Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cult Escapology

Here's a link to an interesting article on the science, research and technology news website phys.org.

Quote: "Sociologists have known for a long time that groups tend to come together when they face adversity," said social psychologist Stephen Benard, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington. "What our research highlights is that there is a downside to our tendency to stick together when things are tough—powerful group members can exploit that tendency to distract us from competing with them."

Of course, one can't help but notice that a lot of this is going on in religious cults and creationist groups - the charisma and persuasiveness of the leaders (figures like Ken Ham who make accusations of heresy, and threaten Hell and Hamnation to defectors) engenders pliant, lionising and sycophantic behavioural tendencies in the flock, and in doing so it suffocates their enthusiasm to be critical or to put forward competing ideas. It is likely that the kind of phenomenon described in the article is the same kind of emotional mechanism that turns people into Hamnation-fearing chattel who've been divested of valuable intellectual, critical and emotional resources.

The kind of manipulation and misinformation of which the likes of Ken Ham are purveyors is incompatible with the intellectual, critical and emotional progression to which a great many humans are dedicated. The more that can be done to expose, counter and challenge these Ham-fisted dogmas, the more we will do to help those ensnared by that way of life to find a way out.

* Photo courtesy of www.patheos.com