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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Religion Fails

"RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today."

Read the whole article here.

Choice bits:

"“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”"


"The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries."

"He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added."


His conclusion? The notion that secularism leads to immorality and depravity has been soundly refuted .....science and research for the win.

60 comments:

  1. Whether or not people are more or less moral or stable with or without a religion doesn't tell us if any gods exist.

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  2. Kaitlyn,
    Your statement is correct.

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  3. Kaitlyn,

    True. But these data do suggest that religious beliefs and practices are not a prerequisite for the development of a healthy and stable society where most people can be counted on to treat each other decently most of the time.

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  4. Islamic apologists try the same spin of statistics to demonstrate that their societies are morally superior to specifically the 'Great Satan', USA. What they don't say is how their countries censor these statistics and prevent independent research into crime rates and other relevant things.
    So, if they use doctored numbers to prove their point - they are dishonest and thusly prove the point that religion, weakly stated, does not prevent immoral behavior or, strongly stated, that religion encourages dishonesty. Fail either way.

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  5. Felix,

    Like when Amahadinishad [sic] said there a no homosexuals in Iran?

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  6. *listens to Mahler and drinks a tall glass of cold milk while reading the study*

    Hardcore to the core baby!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Big mistake with the music choice over here...

    *helplessly devoured by Mahler's Symfonie Nr. 10 in F*

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hen,
    I did my best, but on page four I had to pour myself a "Fortifier."

    So, I won't remember I didn't read it all. :>

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've got some Trans-Siberian Orchestra goin on here. I'm editing some Holiday CD's.

    "Wizards of Winter"

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hen,
    Throw in a bag of Oreo(TM) cookies and I'll join you in that glass of milk!

    ReplyDelete
  11. OK! I'm the only one commenting on this post! Quit staring at me like that...

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  12. Froggie-

    Here is an article in the same journal by Gary Jensen, of Vanderbuilt University who writes that Paul's study might have problems with the methodology where it concerns the dualistic approach.

    He doesn't say that Paul is wrong, but indicates that more and better research may be required to support Paul's findings.


    http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2006-7.pdf

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Sorry. *averts gaze*

    I couldn't focus on the text while enjoying the music, but the numbers at the end show that the US is truly in a league of its own.

    That's odd you'd mention Oreos. We have a similar type of cookie over here in Finland, sold under the name "Domino". You'd be hard pressed to find real Oreos over here...

    But incidentally, I have a Korean roomie who has some Korean Oreos stashed away in our kitchen cupboard. They're just your standard Oreos with Korean text on the wrapping, best before sometime in 2006. Froggie wanna cookie?

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  15. I suppose Oreos & milk are ok, if that's all you have, but have you ever tried dunking a double chocolate Milano in some nice brandy?

    Or am I just an elitist bastard?

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Whether or not people are more or less moral or stable with or without a religion doesn't tell us if any gods exist."

    Uh, no. It doesn't.
    Nor was that the intention of the study or my posting it.

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  17. BF,
    Good find.

    Yes, these short term studies may be skewed for a variety of reasons, and I never hook my wagon to any single one of them.

    This study is a correlation; not casual. It doesn't try to say that going to church causes increased teen age pregnancy, albeit I think keeping kids ignorant is the root cause.



    For me, and because I am old and have seen fads roll by in the past, it's best to link them together over time and watch the trend.

    As to the article you linked, that is a perfect example of the vetting process. It works.

    Having said that, I have to just shrug when I am talking with a Revisionist, you know, someone who wants to point out some vague time in the past when we were a "Christian Nation(TM)"

    I shall not try to delve into all that!

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  18. Also, pertaining to Paul's study: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2006/2006-1.html


    And a direct link to the JRS front page since there are a lot of interesting articles in there...

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  19. I'm glad you understood what I was trying to say.

    Sometimes I have trouble discussing philosophical concepts such as dualism.

    It's like part of me understands it, and part doesn't.

    ...WHA?

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  20. Benjamin Franklin said...
    I suppose Oreos & milk are ok, if that's all you have, but have you ever tried dunking a double chocolate Milano in some nice brandy?

    Or am I just an elitist bastard?

    --------------
    Yes, but a phoney E.B.!

    Take a tip from the Frog. Cabernet and chocolate are the ultimate.

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  21. All,

    This is the funniest statement that I have ever seen on the blog, especially as it pertained to the subject of the the gabfest...or maybe it's just me.

    Benjamin Franklin said...
    I'm glad you understood what I was trying to say.

    Sometimes I have trouble discussing philosophical concepts such as dualism.

