Movie Friday: Witchboard »« Why are you hitting yourself? Part 3: this post contains implicit content

Why are you hitting yourself? Part 4: the self-hating 99%

This is part 4 of an ongoing discussion of a paper by Jost, Banaji and Nosek discussing System Justification Theory. Read Part 1Read Part 2. Read Part 3.

In this morning’s installment, we explored the phenomenon of implicit valuation of members of high-status groups. Despite what we may say, or what we may consciously believe about ourselves, our actions reveal subconscious attitudes that we may have. Our wish to approve of, or make excuses for, the status quo of our social lives leads those who are on the top of power gaps to exhibit bias towards themselves. At the same time, that same desire puts those at the bottom of those divides in the somewhat bizarre role of showing the same bias – toward those at the top. This effect is not seen when measuring explicit attitudes – what people are willing to admit to – but shows up when we can find ways to ‘bypass’ conscious processing.

In this installment, I’m going to look explicitly at one aspect of how system justification theory manifests itself: political ideology.

Hypothesis 8: As system justification tendencies increase, (a) members of high-status groups will exhibit increased ingroup favoritism, and (b) members of low-status groups will exhibit increased outgroup favoritism.

Translation: the size of the bias effect increases when system justification pressures increase.

Basically, this is simply a statement that there is a dose-response relationship between system justification and how strong the bias towards those at the top is. This one is kind of a gimme – if system justification is responsible for the effect, then more justification yields more effect. However, the authors pivot this hypothesis in an interesting and relevant way:

Hypothesis 8′: As political conservativism increases, (a) members of high-status groups will exhibit increased ingroup favoritism, and (b) members of low-status groups will exhibit increased outgroup favoritism.

Translation: Political conservatism, as an ideology synonymous with system justification, is related to the bias in the same way. 

I remember a presentation at a conference I recently attended where the speaker was answering a question – someone asked him if people who did [certain practice that is not worth explaining] had the wrong idea. The speaker mulled this over for a second and said “well that depends. I wouldn’t say [name of person] is doing things wrong – look how much money it’s made him! But if he’s trying to improve the health and well-being of humans, then yes he’s doing it completely wrong.” This is more or less how I feel about conservativism. It’s not ‘wrong’, unless your goal is to make the world a healthier, happier, more equal place for your fellow creatures; if that is your goal then conservatism isn’t very good at doing that.

The authors, based on work they’d done in the past, identify political conservatism as an expression of system justification: providing moral and intellectual rationalization for resisting change (maintaining the status quo) and explaining away inequalities. Their contention, based on this work, is that the more conservative someone is, the more likely they are to exhibit the kind of biases seen when system justification pressure is high. They point to research that seems to illustrate this effect:

Jost - Figure 4

As you can see from the above graph, the more conservative beliefs held, the more likely people (well, white people, apparently. Straight people too) are to hold ingroup-biased attitudes. Interestingly, this is true of both implicit and explicit attitudes, which means that white conservatives are more likely to admit that they prefer other white people. Nothing ground-breaking or shocking about that, I suppose (unless you’re one of those conservatives that believes that liberals are the “real” racists). What is interesting, however, is what happens when you compare the two plots for black responders. While black people avowed in-group preference, their implicit attitudes show that they are more or less neutral to their racial preference. While this study is perhaps insufficient to demonstrate the effect on its own, the trend does raise an interesting question.

I’m about a week behind Stephanie Zvan in discussing how this theory relates to the Occupy Together movement and the Tea Party, but that’s only because I had to work through all the pieces that came before. If we can agree that, generally speaking, the Occupy Together movement is liberal and the Tea Party is conservative (that’s how they poll, at least), then this article comes into sharper focus:

In recent days, many of them have issued statements denying any similarities with the Occupy Wall Street. Judson Phillips, spokesman for the Tea Party Nation, responded to the claim with this: “The clueless revolt continues and it is painfully obvious those who are showing up to ‘protest’ do not have a job. In most cases, it is painfully obvious why they don’t have a job. To paraphrase the Jimmy Buffett song Margaretville: ‘It’s your own damn fault’.”

