers, CG artists.. most have been using computers since they were
    old enough to turn on a computer.
    on one particular forum, where there is a lot of high-paid artists, the staple is
    "don't bother with school, you don't learn anything you couldn't learn by yourself, and on top of that you'll be in debt for years" most of these guys have started off modding games, taught themselves programming /3d art, photoshop etc, through the internet, improved their skills to a point where they can make an awesome portfolio, and gotten jobs.


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    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    I'd like to throw another log on the fire (for those of you not familiar with Reasonable Doubts, I apologize for the dry introduction. This episode is not like their regular show, so I suggest checking out their other stuff as well).

    @MM:

    Interesting stuff. Do you by chance have a link to the full article? Quotes from the abstract are a great start, but with my educational background, I've grown to become very interested in methodologies. Thanks in advance.


    EDIT: It appears that the second article you cited is Losing My Religion: The Social Sources of Religious Decline in Early Adulthood by Regnerus, Uecker, & Vaaler?

    I thought this part of that article was interesting as well:

    The young adult years of many Americans are marked by a clear decline in outward religious expression, which is popularly thought to hit bottom during - and perhaps because of - the college experience. This is not new news. In the early 1980s, nearly 60 percent of young adults reported attending church less frequently than they did during adolescence (Willits and Crider 1989), Dropping out of organized religion altogether is also evident. Estimates of religious disaffiliation in emerging adulthood typically fall between 30 and 40 percent (Brinkerhoff and Mackie 1993; Hunsberger and Brown 1984; Sandomirsky and Wilson 1990), Seemingly no religious group is immune to this phenomenon: Catholics, Presbyterians and Mormons all lose more members during this stage of life than during any other (Albrecht, Cornwall and Cunningham 1988; Hoge 1981; Hoge, Johnson and Luidens 1993)
    The article goes on (for 26 more pages) to address all four of the points outlined in the OP (with citation, per the above quote). Again I haven't read the Mayrl & Oeur article, but I'm not more interested in seeing how they came to their conclusions. Thanks again.
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    Forum Ph.D. verzen's Avatar
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    MM - The REASON behind the fact that the higher educated you are, the less religious you become is that education forces you to look for evidence and proof of ALL findings and ALL claims.. especially science. Since religion HAS no evidence and their claim is just a claim without evidence then they are justified in not believing that claim.. They are also justified in not believing that we are the product of an elephants ass either simply because there is no evidence for that claim.
    Many religious people however, show their uneducated nature by making logical fallacy after logical fallacy to prove their points.. (Such as Archaeologist) I have met SOO many uneducated religious people say that "you cant disprove God either" If a claim has no evidence for the claim then I am justified in having no evidence to disprove the claim in question.. Otherwise, if we fall back on the logic that anything is possible until it has been disproven, then all I have to claim is that I can shoot fireballs out of my ass and since no one can disprove that claim, then there must be a possibility of the claim in question.

    That is the logic of a religious individual.. Now tell me, does hat make much sense?

    MM, you are a Christian.. Why are you a Christian when there is no evidence for your claim?
    Infact, how can you even say that you are a christian when the very notion of an old earth PLUS evolution simply disproves the Adam and Eve myth.. If Adam and Eve are a myth than the concept of original sin which Eve committed is also a myth. If that is a myth than Jesus had no reason to come down to Earth to save us from original sin, thus disproving the notion of Christianity because Christianity is based off of Jesus dying for our sins..
    By you believing in this Christian myth, you are being illogical because you are making room for your faith despite the evidence against it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    MM, you are a Christian.. Why are you a Christian when there is no evidence for your claim?
    MM is a deist, but claim to be a christian.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    MM - The REASON behind the fact that the higher educated you are, the less religious you become is that education forces you to look for evidence and proof of ALL findings and ALL claims...
    wow if you read the article it actually said those in higher education remain faithful more than others in early adult hood...so your wrong
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Pardon my interjection:

    I keep a standing offer to try and get full texts of articles for anyone on the forum who needs or wants them through my university's access. If any of you are interested in getting the full text for this and other articles that will be discussed in the future, feel free to PM me with an email address and the article reference, and I will get you the article as soon as I am able.

