American Atheists – Fight For A More Equitable Country!

Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:31 am

Just juxtaposing a couple of things in my head, and thought I’d share. I’m not an atheist myself, and don’t want to see society completely dereligionised (though there are large swathes of religion I could do without), but I found the speculation interesting.

First piece of the puzzle is this study: Sacred and Secular by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. (link is to the full text of the book on Google Books)

Here’s Wikipedia’s precis of the findings in the book:

Examining religiosity from a broader perspective and in a wider range of countries than have been done before, this book argues that religiosity persists most strongly among vulnerable populations, especially those in poorer nations and in failed states, facing personal survival-threatening risks. Exposure to physical, societal and personal risks drives religiosity. Conversely, a systematic erosion of traditional religious practices, values and beliefs may have occurred among the more prosperous strata in rich nations.

Digging a little deeper into the book, though, shows one large anomaly: alone among Western developed nations, the USA is not experiencing a significant decline in religiosity. It suggests that a majority of people in the US find themselves in a vulnerable population.

Here’s where the juxtaposition comes in:

A majority of the population gets a tiny and shrinking slice of the pie, and all the efforts in Congress to attack the deficit seem to be focused on doing it on the back of that poor majority rather than the rich minority. There’s something desperately wrong with this picture… unless you’re a televangelist in need of lots of tiny sacrificial donations toward your next Learjet.

To end on a slightly more positive note for my many religious friends, the Wikipedia article on Norris and Inglehart’s book goes on to say:

…at the same time, a growing proportion of the population—in both rich and poor countries—spends time thinking about the meaning and purpose of life. It is argued that in developed countries, the established churches are losing their ability to tell people how to live their lives, but spiritual concerns, broadly defined, may be becoming increasingly important.

If we can move beyond ‘churchianity’ to spirituality (and if priests can leave boys alone and preachers can leave politics alone), maybe there’s hope for faith.

But if my atheist mates want an atheist America, the most useful thing they can do is work to disrupt one of the most inequitable developed societies on earth…


Good Article On The Carbon Price And The Economy

Filed under: — Bravus @ 10:26 pm

From The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/national/is-this-mans-job-really-under-threat-20110416-1divy.html

‘Alec Stone’…

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:21 pm

…or whatever your name is.

You’ve been blacklisted: no point trying to post more comments. If you do manage to I’ll delete them and blacklist that IP too.

You’ve crossed the line, you know how, you’re not welcome here.


Sad But True

Filed under: — Bravus @ 4:07 pm

Dammit, why can’t we have a Labor government in Australia?



Critical Thinking and/or Creationism (in Tennessee)

Filed under: — Bravus @ 12:01 pm

Kind of ambivalent about this story, really. Critical thinking is a good thing. Science should involve students critiquing theories and considering evidence:


But considering the sources, you have to wonder: I’d have no issues at all if the same standards of critical thinking are applied to both evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. The worry for me is if this bill was used as cover to present a heap of creationist critiques of evolution while at the same time presenting ID as settled science…

But I really do think it’s possible to ‘teach the controversy’ without indoctrinating.

We Knew That

Filed under: — Bravus @ 5:50 am

All the usual caveats apply, but this study showing families with two daughters are happy certainly fits our experience.


We’re amazingly blessed and blissfully happy.


Follow the Evidence

Filed under: — Bravus @ 8:45 am


It’ll be very interesting to see Muller’s results when they’re published, but the strong concurrence between a whole new data set and the three already showing warming (NASA, NOAA and HadCRUT) is pretty telling.