Independence Tea Party President Teri Adams was somewhat less flippant but equally unequivocal in her rejection of Occupy Wall Street: “The idea that Wall Street is the root of all evil is an anathema to us.”

It is very hard to imagine that these movements will find common cause. They may both believe that “virtue resides in ordinary people” and that they have the skills and platform to “bring their would-be superiors down to earth” but their definition of who is ordinary and who is superior is radically different.

Even a casual stroll through the “We are the 53%” counter-tumblr (inaccurately named, but we’ll let them keep their weird label allegiance) shows many prime examples of system justification theory – people reacting to stories about people working their fingers to the bone and not getting ahead, by saying “I work hard too and don’t succeed – stop complaining!” To the extent that both the Tea Party and the “53%” both reflect system justifying attitudes, their defense of the people who are screwing them over becomes less and less mysterious.

Concluding thoughts

Insofar as system justification and political conservatism are analogous (one might say synonymous), system justification theory gives us a fairly decent insight into the seemingly-inexplicable tendency for conservatives to defend the same practices that keep them shut out from opportunity. For all its talk of rational self-interest, political conservatism betrays a strong desire to uphold the status quo over and above any desire to see individual success. This desire may be mitigated by factors like race or sexual orientation, which explains why minority groups tend to migrate toward liberal ideas to a greater extent than conservative ones. We will explore this phenomenon in greater depth in next week’s installments.

Like this article? Follow me on Twitter!

Comments

  1. says

    I’m really enjoying this series, and it’s reflecting a lot of real-life stuff that I’ve encountered….but, how did I end up being where I am (a “99%er”)? How do people learn to (or just end up) not supporting the wealthy/powerful outgroup and make decisions that ultimately lead to a better world? How do “we” “win”?

  2. Crommunist says

    I prefer to think of this as an issue of “how can we encourage people to overcome our biases?” Because believe you me – you and I are both chock-a-block with biases that make us do irrational things that seem totally justified at the time. It’s part of being human.

    I will offer my perspective on this issue and the whole SJT next Thursday.

  3. quantheory says

    One thing that appears relevant to SJT, but was not discussed in this paper, is the phenomenon of amnesiac nostalgia (and the related phrase “good old days”).

    As a matter of personal befuddlement, I find it just about impossible to feel nostalgia for previous periods in U.S. history (even just looking at moral rather than technological changes). We had genocide and mass displacement of Native Americans, slavery, debtor’s prisons, indentured servitude, theocratic persecution and bloodshed, no sense of conservation or environmentalism, and quite a few wars and skirmishes.

    The western frontier had intense, lawless bloodshed and violence. The industrial revolution involved low wages, long hours, terrible conditions, and the corruption or displacement of local governments by corporate stooges. At the turn of the century, women were guaranteed almost no independent legal, political, and economic rights from their male family (especially husbands). Because Incorporation had not yet begun, people had no First Amendment protection from state and local laws (which still explicitly discriminated based on religion in several states). We still had Jim Crow laws and official segregation, which didn’t end until circa 1967 (I consider Loving v. Virginia the last really huge landmark in that arena). Even then, the second wave of feminism hadn’t yet produced much difference, and there was essentially no gay rights movement outside of marginalized, closeted and pseudonymous activism.

    And yet we still have people talking about how great the Founding Fathers were and how American greatness is due almost entirely to their genius (and beliefs in equality and liberty and so on). That’s a major cultural feature of the Tea Party. Frankly, the U.S. constitution really is a startlingly good one for its time, but really? The politicians of that era were not prescient gods.

    Libertarians tend to extol the freedoms of the late 19th century and the turn of the century, a time when essentially everyone in the U.S. was denied rights and opportunities that they now have.

