Go Back   AFA Forums > Atheism > General Chit Chat About Atheism

General Chit Chat About Atheism Something on your mind?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #31  
Old 21st June 2016, 06:42 PM
katrina katrina is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
142857 said View Post
From the link:


In fact, crime in the United States has been dramatically decreasing over the same period as the article refers to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_..._United_States

Of course you could claim that even though people are killing each other less, beating each other up less, and stealing from each other less, social pathology is somehow increasing. But how is social pathology related to a supposed increase in secularism? Many (myself included) would claim that increases in social pathology are more closely related to the rise of libertarian and neo-conservative ideologies that have nothing to do with secularism.
I largely agree.

The decreasing US crime rate in fact offers a good illustration why I practically rejected the Paul article out of hand.

The cited Wikipedia piece presents seven main reasons for the decline, not one of which is even remotely related to religion or lack thereof.

The same applies to a whole range of societal elements, most of which are subject to a range of cultural, historical, political and economic factors.

As the Paul piece also notes, the US, despite being the world’s most powerful nation and an economic powerhouse, is also one of the most dysfunctional and in ways that have little to do with religion one way or the other. As someone else said, how can we be sure that these dysfunctional societies, including the US, would not be even more dysfunctional without religion? Can we really compare the US culture unreservedly with that of a country like the Netherlands, for instance?

Paul mentions “dramatic declines in religiosity in favor of secularization in the developed democracies.”

As a country’s living standards increase - but particularly in tandem with a strong and reliable social welfare system, a good education system, high personal safety and an effective justice system - both religiosity and societal dysfunction decrease as functions thereof. This has always been the case, everywhere – no mystery at all.

Yet, despite its supposed economic riches, how many Americans are still without a proper health scheme, or entitled to a secure pension or ongoing unemployment benefits? How often do we hear an American proudly proclaim that they own a gun to protect themselves from their own neighbors!
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 21st June 2016, 07:39 PM
katrina katrina is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
Loki said View Post
Well, for a start it is not "his" data, as you would know given you are apparently familiar enough with it to arbitrarily dismiss it.

Secondly, much of this data is freely and publically available for you to assess for yourself. Not only the data available when that particular paper was written, but right up to 2015. Plus a whole heap of other data not considered in that paper.

You could perhaps start with the WHO Global Health Observatory data. Knock yourself out. Let us know how you get on.
I fail to understand why you keep on going on about the ‘data’, after I’ve already stated that I found the piece’s main arguments untenable. I don’t have any problem with the data itself, but the use to which it is put. As well said by another: Beware the unwarranted generalizations and unfounded inferences.

As I suggested before, If you feel that all or some of it has special significance, please present it so that we can discuss it.


The following, taken from the Chalcedon site already linked previously, is one interpretation of what the data is meant to be in aid of: -

Paul’s argument, translated into plain English, is this. The United States is the most religiously inclined of all the industrial democracies, including Western Europe and Japan. The United States is also far worse afflicted with social ills like homicide, teen suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortion. The largely Christian people of the USA are “experiencing a much higher degree of societal distress” than the secularized peoples of Europe and Japan. Thus there is a strong positive correlation between belief in God and societal distress. He also finds a strong positive correlation between societal health and belief in the theory of evolution. “The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

Tucked in among the verbiage, we find a mild disclaimer: “This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism, and societal health.”
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 22nd June 2016, 10:48 AM
Loki's Avatar
Loki Loki is online now
You get what everyone gets....you get a lifetime
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Up the creek
Posts: 10,965
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

I'm really not sure what the issue is here.

The paper points out a correlation in the data, and is not alone in doing so.

The paper does not claim the variables are independent, they almost certainly are not. Correlation is not causation and the author is not claiming so.

The paper does not present any covariate analysis or try and second guess relationships. Covariate analysis would be the obvious next step but problematic. Certainly above my pay grade.
__________________
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."Philip K. Dick

Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 22nd June 2016, 01:52 PM
142857's Avatar
142857 142857 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1,117
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
katrina said View Post
I largely agree.

The decreasing US crime rate in fact offers a good illustration why I practically rejected the Paul article out of hand.

The cited Wikipedia piece presents seven main reasons for the decline, not one of which is even remotely related to religion or lack thereof.
I provided a link to Wikipedia in order to show that the rebuttal piece you provided a link to was not something that I would take seriously.

