Mailvox: dating site science

AA asks about a new study purporting to demonstrate that religion only benefits people where it is a free rider:

What do you think about the newly released study that claims that religious beliefs only make people happier due to cultural factors? According to the new study of almost 200,000 people in 11 European countries, people who are religious have higher self-esteem and better psychological adjustment than the non-religious only in countries where belief in religion is common . In more secular societies, the religious and the non-religious are equally well-off.

“The results suggest that religiosity, albeit a potent force, confers benefits by riding on cultural values,” study researcher Jochen Gebauer of Humboldt University in Berlin and colleagues wrote online Jan. 5 in the journal Psychological Science.

Do you think this study indicates the truth or is there any other valid reasons why religion creates better lifestyles for people in need of purpose?

My initial assumption is that this study is the usual propagandistic garbage put out by pseudoscientists who are dishonestly attempting to bolster their preconceived opinion with a false sheen of science. No doubt it is the sort of quasi-scientific study that purports to “prove” that all conservatives are racist, low IQ child molesters and therefore all decent human beings have no choice but to vote for Nancy Pelosi.

[Stops to read the referenced article about the study.]

Bingo. Here is the money quote:

“Gebauer and colleagues wanted to know if larger cultural forces contribute to the well-being of spiritual sorts. They turned to eDarling, the European version of dating websites like eHarmony or Users of eDarling answer a question in their profiles about how important religion is to them; while setting up their profiles, they also complete psychological surveys asking them how “calm,” “cheerful” and “content” they feel, among other measures of happiness, life satisfaction and self-esteem.”

No doubt in their next study, Gebauer and his colleagues will report the astonishing news that contra all the media reports, there is no epidemic of obesity in America as only two percent of the women on eHarmony report themselves to be “overweight”. Not only is the ridicuous study entirely based on a notoriously unreliable form of self-reporting – it’s a DATING SITE, for crying out loud – but it contradicts many studies based upon more concrete metrics for measuring psychological health, such as alcoholism, suicide rates, and prescriptions for drugs used to treat depression.

Here, for example, is a study that uses the objective measure of hypertension as a metric and directly contradicts the conclusions of the eDarling-based study.

“With the help of a large Norwegian longitudinal health study called HUNT, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) were able to find a clear relationship between time spent in church and lower blood pressure in both women and men.

“We found that the more often HUNT participants went to church, the lower their blood pressure, even when we controlled for a number of other possible explanatory factors,” says Torgeir Sørensen, a PhD candidate from the School of Theology and Religious Psychology Centre at Sykehuset Innlandet (Inland Hospital). “This is the first study of its kind in Scandinavia. Previous research from the United States has shown that there is a possible link between people who attend church and blood pressure.”

In fact, if we are to take dating site science seriously, we can conclude that there are other, more important factors in making people happy. For example, OKCupid relies on the same sort of self-reporting “science” and concludes that women’s self-confidence increases with weight and age.

“Curvy women pass skinny ones in self-confidence at age 29 and never look back. They also consistently have the highest sex drive among the groups.”

So there is the scientific utopia of which so many secularists dream. Obese and godless old women rutting confidently, and often, with each other. Oh sweet Sappho! Do you understand the significance of this? Do you realize what this means? There is now a scientific basis for Lesbian Dorito Night!