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Old 07-30-2013, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,867 posts, read 3,794,760 times
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Interesting... good thread.

The article as stated by the OP uses this article as its starting point:
From Hitchens to Dawkins: Where are the women of New Atheism? - Salon.com

which in turn appears to take its data from here:
Sex differences in global atheism, part N - Gene Expression | DiscoverMagazine.com


The 'Hitchens to Dawkins' article states:
Quote:
In countries like Britain and the United States, irreligion is spreading—but women are less likely to be Atheists. According to data from a recent World Values Survey, while 3.6 percent of American men identify absolutely as “Atheist,” just 1.2 percent of women do the same. Those numbers rise to 11.6 percent and 9.3 percent respectively in Britain.
Just to point out but not to detract from the point of the thread, the numbers are either wrong or very out of date since recent surveys have atheism overall in Britain as something more like 35 - 40%.

Lets assume though for the moment that the comparison between the countries above are indeed correct (though outdated). Lets compare American men with British men. Unless you conclude that the brains of American men are more attuned to god than those of British men (unlikely), your other conclusion would seem to be that social conditioning is the real reason. Same goes with gender.
A big part of belief is down to the old 'accident of birth' chestnut again, paired with gender expectations and social pressures within society.

But I admit that perhaps does not tell the whole story, and does not perhaps go the whole way to explaining why statistically wherever you go, in whatever country, atheism in males does appear to be higher.
There do appear to be differences in the way male and female brains are wired - there has been much research on the subject. Men having a better sense of direction for example, or women having a better recognition of faces etc. Anybody who has kids of both genders will know without needing any statistics that boys and girls are different regardless of any social conditioning. So perhaps women, are more receptive somehow to the idea of god.
Education and the way we learn could also play a role. I once did a dissertation at Uni about how boys learn differently from girls. Boys are far more interested in the 'facts' and learn to read differently. Hence boys tend to be interested in things like encyclopedias whereas girls prefer story books. I'd like to see some actual research done on the subject though before drawing any solid conclusions. It's an interesting thread.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
1,650 posts, read 3,012,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTaTHEIST View Post
It seems to me that women, in general, are more touchy/feely creatures and men are more analytical. Religion and god belief are generally held because of emotions, and I propose that women are typically more susceptible to this type of thing for biological reasons.


It would make an interesting study determining if this suspicion was true, and that there is a disproportionate number of male to female atheists as represented in the population at large.
OMG. How very insulting.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,867 posts, read 3,794,760 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscomac View Post
OMG. How very insulting.

To be fair, I don't think this was meant as an insult.

Honestly my initial reaction with this whole thread was to feel insulted as well (I'm female too), until I looked at the statistics. I think the point here is to look at the facts and think about whether a) the facts are wrong or b) accept that the facts are right and discuss reasons why this might be. Women do tend to be more emotionally attuned to things (general very sweeping statement - yes). Whether this has anything to do with a belief in god - well I can't see a link here myself either. After all there are more characteristics to women than being emotional - we have other qualities too I'll have you all know! But I'm giving NOTaTHEIST the benefit of the doubt that I don't think he meant to be insulting.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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No poll has ever asked my opinion, so you wonder where they get their data from. I am a woman atheist. I live in the south and have to hide that fact due to repercussions from job, etc. However, if asked in an anonymous poll, I would fess up. I do think that the way they word the questions do not get accurate stats as to who really has no belief in god (whether man or woman).
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:52 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,115 times
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Kind of figured I'd get a comment about this sooner actually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roscomac View Post
OMG. How very insulting.
No insulted was intended, sorry if you took it that way. It should be noted I stated "in general" and certainly not "all". It's simply an inference drawn from experience and different facts. I'd be the first to admit I could be wrong, although the recent study being listed in this thread tends to confirm my suspicion.

I think it goes without saying that men and women have different, innate biological advantages and disadvantages. Men generally have greater muscle mass, making them better at heavy physical tasks. Women typically are much better at multitasking while men tend to do better at single focused tasks. It also seems that typically women are more driven by emotions than men (this can be judged either negatively or positively from either persepective). There seems to be evidences to suggest there are evolutionary reasons for these differences. This isn't meant to be disparaging, only an observation.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
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I accept that it was not your intention to insult. But to suggest that women are more susceptible to irrational beliefs because they are "more touchy/feely creatures" while "men are more analytical" is to suggest that men are smarter and better thinkers than women are. And to use the fact that men and women have different bodies to back that up is an additional insult. I really do believe that you didn't mean it to be so, but I am letting you know that it is.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:18 PM
 
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I'm a woman, as well as an atheist. I don't care who knows it, and I don't hide it. The hardest things was "coming out" to my parents, so I did avoid that topic with them for a while.

To hell with the church group socialization; I don't think they'd warmly welcome my ideas and I doubt I could immerse myself in the group comfortably. I certainly couldn't when I was a practicing Christian.

NOTaTheist.....I know you didn't mean it to be, but that was a bit insulting. I do see how you could have come to that generalization, I just don't think it's accurate.

