MULTICULTURAL & Most Scientific Research Narrowly Based on Samples of Western, not Asian Populations

The weirdest people in the world?

Henrich J1, Heine SJ, Norenzayan A.

1 Department of Psychology and Department of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada. joseph.henrich


Behav Brain Sci. 2010 Jun;33(2-3):61-83; discussion 83-135. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X. Epub 2010 Jun 15.


Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.

Full text at journal site

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CHINESE AMERICANS & Why Most Chinese American Christians Are Conservative Evangelicals #AndrewOng

by Andrew Ong, 8/26/16.

…Chinese American sociologists, historians, and theologians, and even the Pew Research Center all confirm the fact that Asian American Christians are predominantly conservative evangelicals, as opposed to liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox.

The Question

…Some might say that it’s just because Chinese American Christians simply believe what the Bible says and share its “eternal perspective.” I think the answer is more nuanced.

Five Reasons

1. The Political Climate in China in 1949 & Contextual Theologies

The origin of Chinese American Christianity goes at least as far back as 1853 to the oldest Asian American church in North America. Today it’s known as the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown, a PCUSA congregation where my wife and father-in-law both grew up.

Before the 1949 Communist victory in China, Chinese nationalism was strong even amongst the Chinese outside of China. The Chinese abroad still largely viewed the Chinese state as the center of Chinese identity. Sharing the fervor of the Chinese Republican Revolution in 1911, even the Chinese Christians in America placed their hopes in a new and modern China.

Liberal Protestant theology was the best contextual fit for these hopes. Liberal theology approached Scripture with modern scientific assumptions, embraced skepticism concerning the supernatural elements of Christianity, focused on Jesus’ moral and social teachings, and fostered a more ecumenical spirit.

However, when the Communists won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the hopes of many Chinese nationalists were shattered. In fact, the center of Chinese identity and culture shifted from the central state of China, to the periphery. Instead of looking back to China as their home, many of the Chinese abroad felt like homeless pilgrims.

Conservative Protestant theology became a more suitable contextual theology for these pilgrims. Conservative theology emphasized an other-worldly home and an eternal perspective. It upheld the miraculous, and proclaimed a strong message of hope and certainty in the future based on a more literal reading of Scripture.

2. The Religious Climate in America since the mid-20th century

In America, the mainline churches, in which most of the Chinese American churches started, were beginning to lose interest in this home mission field. The conversion rates were minimal amongst the Chinese in America. The idea of sending converted Chinese Americans back to China for missions was closed because of Communist China. Also, along with the rest of the nation, the mainline churches embraced an assimilationist racial ideology. The assumption was that less attention and resources needed to be allocated to ethnic mission churches, since these people groups would eventually assimilate anyway.

Simultaneously, the mainline churches were in the twilight of their cultural dominance and shifting further left on the theological spectrum. On the other hand, neo-evangelicalism was birthed in the 1940s, and would soon become the predominant expression of American Protestantism.

Hence, not only were Chinese Americans leaving the mainline denominations that were losing interest in ethnic home missions and becoming more liberal, but evangelicalism was becoming a popular and inviting alternative in America.

3. The U.S. Nationality and Immigration Act of 1965 & Chinese Christianity Abroad

This act lifted the severe restrictions that were placed on Asian immigration. The result was that the Chinese population between 1960 (237k) and 1980 (806k) more than tripled. Today there are over four million Chinese people in America.

As the Chinese immigrated from Asia, many of them brought their Christian convictions. The shape of Chinese Christianity in China and amongst the Chinese in other parts of Asia was largely conservative and evangelical for a variety of reasons. J. Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission was the largest mission agency in China. Also, the mostly conservative Independent Church Movement thrived after the Communist takeover. These ministries along with such conservative denominations as the Christian & Missionary Alliance and the Southern Baptists also continued to be fruitful amongst the Chinese populations in Southeast Asia after 1949.

As the Chinese Christians immigrated into America after 1965, many of them started their own churches. There were too many differences between the pre-1965 Chinese Christians in America and the post-1965 ones. The established Chinese churches in America were filled with Cantonese speakers instead of Mandarin speakers. The new immigrants were generally of a higher socio-economic status than the older immigrants because the Nationality & Immigration Act of 1965 gave preference to highly-skilled and educated immigrants. Additionally, many of the Chinese Christian immigrants viewed the mainline denominations as bastions of impure theology. Hence, between 1952 and 1979, the number of Chinese churches in America grew from 66 to 366. Today there are likely over 1,000, mostly evangelical.

4. The Nature of Evangelicalism

While many Chinese Christians came to the U.S. after 1965, by 1990 and into 2010 one could fairly say that most Chinese Christians in America became Christians after coming to the States.

