The “Study Shows Smokescreen” (see my post here) was recently used by a progressive Christian over at Patheos — Ben Corey. Corey is a Doctor of Missiology student at Fuller Seminary (his third time in a seminary – first two times at Gordon-Conwell). His post title is:
His post is peppered with problems — all in an effort to support two of his agendas: (1) Keeping the Bible as a magic book that effects people as God’s Word: Progressive Christians still want their cake and eat it too! (2) his own personal leftist politics. He does this by feigning to be scientific and using the lulling deceptive phrase “a study shows“.
Corey tells us he “read a study the other day” but only links to a poorly written Christianity Today article with conflates two studies — not one “study”:
(1) Undated, not-yet peer reviewed poll by “LifeWay Research: Biblical Solutions for Life” — they are of the Southern Baptist Convention [guess their bias]. And to top it off, the actual title of their poll is “Americans’ Experience with the King James Version of the Bible” (I found it for you here). Corey doesn’t link to it, of course, only to the Christianity Today article (?”study”).
Both of those two surveys are problematic in themselves. And then, to top it off, Corey conflates the two sets of results to make his point — he acts like it is one study and a recent study at that. Well, the Christianity Today article does that and Corey seems to buy into that because it supports his unfounded position. Corey tells us:
“Frequent Bible reading has some predictable effects on the reader.” [–> namely that:] “the more often people read their Bible, the more liberal they become“
This is complete hogwash. To support his unscientific smokescreen, Corey then adds insult to injury by telling us his anecdotal story of how reading the Bible made him more liberal. But actually all he tells us is that by his third time through seminary, he became more liberal and he looks back and credits the Bible for it — of course. Argghhh! And he uses his simple, retrospective, post-hoc rationalization with his other errors of mixing of two bad polls, and conflating correlation with causality to try to convince us of the magic power of the Bible.
Note, as my last post said, Corey does not tell us what sort of study he is supposedly reading (qualitative, quantitative …) nor what investment the researchers have (what bias risk). Instead, I had to dig around and find the actual studies and expose these critical points. His whole effort is to make the appearance of SCIENCE supporting his views. Reading the comments on his post, it looks like his deception (intentional or not), unfortunately worked. Look at all the time and effort it took me to see through this stuff — and for you to read this. Do you think Corey’s sympathetic Christian readers even paused to doubt the expression “study shows”? No, certainly not, yet alone to do all the footwork needed to see behind his smokescreen. That is why people use it.
Question to readers: OK, I am sort of busy, and reviewing this stuff is not my occupation, so maybe I made some mistakes above. But I think I nailed some very important points. But if I made any errors, let me know.