Dina tweeted this article from the UK Daily Mail, and it’s worth a look.
In three studies, US scientists tested the abilities of two groups: undergraduates who considered themselves politically conservative and ‘liberals’.
They classed conservatives as those who endorse traditional values and the status quo, while liberals ‘endorse egalitarian ideals and progressive change’.
They found that the conservatives were better at ‘regulating their attention’ and persisting with tasks.
And they found the difference between the two groups was linked to how closely they believed in free will.
The authors wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: ‘Three studies document a clear difference in self-control as a function of political ideology, as political conservatism (versus liberalism) was consistently related to greater self-control.’
[…]The researchers from the universities of Cincinatti, Indiana and Florida said their research followed on from previous studies that found conservatives tended to be more studious at university than their left-wing counterparts.
The authors suggest that a belief that success is down to one’s own efforts rather than being pre-determined is key to academic success.
Explaining findings that conservative students do better at university, they suggest it ‘could be that conservatives believe they have greater control over their performance and thus expend greater self control in their academic pursuits.’
This is interesting. The theistic view is that human beings are non-physical souls, and the non-physical souls tell the body what to do. Since the non-physical soul is not material, it’s behavior is not governed by fixed physical processes. This is in contrast with the naturalistic view, which is that you are your body, there is no free will, and no personal responsibility.
Isn’t it interesting that the people who do believe in free will also believe in personal responsibility, and this causes them to take more responsibility for their own choices? I cannot imagine how a person can deny free will, yet this is the natural outworking of saying “nature is all there is”.
For those who don’t like the Daily Mail, you can read about the study here in Science Daily.