    Even average social conservatives seem to have some kind of nostalgia for the 1950s and early 60s, before most of the major victories in civil rights, and when many ostensibly modern social ills were not so much not present as ignored or swept under the rug. (I sometimes wonder why people act as if drug addiction, rape, and violent crime had not been invented back then.)

    And of course, before people wasted time on trashy novels and self help and video games and porn and the internet, they wasted it on TV and radio and drugs and older trashy novels and older porn. And if you go back farther, you’d be hard-pressed to find a time before gambling, prostitution, fistfights, affairs, duels, dog or cock fights and binge drinking.

    Anyway, I’m ranting a bit more than I intended. But you get the idea. People act as if the past did not contain violence and vices and oppression (or else as if the kinds that existed weren’t so bad). This false premise allows conservatives to blame modern ills on something that’s recently changed, apparently for the worse.

    People sometimes idolize “real men” of the good old days (when men were men and women were women), emphasizing honorableness, bravery, and competence, and define a “real man” as someone who not only displays those traits, but adheres to a stereotypical conception of masculinity, is dominant or unyielding towards women, doesn’t care about pain or physical danger (for himself or other men), doesn’t tolerate insults, and so on. The facts that men have at no point all rigorously adhered to this stereotype, and that men who did were often what we’d now call “sexist, belligerent assholes”, seem to have been lost.

    One good thing about this kind of nostalgia is that it varies significantly between generations. Increasingly politics is dominated by people who grew up during the second wave of feminism, or after its early victories. The “good old days” become less misogynist, and positive views of the 60’s become more “in spite of” than “because of” the more widespread misogyny. (This is something that I think has already happened with the civil rights movement.) Similarly, the youngest evangelicals today are surprisingly likely to believe in equal legal rights for gay couples, even while believing that same-sex relationships are sinful. Their nostalgia baseline was set by a world where gay people were considered weird or hedonistic, but still tolerated, rather than one in which society was unreflectively intolerant. It’s not perfect, but it’s improvement.

  4. Crommunist says

    That’s an interesting perspective that I hadn’t thought of. I have talked about this phenomenon before. Perhaps the nostalgia factor is one of the non-legitimate stereotypes that help defend the status quo when it is under threat.

  5. quantheory says

    I liked your reference to the never-was Rockwell world. It makes me wonder if our tendency to “just let kids be kids”, to the degree that we actively hide from them various societal ills and troubles that their parents are enduring, contributes to nostalgia.

    I haven’t much drive or talent for visual art, but I’ve always secretly wanted to do a few subversive pieces of art about sanitized, idolized periods. Paint scenes from westerns, but with the alcoholics vomiting and the dead bodies rotting. Paint Noah’s flood, focusing on a drowning mother with an infant. Paint a medieval raid, only this time you actually show peasant families being subjected to the violence of feudal warlords, knights, or vikings (although, of course, people back then actually did draw such things).

    Part of my motivation is the actual message about how we view the past, part of it is that usually-starved part of my mind that secretly enjoys the macabre and gory, and part of it is the fact that I never really got good at painting and thus haven’t really produced any of these scenes. I think up a lot of these scenarios.

  6. Crommunist says

    A lot of the Renaissance paintings of biblical scenes were pretty gory, if memory serves. There are some, like the various depictions of the “Rape of the Sabine Women” and Picasso’s “Guernica” that are explicitly bloody for that exact purpose. I am definitely not a scholar of art history – maybe someone else here in the comments is and can think of more examples?

    I think a realistic cowboy movie would be about as subversive as you could get – not the brawny, fast-shooting heroes that are depicted by the likes of Clint Eastwood, but poor, illiterate, unhealthy hobos who work an awful job and die of disease rather than in shootouts. Take the sparkle off the American West. Or do actual depictions of the Mad Men era from the POV of the guy who works in the elevator or the women who run the lunch counter – the 1960s were far from glamorous for the vast majority of people.