    It's like part of me understands it, and part doesn't."


    That deserves some kind of accomodation doncha think? Maybe the "Order of the Ray?"

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  22. Froggie-

    Who doesn't like existentialist humour, besides those asswipe nihilists?

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  23. seriously, Froggie,

    Order of the Ray?
    Isn't that what did in Steve Irwin?

    Thank you! We'll be here all week, and don't forget to tip your bartenders and waitress.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Either I've got to get a life, or take this show on the road.

    ReplyDelete
  25. BF,
    Remember, the First Law of Philosophy is:

    For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher.


    The Second Law of Philosophy is:
    They're both wrong.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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  26. BF,
    Perhaps you should slow down on the double chocolate Milano in some nice brandy activities?

    ReplyDelete
  27. just let me know when I start slurring my posts.

    friends don't let friends blog drunk!

    ReplyDelete
  28. BF says:

    "just let me know when I start slurring my posts."

    I think you may be entering the threshold of that advisement.

    We'll keep you in the loop.

    ReplyDelete
  29. OK, one more for the road, and then you can take my keys board.

    ReplyDelete
  30. BF,
    We took your keys about an hour ago. Relax!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Did anyone notice this yet:

    From Atheist Central

    Please note: Comments placed on this site may be quoted in future publications for educational purposes, under the "Fair Use" law. Living Waters Publications is a registered 501c3 non profit organization. FL 102, Fair Use, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.

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  32. Interesting article. I like it.

    Belief in God, Praying, and going to church doesn't make one moral.

    Many people doing the above doesn't make that society moral.


    Not really news to me, but the article is still pretty cool.

    I'll have to find some place to use it in school. ^_^

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  33. (Google is such a useful tool)
    Apparently the guy who did this study is a paleontologist with no credentials as a statistican and is well known in the Council for secular humanism and a writer of anti-Christian books. Color me skeptical.

    http://www.verumserum.com/?p=25

    http://magicstatistics.com/2005/09/27/from-our-bulging-how-not-to-do-statistics-file/

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  34. "Gary F. Jensen of Vanderbilt University is one of the scientists who criticizes the methods used by Paul, including that "Paul’s analysis generates the 'desired results' by selectively choosing the set of social problems to include to highlight the negative consequences of religion". In a response [6] to the study by Paul, he builds on and refines Paul's analysis. His conclusion, that focus only in the crime of homicide, is that there is a correlation (and perhaps a causal relationship) of higher homicide rates, not with Christianity, but with dualistic Christian beliefs, something Jensen defines as the strong belief in all of the following : God, heaven, devil and hell. Excerpt: "A multiple regression analysis reveals a complex relationship with some dimensions of religiosity encouraging homicide and other dimensions discouraging it." "
    wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_S._Paul

    word ver: comet

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  35. froggie - can you pm me on:

    stewart dot paterson at tele2 dot fr

    I want to talk about a few things off line, mano a mano

    oo....

    ReplyDelete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. MFT:

    "Color me skeptical."

    Colour you biased, sneaky, a teenager and idiotic.

    I READ IT ON THE INTERNETZ....IT MUST BE TREW!!1111


    So, your first link is two clearly biased christians who can't use Wikipedia properly. They also criticize my author of failing to utilize statistics properly and then make some of the most basic errors I have ever seen. Taking straight statistics from different years and comparing them without doing a weighted average? Their data amounts to zero because they fail at grade 10 math.

    And your second link is also a ticked off christian guy who helpfully points out that correlation does not equal causation - a fact that my author mentioned in his study. So I fail to see what, if anything, your whiny christian blogger is trying to point out.

    As a scientist, I know that correlation does not equal causation - but it suggests it. And I need to find a SUGGESTED causation before I ask for thousands in grant money to study it.

    The fact of the matter is that this study was published in a peer-reviewed journal - when you find me a refutation that can claim the same, and not just the angry rantings of butt hurt christian bloggers, then maybe I'll give it some consideration.

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. I think I would like tyo point out the person in my second link actually HAS CREDENTIIALS IN STATISTICS (unlike Gregory Paul).So I actually yend to trust him.


    [As a scientist, I know that correlation does not equal causation - but it suggests it. And I need to find a SUGGESTED causation before I ask for thousands in grant money to study it.]
    So I wonder Maragon, let's take the homicide rates.
    FBI statistics demonstrate that the unusually high murder rate is almost entirely the result of gang and drug-related homicides in major cities.
    Do you think the homicide is more closely related to religious belief in the United States or America's liberal attitudes to gun control,illegal immigration,poverty and drug abuse?

