Field of Science

Religious bidders more motivated by competition than charity

On the previous post, Bjørn asked:

Could it be that the non-religious don't bid much on Sundays because they just don't bid much on Sundays? What was the effect on Saturdays? Was there a Sunday control?

Now that's an interesting one. There was a control phrase used in the study, and the results from that one open up another small can of worms. Here it is:

“The competition is heating up! If you hope to win, you will have to bid again. Are you up for the challenge?”

So this one appealed to the bidders' sense of competition, rather than their sense of charity. And the graph shows what happened. A couple of comments:

First, both groups showed a small drop in the bidding on Sunday. That suggests that, on the whole, people have better things to do on a Sunday than online charity auctions. But the drop for the non-religious wasn't as big as the drop we saw in response to the appeal to charity. So it seems that an appeal to charity really might turn religious people off if you make those appeals on a Sunday.

But the other interesting thing is that whatever the day, the response from the religious is higher. Not only higher relative to the non-religious, but higher relative to their response to the charitable appeal. For the non-religious, on the other hand, the average response was about the same to the two different kinds of appeal.

In other words, if you want to get maximise the contributions from this religious group, at least, you are better off with an appeal to their competitive instincts, rather than their charitable ones!

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Tom Rees is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

1 comment:

  1. I am SOO MADD I just have to unload somewhere AND EVERYWHERE!!!!

    I am an atheist and I have grown very disheartened by our self-defeatist culture. I was corresponding with one of the biggest atheist bloggers – the guy who guys by the name of ‘Sabio Lantz’ (he acknowledges that this is not his real name) over at

    I told him that he should read this new book called the Real Messiah by Stephan Huller which I had been turned on to by Robert Price. I wanted to reach out to every atheist blogger to tell them that we can finally disprove the entire rationale of Christianity at one fell swoop.

    He send me back a nasty email and then proceeds to slam the book in a manner which is worse than anything ever said about the Real Messiah by religious nutbars:

    His negative review of this book is a depressing demonstration of the selfishness and self-defeatism that often pervades individuals on our side of the debate:

    “My site and many others were spammed for the sale of this book. That alone is enough to stop me purchasing it until I hear amazing reviews from those I trust.”

    The point is that I actually sent him links to positive reviews for
    the book in Publishers Weekly:

    And a list of New Testament scholars who support the book:

    The aforementioned site was from a CHRISTIAN BLOG for God’s sake!!!

    Look at the objectivity even with these people when compared to us.
    Now I am not against someone having their own opinion about a book. ‘Sabio’ or whatever his fake name is can say whatever he wants about the Real Messiah IF HE READ THE BOOK. Yet it seems entirely self-defeatist to me for we atheists to deliberately sabotage a work whose specific intention is to destroy the Christian paradigm.

    Unlike our enemies in the Religious Right we are rarely united, politically naïve and basically content to sit around engaging in intellectual masturbation while our rights are systematically stripped away from us.

    My intention was not to spam anyone. I was simply trying to find a way for our side to go on the offense for once. We are always on the defensive while they (the religious folks) take shots at us.

    I thought the Real Messiah was special because it is centered around a physical object which the author found in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. It is universally understood to have been taken there by Italian sailors stole from the most ancient Church of St. Mark in Alexandria in the ninth century. Huller demonstrates that the throne goes back much further than that - i.e. all the way to the beginning of Christianity in Egypt.

    In any event this throne is the real deal. It has an inscription written out in Hebrew letters and symbols which prove that Jesus was not the messiah of Christianity. Here are pictures of the throne:

    We have to defeat the myth of Jesus Christ with another myth – a ‘rational myth’ to coin the language of Robert Price.

    I am not asking you to ‘join my cause.’ I just want to defeat the oppressive ideas of Christianity with freedom and rational discourse. Is that really too much to ask?


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