  7. says

    Hmmm… all of this seems to confirm some of my thoughts on the likes of Herman Cain, Michael Steele, and other black Republicans. Unfortunately, I have other commitments and can’t complete my comment at this time… :(

  8. Brittany says

    A good friend of mine has a paper coming out soon in Psychological Science that suggests that people justify the system more when they think it can’t be changed. So, it’s the idea that we can effect change that will cause people to protest and stop justifying the system.

  9. quantheory says

    It did occur to me that there are probably some good Renaissance pieces along these lines, although I don’t know of them. Of course, there are plenty of explicit depictions of hell, but that’s different in that hell is supposed to be horrible.

    By the way, I have actually had the opportunity to see “Guernica” in person. The size of it really doesn’t come across in prints, of course; it’s much more extraordinary to see a mural you could fit into.

  10. says

    I was being a little tongue-in-cheek, and can well-appreciate that I have my own biases that work against me. I guess what I want to know is how do we get people to stop working against their own common interest (socially, economically, environmentally)? (Based, of course, on my idea of what our common interest actually is…).

    And if there was an easy answer to that, I guess we’d be there already.

  11. says

    But the problem with that is that it seems people wait for things to get worse before they even begin to try to affect change. Why would that be if your friend’s idea is correct? I have friends now who are unwilling to get involved with OWS. Do they really think they can’t affect change? Or are they satisfied with their situation – which is upper middle class? It really seems to be the later. It seems to be the need for change that drives the desire to affect change. As the need increases, so does the desire.

  12. Crommunist says

    It’s important to understand here that the effect is not seen uniformly in all people. Psychology almost never deals in things that are universal – it usually looks at tendencies in populations of people. If you vary the amount of self-efficacy for making change, but hold class (and, I suppose, perceived need) constant, you will observe the effect that people will be more likely to participate when they think their participation will fix something. That’s not to say that need doesn’t trump efficacy in terms of predicting desire (maybe it doesn’t, I have no idea) – only that perceived likelihood of success also plays a role.

  13. says

    So, what I was hoping to say on Cain, Steele, etc. is that I’ve always had the thought that they wished they were white. Perhaps I’m slightly off on that one and it’s just that they have much admiration (or high outgroup favoritism) for white people based on SJT. Additionally, my other thought has been that they are successful, so they don’t necessarily have the same concerns most black people (others in their group) do. This seems to fit in with SJT in that they like themselves…a lot! AND, by being successful, they like things the way they are.

  14. Crommunist says

    I realize you didn’t intend this to become a heavy argument, but I just want you to know that you’re encroaching on some extremely dangerous territory with the “they secretly wish they were white” comment. I am going to take it the way I assume you meant it, but just be aware that even within the black community this is a pretty unforgivable statement.

    Black conservativism has a long history, and while most of the issues within the black community are best represented within the liberal community, there are some proud conservative traditions that the black community has embraced. Steele (and to a lesser extent, Cain, who I will deal with in a moment) is advocating increased personal responsibility and control rather than dependency on government. Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey made the same arguments in their day. The entire Black Panther Party (not the New BPP which is a black supremacist cult) was about “doing for self” rather than relying on a government they saw as corrupt and racist. This is not anti-black or ‘wishing to be white’ in any way. It is simply a different approach to solving the problem: don’t change the system, rob it of its power to hurt you.

    Cain is a bit more complicated, because while he sees himself as advocating that position he is actually arguing to reinforce the power of the system. When you combine the idea of “doing for self” with modern conservative ideas about racism (that it’s an intentional thing, and all that is required to ameliorate it is to affirm that “race doesn’t matter” in as strong a voice as possible), you end up with Herman Cain’s political philosophy. Whether he recognizes this or not is one thing, but that does not make him somehow less “authentically” black. One could argue (I certainly would) that his past and upbringing are more typical of the black experience in the United States than, for example, mine. He doesn’t avoid his blackness, nor does he downplay it (the way Obama did for a long time, perhaps for good reason) – he fully embraces it and uses it to make his point.

