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Author Topic: Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'  (Read 3171 times)
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jfern
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« on: September 28, 2005, 01:38:18 am »
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RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html

This debate ought to be interesting. 
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KEmperor
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2005, 01:53:25 am »
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Sigh...correlation does not equal causation.
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2005, 02:24:52 am »
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Sigh...correlation does not equal causation.

Indeed.
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 02:27:02 am »
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Worse off societies 'have God on their side'

High murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, can cause religious belief, according to research published today.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2005, 02:35:20 am »
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Worse off societies 'have God on their side'

High murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, can cause religious belief, according to research published today.

That would require a corresponding increase on religious belief along with economic trouble, which I believe generally is not all that common.  I don't  know if I've seen any studies on that, though.
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2005, 03:08:10 am »
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Worse off societies 'have God on their side'

High murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, can cause religious belief, according to research published today.

That would require a corresponding increase on religious belief along with economic trouble, which I believe generally is not all that common.  I don't  know if I've seen any studies on that, though.

He wasn't actually asserting what he said; his comment, which I think is a valid one, is that the fact that these two go together may well imply that bad living conditions foster religious belief, instead of the other way around, and that we really cannot know what caused what just with this data alone.
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2005, 07:44:56 am »
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Worse off societies 'have God on their side'

High murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, can cause religious belief, according to research published today.

That would require a corresponding increase on religious belief along with economic trouble, which I believe generally is not all that common. I don't know if I've seen any studies on that, though.

He wasn't actually asserting what he said; his comment, which I think is a valid one, is that the fact that these two go together may well imply that bad living conditions foster religious belief, instead of the other way around, and that we really cannot know what caused what just with this data alone.

Well, I'd hardly call the U.S. a place with bad living conditions.

Oh, and do you guys remember the other study - the one that said nations where most believed in some sort of hell were more industrious? That one actually seemed to have some possibly valid logic behind it - this one on the other hand seems to me to be anti-religious garbage based on correlation alone. This guy seems to be opebo with a PHD, though considering they are calling him "Mr. Paul" instead of Dr. I think that can be called into question.

Here's another article on the subject:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1470370.htm

Oh, and guess what - he's a paleantologist, not a social scientist as the other article states. His expertise is digging up bones, and of course he has an evolution bias - I believe in evolution too, but this guy has a serious investment in it so he's simply out to discredit creationists. He should leave sociology to the sociologists.
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MODU
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2005, 07:55:55 am »
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Sounds like saying: "Countries with more cars have more car wrecks."
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2005, 07:59:53 am »
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Sounds like saying: "Countries with more cars have more car wrecks."

Except then you can actually make a valid connection between the number of cars and the number of car wrecks.
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angus
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2005, 11:04:10 am »
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Sigh...correlation does not equal causation.
 

I think the fault in the logic is there, but the fundamental problem is even worse.   It's one of definition.  It's like me saying, "Peanut butter does not cure hunger.  Now, for this experiment I shall define as 'peanut butter' this container of gaseous nitrogen.  Notice that the rhesus monkey starves after being fed sufficient peanut butter for a week.  Clearly, peanut butter does not cure hunger."

another example:  one in ten sub-saharan africans are HIV positive.  ergo, negroid peoples f uck like bunnies.  see what I mean?

Here's a quote "I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states"  Nothing wrong with that statement.  I personally am repelled by poor societal performance of any state, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or irreligious.  This, of course, is a normative proposition, and hardly qualifies as academically rigorous, however.

look, I don't argue that rejecting Darwinism because you foolishly believe it contradicts the first five chapters of the book of Genesis is a good idea.  but you have to realize that this has nothing to do with God, assuming such a thing there be, is "taking sides"  It's like a Simpson's episode:  Remember Milhouse as Moses?  ("We Jews will have smooth sailing from now on.")

I've read the article, and you also have to realize that newspapers are notorious for misquoting scientists.  I remember reading in the San Francisco Chronicle a number given in degrees fahrenheit for the temperature at "which all motion stops" was minus 260.7.  First, that's closer to the Celcius temp for absolute zero.  Second, it's still not correct (I think it's more like 273.15).  Third, absolute zero is the temperature at which all translation motion stops (we still have zero-point vibrational motion in molecules at that temperature.)

I also remember my colleage with whom I worked at Columbia this summer telling me about the press that came out of his original work on the hydrogen exchange reaction, way back in 1984.  Dick Bernstein and others thought it was noteworthy enough to be featured in a real news article, and the Los Angeles Times science reporter did an article on it--which was front page in the early edition of the paper that day.  Nice article.  However, it mutated as it was picked up by other newspapers, into something like "scientists prove quantum theory," which generated a lot of comments as you might guess!

And, I repeat:  the logic is bunk to begin with.  so even if the newspapers got it right (which is indeed rare) the source is playing a bad game of pseudosocialscience to begin with.

Take this with a huge grain of salt, folks.
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2005, 11:47:29 am »
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I've read the article, and you also have to realize that newspapers are notorious for misquoting scientists. I remember reading in the San Francisco Chronicle a number given in degrees fahrenheit for the temperature at "which all motion stops" was minus 260.7. First, that's closer to the Celcius temp for absolute zero. Second, it's still not correct (I think it's more like 273.15). Third, absolute zero is the temperature at which all translation motion stops (we still have zero-point vibrational motion in molecules at that temperature.)

