February 5, 2015 at 11:14 pm #6275
I am not sure that I need to go to a building at a particular time to be with others of similar belief to participate in a ceremony to still believe.
I don’t either, but I do if I want to hear the homily and receive Holy Communion.February 5, 2015 at 11:46 pm #6276
You mean those wafers? I hope the new Pope dispenses with offering snacks during mass.February 6, 2015 at 1:17 am #6279Alfredo_TParticipant
Is it possible that the causality is reversed in the observation that “atheists are more likely to commit suicide?” I am picturing somebody who is a depressed, suicidal loner. That person would be less likely to have strong family ties or children. Said person also would be less likely to feel that (s)he fits in with readily recognized world views, which includes religious creeds. Such a person would also be much less likely to belong to social groups, including religious organizations.February 6, 2015 at 7:15 am #6281
It’s a matter of correlation without causation.
But it was a nice diversion from the matter at hand though wasn’t it?
We constantly hear that moral decay is the result of America turning away from God.
This puts the lie to that notion.
Not only are non-believers just as moral as their God fearing counterparts, in many cases they exhibit superior morality.
There is no doubt that Conservative fundamentalists are the ones skewing towards the negative.February 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm #6302
So in what ways are the atheists more “moral”?
Are they more likely to strive to protect the innocent life in the womb from an unjust death?
Do they live chastely until marriage?
Are they more generous with their own money in helping the poor?
Those who are not “nones” but claim a religion often do not practice that religion, and it would be fairer to place them in the “none” category for any morality analysis.
Note that the author of the article has an axe to grind.February 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm #6305
From the article;
When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.
You don’t consider it more moral because they don’t hit your (narrow religious) hot button topics.
That’s your problem.February 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm #6306
How did they determine they were “less vengeful”?
Who gets to define “moral”?February 6, 2015 at 3:39 pm #6307
How did they determine they were “less vengeful”?
The link to the Pew Study was referenced in the story. But based some of your earlier responses, you really have no interest in researching anything that varies form your preconceived notions.
Who gets to define “moral”?
Not you.February 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm #6308edselehrParticipant
“Atheists are more likely to kill themselves”
Bad Science: No, Atheism Does Not Cause Suicide
More innumeracy for today: this religious apologist is claiming atheism causes suicide, and he cites a study that supposedly proves this, but both s/he and the study’s authors suck at numeracy and basic logic.
There are a number of things wrong these scientists’ stated conclusions (and study design) and this religious apologist’s use of it to argue atheism causes suicide. I’ll just focus on a few:
(1) The study did not even count atheists. The only nonreligious category was “religiously unaffiliated,” which will include many believers who just don’t affiliate with a sect or church.
(2) They fail to distinguish between having a religion and the mere fact of having a social network (and identifying with any worldview, religious or not). This is bad study design. Perniciously bad, in fact, since it leads the study’s author to make a poor recommendation for treatment. This is just like ancient witch doctors concluding shaking a wand at someone makes them feel better, therefore wands should be used more in treatment.
This analogy calls attention to this study’s authors’ failure to weigh the costs of religious affiliation before recommending it (a fault that would nix this from any peer reviewed journal had they been similarly recommending a drug that likewise they were completely disregarding the negative side-effects of). Those range from adopting a system of false beliefs and the defective epistemology needed to sustain them, to the harm the resulting superstitions will have on the community, society, and polity as a whole (e.g. endorsing sexism, suppressing the rights of homosexuals), as well as to the individual, who will often in result be adopting self-damaging false beliefs about morality (e.g. that their doubting and asking questions makes them evil, or that homosexuality is evil and therefore if they are gay something is wrong with them).
Several psychologists have explored these and many other damaging costs of religious affiliation, which likely far outweigh, for both the individual and society, any of the benefits.
(3) Another study shows fewer atheists get depressed. So even if this study counted the rate of suicide among depressed atheists (and it didn’t), that would not accurately reflect the effect atheism has on suicide overall. Because this study only looked at depressed patients (and patients with other mental illnesses known to be associated with suicide). It did not compare atheists with theists in the general population. It is instead already looking at a known cause of suicide: mental illness. That is the principal causal factor. Not religious belief (or lack thereof).
(4) Extremely religious people experience more and worse depression than both atheists and less religious people do. Yet this current study makes no distinction for extremity of religious belief. If suicide rate correlates with extremity of depression (and that sure sounds likely), then since the study this apologist is citing did not tease out those two populations (extremely religious from less religious), it may have concealed a higher rate of suicide in the extremely religious. Which makes the study author’s recommendations even more pernicious: as it does not distinguish the greater increased risk of suicide resulting from encouraging (or leaving untreated) extreme religiosity, and thus essentially recommends a dangerous drug without concern for dosage.
