Monday, March 29, 2010

Attempt at Atheist Socail Science: Zuckerman




Photobucket
Phip Zuckerman

This will be a multiple part theme, and the Zuckerman connection I'll devide into at least two posts. Over the last few years many amateur sociologists from the atheist camp have tried to produce would be social science studies to demonstrate their ideological contention that atheism is the product of rational thought and religion is the product of superstition and stupidity.

One of the major contributors is a sociologist named Zuckerman. The "study" he contributes is badly done and makes a lost of bad assumptions,it is not well thought of in the academy, but atheists on the net cling to it as though it proves all.


I've seen over half a dozen attempts to do sociological studies that supposedly prove that religion is bad for society. The two major one's are Zuckerman and Paul. These two studies are linked as Zuckerman acknowledges Paul's "study" as foundational for his own.

The edge foundation describes Zuckerman's study this way:






A sociologist at Pitzer, Phil Zuckerman is the author of Invitation to the Sociology of Religion, Du Bois on Religion, Sex and Religion, and Society Without God. His Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006) verifies the inability of popular religiosity to thrive in modern, egalitarian democracies.

But this is nothing more than a like and Zuckerman's superficial data confrims nothing of the sort.




Zukerman is a Skeptical Enquirer article that someone has tired to use against me and my religious experience studies, but it didn't apply. This trend is making me very angry because it has spawned many of the lies and half truths that are fueling the new Atheism. I see these links to these articles popping up all the time. They make me especially angry because




(1) I was a sociology major, that was my BA. So I do know something about social science research methods.




(2) I was publisher of an academic journal geared to social criticism and a political activist in the CISPES for many years. (committee in Solidarity with People of El Salvador) and a Marxist. So social criticism has been a major part of my life. Seeing that used to lie about Christ and give false information and stupid half truths that hood wink people into disbelief makes my blood boil.





These so called "studies" all make the same basic mistakes. They all feed off each other and footnote each other so they are just making the same one's over and over and creating a self referential kabal of atheist assumptions.







(1) they trade on ignorance and cultural illiteracy




(2) argument from sign




(3) shallow analysis designed to mine the data and bury any deep analysis that would divert blame from religious blame and create a false association.




(4) the false association is that high religious belief is correlated with poverty, illiteracy, low education level, violence.




(5) counter studies vastly outweigh




*2000 studies

this is all totally at odds with the findings of real social sciences. Dr. Larsen did a literature search of social science abstracts in the 90's and found that there were 2000 articles, these are in social science journals, real academics who find religion as a positive force in people's lives and in society.




* Cities on a Hill foundation found 300 studies that show religion good for society, contradicting the very things these atheist studies are talking about.




* wurthnow's study of Religious experince found that RE people are better educated, more socially conscious, more sensative to the needs of others, less violent, less depressed, more outgoing, more able to help others.





(6) these are not real studies, Zuckerman and Paul that is.. They are nothing more than people totally up the countries they think are less religious, based upon mainly sterio types but also church attendance, then showing that their education level is higher or their poverty level or violence level lower than deeply religious American south.




What is so monstrously stupid about this is they don't screen out factors like the long history of poverty in a region, or the higher level of education Europe as a hold over form the Christian era in Europe vs the frontier time in America.




they don't consider factors such as America's frontier heritage, only one hundred years or so hence (Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas). Europe was a frontier a thousand years ago. Even then it was mostly civilized, it was really a Frontier in places like France and Germany closer to 2000 years ago.  For most of that time education was the work of Christians and Europe was well educated relatively speaking.




Europe was well Christianized and devout less than one hundred years ago, and in that time it was well understood that education was a must. It is so deceptive for these people to try and give credit for the social welfare state and all it has accomplished to atheism when it was basically Christian thinkers who built the welfare state. The first peasant revolts in Italy and Germany were Christian inspired.




All major gains of education in America an Europe were the result of labor battle and unionists who fought for public education, and the Catholic church (mostly in Europe). these unionists were led to a large degree by Christians and Christian women such as Pheobie Palmer and the abolition/sufferage movement who also influenced the drive for public education.





Focus on Zuckerman's data:






Adherents.com






Demonstrates that Zuckerman's data cannot be used to make the sort of inferences atheists make  in claiming huge percentages (20%) for atheist world population, or even the counties Zuckerman claims. Just to take lists of memberships and affiliations for countries doesn't distinguish enough between differences such as actual belief in God vs organizational membership.








Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman compiled country-by-country survey, polling and census numbers relating to atheism, agnosticism, disbelief in God and people who state they are non-religious or have no religious preference. These data were published in the chapter titled "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns" in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK (2005). Different type of data collection methodologies using different types of questions showed a consistent pattern: In most countries only a tiny number of people (zero to a fraction of 1 percent) will answer "atheism" or "atheist" when asked an open-ended question about what their religious preference. A slightly larger number of people will answer "yes" if asked pointedly if they are an atheist. A slightly larger number than that will answer "no" when asked if they believe in any type of God, deities, or Higher Power. A slightly larger number answer "no" when asked simply if they "believe in God" (omitting wording indicating more nebulous, less anthropomorphic conceptions of divinity). Finally, a larger number of people answer "none" or "non-religious" when asked asked an open-ended question about what their religious preference is. Although figures vary for each country, average numbers indicate that roughly half of the people who self-identify as "nonreligious" also answer "yes" when asked if they believe in God or a Higher Power.




One portion of this broad grouping includes those who are best described as "nonreligious," i.e., those who are essentially passive with regards to organized religion, generally affirming neither belief nor disbelief. They may be neither contemplative about philosophy and spirituality nor involved in a religious/faith/philosophical community. Although a certain percentage of people in many countries classify themselves as nonreligious in surveys, there are few data indicating how many of these fit the passive "nonreligious" criteria described above, versus those who actually do contemplate such matters, but simply have their own personal philosophy and no stated affiliation with an organized religion.




For the purposes of this list, this grouping also includes more proactive or well-defined philosophies such as secular humanism, atheism, agnosticism, deism, pantheism, freethought, etc., most of which can be classified as religions in the sociological sense, albeit secular religions. A minority among atheists are quite fervent in their beliefs and actively endeavor to proselytize atheism.




The "Secular/Nonreligious/etc." category is probably the most speculative estimate in this list, as this segment of society is difficult to count. The vast majority in this grouping are not aligned with any kind of membership organization. Most figures come from census and survey data, which most countries conduct only infrequently.




The highest figure we have for "Nonreligious" is 20% of the world population, or about 1.2 billion: "Over 20 percent of the world's population does not claim any allegiance to a religion. Most are agnostics. Others are atheists, who deny the existence of God." (O'Brien, Joanne & Martin Palmer. The State of Religion Atlas. Simon & Schuster: New York (1993). Pg 41.) But such a high figure is difficult to support with current country-by-country statistics, and perhaps reflects Communist-era official government statistics. Most current estimates of the world number of secular/nonreligious/agnostic/atheist/etc. are between 800 and 1 billion.




Estimates for atheism alone (as a primary religious preference) range from 200 to 240 million. But these come primarily from China and former Soviet Union nations (especially Russia). Prior to Communist takeovers of these regions and government attempts to eradicate religion, both places had very high levels of affiliation with organized religions (especially Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism), as well as high levels of participation in and belief in traditional local traditions such as shamanism, ancestor ceremonies, spiritism, etc. Since the fall of Communism in former Soviet nations and the relaxation of anti-religious policies in China, observed religious affiliation and activity has increased dramatically, especially in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.




China probably does have the largest number of actual atheists of any country in the world and many Russians clearly remain atheists. But at this point, it is difficult to accurately determine how many of those classified as atheists or nonreligious during Communist-era USSR and by the current Chinese government are actually atheists according to their personal beliefs, and how many are unregistered religious adherents or participants in less-organized traditional systems that are oriented around ancestors, animism, shamanism, etc. Many people are unaware, for instance, that China has one of the largest, most active Christian communities in the world, and that in many former Soviet nations religions such as shamanism, Islam and Russian Orthodoxy remained even while official government reports announced the elimination of religion in these regions.




In the Western world, Europe is by far the place with the most self-avowed nonreligious, atheists and agnostics, with the nonreligious proportion of the population particularly high in Scandinavia. The Encyclopedia Britannica reports approximately 41 million atheists in Europe. The self-described nonreligious segment of society in Australia and New Zealand is also high, at around 15%. In Australia less than a tenth of one percent described themselves as atheists in the latest national census (1996). In the U.S. about 13.2% of the population describe themselves as nonreligious, 0.5% describe themselves as agnostic, and a smaller number describe themselves as atheist (Kosmin, ARIS/American Religious Identification Survey, City University of New York, 2001).




Zuckerman (2005) compiled numbers of people who don't believe in God, based primarily on polling and survey data, for every country in the world. He totaled the survey-based and poll-based estimates of non-believers from the top 50 countries with the highest proportion of people who do not believe in God, and added to this number the non-believers from highly populous countries (Mexico, Poland, Moldova Romania, Georgia, Uzbekistan, India, Ireland, and Chile). The remaining countries had proportionately miniscule populations of atheists/agnostics/non-believers. Zuckerman concluded, "the grand total worldwide number of atheists, agnostics, and non-believers in God is somewhere between 504,962,830 and 749,247,571. These minimum/maximum numbers are conservative estimates; were one to factor in a mere .25% of such highly populated countries as Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Burma, Tanzania, and Iran, as non-believers in God, estimates would be significantly larger. Also, these numbers are only for non-believers of God, specifically. Were one to include all 'non-religious' people in general, the numbers would nearly double... nonbelievers in God as a group come in fourth place after Christianity (2 billion), Islam (1.2 billion), and Hinduism (900 million) in terms of global ranking of commonly-held belief systems."