I could easily make a comment stating that men can't wholly and faithfully commit to something that requires devotion, love, and sacrifice; whether that be a relationship or something like being a practicing Christian/Jew/Muslim etc. Football excluded, of course . I kid, I kid.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:58 PM
 
Location: WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I wonder how you could actually quantify this. I hang out on several boards that are primarily women atheists who happen to be parents. We often talk about raising children without religion since we are concerned about the proselytizers and our relatives who happen to want to convert our children to their religious view. A lot of these moms live in the south and are closeted atheists because of the social stigmas that result from coming out as atheist (we don't want our kids ostracized by their playmates, for example).
This post suggests that social reasons are stronger than biological reasons.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTaTHEIST View Post
Kind of figured I'd get a comment about this sooner actually.



No insulted was intended, sorry if you took it that way. It should be noted I stated "in general" and certainly not "all". It's simply an inference drawn from experience and different facts. I'd be the first to admit I could be wrong, although the recent study being listed in this thread tends to confirm my suspicion.

I think it goes without saying that men and women have different, innate biological advantages and disadvantages. Men generally have greater muscle mass, making them better at heavy physical tasks. Women typically are much better at multitasking while men tend to do better at single focused tasks. It also seems that typically women are more driven by emotions than men (this can be judged either negatively or positively from either perspective). There seems to be evidences to suggest there are evolutionary reasons for these differences. This isn't meant to be disparaging, only an observation.
I don't think it's purely a gender thing, it is more left vs right brain, about levels of intuitiveness. It just happens that women tend to be more intuitive than men, which plays to different strengths in different contexts. Stating this transitions from a mere observation to an insult only if the person making the remark is unintuitive and defensive and speaking of intuition derisively.

If you approach life from a more intuitive emphasis you simply back your way into things differently. My wife is a technical writer who, with no training or knowledge in the field, once produced a two inch thick overview of polymer fabrication techniques, by interviewing scientists and having her writing vetted and audited. I guarantee you that 3 months later she would not be able to tell you a thing about polymers, as she has no interest in them, yet the book exists and was lauded for its thoroughness, accuracy and crystal clarity. This from a woman who finds tax returns, thermostats, TV remotes and email client configuration to be opaque mysteries and who is likely to not remember something you told her 10 minutes ago if at the time it wasn't info she needed in order to function in that moment. In other words laser like focus that produces superhuman intellectual feats but also renders her oblivious to a lot of things outside the laser beam. Outside observers who do not know her well could conclude that she is scatterbrained when she is anything but; she is simply selective in her focus. In software, compiler designers would call this a "peephole optimization".

I think women more often know how to cut to the chase like this -- we men are simple creatures and have to get our minds totally around something before we can accept it; women tend to only need the essential facts and don't need to ponder all the angles. So I think that they can come to a position of unbelief and have it be simply a self evident fact of their existence that doesn't necessarily need to be deeply examined from every possible angle. People then come along and give that a label called "atheism" that women perhaps tend to resist because all it does is barnacle a simple fact of existence with a lot of social and emotional baggage. I think labeling the belief also immediately draws battle lines and limits flexibility. My wife, in particular, is a connector and bridge-builder, she has no interest in things that hinder that.

This ability to personally reject a belief without it necessarily implying that one most then be cut off from others based on that unbelief is something worth pondering.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:22 AM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,868,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
So far as I could see, there are two reasons - Churches provide a lot of childcare. And women seem to be backward in coming forward unless it's in gender issues. I'd like to see a lot more female presence in atheist/ agnostic areas.

Also there are going to have to be some non -religious alternatives to the tradition social Hooks provided by the churches. The politicians here, quite apart from their liking for Traditional values, just love any organization that provides a service (like Church schools) that they don't have to find the money for.

Secularism has a much bigger job to do than just winning the religion debate. There has to be provided alternatives to the social provisions by religion that carry a fee: support for religion.
I think you've hit on a very good point.

There was a book on the opposite point, "Why aren't there more Christian men?" Most men, with their heavy need for self-determination and poor social connections (besides spirituality, social connection is the secondary need of attending church), church is seen as a threat to their spare time. Of course, I'm not most men, church is basically how I continue feeling human, since I hardly ever get out and talk to people (to me, even being around people and shaking hands in peace is enough).

That's why besides being a joke, an Atheist "church" (it'd have to be called assembly or center or meeting house or something not connected to the worship of God/gods) would be a good thing. People can attend and talk about social problems, such as child care or providing shelter for battered/abandoned women, or organizing programs to deal with drug/alcohol addiction. If atheism lost some of its hard edge against religion (the whole trying to disprove other religions thing, which just makes enemies), and simply became a "caffeine-free" version of what most religions do (helping communities) without the heavy moral imperative of "you're going to hell if you don't do it" but rather to do it if/because you want to, I'd think this is a welcome step.

Hell, if they stopped trying to anti-proselytize, I might even attend one Sunday. In terms of religion, the need to "convert" people to your line of thinking, is the only thing stopping me from attending whatever temple I want. Well, that, and I dunno of any Buddhist or Hindu temples nearby. If Christians could also stop trying to convince other religions they're wrong, atheists would probably be more welcome in Church too (that is, if they'd attend given all the incense, candle lighting, and God talk). Debate and winning the religious argument is an exercise in irrelevancy, since no matter who wins, anyone who strongly believes in their point is unlikely to accept your belief system, and vice versa (and they often resent you for trying). Only rational people do that, but the world is filled with irrational people. The true test of a worldview is how it treats the community, not whether it's "right".

Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 07-31-2013 at 07:37 AM..
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