    And Scott Gilbreath's points stand.Paul arbitrarily excludes the counties that would contradict the conclusion he has touted in his anti-Christian books.

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  40. "I think I would like tyo point out the person in my second link actually HAS CREDENTIIALS IN STATISTICS (unlike Gregory Paul).So I actually yend to trust him."

    CREDENTIALS AUTOMATIALLY MAKE THEM RIGHT11!!!!1!!!!!! I REDZ IT ON TEH INTERNETZ AN HE BEEELIEFS IN JEEBUS SO HIMS RITE!@!!!222@@!!!!

    Are you that dense? A million people have credentials in a millions things. The opinion of one man with credentials does not outweigh the opinions of many with credentials. The article is published in a peer reviewed journal - meaning it has been read and accepted by the board of said journal. FIND ME A COMPETING ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN A PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL AND NOT THE RANTINGS OF SOME BUTTHURT CHRISTIAN BLOGGER.

    "So I wonder Maragon, let's take the homicide rates.
    FBI statistics demonstrate that the unusually high murder rate is almost entirely the result of gang and drug-related homicides in major cities.
    Do you think the homicide is more closely related to religious belief in the United States or America's liberal attitudes to gun control,illegal immigration,poverty and drug abuse?"

    Show relevant statistics that prove this. Not for specific populated areas but on the whole.
    Show evidence that these gang members and drug users did not come from christian backgrounds and did not believe in a deity at the time these crimes were committed.

    "And Scott Gilbreath's points stand.Paul arbitrarily excludes the counties that would contradict the conclusion he has touted in his anti-Christian books."

    Name the countries and how they contradict Paul's findings. Please include properly extrapolated statistics with your answer.

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  41. [CREDENTIALS AUTOMATIALLY MAKE THEM RIGHT11!!!!1!!!!!!]
    I'm pretty sure you would not trust the statements of Ray Comfort on evolution. Due to his uncredentialed status , factual wrongness and his obvious bias. Pretty much the same reasons I don't trust Gregory Paul.



    Let me just recap the facts
    1) G. Paul has no credentials in statistics himself and his job is drawing dinosaurs
    2)He has a obvious bias and has been promoting the same conclusion in his anti-Christian propaganda books several years before he began the study
    3) Documentation has been provided that Greg Paul
    i)deliberately excluded countries from his sample that seem to contradict his said conclusion
    ii)arbitrarily limited the study to homicide when Interpol and International Crime Victim's survey indicates that rates of violent crime as a whole are higher in his secular countries
    3)I have shown at least 2 credentialed statisticians who say that his study is bunk
    (George Gallup and Scott Gilbreath )

    Perhaps Maragon does not realise it but I sure the unbiased observer will realize this study for the sham it is.

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  42. Authority is a double edged sword.

    On the one hand, it's important to state your authority to establish your credibility on the subject. On the other hand, you can always find someone credentialed to support your world view such as climate scientists who deny global warming, history professors who think 9/11 was an inside job, or geologists who think the world is 6,000 years old.

    To make matters even worse, sometimes people without official credentials are able to become experts in a field.

    Obviously, sometimes you cannot spend the four years of college to make an educated decision about the subject yourself, so what you need to focus on in these types of situations is agreement among experts.

    I have not read this article, nor am I inclined to do much research on it, but if it found its way into a credible peer-reviewed journal, then there's very little reason to doubt the veracity of the study.

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  43. I want to clarify something quickly.

    I mentioned that there's very little reason to doubt the veracity of the study, and what I meant was the intellectual honesty of the person doing the study. It doesn't mean he didn't make mistakes and we should take this one study as supreme truth. :P

    There may be some issues with the study, and its results may be totally off because of it, but a good peer-review journal usually doesn't print trash. :)

    Hope that makes sense.

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  44. [then there's very little reason to doubt the veracity of the study.]
    Look at reasons 2 and 3.

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  45. "I'm pretty sure you would not trust the statements of Ray Comfort on evolution. Due to his uncredentialed status , factual wrongness and his obvious bias. Pretty much the same reasons I don't trust Gregory Paul."

    Credentials only go so far.
    If Ray or anyone else provided relevant and testable data I would have to consider it, regardless of credentials.

    "1) G. Paul has no credentials in statistics himself and his job is drawing dinosaurs"

    You have no credentials of any kind. You're not even old enough to drink. Why should I accept anything you say about anything as true? Clearly, you're not an expert.

    "He has a obvious bias and has been promoting the same conclusion in his anti-Christian propaganda books several years before he began the study"

    Everyone has a bias. Every person you've claimed debunked his study has an obvious pro-Christian bias and attempts to skew data to prove their point. How is this relevant?

