Something else increases with age

As I mentioned earlier, an analysis of three different surveys across the globe shows that belief in God is more likely to arise as one gets older.  Gnu atheists are likely to view this as wishful thinking in the face of one’s impending mortality.  Yet mortality is as real as real gets.  And I don’t think people are more likely to embrace God as they get older because of wishful thinking in the face of reality.  I think it has more to do with clearing away the distractions of life and becoming wiser as one gets older.  Now, not everyone does become wiser with age.  But for those people who do, with increasing wisdom comes a greater opportunity for embracing theism.

Interestingly enough, I found a study that obliquely supports my hypothesis.

Reasoning about social conflicts improves into old age

Here is the abstract

It is well documented that aging is associated with cognitive declines in many domains. Yet it is a common lay belief that some aspects of thinking improve into old age. Specifically, older people are believed to show better competencies for reasoning about social dilemmas and conflicts. Moreover, the idea of aging-related gains in wisdom is consistent with views of the aging mind in developmental psychology. However, to date research has provided little evidence corroborating this assumption. We addressed this question in two studies, using a representative community sample. We asked participants to read stories about intergroup conflicts and interpersonal conflicts and predict how these conflicts would unfold. We show that relative to young and middle-aged people, older people make more use of higher-order reasoning schemes that emphasize the need for multiple perspectives, allow for compromise, and recognize the limits of knowledge. Our coding scheme was validated by a group of professional counselors and wisdom researchers. Social reasoning improves with age despite a decline in fluid intelligence. The results suggest that it might be advisable to assign older individuals to key social roles involving legal decisions, counseling, and intergroup negotiations. Furthermore, given the abundance of research on negative effects of aging, this study may help to encourage clinicians to emphasize the inherent strengths associated with aging.

Let this part sink in:  relative to young and middle-aged people, older people make more use of higher-order reasoning schemes that emphasize the need for multiple perspectives, allow for compromise, and recognize the limits of knowledge.

If you think about it, Gnu ideology, which is atheism on steroids, is the antithesis to the need for multiple perspectives, allowing for compromise, and recognizing the limits of knowledge.  Gnus think there is only one reasonable perspective – theirs.  They do not allow for any compromise and advocate a position so extreme that they often mock other atheists as faitheists and accommodationists.  And they recognize the limits of knowledge only in the sense that they think those who disagree with them are stupid.

Thus, it would make sense that as one makes more use of higher-order reasoning schemes that emphasize the need for multiple perspectives, allows for compromise, and recognizes the limits of knowledge, one is more likely to become a theist.  And that would also explain why the crowd at the reason rally looks like they have an average age of around 30.

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One Response to Something else increases with age

  1. Jim says:

    As a young person, I haven’t seen much Gnu Atheism among my generation. Most people have some kind of vague spiritual identity, and respect other people’s beliefs. This “anyone who believes in God is delusional” is relegated mainly to the internet.

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