    Continue!
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    This is off topic, but if I do not answer I will be accused of dodging and hiding etc... So hopefully we can just get this out of the way and go back to the topic of discussion. My answer should not be a matter of debate. It is just a statement of what I believe and is not intended to convince anyone of anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    MM, you are a Christian.. Why are you a Christian when there is no evidence for your claim?
    Because I believe that there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality and thus there are things that are real for which there can be no objective evidence. I have perceptions of reality which I recognize as being subjective in nature but I do not think that their subjective nature means that they are wrong. Therefore I acknowledge that I believe things for which I have no objective evidence and I have seen no reason to believe that anyone can truthfully claim that they believe only that which they have objective evidence or proof for.



    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    MM is a deist, but claim to be a christian.
    Incorrect. Lets look at the Wikipedia article and see how much of what it describes are things that I believe.

    Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion. Deists generally reject the notion of divine interventions in human affairs – such as by miracles and revelations, but not necessarily. These views contrast with a dependence on revelations, miracles, and faith found in many Judeo-Christian, Islamic and other theistic teachings.
    Yes I believe that a supreme being created the universe but that is true of Christians as well. But no I do not believe that this can be determined by use of reason and observation of the natural world alone (not any objective observation anyway). I do believe in divine intervention in both human affairs and the natural world. For example, I believe that God created the species, just not by some big act of magic 6000 years ago but through environmental changes that changed the course of evolution. I believe that God is responsible for the developments in human history such as the diversity of human culture (Genesis chapter 11). I believe that the Bible is the work of God and that the intervention of God in miracles is possible but that it is not generally conducive to positive human development and is therefore greatly restrained.


    Deists typically reject most supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God (or "The Supreme Architect") has a plan for the universe that is not altered either by God intervening in the affairs of human life or by suspending the natural laws of the universe. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, most deists see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.
    I do not reject supernatural events, but I do not believe that God suspends the natural laws of the universe. Instead I believe that the natural laws of the universe generally have loopholes through which God can interevene. I see the Bible as the word of God representing the only authority given into the hands of men, representing what God has to say to man. However I think it is absurd to think that the fact that the Bible says something constitutes proof that such is the case to someone who does not recognize that the Bible has any such authority.


    Deism became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenment, especially in what is now the United Kingdom, France, United States and Ireland, mostly among those raised as Christians who found they could not believe in either a triune God, the divinity of Jesus, miracles, or the inerrancy of scriptures, but who did believe in one god. Initially it did not form any congregations, but in time deism strongly influenced other religious groups, such as Unitarianism and Universalism, which developed from it. It continues to this day in the forms of classical deism and modern deism.
    Right! and thus both my belief in the Trinity and my rejection of Universalism kind of puts me solidly in the category of traditional Christianity rather than Deism.

    However I think that a big problem with people's perception is that the extreme irrationality and obnoxious behavior of fundamentalist Christians have given people an impression far out of proportion to the actual numbers of these people. The majority of complaints and claims about Christians made in this forum are in fact true of these people but is not true of Christians in general. And so what dejawolf is correctly perceiving is that I am not in any way shape or form a fundamentalist Christian.

    I am an evolutionist. I reject all five points of Calvinism. I am an Open Theist. I believe in secularism, and I am heavily influence by the philosophies of existentialism and pragmatism. Yes these are reasons that many people who call themselves christian will deny that I am a chrisitan - but such is typical of the disagreements and disputes within Christianity. Pick any church and you will invariably find somewhere at some point in history people arguing that those in such a church cannot be considered christian.


