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Peace Index Compared to Religion

I am not sure that this is any more scientific, but given recent conversation, I thought it was worth sharing.

This would be what I would call a potential macro effect of religion.



i'd like to see a similar "study" done on the relative peace/hostility levels of blogs, rather than countries. wonder how 1gm would do?

You always come up with crazy-yet-hilarious ideas.

Seeing as 1gm is heavily moderated, with a resident population of a few regular posters, I'd say it rates fairly low on the hostility scale, especially for a religious and political blog. It seems like even when posters disagree with each other, they're fairly respectful about it.

Much more than can be said about most blogs. I would expect political blogs to be the most hostile, followed by religious blogs, followed by tech blogs.

As for the video, I was somewhat skeptical about the GPI, but I took a look at the Vision of Humanity indicators, and they mostly seem to make sense. I don't know if they're weighted correctly, and I'm guessing some of the ratings are subjective, but I think it is still a good indicator.

Again, as was pointed out earlier, religion and poverty are both correlated, and many of the indicators would be wildly affected by poverty. Political instability, perceptions of criminality in society, and funding for UN peacekeeping missions for example.

That still doesn't invalidate the point that religion does not correlate with peace either. Clearly it doesn't.

Are we heavily moderated?

I would also note that soem countries are rather conveniently missing, China, North Korea, russia.

It may appear this is "heavily" moderated, but you can just register so your comments won't be held. I don't think it's heavily moderated. I've seen some tripe and some insults around. Hell, the forum has had spam posts like forever without being deleted (wink wink).


Fine, "moderately" moderated. The combination of CAPTCHAs and comments held for non-registered is a heavy form of moderation, regardless of whether those devoted to participating often enough to set up a movabletype account have to face the same boundaries. Averaging it together, we should be able to compromise on moderate. I haven't posted that often, but my posts only appear about half of the time.

I will give you moderate, because anon comments aren't really easy and timely, but most other sights I comment on are the same.

I have never rejected a comment, except for one that I was pretty sure was spam. I even let someone call becker names one time.

I encourage you to register. It takes just a few seconds, eliminates the delay, and we will respect your privacy.

Here I thought the video declaring that Palestine was a country would be the first thing you would point out.

I gues you overlooked it since they got a worse score than isreal.

as long as YOU know it's not a country i don't have to point it out. wonder how they got their numbers?

I have seen most atheist blogs being "rude" at most, but all incitations of violence and actual harassment are not tolerated. Pharyngula has to be about the most "rude" of them all. Do you think the "violence" and the mockery of The Great Desecration was in the same footing as all the death threats and general bullshit he and the original student harassed got from the religious?

ouch. stop. you're hurting me.

Just consider yourself lucky that the guy didn't mess with your religion.

I must say that I don't find this data useful as it relies on a number of unscientific measures that would be easily rejected by leading sociologists who deal with trends in secularization. I'll raise only two of several problems here.

First off, there appears to be a strong Muslim bias. While I'm sure they were just following their own calculations accurately, they lead to faulty conclusions. Sociologists often note the problems that occur when a clear separation is made between religion, politics, and culture, especially in societies that are unstable and ripe with conflict. Much of the Muslim world has no choice but to identify with Islam, as it both a marker of cultural identity against an outside force (like the US and allied forces). During the Cold War Western countries led by the US, systematically wiped-out a variety of movements in the Muslim world that were variously secular, nationalist, communist, etc. As a result, the mosque became the central point of resistance (i.e., the only thing left). The point is that these conditions don't make it clear that everyone is a fervent believer, only that the focus of social resistance is still embedded in Islam. A similar parallel is often made with political resistance that occurred in places like Ireland, Poland, and the Balkans. Their resistance movements often took on a Catholic or Orthodox falvour, though this was also marker of cultural difference (i.e., Irish Catholic and NOT English Protestant) and not merely an expression of religion. How pious these nations actually were is highly debated. In short, the simple association of religion is problematic here.

Second, labeling several countries "atheist" would be sharply criticized by all of the leading sociologists in this field (Steve Bruce, Brian Wilson, Peter Berger, David and Bernice Martin, and others). They have noted that the percentage of people who define themselves as "atheist" in any country is always quite low (under 10%). Where secularization comes in (and all the above thinkers argue that Western countries are much more secular today), is in the lack of control and influence that religion has in institutions (both government and non), thus creating a social environment that is very open to interpretation and personal choice. Survey's still tend to show a majority of people believing in some sort of higher power, the possibility of an afterlife, and the like. So in this sense they're not technically "atheist" nor do they define themselves as such. The difference is that there are much more secular in their involvements with an official church and thus tend to create their own personal worldview out of a wide range of options that are out there on the marketplace of ideas.

All this is not to say that there's nothing to be gained from this survey, just that its not in line with what experts in the field are saying and, as a consequence, is not really helpful if we're aiming at (social) scientific objectivity.

I wish to do three things.

First, to sneer at Jonathan. Second, to point out that it may well not be that religious nations are more violent, but that more violent nations are more religious. While the old bromide about 'no atheists in foxholes' is not only false but insulting to our fellow secularists who wear uniforms, it is nonetheless true that a lot of people turn religious as a result of traumatic events of one sort another. It could well be that the more prone your country is to violence, the more common an occurence this is (indeed, that seems entirely probably). Finally,

Yeah, everybody here I think already understands that, but this is also true:

The study doesn't have to prove causation to be useful.

All it has to do is show that the common claim 'Religion leads to better societies' is not supported by the evidence.

i think that the problem is that they didn't explore socioeconomic factors. what i found interesting is that all the countries that fell into the most violent categories were all either former colonies or colonizers/fiercely imprerialist countries. also they neglected china, which has an high atheist population yet is probably one of the worst places in the world to live. atheism is either an expression of wealth or caused by state advocacy. also i don't necessarily agree with the idea that adversity causes that many people to turn to faith. i think it is a lack of education rather that forces people to explain their problems as challenges from god and part of a greater plan.


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