Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Punitive gods and religious donations

Yes, this is a follow on from the last post, as a result of the first author Dr Benjamin Purzycki kindly sending me an already published simplified account of his work.


So, participants played one round of a 30 coin game in which (by breaking the rules without realizing this could be detected) they effectively chose between giving themselves some money or donating it to someone else of the same religion living in a distant village; and then another round of the same 30 coin game in which they chose to donate the money to someone in their own village as opposed to someone else of the same religion living in a distant village. From this game we learn how much a person values their own interests as opposed to a co-religionist living far away, and how much they value their close neighbours’s interests as opposed to a co-religionist living far away. The results of the first round might be called “selfishness” and of the second round “parochialism”.

Now, with a much clearer understanding of the game, all I need do is look up the results for each of the conditions. For example, in the first round a selfish person might have given themselves 20 out of the 30 coins, where the strict number they should have got by chance would have been 15. That would be 20-15=5 points of selfishness. In the second round they might have given another person in their village say 18 coins, which would have indicated 18-15=3 points of parochialism.

That means going into the supplementary tables. Could someone else have a look at those, and I will post up their findings?


  1. Re: "Mighty, vengeful, all-knowing God engenders altruism, study finds"

    This seems to have shown the reverse results, at least from only one location


    "When I passed him he proudly announced 'The atheists are winning!'".

    considering the % of atheists, agnostics and buddhists in US


  2. Re: interesting and out of the way places

    Richard Feynman tried hard to travel to Tyva (Tuva) (no. 7) but did not make it.


    "Feynman never managed to get to Tuva. Instead of him, the trip was realized by his daughter Michelle. Michelle Feynman travelled to Tuva on June 8, 2009."

    There is a Friend of Tuva association http://www.fotuva.org/