    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Infact, how can you even say that you are a christian when the very notion of an old earth PLUS evolution simply disproves the Adam and Eve myth.. If Adam and Eve are a myth than the concept of original sin which Eve committed is also a myth. If that is a myth than Jesus had no reason to come down to Earth to save us from original sin, thus disproving the notion of Christianity because Christianity is based off of Jesus dying for our sins..

    By you believing in this Christian myth, you are being illogical because you are making room for your faith despite the evidence against it.
    There are Christians who believe that Adam and Eve are myth only, but I am not one of them. I however believe that Adam and Eve were historical persons, and that they were the first human beings but not the first homo sapiens, because I do not believe that our humanity is to be found in our biological nature or in a genetic inheritance. Instead I believe that our humanity is found in our mental nature and in an inheritance of information that it passed not by DNA but by human communication. This information is not restricted to genetic decent but can be passed laterally. Indeed you could say that it would spread throughout the species with the speed of an idea or like a religion, and so I could say that our first religion or philosophy were the ideas and way of thinking that constitute our humanity.

    Furthermore I think there is support for this view in the Bible. The Biblical terminology for this is that there are people to whom God have communicated and these are called His chosen people or "the sons of God", for they have an inheritance of the mind from God by which God could call them His children. Genesis 6:1-4 tells of how the "the sons of God" married "the daughters of men" and gave birth to "the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown." Here is the answer to the age old question of who did Cain and Seth marry - not their sisters but female homo sapiens who were brought into the family and into the human way of thinking. Furthermore it is saying that their offspring were the founders of human civilization.
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    Forum Ph.D. verzen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    MM - The REASON behind the fact that the higher educated you are, the less religious you become is that education forces you to look for evidence and proof of ALL findings and ALL claims...
    wow if you read the article it actually said those in higher education remain faithful more than others in early adult hood...so your wrong
    Ishmael, the article is simply wrong..
    Want me to post the statistics? It was on the news.. The higher education you have, the more atheistic you are.. You are appealing to a false authority.. Simply because an article says it does not make it true.
    "Democracy is a problem because it treats everyone as equals." - Betty Fischer

    "back in the 50's or 60's Nicky Criuz was a gang leader who met David Wilkerson in New York City. After much discussion over months or years, i forget how long, Wilkerson's wife became pregnant. one day Cruz decides to test God, he basically prayed--God if you are real let the baby be born a boy-- it was a boy. "
    - Logic of a creationist

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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    MM - The REASON behind the fact that the higher educated you are, the less religious you become is that education forces you to look for evidence and proof of ALL findings and ALL claims...
    wow if you read the article it actually said those in higher education remain faithful more than others in early adult hood...so your wrong
    Ishmael, the article is simply wrong..
    Want me to post the statistics? It was on the news.. The higher education you have, the more atheistic you are.. You are appealing to a false authority.. Simply because an article says it does not make it true.
    And simply because you say it is wrong does not mean that it is wrong. We are talking about the results of a scientific study. The scientist would presume that such is correct until another study is made that disproves this. At the very least, if your claim is going to have any scientific credibility you should look at the details of the study and give some reason why the results are not reliable.

    I would suggest that the problem here is a lack of clarity in your language and thinking. I would suggest that you find the scientific study to back up your claim about higher education in order to find the proper wording and careful language that a legitimate scientific claim is written in, for I suspect that when you do so you will find no contradiction between the result of that study and the study mentioned in the OP.

    What is the problem with what you have said? Well the problem is that many people like myself have become more religious rather than less so the higher the education we have received. But perhaps you mean something else and that is why you need to say things more carefully.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    And simply because you say it is wrong does not mean that it is wrong. We are talking about the results of a scientific study.
    This is an appeal to authority. Just because something is published as "scientific study" doesn't mean that the results are conclusive. This why we have labels for concepts such as "correlation does not equal causation", "confirmation bias", "biased sample", etc. This is why citing a study without providing access to the methodology is almost always entirely useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The scientist would presume that such is correct until another study is made that disproves this.
    More evidence that your knowledge of science is tenuous at best. Something is not accepted until it is disproven. This is also why burden of proof is important.

