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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Uncommon Knowledge

Faith in science can guide your values

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

But can you pray to it?

Religion is widely seen as offering people a moral compass, a powerful guide to judgment and behavior. But what if you believe in something besides religion? Could a faith in science similarly guide your values? The answer appears to be yes: In a new study, psychologists found that people who were studying science, believed in science, or were exposed to scientific words were harsher in condemning a crime and were more generous to others compared to people who weren’t engaged with science. The authors of the study suggest “there is a lay image or notion of ‘science’ that is associated with concepts of rationality, impartiality, fairness, technological progress, and ultimately, the idea that we are to use these rational tools for the mutual benefit of all people in society.”

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