Historically, the most emphasized convictions of evangelicalism are its commitments to Scripture’s authority (biblicism) and to preaching a Christ-centered (crucicentricism) for the sake of “winning souls” (conversion). These convictions are very attractive to Chinese Americans.

As the Chinese in America (both immigrants and ABCs) wrestle with their multiple identities in America, the evangelical conviction regarding Scripture’s authority comes in handy. While Chinese Americans want to be both Chinese and American, the Bible gives them an authoritative standard by which to negotiate their dual identities. For example, to be more American, Chinese Americans can reject ancestor worship as unbiblical and idolatrous. However, wishing to preserve their Chinese/Confucian values, it is common for Chinese Americans to interpret the 5th commandment more rigidly and with a greater emphasis than other American Christians. Furthermore, in the cross-centered ethos of evangelicalism, many Chinese immigrants find a radically loving God, unlike any other authority figure they ever knew. And for immigrants, the evangelical “born again” rhetoric offers language and categories for a new way of being in America.

In addition to evangelicalism’s emphasized convictions are its practices. Simply put, Chinese American Christians are predominantly evangelical because evangelicals evangelize far more than non-evangelicals…

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For Further Reading

I am incredibly dependent upon the work of many scholars for this, but most significantly upon Dr. Timothy Tseng‘s research.

Tseng, Timothy. “Religious Liberalism, International Politics, and Diasporic Realities: The Chinese Students Christian Association of North America, 1909-1951.” The Journal of American-East Asian Relations 5, no. 3/4 (Fall-Winter 1996): 305–30.

———. “Protestantism in Twentieth Century Chinese America: The Impact of Transnationalism in the Chinese Diaspora.” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 13 (2004): 121–48.

———. “Trans-Pacific Transpositions: Continuities and Discontinuities in Chinese North American Protestantism.” In Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America, edited by Jane Naomi Iwamura and Paul Spickard, 241–71. New York, New York: Routledge, 2003.

Yang, Fenggang. Chinese Christians in America: Conversion, Assimilation, and Adhesive Identities. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

Chen, Carolyn. Getting Saved in America Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Wuthnow, Robert. The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith since World War II. 1. paperback printing. Studies in Church and State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Bays, Daniel H. A New History of Christianity in China. Blackwell Guides to Global Christianity. Chichester, West Sussex ; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

———. “Christian Revival in China, 1900-1937.” In Modern Christian Revivals, 161–79. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

———. “The Growth of Independent Christianity in China, 1900-1937.” In Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present, 307. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Jeung, Russell. “Evangelical and Mainline Teachings on Asian American Identity.” Semeia90–91 (n.d.): 211–36.

———. Faithful Generations: Race and New Asian American Churches. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2005.

In His Grace;
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ASIAN AMERICANS & They Rank First in Internet Use #AsAm News

by Randall, Asian American News, 3/2/16.

Asians and the internet

English-speaking Asian Americans are more likely to have technical devices than other ethnic groups.

Pew Asians and the internet report 2016

English-speaking Asians have flocked to the internet like no other group of people, according to a new PEW report.

The popular narrative says that Euro Americans “lead in technology adoption while other racial or ethnic groups struggle to keep up,” says the analysis. However, the PEW study says English-speaking Asians are more adept in the new technology that exceeds the rest of the population, including Whites.

The PEW analysis qualifies its report by noting that they did not poll non-English-speaking Asian Americans. A 2012 PEW survey found that 63.5% of Asian Americans say they speak English “very well.”

For several years, many Asian Americans have suspected they had a larger presence on the Internet much higher than their relatively small numbers in the general populace . But until now, there hasn’t been any hard data to support this thesis.

Not surprisingly, the next group in the categories were Whites, followed by African Americans and Latino Americans.

RELEASE: Almost everything about Asian Americans

Here are some of their findings for the English-speaking Asian Americans:

  • 95% use the Internet. It is not even close. In second place, only 87% of Euro Americans use the Internet.
  • 84% have broadband at home. The gap here is even wider. Only 72% of Whites have broadband.
  • 91% own have a smart phone. 66% of Whites own a smart phone. When including less advanced mobile phones, Asian American usage jumped to 98%.

Researchers surmise that Asian
Americans’ tendency to have higher education and higher income contribute to higher use of high-tech devices.

Hopefully, the findings will convince PEW surveyors to include Asians in their other research about the Internet use and social media.

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ASIAN AMERICANS & America is in the middle of an extreme demographic shift

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In 50 years, no ethnic group will be in a majority. Yet, there will be even more cultures than there are today. Why? And, who is the fastest growing demographic? Read this insightful article based on Pew Research from Business Insider magazine.