    I'm starting to understand why you didn't continue on for your doctorate, Mitch.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    At the very least, if your claim is going to have any scientific credibility you should look at the details of the study and give some reason why the results are not reliable.
    Burden of proof fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I would suggest that the problem here is a lack of clarity in your language and thinking. I would suggest that you find the scientific study to back up your claim about higher education in order to find the proper wording and careful language that a legitimate scientific claim is written in, for I suspect that when you do so you will find no contradiction between the result of that study and the study mentioned in the OP.

    What is the problem with what you have said? Well the problem is that many people like myself have become more religious rather than less so the higher the education we have received. But perhaps you mean something else and that is why you need to say things more carefully.
    No doubt someone here has a problem with their thinking/argumentation/communication skills. I don't think it's verzen though.

    @paralith: based on my attempt to find the article, it appears that the publisher does not allow online availability of their articles for a specified period of time. Which means that unless Mitch has access to the physical journal, he's based his argument almost entirely off of the abstracts (I'm guessing he actually hasn't read any of the articles he's cited). I was hoping that my request for a link to the article would show that I was wrong, however since he's opted to entirely gloss over my post, I suspect that he's stuck and knows that I know it. As always, though, I could be wrong.

    With that said, if you do have access to the 2009 article he cited, please let me know and I will PM you with my email address. Thanks!
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Considering I provided Mitch with access to the full text of the article, I'd say he has the full article.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    More of PhoenixG's irrational knee jerk reactions, how delightful...


    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    @paralith: based on my attempt to find the article, it appears that the publisher does not allow online availability of their articles for a specified period of time. Which means that unless Mitch has access to the physical journal, he's based his argument almost entirely off of the abstracts
    I do not have access, I requested a copy from SkinWalker. And I am not basing any sort of argument on it at all. I simply reported its content and quoted from it and the abstract of the other article (which abstract is public) from which the conclusions which verzen was disputing was taken.


    (I'm guessing he actually hasn't read any of the articles he's cited)
    And I'm guessing that you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Any headaches? visual halucinations? auditory? Or is it just the repeated displays of irrational thinking and unprovoked hostility that we can all see?


    If you really want to look into this, however, you should probably look into the article whose abstract I quoted rather than the article which I obtained from SkinWalker and read. But I can tell you right now that I would trust the evaluation of guys from the Berkeley sociology dept. rather than yours. Nothing I have read of what you have written has given me the slightest cause to put any trust in your objectivity let alone any of this empirical thinking that you claim for yourself.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    I'm starting to understand why you didn't continue on for your doctorate, Mitch.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    And I'm guessing that you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
    Let's try to stay focused on intellectual discourse and avoid the ad hominem arguments, guys ... okay?

    The premises of the arguments themselves leave plenty of room for witty comments and stylistic riposte without resorting to personal attacks and insults.

    8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I do not have access, I requested a copy from SkinWalker. And I am not basing any sort of argument on it at all.
    Okay. So you were simply parroting your interpretation of an abstract without actually reading the article to make sure that it was credible, was based on sound methodology, etc?

    Alright. I think I better understand what happened now.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If you really want to look into this, however, you should probably look into the article whose abstract I quoted rather than the article which I obtained from SkinWalker and read.
    Oh, so you only think one of the articles you cited is relevant? I'm confused, Mitch.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But I can tell you right now that I would trust the evaluation of guys from the Berkeley sociology dept. rather than yours.
    As always I appreciate you being open about your biases, even when we're discussing your appeals to authority. It makes me sad that this won't be an intellectually honest exchange, but at least everybody knows where everyone else stands, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Let's try to stay focused on intellectual discourse and avoid the ad hominem arguments, guys ... okay?

    The premises of the arguments themselves leave plenty of room for witty comments and stylistic riposte without resorting to personal attacks and insults.

    8)
    Was that better?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    I'm confused, Mitch.
    I agree. That about sums it up too.