    Again, I realize that your intention wasn’t to offend, but this is not a casual issue. Many black folks, myself included, are often branded as “race traitors” for stepping outside the mainstream thought bubble. Cosby caught all kinds of hell for his “pound cake speech” from a few years ago. It’s a really dangerous charge to make, and resurrects a lot of ghosts that each need discussion and explanation.

  15. Brittany says

    Like Crommunist has been pointing out, system justification theory is useful not because it predicts that that people benefitting (or who think they will benefit in the future) from a system won’t try to change it, but because of the counterintuitive idea that people who will never have a chance in hell of being benefitted and who are actually being disadvantaged ALSO justify the system that is benefitting someone else. But, my friend has discovered that this is qualified by perceptions of efficacy (or whether the system can be changed). The disadvantaged will try to change the system when they think it can be changed.

    For the upper-middle class: the fact that they don’t want to be involved in OWS is less interesting to psychologists who study system justification, because OF COURSE they don’t want things changed; they benefit from the system. Efficacy doesn’t matter, because change isn’t desirable for them. You’re right, and that important clarification wasn’t in my first comment :)

  16. Gentry says

    Just started reading the Crommunist Manifesto and couldn’t help but to comment on your thoughts (with my own, of course!).

    It almost sounds as if you’re describing the Prisoner’s Dilemma when it comes to the choices faced by the two increasingly polarized groups. I would contend that each acts in its own best interest (as stated in your blog) but I’d imagine you’d find that as they became more polarized the status quo would rapidly become the only viable option for each group. It’s the middle of the road – only make a deal where you gain or break even, as your opponent will do the same.
    What really throws a wrench in this situation, is that groups will continually use this logic to come to a deal where each suffers more than they have to. I’m continually both amazed and dismayed whenever I hear about the economic state of my country (for instance) because no equitable compromise can be made regarding who will pay for what and how much. No group will ever willingly inflict hardship on themselves for a greater gain later.
    So there we are – we’ve managed to create a system that has no easy solutions but is quite easy to fall prey to. A perfect trap, perhaps?

  17. Crommunist says

    What you’re describing is a conscious thought process. If you read the remaining installments, you’ll see that what’s happening goes far beyond simply “middle of the road” processing. This is a phenomenon wherein people’s statements about group preference fail to match up with their actions – there is an active bias towards the high-status group within both groups. What you’re describing may happen, but it’s a separate phenomenon to system justification.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  18. Sheesh says

    Crommunist, above:

    Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey made the same arguments in their day [for "increased personal responsibility and control rather than dependency on government"]. The entire Black Panther Party [...] was about “doing for self” rather than relying on a government they saw as corrupt and racist. [...] ["doing for self"] is simply a different approach to solving the problem: don’t change the system, rob it of its power to hurt you. [emphasis added]

    But to what end? So that you might turn around and join or enter the system of institutional racism and reform and correct it — change it, change the system — from the inside? Now you’re back to the stock liberal position (just I guess with more suffering if you eschew the welfare from and protection of the state because “it’s racist” for whatever period it takes to rob it of its power to hurt you and then reform it to be not-corrupt and not-racist).

    If you aren’t going to change the extant system, you need alternative institutions to support society (or your community if your goals are separatist). What’s the alternative to reforming (or destroying) existing institutions? Building up separate ones I assume — perhaps even separate but equal institutions. How does one build a separate but equal, non-corrupt, non-racist welfare system, justice system, self-defense and self-policing system, etc., without using federal power, but in parallel to existing federal power? How is it funded? How are free-riders and cheaters policed and with what power?