Zuckerman states that adding the "non-religious" segment of the world population would to his calculated maximum of 749,247,571 (about 750 million) atheists, agnostic and non-believers in God would yield a number nearly twice as large -- just under 1.5 billion. This number is not, however, the number of people who should be classified in the "Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist" category, because half of this larger number is based solely on belief in a single theological proposition (belief/non-belief in God), rather than on a person's religious affiliation/religious preference. A large proportion of people in the surveys Zuckerman combined to arrive at this total expressly are adherents of named religions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Chinese traditional religion, Unitarianism and Christianity). Many of these people who do not believe in God, deities, or a Higher Power are nevertheless devout adherents of their various faiths, or even clergy. They are enumerated in the list above as adherents of those faiths, and not counted among nonreligious, atheists or agnostics because their primary religious identity is not atheism or agnosticism. It should be remembered that not all strains of all religions entail belief in God, a Higher Power or deities.








It can not be said based on Zuckerman's analysis that "1.5 billion people do not believe in God."


A large proportion of the people classified as "non-religious" expressly do believe in God or a Higher Power. The 750 million figure is already an attempt to estimate the total population of people who do not believe in God.

6 comments:

Rex said...

Totally off topic:

I have been reading with interest and growing disgust and anger, accounts of the catholic church's ever wider ranging sex scandals. They go all the way to pope nazinger.

I am interested in seeing a post from you on this topic since it is the religion beat issue that is dominating the news media all over the entire planet.

You can even lead with something about me spewing hate by calling the vatican a disgusting pit of heresy and self serving dissembling denial.

I am against an organization that condones pedophilia and covers for the monsters who perpetrate this heinous crime. I would like to see everyone involved defrocked and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It would be ironic (but probably appropriate) if the pope wound up with a life sentence instead of a life appointment as pope.

I hate their action of victimizing defenseless children. I hate their inaction in pursuing justice in these cases. I hate their preference for protecting the church over protecting the innocent victims of these crimes. I hate their expectation of the status quo during this mess.

If that last paragraph qualifies as hate speech, then I am guilty.

I want to see if you will close ranks with these monsters because you are all on the gawd team, or if you will agree with this atheist in calling for justice, no matter what the cost to the catholic church, because THAT is the right thing to do.

Metacrock said...

I want to see if you will close ranks with these monsters because you are all on the gawd team, or if you will agree with this atheist in calling for justice, no matter what the cost to the catholic church, because THAT is the right thing to do.

don't be so silly. you are getting emotional like an old person.

It is not my job to defend the pope, I'm not even Catholic.

equating covering up the scandal with condoning it is silly. If they were condoning it they wouldn't take the priests out of their jobs and put them where they can't get at children.

Look at what the Pope did if he did anything? He took the guy out of his job, made him get therapy and years latter allowed him to be in another position because it looked like he was cured.

It was stupid to cover up the scandal. That was a big mistake but to equate that with condoning it and with being a nazi is just emotionalism.

you are things to rail against.

Rex said...

Figures.

He is the holy see, the vicar of christ on earth, and therefore infallible eh?

Sorry, but if you help a friend bury the body of someone whom he killed before you arrived on the scene, you are an accessory and you are guilty of a crime. Also, you are condoning it to a degree because if you weren't, you would be on the phone to the cops as soon as you fully grasped the situation.

The same concept applies to everyone who assisted in the pedophile cover up. Are their crimes AS BAD as the person who committed the crime? No, but justice was actively blocked, and victims were victimized further by the cover up and inaction. Someone who has the VICTIM'S best interest in mind would blow the whistle immediately. The guy who was referred for therapy should gotten it under the auspices of the authorities, concurrently with his prison time.

Look at it this way, if there was an extensive world wide network of atheists who had been raping children for decades and successfully covering it up until recently, and they were still not admitting guilt, and conducting business as usual, would your answer and blase attitude be the same??

I think not.

Read the news, the scandal gets worse every day. It is so not just about the single guy that Ratzinger harbored by not blowing the whistle. He knew about over a hundred deaf children who were abused systematically in another incident, and did nothing but cover up for the church there as well. I think at least these things put him on the fast track for the hell that you all are always talking about, even if none of the other religious people will hold him accountable.

Metacrock said...

