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Old 03-26-2014, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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I ran across this today, I had filed it on my computer several years ago. It's chapter one from 2005's The Cambridge Companion to Atheism.

https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/fac...under-7000.pdf

It has some very interesting conclusions, but this final paragraph is a nice summation.

Quote:
Based on a careful assessment of the most recent survey data available, we find that somewhere between 500,000,000 and 750,000,000 humans currently do not believe in God. Such figures render any suggestion that theism is innate or neurologically based untenable. The nations with the highest degrees of organic atheism (atheism which is not state-enforced through totalitarian regimes but emerges naturally among free societies) include most of the nations of Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. There also exist high degrees of atheism in Japan, Vietnam, North Korea, and Taiwan. Many former Soviet nations, such as Estonia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus also contain significant levels of atheism. Atheism is virtually non-existent in much of the world, however, especially among the most populated nations of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and much of Asia. High levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality. Most nations characterized by high degrees of individual and societal security have the highest rates of organic atheism, and conversely, nations characterized by low degrees of individual and societal security have the lowest rates of organic atheism. In some societies, particularly Europe, atheism is growing. However, throughout much of the world particularly nations with high birth rates atheism is barely discernable.
Since we (and, at least ostensibly, our theist friends) are often looking for hard numbers, this is one reasonably scholarly source.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:34 PM
 
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'Organic atheism' naturally grown with the benefits of theists weeing over it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
'Organic atheism' naturally grown with the benefits of theists weeing over it.
LOL. You devil you :-)

Of interest ... his numbers are very conservative and if you include the simply irreligious he says they would roughly double.

Also of interest ... the United States is #44 among unbelieving countries at 3 to 9%; Britain is #15 at 31 to 44%.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Yeah I have quoted from that paper a few times.
I'd guess that things will have changed quite radically since that paper was published. I'd be interested to see some more up-to date figures gathered together.
I heard USA is more like 20% atheist now and the UK in a recent survey only 25% of young people said they believe in god.

British Youth reject Religion
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The report affirms what previous studies have revealed, that correlation exists between higher education levels and the probability of atheism, as well as between lower education levels and the probability of fundamentalist beliefs.

It all is congruent with what would seem logical, that those with the least in life and the lowest expectation of improving that situation, are the most likely to pin their hopes on religion as the ultimate leveler. The ones with the least amount of education are the most likely to uncritically embrace dogma for its simplicity, clarity, order and certainty.

The "War Against Christmas" is a theist fantasy construction, but there might be some merit to a unified "War Against Ignorance" in that education appears to be the most effective weapon in the conflict. And perhaps one day, after the final triumph of atheism, the history books will be writing of such things as this board as the pioneers or point people in that struggle. We may be the Rousseaus and Lockes of the 2nd Enlightenment, but just not recognized until much later when the world has been transformed.

Or we could just be jerking around and showing off.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:43 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
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Probably, those babies will flock to the collection plates of religion once they loose their proper atheism education. Regardless, counting Atheists is meaningless, we should be counting how smart and good and capable people are getting (being as polytheism and monotheism are so sinister, should include knowledge about the logic behind possible/literaturistic super, omni, paranormal, and cryptic beings).
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:42 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
It all is congruent with what would seem logical, that those with the least in life and the lowest expectation of improving that situation, are the most likely to pin their hopes on religion as the ultimate leveler. The ones with the least amount of education are the most likely to uncritically embrace dogma for its simplicity, clarity, order and certainty.
Yes and no. The staunchest and most enduring fundamentalist remaining in my family, one of my brothers, has a master's degree in Electrical Engineering and was a research scientist with a large multinational for much of his adult life, working on government contracts that involved things like torpedo guidance systems. And he is low-grade wealthy, probably worth 2 or 3 million $ at this point. He came out of a middle class and largely blue-collar family and was the first to get a higher education, but it did not faze him.

This speaks, I think, to a couple of things. First, while my family converted to fundamentalism when he was a teen, and we were just typical Christmas-and-Easter Presbyterians before that, it was still a formative experience for him, and that is a huge determinant in what religion you identify with. Secondly, he was looking for certitude, and even more so, his wife was. Literalist religion provides black-and-white "explanations" for existence. They are bogus, but so long as you have average luck and a good ability to rationalize, they can suffice to get you through life. And they can seem superior. His wife (who has an undergraduate degree and so is far from uneducated herself) is Jewish, but her father was a non-practicing atheist. That bothered her. She wanted / needed "something more". And that is why she converted from Judaism and married outside her faith and cultural heritage. Basically they were both afraid of life on a bare-metal basis.

So while fundamentalism breeds better amidst ignorance and poverty, it is not all backwoods Appalachian snake handlers or middle eastern suicide bombers either. There are relatively "upscale" versions that will be able to sell their patented certitude to the middle class and even the wealthy. While I don't think fundamentalism can succeed as well or as easily in that realm, people in that realm who should know better still want blinkers provided for them. My brother prattles on endlessly about Obamacare like it's an awful thing and listens to Art Bell on the radio and believes in his invisible sky buddy in spite of his education, wealth and raw native intelligence. Just because you have a brain doesn't mean you have to use it. He isn't the first, and won't be the last, to limit his self-awareness in order to cope with the human condition.

All that said, I agree with you that religion is doomed in the long term. But fundamentalism may remain the most virulent and visible kind of religion for some time because, oddly, it's the milder versions of religion that seem to be struggling for relevance. Fundamentalism at least has the courage of its convictions, misguided though they are. It offers simplicity and certainty in a complex and uncertain world that many feel lost and adrift in.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Yes and no. .
I employed suppositional terms.."probability"..."most likely", leaving room for the exceptions, so of course yes and no.

Intelligence is not the sole factor, a person's emotional makeup is also influential. Another factor is the compartmentalization of intelligence, that one is good or even uncommonly good at certain cranial tasks, does not necessarily mean that those gifts apply to all such tasks.

Last edited by Grandstander; 03-27-2014 at 07:46 AM..
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
A... that one is good or even uncommonly good at certain cranial tasks, does not necessarily mean that those gifts apply to all such tasks.
Or apply them equally to all things. My brother does not employ his intellect to anything that might disagree with his religious dogma or other ideals. And I think many well-indoctrinated and conditioned fundamentalists deliberately avoid rational thought in those "compartments". Our own Eusebius being a rather extreme example.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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One new data point: a website for comic book fans has a poll up about "belief in a god or higher power". The majority of the site's users are in the US, with ages ranging from 14 to over 70. So far, 83 users have answered, with 51 saying that no god/higher power exists, and 32 saying that a god or higher power exists. That's over 60% voting for atheism.

Do you believe in a god/higher power?
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