    I haven’t read Malcolm X or Marcus Garvey so I only know of their ideas indirectly. How do they address this short of revolution? (Note well that revolution concedes the point. Afaik, Garvey just punted on this question and went straight to separatism.) Is black separatism or outright exodus “advocating increased personal responsibility and control rather than dependency on government,” as you described Steele’s (i.e., modern black conservatism’s) position?

    In short: The solution to institutionalized racism in America is to leave the country! Sounds pretty insane. I’d suggest the more reasonable course of action would be affirming Black infiltration of government. Not the contradictory approach of Black conservatives like Steele and Cain who simultaneously condemn government while seeking to control it. Further, Black conservatives in general parrot the party line against Affirmative Action while insisting that racism is over in America: Black president! So, given JST and the general badness of the status quo especially for POC, doesn’t that make black conservatism bankrupt and condemnable?

  19. Crommunist says

    And I certainly don’t subscribe to black conservativism as a whole. The reality from which it sprung needs to be understood, however, in order to place it in its proper context. In a time when the black community faced barriers to access in terms of both political participation and access to government services (which still exists, albeit to a lesser extent), the only conceivable solution to many was to build parallel systems of their own. It’s hard to say “change the system from inside” when you’re not allowed to vote and can’t hold any public office of consequence. In terms of how such a feat could be accomplished, the churches did a lot of that heavy lifting, which is significant today because it is a major reason why the consequences of admitting atheism is a much bigger deal in the black community than it is in white communities.

    I brought up Malcolm and Garvey to illustrate that Cain/Steele’s positions do not come from a desire to be white. Garvey, incidentally, did advocate leaving the country, and even thought about working with the KKK at one point to accomplish a “back to Africa” initiative. Contemporary black nationalism is a much more moderated position than Garvey’s extreme view, but it still pursues the ideal of “do for self”.

    I am not an advocate of black conservativism, and if that came across in my comment then that was a mistake. I simultaneously recognize the need to build resources within the black community, but the folly of becoming completely insular and not participating in the broader community. In my view that means having greater participation not only in government, but the economy as well. That being said, I do understand why black conservatives believe the way they do – I just think they’re wrong.

  20. says

    Love this discussion!

    I’m not even a biologist, but the first question that comes to my mind is the evolutionary path to SJT. It actually seems kinda obvious, to me, but it would be cool to see some research on it to see if I’m right.

    It seems to me that in any social animal, status quo is very important. If a large part of your survival likelihood depends on the actions of other organisms in your group, then you need to be able to count on those others. So any member of the society that doesn’t follow the existing rules is (in general) a threat to the society, and thus a threat to survival.

    The evidence you’ve shown says this effect operates at a very basic level in the brain, which seems consistent with my hypothesis (which is mine, ahem). But I’ve been reading evo-devo blogs long enough to know that the simple obvious evolutionary answer ain’t necessarily so. But the cool thing is there are experiments that can be done to help figure out how it really does all tie together. So, are you aware of any?

  21. says

    Crommunist,

    OK, let me try to make a similar argument using a different topic other than the often sensitive area of race…

    It actually looks like I didn’t complete my original thought, as I was having trouble putting things into words, but I am puzzled a little when it comes to the “group.” Take the, as you said, inaccurately-named “We are the 53%” tumblr. It certainly seems that there are people on there who, at least at some point in their lives, would not have paid federal income taxes. (Let’s work under the assumption that their claims are true.) Why are they throwing their group under the bus? It seems they are trying to put themselves in a different group. I get that they are playing on the stereotypes about the poor. Or are they just trying to be the “good” poor? (In reference to your “I am one of the “good” Mexicans (so I still like “us”)” bullet from Part 2.)

    So is it that people will divide the group into good and bad in order to keep their positive view of the group?

    And getting back to Cain/Steele and the likes of which, would you suggest that they think they are one of the “good” blacks???

