In a recent study of psychological “priming”, boffins at two universities have turned up an unsurprising result: anxiety about death can incline people more favorably toward belief in supernatural agency and purpose, in particular “intelligent design”.

(The study might have been somewhat slanted, however; one of the metrics used for confidence in naturalism was “liking Dawkins”.)

Two things stand out: first, that people’s views on intelligent design vs. Darwinian evolution were unformed enough, prior to their participating in the study, as to be influenced in any significant measure by reading the brief synopses given to them of the two positions; second, the conclusion by one of the researchers that the study shows that people “may need to be explicitly taught” that a naturalistic worldview can provide a solid philosophical foundation for purpose and meaning.

Story here.


  1. Kevin Kim says

    Did I see a subtle plug for Brigham Young University in your post?

    Posted March 31, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Ha! Since corrected.


    Posted March 31, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says


    Posted March 31, 2011 at 2:22 am | Permalink

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