(5) This study actually did not even test religious affiliation’s effect on suicide. Instead, it only found a correlation between “moral objections to suicide” and reduced suicide risk, and then simply inferred that because “moral objections to suicide” correlate with religious affiliation, that religious affiliation is the causal factor, when in fact any worldview (including a nonreligious worldview) that adduces “moral objections to suicide” would have the exact same effect. In their words:
First, religious affiliation was significantly associated with moral objections to suicide. Second, moral objections to suicide was significantly associated with suicide attempt when religious affiliation was statistically controlled. Third, the significant bivariate association between religious affiliation and suicide attempt did not remain significant when moral objections to suicide were controlled statistically. [Likewise] … low moral objections to suicide, and younger age were significantly and independently associated with suicidal ideation. Religious affiliation and responsibility to family were not.
So, religious affiliation actually was shown to have no effect. Only “moral objections to suicide” had an effect. So why, then, does the study recommend increased religious affiliation? No reason is stated. This is why you don’t just read the abstract. Abstracts often simply lie about what the study described actually found.
(6) As a rule, always look at the effect size and compare it to the margin of error. This study in fact found a correlation between suicidal acts and thoughts and “moral objections to suicide” of just 0.89. Meaning barely a 10% difference (which this study in effect claims is the benefit of religious affiliation for preventing suicide). The error size was around 3 to 4 points, so in fact the effect could have been as low as just 7% (at a p value of .001). That’s weak tea. The number of suicides thus prevented by having “moral objections to suicide” is pretty small.
Sometimes when a study claims to find a significant difference, it’s barely significant at all, and this is one of those times. And when you see that, you have to ask why it is so small. For example, if atheism causes suicide just 7% more often (after subtracting the margin of error from the effect size), one has to ask why its effect is so small. Often that would indicate a confounding factor other than atheism is responsible. Like, oh, let’s say, people driven to atheism by depression (and not reason and evidence). That is already obviously likely, and yet a higher rate of suicide among depressed atheists in that case is entirely to be expected yet has nothing to do with the effect of atheism.
In other words, depression causes people to lose faith in things (like religion), so depressed people will exhibit nonbelief more commonly than the general population, but not for valid reasons (they did not arrive at an atheistic worldview philosophically, much less rationally or empirically), and when someone is so depressed they even lose faith in their God, this is already likely to correlate with a higher risk of suicide, but not because of losing faith in God, but because their depression was that bad.
This means recommending to someone who loses faith in God because they are depressed that they should have more faith in God is stupid. It’s exactly like recommending to someone who is sneezing because they have the flu that they should sneeze less. The actual problem (which is actually causing their risk of suicide) is causing their reduced faith in God, so the only way to treat the faith in God thing is to treat the depression. But that means you should just treat the depression and forget this unrelated faith-in-God business, which is just a symptom of the depression, not its cause. So once again, this study’s conclusions and recommendations are lost in the logic of witch doctors, rather than sound reasoning.
Of course, actually, we aren’t even talking about faith in God (which this study did not measure), but in organized religion, because that is in fact all this study claimed to measure, and failed to even then–unless one pretends that didn’t happen and assumes “religiously unaffiliated” means atheist–even though it doesn’t–and that finding no correlation with “religious affiliation” counts as finding a correlation with religious affiliation, by assuming only religious affiliation produces “moral objections to suicide,” even though that assumption is false. Yeah. Talk about irrational.
This study is pretty useless. Badly designed, with conclusions, recommendations, and even its abstract hosed in almost every way. And the religious apologist’s use of it only betrays their inability to notice any of this. And wasn’t valid anyway.
Logic and numeracy. Learn it. Live it.
<drops microphone>February 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm #6309duxruleParticipant
“Who gets to define “moral”?”
A question I ask Christians each and every day.February 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm #6310BroadwayParticipant
>>“Who gets to define “moral”?”
The benchmark…Exodus 20…the Ten Commandments.
Start with that…lot better world…February 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm #6312duxruleParticipant
The idioms of The Ten Commandments were in place long before anyone thought of the Ten Commandments, by thousands of years.February 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm #6319BroadwayParticipant
>>The Ten Commandments were in place
Well in this case it’s kinda good these things were written down for the record from a higher source, and here it was in stone both then and to this day…all a good thing.February 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm #6323
Whipping your wife was kinda good, too, right? Thank God for imaginary higher sources or you wouldn’t have a life. Wait. You don’t have one now.February 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm #6325
“maybe he’ll go thump his bible somewhere else.”
That’s the problem. He has already tossed a bunch of kids off the Vista bridge. Better we find a way to shut him up here before he goes and “help” someone else.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.