I don't think there has been anywhere near a large enough shift towards atheism in the United States to have any demonstrable impact on crime figures. But that was not my point. My point was that trying to claim that a decline in Christianity has led to negative social outcomes in the United States, as the article you provided did actually try to claim, is less than baseless.

But let's get back to the original point, which you seem very keen not to engage.

Quote:
Richard Dawkins also claims that atheists are better behaved than religious people.
No causation is implied or required. Showing a correlation is enough.

I can think of good reasons why there would be a correlation between better social behaviour, lower levels of criminality, and atheism.

Causation is inherently difficult to prove. Fortunately we don't need to prove it.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 22nd June 2016, 06:54 PM
katrina katrina is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
142857 said View Post
I provided a link to Wikipedia in order to show that the rebuttal piece you provided a link to was not something that I would take seriously.

I don't think there has been anywhere near a large enough shift towards atheism in the United States to have any demonstrable impact on crime figures. But that was not my point. My point was that trying to claim that a decline in Christianity has led to negative social outcomes in the United States, as the article you provided did actually try to claim, is less than baseless.

But let's get back to the original point, which you seem very keen not to engage.



No causation is implied or required. Showing a correlation is enough.

I can think of good reasons why there would be a correlation between better social behaviour, lower levels of criminality, and atheism.

Causation is inherently difficult to prove. Fortunately we don't need to prove it.
You assert that the article I referred to is wrong to claim that a decline in Christianity had led to negative social outcomes in the United States, and therefore not something that you would take seriously.

The writer in question of course mainly links religion to social outcomes here because he’s addressing the Paul article.

But more to the point, you simply reduced the writer’s catch-all phrase of “societal ills” down to “crime”, comparing apples with oranges. And, the Wikipedia article you offered in support, provides seven distinct reason for the reduction in crime, all of which are totally unrelated to religion.

Unlike the Paul piece, allow me to detail some of the real contributions toward US societal ill-health.

Since the 1970s its middle class has been decimated, nay, ravaged, with jobs exported wholesale to Asia and with wages, in real terms, stagnating ever since. Inequality, both in wealth and income, have rarely been worse, with one-in-five American families living below the poverty line.

Religion? Atheism? No. Mere economics, a culture of dog-eat-dog capitalism.

Some more information on US poverty from Wikipedia:

‘In 2011 extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children.

In 2012 the percentage of seniors living in poverty was 14% while 18% of children were. The addition of Social Security benefits contributed more to reduce poverty than any other factor.

Recent census data shows that half the population qualifies as poor or low income, with one in five Millennials living in poverty. Academic contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States postulate that new and extreme forms of poverty have emerged in the U.S. as a result of neoliberal structural adjustment policies and globalization, which have rendered economically marginalized communities as destitute "surplus populations" in need of control and punishment.

In 2011, child poverty reached record high levels, with 16.7 million children living in food insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels. A 2013 UNICEF report ranked the U.S. as having the second highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world.’


I admittedly have some difficulty with your second point, but with which I am more than happy to engage.

The claim that atheists are better behaved than religious people is so abundantly self-evident that no substantiation is required?

I have never noticed any difference. The Christians I know personally seem no better or worse behaved than anyone else.

And, what religious people where? A Danish Protestant, a Saudi Arabian Muslim, a Tibetan Buddhist, a lip-service European Christian, an American Christian Fundamentalist, Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Lutherans?

Showing correlation is enough? Why? I have yet to see any!
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 22nd June 2016, 07:41 PM
katrina katrina is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
Loki said View Post
I'm really not sure what the issue is here.

The paper points out a correlation in the data, and is not alone in doing so.

The paper does not claim the variables are independent, they almost certainly are not. Correlation is not causation and the author is not claiming so.

The paper does not present any covariate analysis or try and second guess relationships. Covariate analysis would be the obvious next step but problematic. Certainly above my pay grade.
As I mentioned to 142857, as a country’s overall living standards rise, inclusive of a comprehensive social safety net and good education and health systems accessible to all, religiosity, as for the degree of societal dysfunction, decreases proportionally (whereas average ‘happiness’ increases).

In other words, in modern societies societal dysfunction is generally not a function of religiosity but of average living standards.