Figures.

figures you are pouting like a small boy. why aren't you calling for the disbanding of the boy scouts? The boy scouts have a similar crisis and they tried to cover up. why aren't you saying they condone it and trying to do away with them?

He is the holy see, the vicar of christ on earth, and therefore infallible eh?


do me a favor ma, go to the dictionary and look up Protestant! When did I ever say I think the Pope is infallible? Do you know what a Protestant is?

Sorry, but if you help a friend bury the body of someone whom he killed before you arrived on the scene, you are an accessory and you are guilty of a crime. Also, you are condoning it to a degree because if you weren't, you would be on the phone to the cops as soon as you fully grasped the situation.

that's bull shit. They took the people out of those positions and forced them to get help. now they were stupid and tried to keep it on the qt they should never have done that.

The same concept applies to everyone who assisted in the pedophile cover up. Are their crimes AS BAD as the person who committed the crime? No, but justice was actively blocked, and victims were victimized further by the cover up and inaction. Someone who has the VICTIM'S best interest in mind would blow the whistle immediately. The guy who was referred for therapy should gotten it under the auspices of the authorities, concurrently with his prison time.

yes so? Can you say "guilt by association?

Look at it this way, if there was an extensive world wide network of atheists who had been raping children for decades and successfully covering it up until recently, and they were still not admitting guilt, and conducting business as usual, would your answer and blase attitude be the same??

I think not.

Read the news, the scandal gets worse every day. It is so not just about the single guy that Ratzinger harbored by not blowing the whistle. He knew about over a hundred deaf children who were abused systematically in another incident, and did nothing but cover up for the church there as well. I think at least these things put him on the fast track for the hell that you all are always talking about, even if none of the other religious people will hold him accountable.

stop thinking emotionally and try analyzing things.

Loren said...

Metacrock, you might enjoy learning about Unbelieving Clergy -- lots of Protestant clergy don't think that Jesus Christ's resurrection was literal history that one could observe from a time machine. They range from believers in a woozy-something-or-other Karen-Armstrong "God" to outright atheists.

Returning to the topic, many of the examples you cite of supposed northern European and Japanese religiosity don't seem very religious to me, more like being cultural Xians or Shintoists or Buddhists without much conviction that some religion is Absolute Truth and that it therefore trumps everything else. Or at most sort of like New Agers, who make a principle out of cafeteria theology and practice.

Metacrock, you are engaging in exceptionally poor apologetics, claiming EVERY religion and woo-woo "spiritual" belief system as support for your pet beliefs. They don't -- they contain what are by traditional Xian standards, gross heresies.

And please don't give me that stupid argumentum ad populum about how just about everybody supposedly believes in your god. Applying that argument to Xianity, one concludes that there is a Hell, and that you ought to prepare for being eternally barbecued in the next world.

Metacrock said...

Loren said...

Metacrock, you might enjoy learning about Unbelieving Clergy -- lots of Protestant clergy don't think that Jesus Christ's


that has no basis of refutation for my theological world view.


resurrection was literal history that one could observe from a time machine. They range from believers in a woozy-something-or-other Karen-Armstrong "God" to outright atheists.

Armstrong is way over your head. Dawkins has been so idiotic to brain wash his lackeys to believe that they really refuting something when they call it name, hurl a few epithets and look at the surface only. That just makes you look stupid, (no offense) rather than coming off as analytical.



Returning to the topic, many of the examples you cite of supposed northern European and Japanese religiosity don't seem very religious to me,

and of course you are an expert on religious. I only have a Masters degree in religious studies, but you have read two article on the secular web. woooooooo.



more like being cultural Xians or Shintoists or Buddhists without much conviction that some religion is Absolute Truth and that it therefore trumps everything else.


I sutdied with Neil MacFarland, they thought it was religious.


Or at most sort of like New Agers, who make a principle out of cafeteria theology and practice.


that is just pejorative nonsense. new agers are a sign that a culture is seeking religious content. that's just your silly propaganda thing to do guilt by association ("o you are like a new ager")

Metacrock, you are engaging in exceptionally poor apologetics, claiming EVERY religion and woo-woo "spiritual" belief system as support for your pet beliefs. They don't -- they contain what are by traditional Xian standards, gross heresies.



and again, misrepresenting the other guy's few and only examining the bare surface of an argument,t hen mis-stating it, i snot exactly rhetorical acumen.

And please don't give me that stupid argumentum ad populum about how just about everybody supposedly believes in your god.


Also not knowing the difference between argument from popularity and argument from design is pretty stupid too.


Applying that argument to Xianity, one concludes that there is a Hell, and that you ought to prepare for being eternally barbecued in the next world.
April 3, 2010 4:28 AM


so one would conclude that there's a hell because the same reality lurks behind all religions? fill me in on how that works?