    I read one article. The article I received from SkinWalker. No I did not read the articles referenced by that article. I quoted the abstract of one article that was referenced because it summed up rather well the surprising conclusions that the article I did read was talking about.


    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    As always I appreciate you being open about your biases,
    Yes you can absolutely count on my bias towards accepting the opinions of scientists stated in peer reviewed journals over the opinions that you state in your posts. No question about it.
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    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I read one article. The article I received from SkinWalker. No I did not read the articles referenced by that article. I quoted the abstract of one article that was referenced because it summed up rather well the surprising conclusions that the article I did read was talking about.
    So you cherry-picked. Okay. That's what I thought and now it's confirmed. That's all I was hoping for. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Yes you can absolutely count on my bias towards accepting the opinions of scientists stated in peer reviewed journals over the opinions that you state in your posts. No question about it.
    Well that's nice, Mitch, but that has absolutely nothing to do with what's being discussed here.

    So to our list of fallacies we add "non sequitur". Now "appeal to authority" has someone to play with.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Since the Social Forces article "Losing My Religion" is publicly available, I have now read that as well.

    What is particularly interesting to look at is the data in table 1 (click on the link above to see it). One of the things that was not pointed out in the Mayrl and Oeur article was that that those that attended college but earned no degree had lower rates of disaffiliation than those who attended no college at all. I would suggest as possible hypothesis that this is an indicator of statistically more support for higher education by families with religious affiliation. Another is that those enrolled in only a two year college had close to the same rates of disaffiliation and declining importance as those who attended no college at all, suggesting that 2 year college attendance being, more focused on a quick transition to the work force, is not significantly different from those not attending college at all.

    Looking at table 2, I find it surprising that the most significant predictor of decreased religious attendance was "not attending college" and that suggests to me that there must be some solid economic/sociological reason for this. I would hypothesize that we are seeing an effect of the family contributing to college costs as leverage to keep these young adults involved in religious participation. To test this hypothesis the study would have to query the subjects on how their college expenses are taken care of.



    What is that sound? Are there mosquitos in here?
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    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Remember when I mentioned "correlation does not equal causation" a few posts ago? This is that.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  21. #20 Re: Religion and Higher Education. 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Was that better?
    Not particularly. Let me show you what I was hoping for:

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Another focus of the Mayrl and Oeur article was the effect of religious affiliation on student achievement. There are good studies showing a very strong correlation between religious attendance and academic success in high school and a strong correlation with GPA in college, however data on religious attendance after entering college is lacking,
    This is only partially true. There are many good studies on religious attendance after entering college. In fact, they were cited in Mayrl and Oeur.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mayrl and Oeur 2009
    While surveys of incoming freshmen show that 81 percent frequently or occasionally attend religious services (HERI 2004), studies that look at college students later in their career invariably show declines in attendance rates. Uecker,Regnerus, andVaaler (2007) found, in a national longitudinal sample, that 64 percent of students enrolled in two- and four-year colleges reported attending services less frequently than they had as adolescents. Indeed, the pattern that emerges is that while a majority of students continue to attend services at least occasionally, only about a quarter attend frequently. Bryant, Choi, and Yasuno (2003) found, in a survey of 3,680 students from 50 colleges, that 27 percent claimed to attend worship “frequently” at the end of their freshman year, while an additional 30 percent claimed to attend religious services only “occasionally.” Hurtado and colleagues (2007) similarly found that 23 percent of rising sophomores reported attending services frequently, with another 33 percent doing so occasionally. Rates of prayer also reflect this bifurcated pattern; 69 percent of freshmen report that they pray at least occasionally, but only 28 percent claim to do so daily (HERI 2004). As with belief in God, worship attendance varies by race, with blacks and Asian Americans more likely to attend services frequently than Hispanics or whites (Mooney 2005).
    It should be no surprise that studies show that fundamentalist beliefs can hinder academic achievement, and that excessive religious involvement can have a deleterious effect on academic achievement in college.
    True. I think I linked to the Nyborg study (2008) in another thread in which he used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97) to show the negative correlation of the g factor to conservative religiosity.