    "Documentation has been provided that Greg Paul
    i)deliberately excluded countries from his sample that seem to contradict his said conclusion
    ii)arbitrarily limited the study to homicide when Interpol and International Crime Victim's survey indicates that rates of violent crime as a whole are higher in his secular countries"

    Have you read the study?
    If you had, you'd know why things were DELIBERATELY but not 'arbitrarily' excluded. I've read the study.

    "3)I have shown at least 2 credentialed statisticians who say that his study is bunk
    (George Gallup and Scott Gilbreath )"

    I bet I could show you 10 credited sociologists who would agree with the study's conclusions. Does that make the study automatically correct?

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  46. MF'er,

    "Do you think the homicide is more closely related to religious belief in the United States or America's liberal attitudes to gun control,illegal immigration,poverty and drug abuse?"

    Most of our ills are caused by the fact that christians are very conservative. Republican administrations and most christians ignorethe problem and that is poverty.

    We basically segregated blacks and minorities in to the city Ghettos after the Civil war and noone wants to tackle the root problem- Education.

    If we would make a priority and get minority and poor kids educated so they cn get jobs, you would see a big decline.

    Conservatives always want people to help themselves, without understanding that many poor and uneducated miorities are in areas where the schools have no money and are underfunded and lack good teachers.

    I measure a society by how they treat their young, old, and uneducated poor.

    Japan has no religion but they mandated that everyone would recieve a good education and their murder rate is ten times less than ours.

    You have o idea of the mindset that and despair that comes to kids that are raised in neighbor hoods with inferior schools.

    Education always wins and if the christians in this country would step up to the plate and demand that these people get good educations, it would get done.

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  47. It is due to religious views that we won't accept minorities into our society. You surely can't blame the atheists for that!

    I can hear them as I type this; those good christian fathers telling their kids that they will be disowned if they date a black or minority.

    You white christians are the cause of all this, because as you like to say, this is a christian nation.
    The christians had it their way, and they blew it. Failed. It is now changing.

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  48. This country needs to shed it's silly beliefs, throw everybody into the Gene Pool, and stir, stir, stir!

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  49. [It is due to religious views that we won't accept minorities into our society. You surely can't blame the atheists for that!]
    I don't blame any group. I think it is just a natural xenophobia

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  50. @Froggie
    I was using the word liberal in the sense of "liberal attitudes to gun-control" and America's unwillingness to further regulate gun-possesion.
    I didn't mean "liberal" as a political position.I think you misunderstood me.

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  51. MrFreeThinker,
    Not to be rude, but your support all comes from Christian apologetic blogs and they are trying to counter a peer-reviewed paper.

    It's like challenging The New York Times by reading something out of the tabloids.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but peer-reviewed articles in respected journals regardless of the views of the original author have far more weight behind them than anonymous blog entries by individuals with an obvious agenda to push.

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  52. @Kaitlyn
    The links to George Gallup and Scott Gillbreath, I provided were to professional statisticians (unlike G. Paul who draws dinosaurs for a living) who disagreed with it. It is not just "anonymous bloggers" as you asserted.

    The other link I put here(http://www.verumserum.com/?p=25) brought up very interesting problems with the conclusion Maragon wants.
    G. Paul only examines homicide which the US has a fairly high rate of, but if you take violent crime as a whole , including things like assault ,theft and sexual assault , you will find the overall violent crime rate is higher in those "secular countries" than the United states.
    He also excludes secular states (like those in the former USSR) that do have high homicide rates.

    I don't think you have to do much to see there is a lot wrong with this survey and the conclusion Maragon wants to draw from it.

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  53. Once again, Freethinker:

    "1) G. Paul has no credentials in statistics himself and his job is drawing dinosaurs"

    You have no credentials of any kind. You're not even old enough to drink. Why should I accept anything you say about anything as true? Clearly, you're not an expert.


    "It is not just "anonymous bloggers" as you asserted."

    No, it's Christian bloggers with an obvious bias and agenda to push.

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  54. Even if names are given, blogs are still anonymous because there's no verification upon whom wrote the article or if any of the information is true.

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  55. @Kaitlyn
    The link to George Gallup was to an article published in Touchstone magazinePs. Its funny of how Maragon keeps ignoring the bias of her source and his agenda.

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  56. Its funny of how Maragon keeps ignoring the bias of her source and his agenda.

    Irony thy name is MrTrollThinker.

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  57. This:

    Irony thy name is MrTrollThinker.

    ReplyDelete

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