Thursday, October 13


The U.S. is the most dysfunctional democracy in the world, concludes a recent study correlating how religious a country is with its rates of social ills like murder, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen pregnancy. And in general, the more religious a country, the more dysfunctional it is.

The researcher's also concludes, "The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted."

I'm sympathetic with this idea, but who is it that's making this claim? Gregory Paul is an independent researcher known more for dinosaur paleontology, and he's not exactly impartial in the debate, as he has written for Free Inquiry (see his mini-bio at the Council for Secular Humanism. But, in a twist in the other direction, the study was published by Creighton University, a Catholic school, in the journal Journal of Religion and Society. (I haven't heard of it either.)

Unfortunately the study doesn't say how exactly belief is supposed to lead to these ills, so you're left just with the impression that belief is bad. But it's a provocative idea that I hope is followed up on by others--perhaps some actual social scientists?

Neil Chilson's blog has more on this.

The Times (London) covered it on the study (they covered it first, but many others did later)


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