    The conclusion seems to be that this question of the impact of religious involvement upon academic achievement at the college level is an area where more and better research is needed.
    I can agree with that. It would be interesting to see controls for areas of major, club and fraternity participation, age, degree of academic freedom (i.e. students who choose their own classes versus tuition paying parents, students who change majors, etc.), and others.

    The second half of the paper focuses on suggesting area where further research is needed.
    1. Better measures for spirituality and religiosity
    This is a fair expectation and one of the reasons why doing a meta-analysis of such a topic would be almost completely unreliable since there is no standard by which to stipulate someone is spiritual and/or religious. These are subjective terms which vary from researcher to researcher and are clearly affected by individual biases.
    2. Connecting studies of adolescents and college students
    This would need to take into consideration the above, but it might be more possible if a longitudinal study were conducted (there are several already cited by the authors) and the same measures were implemented throughout.

    3. Need to make distinctions between different types of colleges
    Another important consideration since I would expect that Baylor University to have a higher rate of religiosity than the University of Texas since the former is a Baptist university and the latter a state. Still, the degree of variation between the two would be interesting as would the measures of religiosity and church attendance throughout the student's academic career at any one University. I'd like to see a comparison of science majors from Baylor, Southern Methodist, and the Uni of TX and what affect an education in the sciences has on religiosity.

    4. How campus religious activities affect the college environment
    Or, for that matter, how campus irreligious activities affect the college environment. In addition to organizations like Campus Crusaders for Christ, there are also branches of the Center For Inquiry as well as the Secular Students Alliance -and others.

    The articles final conclusion is as follows:
    The thing I found interesting about the conclusion of Mayrl and Oeur is that they didn't really reach any conclusion. At least not in any quantitative way. They said religion is important, perhaps more than expected, but didn't really justify that conclusion. They mentioned several factors throughout their article, but I would have liked to see a sentence or two of what they felt were the most convincing reasons for arriving at this conclusion. I have similar criticisms of their remaining concluding remarks though I'm not disputing their truth-value.



    References

    Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) (2004). The spiritual life of college students: A national study of college students’ search for meaning and purpose. Los Angeles, CA: Author.

    Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) (2006). Spirituality and the professoriate: A national study of faculty beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Los Angeles, CA: Author.

    Uecker, Jeremy E., Mark D. Regnerus, and Margaret L. Vaaler (2007). Losing my religion: The social sources of religious decline in early adulthood. Social Forces 85(4):1667–92.

    Bryant, Alyssa N., Jeung Yun Choi, and Maiko Yasuno (2003). Understanding the spiritual and religious dimension of students’ lives in the first year of college. Journal of College Student Development 44(6):723–45

    Hurtado, Sylvia, Linda J. Sax, Victor Saenz, Casandra E. Harper, Leticia Oseguera, Jennifer Curley, Lina Lopez, De’Sha Wolf, and Lucy Arellano (2007). Findings from the 2005 administration of Your First College Year (YFCY): National aggregates. Los Angeles, CA: Higher Education Research Institute.

    Mooney, Margarita. (2005). Religion at America’s most selective colleges: Some findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Freshmen (NLSF). Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, Philadelphia, PA.

    Nyborg, Helmuth (2008). The intelligence-religiosity nexus: a representative study of white adolescent Americans. Intelligence, 37(1), 81-93.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    With regard to completion of High School and educational attainment in High School versus going on to complete college level education, I'm reminded of Massengill (2008). She observed, "[e]ven in light of the increased educational opportunities available to Americans born since 1940, being raised conservative Protestant still exerts a negative effect on educational attainment... conservative Protestants born since 1960 are no less likely to finish high school, but display consistently lower odds of bachelor's degree attainment when compared to mainliners."