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ETHNICITY & Census considers new approach to asking about race – by not using the term at all #PewRe search

BY D’VERA COHN, Pew Research, 6/19/15.

2020 Census QuestionPossible 2020 census race/Hispanic question for online respondents, who would click to the next screen to choose more detailed sub-categories such as “Cuban” or “Chinese.” Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is experimenting with new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census – including not using the words “race” or “origin” at all. Instead, the questionnaire may tell people to check the “categories” that describe them.

Census officials say they want the questions they ask to be clear and easy, in order to encourage Americans to answer them, so the officials can better collect race and Hispanic data as required by law. But many people are confused by the current wording, or find it misleading or insufficient to describe their identity.

Census forms now have two questions about race and Hispanic origin. The first asks people whether they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and states that “Hispanic origins are not races.” A second question asks, “What is this person’s race?” and includes a list of options with checkboxes and write-in spaces. The U.S. government defines Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race.

The problem with using the word “race” is that many Americans say they don’t know what it means, and how it is different from “origin.” The agency’s focus group research found that some people think the words mean the same thing, while others see race as meaning skin color, ancestry or culture, while origin is the nation or place where they or their parents were born.

2010 Census Question on Race and Ethnicity2010 census form asks about race and Hispanic ethnicity separately. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau’s own definitions of race and Hispanic origin, which follow government-wide rules from the Office of Management and Budget, sometimes appear to overlap. A white person, for example, is defined as someone “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.” Hispanic is defined as a person of “Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

The confusion reflects a larger debate about how to define race, which used to be seen as a fixed physical characteristic and now more commonly is viewed as a fluid product of many influences. “We recognize that race and ethnicity are not quantifiable values,” the Census Bureau said in a 2013 report. “Rather, identity is a complex mix of one’s family and social environment, historical or socio-political constructs, personal experience, context, and many other immeasurable factors.”

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FOREIGN-BORN & U.S. immigrant population projected to rise, even as share falls among Hispanics, Asians #PewResearch

BY ANNA BROWN, Pew Research, 3/12/15.

Foreign-Born Share of Population to Reach Historic High by 2060The nation’s foreign-born population is projected to reach 78 million by 2060, making up 18.8% of the total U.S. population, according to new Census Bureau population projections. That would be a new record for the foreign-born share, with the bureau projecting that the previous record high of 14.8% in 1890 will be passed as soon as 2025.

Yet while Asian and Hispanic immigrants are projected to continue to be the main sources of U.S. immigrant population growth, the new projections show that the share of the foreign born is expected to fall among these two groups. Today, 66.0% of U.S. Asians are immigrants, but that share is predicted to fall to 55.4% by 2060. And while about a third of U.S. Hispanics (34.9%) are now foreign-born, the Census Bureau projects that this share too will fall, to 27.4% in 2060. These declines are due to the growing importance of births as drivers of each group’s population growth. Already, for Hispanics, U.S. births drive 78% of population growth.

Census Projects Share of Asian, Hispanic Population Born Abroad to Fall by 2060

Meanwhile, foreign-born shares among whites and blacks are expected to rise. Today, 8.9% of those who identify as black were born in another country, but that number is projected to almost double – to 16.5% – by 2060. Among whites, 4.1% are foreign-born today, but that share is projected to double to 8.1% in 2060…

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EASTERN CULTURES & Ideas that shaped Western and Eastern cultures

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Follow this blog by my colleague to understand how cultural gaps separate Eastern and Western cultures (and how the Good News must bridge them).”

Posted by djchuang: Scholars have noted the major thoughts and philosophies that have influenced Western civilization and Asian cultures.The 3 major influences of Western civilization areGreek culture, Roman culture, and Christianity.

“The Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions are the two principal components of Western civilization.” — in Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society, Volume 2 by Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob, Margaret Jacob, Theodore Von Laue, p. xxiii)

“Christianity, no less than the Greek and the Roman legacy, has been chosen by many historians as the most important cultural “foundation” of the West.” — in The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne, p. 461.

The 3 major influences of (many) Asian cultures are Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

“Many Asian cultures are influenced by the philosophies of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Among the values that appear common to many Asian cultures are those of harmony; humility; and respect for family, authority, and tradition.” — in An Introduction to Multicultural Counseling by Wanda M. L. Lee, p. 104.

“… Buddhism and Taoism represent two other strong influences, alongside Confucianism, on Chinese culture and society. These three streams of thought fused together to form the Chinese view of man’s place in society and influenced Chinese character and personality development.” — in New Asian Emperors: The Business Strategies of the Overseas Chinese By George T. Haley, Usha C. V. Haley, ChinHwee Tan, p. 1964.

Here’s the question, then: What would it look like if Christianity were to influence Asian cultures more?

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