[asa] Impact of personality on views of origins: Some research results

From: Steve Martin <steven.dale.martin@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Dec 21 2009 - 07:24:56 EST

Hi all,

Marlowe Embree, who teaches psychology at University of Wisconsin Colleges,
is currently doing research that explores the correlation between
personality type differences (Myers-Briggs) and student views of the
“origins debate”. You can access a summary of his initial conclusions on
his website (see:
http://www.uwmc.uwc.edu/psychology/research_results_fall_2009.htm), but I’ve
listed some interesting ones below:

   - While belief in God and belief in evolution are modestly negatively
   correlated overall, they really tap into different and rather unrelated
   domains (in terms of specific attitudinal items that correlate with each).
   - Belief (as opposed to disbelief) in God is more linked to personality
   variables, but disbelief (as opposed to belief) in evolution is more linked
   to personality variables.
   - For most students, there is little relationship between epistemology
   (mental process or how they seek to arrive at truth) and metaphysics (mental
   content or what they believe is true). This is disturbing since, to a
   philosopher, the two should be organically linked (if two people have the
   same input/data and apply the same process, they should arrive at the same
   - Personality differences have a strong impact on what students believe
   (metaphysics/content) but little to no impact on how they think
   (epistemology/process). Some metaphysical disputes are really
   personality-type differences or misunderstandings in disguise. Theists are
   more likely to prefer Feeling, nontheists to prefer Thinking. Those with
   "extremist" views (creationists and secular evolutionists) are more likely
   to prefer Judging, while those with more "moderate" views (e.g., theistic
   evolutionists) are more likely to prefer Perceiving. Modal types differ for
   the different worldviews: for creationists, -SFJ types; for theistic
   evolutionists, I-FP types; for secular evolutionists, -NTJ types.

Marlowe has also written a (more-or-less) layman’s summary of this research
on my blog – the third part just published today can be accessed
He concludes his last post with:

Given the ethics governing my research, I can’t directly ask interested
> readers to help me collect more data at this time, but would value
> opportunities to dialogue about this as a future possibility.

I thought this might be an interesting opportunity for some on this list.

Steve Martin (CSCA)
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Received on Mon Dec 21 07:25:23 2009

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