    The factors that encourage the religious to complete high school level education are likely to be familial pressures. Adolescents who identify as "religious" do so primarily because they were raised religious. Shouldn't it be expected that, under such an authoritative environment, where a youth is willing to acquiesce to religious expectations of parents that they might also acquiesce to their educational expectations?

    Fortunately, these young "religious" people do find themselves going on to college and actually obtaining educations independent of their parental authority, which probably has an effect on the "lower odds of bachelor's degree attainment" mentioned above by Massengill. One is left to wonder if a student begins college as a conservative Protestant, but later renounces his/her degree of religiosity, would he/she be counted among the religious conservatives obtaining a bachelor's degree? I'll have to re-read the Massengill paper to discover whether or not this was controlled for.

    Reference:

    Massengill, Rebekah Peeples (2008). Educational attainment and cohort change among conservative protestants, 1972-2004. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47(4), 545-562.
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  23. #22  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    conservative Protestants born since 1960 are no less likely to finish high school, but display consistently lower odds of bachelor's degree attainment when compared to mainliners."

    The factors that encourage the religious to complete high school level education are likely to be familial pressures. Adolescents who identify as "religious" do so primarily because they were raised religious. Shouldn't it be expected that, under such an authoritative environment, where a youth is willing to acquiesce to religious expectations of parents that they might also acquiesce to their educational expectations?

    Fortunately, these young "religious" people do find themselves going on to college and actually obtaining educations independent of their parental authority, which probably has an effect on the "lower odds of bachelor's degree attainment" mentioned above by Massengill. One is left to wonder if a student begins college as a conservative Protestant, but later renounces his/her degree of religiosity, would he/she be counted among the religious conservatives obtaining a bachelor's degree? I'll have to re-read the Massengill paper to discover whether or not this was controlled for.
    Yes the data in the Social Forces journal only goes up to a bachelor's degree and I think there are peculiarities in the data that hint that other forces than just education and religion are involved. I have always felt that those who handed opportunities do not appreciate them as much as those who have to work for them. Thus I am strongly encouraged to believe that the lower rates of disaffiliation for those that attend college but earned no degree, compared to those who attended no college at all, represent those with family support and thus more under family influence. But of course that is just a guess, and the scienitific approach is to test the hypothesis by adding questions about financial support to a future study.



    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Remember when I mentioned "correlation does not equal causation" a few posts ago? This is that.
    Rhetoric and excuses to reject findings that challenge your preconcieved notions is not the same thing as an objective examination of the data.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  24. #23  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    I can easily imagine religiosity having a positive effect on completion of a bachelor's degree. A devout muslim who never drinks or parties and lives a rather restrictive home life is probably more likely to be dedicated to their studies than someone without these restrictive influences. Mitchell may be right about family influencing the completion of a degree, but I'm not sure more family support is likely to result in less completion, it could be possible though. It is true that people tend to value what they work for more than what they are given. I payed for my education and when you're building up that kind of debt, not finishing really isn't an option.

    A study looking at the differences in progression of religiosity with respect to the major would be interesting. I would be particularly interested in the responses of students studying theology.
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  25. #24  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    The studies cited so far only suggest that religious adherents are more likely to finish high school than college. Indeed, the opposite appears true with religious adherents in college. One hypothesis for this might be that adolescents who are under the thumb of authoritarian parents (where they're told what to think and when to think, etc.) are suddenly without the authoritarian restrictions as they enter adulthood and pursue higher education.

    It would be an interesting study that controlled for religious high school students who changed their religious self-identification. I predict that what might be discovered should a longitudinal study be conducted is that religious adolescents begin to lose their religiosity with educations -particularly if coursework is controlled for, excluding business degrees for instance.

    I don't think I'd include "theology" under the heading of "higher learning." It's of no practical value in the natural world.
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  26. #25  
    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Rhetoric and excuses to reject findings that challenge your preconcieved notions is not the same thing as an objective examination of the data.
    Obviously I agree. This is much the same sentiment that I express when you attempt to blow off one of my posts. Unfortunately, I don't see how it's applicable here since I'm not "rejecting" anything other your fallacious argument.

