[asa] "Pure Altruists" - Scientific study: People love to .." (Was Re: [asa] STATEMENT ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN BY IOWA STATE)

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Sun Jun 17 2007 - 16:21:46 EDT

At 03:06 PM 6/16/2007, D. F. Siemens, Jr. wrote:

>I think there is a simple answer: we hear what
>we intend to hear. Indeed, there was a report of
>some recent experiments indicating that
>different parts of the brain light up when the
>same slanted information is presented to
>individuals with different political views. The
>"I'm right: how come you're so stupid" syndrome
>now has empirical demonstration. ~ Dave

@ "A report", huh? Better check out the
"scientist" who did it. Competent scientists
know that empirical evidence is not derived by
beginning with a false premise / illogical methods.

"...Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
technology, the researchers observed the
??brain?? activity of 19 women ... Paying taxes
can make citizens happy," Ulrich Mayr, a
professor of psychology, said in a release
accompanying the study in the Friday issue of
Science. "People are, to varying degrees, pure
altruists. On top of that, they like that warm
glow they get from charitable giving. Until now,
we couldn't trace that in the brain. .."

"Hey, I’m willing to test the guy’s idea! Here’s
how: eliminate income tax witholding. Then let
everyone get a warm glow every month by writing a
check to Big Government. Wanta guess how soon
citizens will be screaming for lower taxes and
voting the bums out? I am not sure if the author
is on the staff or is really an inmate of a
psychiatric facility. But I do think monthly
payments would give citizens the full benefit and
joy of paying their taxes! 35

"If this isn't junk science, then nothing meets
the requirement to be called such! A new, money
wasting university "study" was written about by
New Scientist Magazine this month that was
presented as a "surprising discovery" somehow
"proving" that people secretly love to pay taxes.
And people wonder why "science" can be so easily
scoffed at these days... or why it's so hard to believe what you read."

~ Janice ... who would have sub-titled the
article below this way: "Another scientist
increases odds for tenure as he dutifully finds
evidence useful to politicians ensuring funding
for future
'relevant studies'."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1851180/posts?page=37#37

Happiness is paying your taxes, study suggests
CBC News ^ | Friday, June 15, 2007 | 3:04 PM ET | CBC News
Posted on 06/16/2007 1:23:29 AM EDT by Gondring
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1851180/posts

Contrary to the common notion that paying taxes
can be a painful experience, researchers at the
University of Oregon say the practice actually
may trigger feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

"Paying taxes can make citizens happy," Ulrich
Mayr, a professor of psychology, said in a
release accompanying the study in the Friday issue of Science.

"People are, to varying degrees, pure altruists.
On top of that, they like that warm glow they get
from charitable giving. Until now, we couldn't trace that in the brain."

The study by Mayr and his colleagues is titled
Neural Responses to Taxation and Voluntary
Giving Reveal Motives for Charitable Donations.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
technology, the researchers observed the brain
activity of 19 women who were given a balance of
$100 each. The researchers created the effect of
taxation by making mandatory withdrawals from
their account. The withdrawn money was actually sent to a food bank's account.

Participants also made additional choices about
whether to give away more money or keep it for themselves.

2 brain areas activated during test

The study found that two reward-related areas of
the brain the caudate nucleus and the nucleus
accumbens lit up during the taxation test. These
areas are typically activated when a person
experiences feelings of satisfaction, as they do after having eaten a meal.

"The fact that mandatory transfers to a charity
elicit activity in reward-related areas suggests
that even mandatory taxation can produce
satisfaction for taxpayers," the study said.

When the participants voluntarily gave the
charity more money, the activation area was
larger a finding that, according to the
researchers, sheds light on why people make donations.

"These transfers are associated with neural
activation similar to that which comes from
receiving money for oneself," the study said.

Mayr said the findings show people are willing to
pay their taxes as long as they support good
causes. The authors noted, however, that the
results may have differed if people had been
presented with a tax that seemed less fair or benevolent. ~

*

This appears on Newsbusters...

New Scientist: People Love to Pay Taxes? Absurd 'Study' Presented as Fact

If this isn't junk science, then nothing meets
the requirement to be called such! A new, money
wasting university "study" was written about by
New Scientist Magazine (on their website
<http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn12068&feedId=online-news_rss20>newscientist.com)
this month that was presented as a "surprising
discovery" somehow "proving" that people secretly
love to pay taxes. And people wonder why
"science" can be so easily scoffed at these
days... or why it's so hard to believe what you read.

On top of the bad reporting, this story is more
proof of the constant waste of money that is
perpetrated by our National Universities. Instead
of teaching useful information and conducting
meaningful studies, this University is trying to
"prove" that people really secretly LOVE paying taxes.