Not so much a case of less religion doing away with societal ills, as improved living standards, including robust redistribution (a lesson I doubt the US will ever take on board), doing away with religion.
Reply With Quote
Like Strato, 142857 liked this post
  #37  
Old 22nd June 2016, 08:09 PM
Xeno's Avatar
Xeno Xeno is offline
Extant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Altitude 700 m
Posts: 8,551
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

ooh, complicated cabernet unsaved by sauvignon, or are they correlated? I will stick to pointing out when someone told me they first heard about Matthew the Mellifluous, but I might come back to this some time.
__________________
There are no good arguments for gods.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 22nd June 2016, 09:01 PM
wearestardust's Avatar
wearestardust wearestardust is offline
What me socialist?
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: not telling
Posts: 8,485
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

What are we disagreeing about? Is it something that could be solved by some generous interpretation of comments?
__________________
If you need to wonder what would drive somebody to instruct lawyers, you may already be close to trouble.
- the Hircine Reverend
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 22nd June 2016, 09:56 PM
Goldenmane's Avatar
Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
Cuss-tard
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 7,137
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
katrina said View Post
Quote:
Loki said View Post
I'm really not sure what the issue is here.

The paper points out a correlation in the data, and is not alone in doing so.

The paper does not claim the variables are independent, they almost certainly are not. Correlation is not causation and the author is not claiming so.

The paper does not present any covariate analysis or try and second guess relationships. Covariate analysis would be the obvious next step but problematic. Certainly above my pay grade.
As I mentioned to 142857, as a country’s overall living standards rise, inclusive of a comprehensive social safety net and good education and health systems accessible to all, religiosity, as for the degree of societal dysfunction, decreases proportionally (whereas average ‘happiness’ increases).

In other words, in modern societies societal dysfunction is generally not a function of religiosity but of average living standards.

Not so much a case of less religion doing away with societal ills, as improved living standards, including robust redistribution (a lesson I doubt the US will ever take on board), doing away with religion.
I haven't really followed this thread, and I apologise for jumping back into it without really doing my homework in the form going back over it, but I do think this sort of question is one worth exploring.

My own view is that it seems likely to me (avowedly not an expert) that the system is really a bunch of interlocking feedback loops. Religion is a part of culture, and culture's a fascinating conglomeration of weirdness.
__________________
-Geoff Rogers

@Goldenmane3

Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 23rd June 2016, 06:50 PM
katrina katrina is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42
Default Re: The Delusions of Atheists

Quote:
Goldenmane said View Post
I haven't really followed this thread, and I apologise for jumping back into it without really doing my homework in the form going back over it, but I do think this sort of question is one worth exploring.

My own view is that it seems likely to me (avowedly not an expert) that the system is really a bunch of interlocking feedback loops. Religion is a part of culture, and culture's a fascinating conglomeration of weirdness.
The more the better, Geoff.

Myriad factors, obviously, variously contribute and interact with each other in determining a particular society’s character, including its collective psyche or mindset (if such a thing actually exists).

Causality in this instance - whether religiosity is a major determinant of societal wellbeing or whether the latter mediates the former (by way of living standards) – is well established. Something of which I think G. S. Paul, the author of the article in question, is perfectly well aware.

Scientific progress and technology, the exercise of political might, fear and terror, more accessible and better education, or even some new ideology, may all serve to lessen the incidence of religiosity, but it obviously doesn’t occur by simply waving a magic wand.

Religion has of course always flourished when daily life was hard, painful, insecure, seemingly without hope, especially when people lived on the land, and knew how easily a long-awaited harvest could be thwarted by pests, droughts, storms etc.

The early twentieth century already began the major transition away from religion, in northern Europe at least, as increased material prosperity and promise of longer life, one with less difficulties, greatly weakened its appeal,with churchgoing gradually declining.

A process which has never really ended. The more accessible and developed the social safety net, not ignoring quality health care and quality education, the more secure and confident and happy that people feel, and the less need of religious joy, succour, hope, belonging, community, spiritual comfort.

That of the United States, on the other hand, generally doesn’t even begin to offer to the majority of its people the quality of life and financial security that the Dutch, Danes, Scandinavians etc., now tend to take for granted. In many respects it smacks of a third world country. Religion here has obviously still something to offer.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +11. The time now is 12:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.