People who believe in a God who created Earth are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories
- Experts found a link between the two belief systems thanks to a brain bias
- The link between creationism and conspiracism was ‘previously unidentified’
- Researchers found the religion or God a person believes in was irrelevant
- The effect was consistent regardless of sex, age or educational standard
- It is hoped the research can highlight the ‘major flaws of conspiracy theories’
People who think an almighty deity created the world are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, scientists have discovered.
Experts found the religion or God a person believes in is irrelevant, believers are still more likely to think the moon landing was a hoax or JFK was killed by the CIA.
Scientists claim the ‘previously unidentified’ link between the two is down to a brain bias that connects unrelated events.
Teleological thinkers are willing to accept statements such as ‘the sun rises in order to give us light’ and ‘the purpose of bees is to ensure pollination’ as true.
They hope that drawing the link between the two errors in rational thinking can highlight the ‘major flaws of conspiracy theories’.
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People who think an almighty deity created the world are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, scientists have discovered. Researchers looked at the link between creationist thinking and conspiracy theories by quizzing 150 college students in Switzerland (stock)
Researchers from the University of Fribourg looked at the link between creationist thinking and conspiracy theories by quizzing more than 150 students in Switzerland.
‘We find a previously unnoticed common thread between believing in creationism and believing in conspiracy theories,’ Sebastian Dieguez, lead author of the study from the University of Fribourg, said of the research.
‘Although very different at first glance, both these belief systems are associated with a single and powerful cognitive bias named teleological thinking, which entails the perception of final causes and overriding purpose in naturally occurring events and entities.’
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He claims that the willingness to believe such statements and the link to religious beliefs can help rid the world of conspiracy theories.
Dr Dieguez said: ‘By drawing attention to the analogy between creationism and conspiracism, we hope to highlight one of the major flaws of conspiracy theories and therefore help people detect it, namely that they rely on teleological reasoning by ascribing a final cause and overriding purpose to world events.
‘We think the message that conspiracism is a type of creationism that deals with the social world can help clarify some of the most baffling features of our so-called “post-truth era.”‘
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, then looked at more people to reinforce the results of the preliminary findings.
The research team asked a further 700 people to fill in the questionnaire and this confirmed the link between creationism and conspiracism.
Teleological thinkers are willing to accept statements such as ‘the sun rises in order to give us light’ and ‘the purpose of bees is to ensure pollination’ as true. This same bias contribute to a conspiracy theory mindset such as the belief Area 51 houses aliens and UFO (pictured)
BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES? YOU’RE PROBABLY A NARCISSIST, RESEARCHERS SAY
People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking, according to a recent study.
Over the course of three online-based studies, researchers at the University of Kent showed strong links between the belief in conspiracy theories and negative psychological traits.
Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the team explained: ‘Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem.’
In the first study, a total of 202 participants completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefs, asking how strongly they agreed with specific statements, such as whether governments carried out acts of terrorism on their own soil.
Alongside this, they were asked to complete a narcissist scale and a self-esteem assessment.
The results showed that those people who rated highly on the narcissism scale and who had low self-esteem were more likely to be conspiracy believers.
Dr Dieguez added: ‘This type of thinking is anathema to scientific reasoning, and especially to evolutionary theory, and was famously mocked by Voltaire, whose character Pangloss believed that ‘noses were made to wear spectacles.’
‘Yet it is very resilient in human cognition, and we show that it is linked not only to creationism, but also to conspiracism.’
The data also revealed that those relationships were partly distinct from other variables, including gender, age, analytical thinking, political orientation, education, and agency detection.
The researchers are now in the process of assessing the effectiveness of ongoing attempts to educate children and adolescents about the nature of conspiracy theories.
They say what’s ultimately needed is a thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to a conspiracist mindset.
Certain types of misinformation spread easily via social media and this reserch may help understand why, the researchers claim.
‘It’s possible that content framed in teleological terms are easier to process and spread faster than other types of information, and this could be tested on a much larger scale,’ Dr Dieguez says.
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