Gee, why do they want that little absurd concept
floating out there, do you think? And why is this
news outlet propagating this foolishness?

New Scientist begins their tale in wide-eyed amazement:
Paying taxes feels good, say researchers.
The surprising discovery, based on brain scans,
can also predict which people are most likely to donate cash to charity.
"Surprising discovery", indeed. So, what was the method?
Bill Harbaugh at the University of Oregon in
Eugene, US, and colleagues gave 19 female
university students $100, and told them some of
this money would have to go towards taxes.
Each volunteer then read a series of 60 separate
taxation scenarios involving $0 to $45 in taxes,
knowing that one of the scenarios would be
selected at random and the related amount be subtracted from their $100.
And the finding?
As the participants viewed the tax scenarios,
their brains were scanned using functional
magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Surprisingly,
whenever the students read the taxation
scenarios, scientists saw a spike in activity
within two of the brain's reward centres – the
nucleus accumbens and caudate nucleus.
And the wild leaps in logic that are extrapolated
from this so-called discovery?
Harbaugh says that people probably like paying
taxes more than they admit. He believes the
results of his new study help explain the
widespread compliance with tax laws. "We like to
complain about it, but based on what we do, we
are not as opposed to it as we like to say," Harbaugh says.
Economist Robert Frank of Cornell University
comments that tax-paying might stimulate positive
feelings in the brain because the process helps
equalise the burden of helping others.
What unbelievable balderdash! This "study" is so
obviously flawed and absurd that it boggles the mind.

The truth is this flawed study treated taxes and
charitable giving as one and the same function, a
fatal flaw at the heart of their attempts to "prove" anything.

The study goes on to compare the brain scans of
people giving charitable donations to those who
are "paying taxes" (not that their study actually
has anyone really paying taxes in it).

The entire concept, however, makes a fundamental mistake in definition.

Taxes are NOT charity. They are forcible
redistribution of income -- even if for
legitimate reason in some cases. Charity and taxes are in no way comparable.

Further, it shows that these concepts have not
been taught to these students before this idiotic
study was conducted and no control group of
people chosen for their proper understanding of
the definitions of taxes and charity was assembled for this program.

Let's review the method to see further mistakes
in logic. They GAVE $100 to 19 female STUDENTS.
Those two words in caps further disqualifies the
study as presenting any legitimate finding.

Problem #1- GAVE

These girls were not spending their own hard
earned money. It was money that was simply handed
to them with no efforts on their part past
signing up for the study. These girls had no
emotional attachment to the money, no sense of
having earned it, no real assumptions that it was
"theirs" at all. It was merely Monopoly money
used for this study in their minds. It should be
no surprise, then, that these subjects had no
adverse reaction to the "spending" of their $100 on taxes.

Problem #2 STUDENTS

Chances are, the bulk of these same girls don't
work for a living, either. So, their experience
with earning money that they are utterly
dependent upon for themselves and their family is
also an emotional concern they are not accustomed
to. They are probably taken care of by grants,
loans and parents' funds, so they have little
understanding of the "worth" of the $100 they were handed.

Another thing that makes this study completely
meaningless is the lack of context. Few sensible
people are against taxes just on principle. Even
die hard tax protesters understand that taxes are
a necessary evil at some level. But, context is
important to the question of taxes. How is it
being spent? Is the government program effective?
Is it free of graft? These questions change the
desire of people to pay taxes and must be
answered to fully study people's true reactions to taxes.

Further, there is a difference between the
personal satisfaction of giving to a charity and
feeling of "pleasure" from having helped someone
else and the different emotional "pleasure" of
having done your duty as a citizen when paying
taxes. Duty is a personal satisfaction based on a
sense of accomplishment for yourself first.
Charitable giving is a "pleasure" of having
helped someone else. Yet, both feelings can be
erased or materially harmed when the money thus
given is misused. This study neither takes any
time to quantify the two feelings of "pleasure"
nor factors in the ultimate use of that money.

All these deficits of logic and method makes this study a farce.

But, here we are being told of the "surprising
discovery" of this study which is presented as if
it is all ascertained fact. This "secret
pleasure" is presented as some amazing, unexpected human reaction to taxation.

And, again, why would such a study be made? Is
this another effort to soften the blow of
taxation? If so, this is quite against the grain
of the American experience which has been built
on decades of a dislike of taxation and a mistrust of government.

In the end, all we have here is propaganda for
the left from New Scientist and the University of Oregon.

18 posted on 06/16/2007 1:57:32 AM EDT by Mobile Vulgus
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1851180/posts?page=18#18

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Received on Sun Jun 17 16:22:49 2007

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