An international team of researchers have conducted a survey to see whether people have higher regard for statements made by scientists compared with spiritual leaders, even if the people don’t understand what has been stated. To do this they presented people with apparently erudite statements that were really nonsense generated by a computer algorithm that puts together modern-day buzzwords and technical terms into grammatically correct but meaningless sentences. The statements were neither overtly scientific nor religious. The team surveyed 10,195 participants from 24 countries, asking them to rate how credible they found the statements.
The sources of the statements were ascribed to either a person with a fictitious name and described as “a spiritual authority in world religions” or to someone else with a different fictitious name yet described as “a scientific authority in the field of particle physics”.
Overall, the survey revealed people gave higher credibility rating to the “scientific authority” source than the “spiritual leader”, even by people who identified as being “religious”. The research team called this phenomenon the “Einstein effect” and summarised their results: “across all 24 countries and all levels of religiosity, scientists held greater authority than spiritual gurus.”
They then concluded: “These findings suggest that irrespective of one’s religious worldview, across cultures science is a powerful and universal heuristic that signals the reliability of information.”
References: Science Alert 13 February 2022; Nature Human Behaviour published online 7 February 2022, doi: 10.1038/s41562-021-01273-8.
Editorial Comment: This last statement may also sound like it came out of the balderdash producing algorithm, but it does make sense if you understand the term “heuristic” which means enabling someone to discover or learn something for themselves. Therefore, these researchers were claiming that people see science, and therefore the teachings of scientists, as the way to find the truth.
It is interesting that even people who considered themselves religious put scientists above spiritual leaders. This has provably happened in the Christian church over the past century and a half, as the ‘evolutionary words of Darwin, Lyell, Dawkins and Attenborough have been elevated above the Word of God on six day creation, Noah’s flood and other Biblical topics.
It pays to remember that when something is not true, it won’t ever be made true simply by being said by scientists, no matter how many university degrees they may have. To find the truth you need to go to the One who is the truth – The Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke the truth and backed up His words with actions that only the Creator could do.
Finally, don’t let anyone bluff you with ‘heuristic’ balderdash or big words. If something looks or sounds like balderdash it probably is, and being said by a scientific or religious authority will not change that. God’s Word uses plain language, meant for all to understand. If someone claiming to have scientific or religious authority tries to make it more complicated than it is, or change the plain meaning to suit current popular theories, don’t let them confuse you. If someone tries to bluff you with big words don’t be intimidated. Politely ask them to explain. If they can’t give you an answer in plain language, they probably don’t know what they are talking about.
We were recently called upon to deal with this is when we were asked about a book by Ken Coulson, a scientist who proposed a new theory that appeared to reconcile Darwin’s and Lyell’s theories with Genesis. The same author also made claims about dogs and evolution. For our response to both of his claims in answer to the questions:
What do you think of the book ‘Creation Unfolding’ by Ken Coulson? Is it evolutionist? Answer here.
Dogs have undergone many changes since people have been breeding them. Surely this is evolution? Answer here.
Were you helped by this item? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep sending out our newsletters and add more items to this archive. Donate here.