Yes, -273.15 degrees C is the absolute point conversion for 0 K.  For fahrenheit, it is -459.67 degrees F.
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2005, 12:00:38 pm »
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The article makes it sound as if fundamentalism is more the problem, which it is. The problem with the US is we have too many fundies, the ones who oppose evolution teaching.

A liberal Christian society would obviously be better than North Korea.
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2005, 12:09:52 pm »
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The article makes it sound as if fundamentalism is more the problem, which it is. The problem with the US is we have too many fundies, the ones who oppose evolution teaching.

A liberal Christian society would obviously be better than North Korea.

hahaha . . . "too many fundies."
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2005, 12:16:39 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2005, 12:23:41 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.

Of course it does - as I mentioned, the guy is a paleontologist. That's not what this 'study', and I use that term VERY loosely, is about - his argument is that the problems with U.S. society(higher murder rates for instance) stem from religion, which is crap and you know it.
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2005, 12:25:34 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.

Of course it does - as I mentioned, the guy is a paleontologist. That's not what this 'study', and I use that term VERY loosely, is about - his argument is that the problems with U.S. society(higher murder rates for instance) stem from religion, which is crap and you know it.

Yes, the problem is not religion, it's people following the wrong religion: fundamentalism as opposed to the right religion: mainline/liberal Christianity.
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2005, 12:28:16 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.

Of course it does - as I mentioned, the guy is a paleontologist. That's not what this 'study', and I use that term VERY loosely, is about - his argument is that the problems with U.S. society(higher murder rates for instance) stem from religion, which is crap and you know it.

Yes, the problem is not religion, it's people following the wrong religion: fundamentalism as opposed to the right religion: mainline/liberal Christianity.

Are you paying attention? What does believing in creationism have to do with MURDER RATES!?!?!?
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2005, 12:30:30 pm »
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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.
OK, so we've excluded the materialistic Communist countries from the study.  That would explain why sky-high abortion rates in the USSR and China aren't mentioned.  It also doesn't mention that homicide, STD, teen pregnancy and abortion are all nearly zero in Saudi Arabia (but that would counter their pre-conceived conclusion).

This study only compares the U.S. to Western Europe.  The next quote demonstrates why this comparison is used and what bias the researchers have:

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The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.
The U.S. is a "developing" democracy?  In what way?

This is just another example of America-bashing by Left-wing nutjobs.
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2005, 12:32:28 pm »
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It also doesn't mention that homicide, STD, teen pregnancy and abortion are all nearly zero in Saudi Arabia (but that would counter their pre-conceived conclusion).

Ah, so we can conclude by this that it would be a good thing for the US to become more like Saudi Arabia?
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2005, 12:34:11 pm »
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It also doesn't mention that homicide, STD, teen pregnancy and abortion are all nearly zero in Saudi Arabia (but that would counter their pre-conceived conclusion).

Ah, so we can conclude by this that it would be a good thing for the US to become more like Saudi Arabia?

No, don't take things out of context - you're smarter than that and you know it.
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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2005, 12:40:32 pm »
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It also doesn't mention that homicide, STD, teen pregnancy and abortion are all nearly zero in Saudi Arabia (but that would counter their pre-conceived conclusion).

Ah, so we can conclude by this that it would be a good thing for the US to become more like Saudi Arabia?

According to their own statements on what constitutes the quality of a society, then absolutely.  Numbers don't lie.

That was sarcasm, of course.  But it does demonstrate how screwed up the very premise of the study is.  It is even more relevant criticism when you consider that the causal relation between religion and those measures of society in Saudi Arabia is crystal clear, while the study's proposed link in the U.S. and Europe is pretty muddy.
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2005, 12:56:53 pm »
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mainline/liberal

Why are you putting those two together? Huh
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2005, 12:58:25 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.

Of course it does - as I mentioned, the guy is a paleontologist. That's not what this 'study', and I use that term VERY loosely, is about - his argument is that the problems with U.S. society(higher murder rates for instance) stem from religion, which is crap and you know it.

Even more, there is only a small minority of truly hard-core religious folks out there who do not recognize evolution nor that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Most of the religious population are open-minded about things that go on in the world. Too bad the non-religious types are not as open-minded.
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2005, 01:46:34 pm »
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While I guess not all mainline Christians are liberal, it can be safely said that most (although not all) liberal Christians are mainline.

However, it is safe to say that most of both groups do not believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, so in this instance it does make sense to group them together.
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2005, 01:47:35 pm »
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The article mentions opposition to evolution. Who are the folks who oppose evolution and think the Earth is only 6000 years old? Not mainline/liberal Christians.

Of course it does - as I mentioned, the guy is a paleontologist. That's not what this 'study', and I use that term VERY loosely, is about - his argument is that the problems with U.S. society(higher murder rates for instance) stem from religion, which is crap and you know it.

Even more, there is only a small minority of truly hard-core religious folks out there who do not recognize evolution nor that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Most of the religious population are open-minded about things that go on in the world. Too bad the non-religious types are not as open-minded.

When did I say I was a "non-religious type"?
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