  22. says

    Brittany, I actually see your friend’s point more clearly now that I have put more thought into the idea. I think what I had before are ideas that tend to correlate, but I was missing the causation. Particularly the idea that people don’t seem to really push for change until the shit hits the fan, so to speak. Really, it may just be that enough people are disadvantaged to where the group reaches a breaking point when they finally think they have enough influence to push for change. Rather than it being the system getting so bad that it can no longer be justified.

    And I was probably venting frustrations I have had with trying to get people involved with movements such as OWS, clouding my better judgement. Apologies.

  23. Crommunist says

    So the key to understanding the issue is to grasp the 3 different motives: ego, group, and system justification. Your brain would like to find a way to have all three of those things align, and looks for strategies to accomplish that. One method is to remove yourself from the group, which seems to the the strategy preferred by the 53 percenters. At that point you can continue to justify the system as it is, because it’s still possible to see it as fair. “Look, I worked hard and succeeded. You didn’t succeed because you’re lazy. That’s fair.” Where it is self-defeating is that the system still negatively affects the 53% (well, 52% but whatever) – they just don’t have to face the reality of that. There are other strategies, and I will be talking about those on Thursday.

    I have no idea what Cain/Steele think of mainstream black consciousness, but I would guess that they see liberals like me as hopelessly deluded and brainwashed by the socialist elites. Cain more so than Steele, whose opinion I have actually come to enjoy, if not agree with.

  24. says

    The whole western-genre went gritty in the ’70s. Sure the (anti)hero typically died in a shootout, but the endings were much more in line with Carlito’s Way, rather than glorification.

    Personally, I think Clintwood’s career is an excellent barometer of change for the genre. If you find yourself with some time, watch Unforgiven (again, if you’ve seen it before), then watch Gran Turino. Yes, I’m putting Gran Turino in the Western genre. Gran Turino seems to me to be a re-telling, in many significant ways, of Unforgiven, and of the Western genre as a whole, with a radically different ending.

  25. Crommunist says

    Wow I missed this comment and now feel like a jerk.

    I don’t know of any specific evolutionary pathways that would explain the drive toward system justification, but evolutionary biology is not my field at all. The way I have heard it explained is in terms of the ‘miser brain’. You’ve got to remember that brains as big and active as ours are incredibly expensive in terms of energy. A cognitive system that can function by processing only that which is absolutely necessary is much better than one that constantly processes things like, say, what your tongue feels like inside your mouth.

    When that drive interacts with the evolutionary advantages of existing in a society, I can see the product being a brain that wishes to see as few perturbations to the social order as possible. It is very cognitively parsimonious to have this kind of system, so your brain can just cruise without constantly struggling with one’s position within the tribe/pack/colony. This is just one suggestion, but the reality is probably much more complex.

  26. Crommunist says

    Because he told me he was, duh.

    If Thor isn’t real, why do dalmatians have spots? Check…MATE!

  27. Crommunist says

    Thor works in mysterious ways. It is not my place to question his perfect thunderous word, only to believe.

  28. Crommunist says

    If I’m wrong then when I die, nothing happens. If there is a Thor, however, then I will be rewarded in Valhalla with mead drunk from the hollowed-out skull of a slain frost giant.

  29. Crommunist says

    How nice for you. As I said, this line of conversation is completely irrelevant to this post. If you want to actually discuss your beliefs, then we can do that but not on this thread. If your purpose is merely to annoy me or parade your beliefs around then you’re welcome to do so, but I will not co-operate on this thread, which has nothing do with the Bible or any of the inane and repeatedly-refuted arguments I know you are about to throw at me.

  30. Crommunist says

    Where are you godbots coming from? On a related question: why can’t any of you use proper English spelling or grammar? Is there some commandment against it that I’m not aware of?

    At no point have I EVER said that I know everything. Even if I had, it wasn’t on this post. Please take your atheist antagonism to this thread instead. I will be happy to completely demolish your belief system there, where at least it is somewhat related to the article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>