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The Devil's Advocate: Secular Arguments Diminish both Implicit and Explicit Religious Belief

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image of Journal of Cognition and Culture

The religion-science debate has heated up in recent years, with polemical arguments on both side decrying the other. Given that the dominant view is of religiousness as a relatively fixed personality trait, all of this furor seems excessive. Interested in just how malleable religiousness is, we exposed half of our participants to an argument against the existence of God by Richard Dawkins. Those exposed to Dawkins' arguments showed lower self-reported religiousness, as well as less implicit association between religion and truth. These results demonstrate the flexibility of trait religiousness.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4; 2: Arizona State University, Tucson, AZ, USA


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