Much, Much Higher

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The author of this article is completely oblivious to the requisite conditions for accurate survey sampling:

And whether they are strict scriptural literalists or not, a huge supermajority of Americans believe in—what else to call it?—magic: 61 percent think the world was created in six days, 70 to 78 percent say that hell and the Devil and angels exist, 81 to 85 percent believe in Heaven. If opinion polling had existed in the Middle Ages, it’s hard to imagine that the numbers would have been much higher.
Really? I think it's hard to imagine three out of ten peasants telling an unknown stranger asking questions with, to them obviously-correct answers, that devils aren't real. In fact, I gather that a man would have been mortified to clearly and openly state to a stranger that he did not believe in God. The numbers would indeed be much, much higher, for the same reason and with the same causes, that the popularity of autocrats is very, very high.

3 Comments

We are entering one of those 'immovable object vs. irresitable force' phases that muck our national political discourse every few decades. The Right wants to inject its religion INTO politics and the Left wants to make a religion OF its politcs.

The right's religion is plain for all to see, but the left's is much more subtle and nuanced. Defined most broadly, religion is a way of knowing about the world that demands that all facts and reality fit it's views, rather than fits it's views to the facts. Andersen doesn't need to know about 'sampling' because those kind of questions just distract from his real point: if do believe in heaven or angels then you must be attempting to repeal the Bill of Rights, overturn the Enlightenment, and deny the Holocaust. And he can proove it too, because he's got some numbers. So what if he doesn't know what they mean? Numbers are the enemy of religion, and religion is the enemy of the Bill of Rights, and so on, so the numbers MUST proove he's right, no matter what.

Kevin, its going to get very lonely for people who try to think about what the 'numbers' really tell us, rather than how they proove someone's faith right or wrong. Those people have never had a lot of friends on the right, and this article shows, they have fewer and fewer friends on the left.

These are indeed disturbing facts. May the Lord (!!!)
help us all.

I'm dubious about the size of the numbers; the questions were most likely vague and loaded such as to drive them up. If you look at the range of that population which could be labeled Creationist, it is evident that the faction which believes things developed more or less as scientists say, only G-d was more or less pulling the strings, far outweigh the young-Earth crowd. I would bet that if the survey were carefully designed you would find that those 6 days were symbolic and not each 24 hours, each consisting of 60 minutes each 60 seconds long.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on October 11, 2005 1:21 PM.

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