    Data says X
    You say Y
    I point out that Y is fallacious
    You accuse me of rejecting X (when all I commented on was Y)
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  27. #26  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Mitchell may be right about family influencing the completion of a degree, but I'm not sure more family support is likely to result in less completion, it could be possible though.
    That is not what I am suggesting. My hypothesis is simply that family influence can account for a good portion of the difference in the statistics of disaffiliation between those who go to college and those who do not. I see the lower disaffiliation in those who go to college but get no degree as an indicator that this is the case because I think it likely that those who do not finish are less self motivated and therefore more likely to be those who have had their way paid by their family, perhaps those with a college fund and the unquestioned assumption that they would be going to college. This suggests to me that if we include a question about finances, we will find a strong correlation between those that remain in their religious affiliation and those whose finances are provided by their family. I am not suggesing anything mercenary in this but simply that the financial connection is an indicator of a continuation of strong family influence.

    Now when this is accounted for, the rates of disaffiliation for those going to college may still be lower than those that don't, who knows? But I find it very suspicious that in that study the question of whether people go to college was a stronger predictor of disaffiliation than things like involvement in drugs and alcohol.



    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Data says X
    You say Y
    I point out that Y is fallacious
    You accuse me of rejecting X (when all I commented on was Y)
    Its more like
    I report that the article says X
    You point out that Y is fallacious as proof for all the names you call me.
    And I ignore you as a waste of time.
    You repeat this pattern endlessly.
    I finally point out your hypocrisy.
    And you proceed to prove that any exchange with you is indeed an endless waste of my time, because you have nothing to say about the topic of discussion but only an endless stream of personal attacks, as if you imagine that such nonsense actually proves anything.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  28. #27  
    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Its more like
    I report that the article says X
    No sir, you inferred an argument from the article. I pointed out that the inference was fallacious.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You point out that Y is fallacious as proof for all the names you call me.
    And I ignore you as a waste of time.
    You repeat this pattern endlessly.
    I finally point out your hypocrisy.
    And you proceed to prove that any exchange with you is indeed an endless waste of my time, because you have nothing to say about the topic of discussion but only an endless stream of personal attacks, as if you imagine that such nonsense actually proves anything.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  29. #28  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Sorry, I have been somewhat sidetracked for the last couple of months and have not commented on any threads here in that time.

    This one interested me, mostly because Mitchell had started it.

    I think what impressed me from the beginning what how much false scientificos are like some religious people who agree with God until God disagrees with them. It appears there are science oriented people who agree with science until science disagrees with them.

    I think what the article Mitchell was using actually ends up saying is that there are so many variables and so few comprehensive (unbiased) studies which take into account all the variables, that it is impossible to draw any definitive conclusions as to the relationships between education, intelligence and religion.

    This general topic or variations have been discussed many times in the past on TSF and it seems to me that the science community continues to attempt to draw non-existent conclusions which try to suggest that religion negatively impacts educational success when the statistics tend to disprove that idea. Or that non-religious people are inherently more intelligent than religious people.

    About the only definitive conclusion that has been drawn in any of the studies I have seen and read is that when young people who have been reared in the church leave the nest, they tend to leave the church whether they go to college or go off the deep end into drugs and alcohol. Some of the studies indicate that more than 75 percent of kids raised in the church do this with no established pattern that educational followup is a factor.

    Religious kids who were good students when in high school remain good students in college whether they retain their religious ties or drop them. Some kids actually find religion in college.

    This question is actually worse than the chicken or the egg question, because science can, at least, show us the egg had to come first.

    The question of the relationships between intelligence, education and religion include some other factors such as economics, social status, family expectations, personal brain wiring and the like which may be, ultimately, more significant influences on the interim product. God isn't through with any of us -- yet.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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