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religion, correlated

2005-09-28 15:50:33.791586+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

The Journal of Religion and Society just published Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies, which makes some interesting observations:

The positive correlation between pro-theistic factors and juvenile mortality is remarkable, especially regarding absolute belief, and even prayer. Life spans tend to decrease as rates of religiosity rise, especially as a function of absolute belief.

This Times Online article about the issue has some further quotes Gregory Paul, the author of the study:

In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

[ related topics: Religion Sexual Culture Health Pop Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 16:48:38.377247+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

If you look at the charts in the article, it's safe to assume that the US (the 'U' in the charts) should be thrown out as an outlier...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 17:28:53.824481+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Remember, correlation != causation. It's entirely plausible that people turn to religion when societal pressure is high.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 17:47:55.821354+00 by: Dan Lyke

Eric: If I wanted to pursue this in depth, I'd want to look at the raw data, but it looks to me like the U.S. is clearly along the trend line. But, yeah, sample size is low.

Shadow: Agreed. Not what I personally believe, but I agree that this is not evidence supporting my belief of cause.

However, Meuon was out here visiting, and the "could my company relocate to Chattanooga" discussion came up in the context of "how can Chattanooga attract high tech?". One of our principals has a kid, and oviously in any such move he'd be considering the environment for that child. Whether it's correlation or causation, he'd be comparing the environment there with the one in the Bay Area, and those correlated features would pop out.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 18:13:13.281007+00 by: ebradway

Dan: I think there appears to be a trendline more because the US outlier stretches the other points in their direction. Graphs like this aren't very useful...

As far as Chattanooga attracting high tech firms is the classic problem: there is no pool of talent to draw from. The pool of talent doesn't exist, of course, because the tech firms don't exist. If your firm has matured to where you can clearly delineate job functions, then you could move to Chattanooga and track down people for those specific jobs.

People like meuon, myself, Dan, flushy, etc., are all exceptions (or have been). Meuon does a great job at making a living by being the exception - and is (in)famous for it. I've tried working at the more "traditional" places here and couldn't stand the "it's not my job" mentality. The real tech companies I've worked for all shut down, mostly because of poor management. That is, they were the kind of people who thought that they could run a tech company in Chattanooga successfully because they would have lower operational costs due to the lower wage rates in Chattanooga.

As far as the community goes, Chattanooga is actually evolving quite nicely. There are many more progressive, young families relocating to Chattanooga. The public schools are starting to turn around (Normal Park Elementary in North Chatt was just named the top magent elementary in the country). But there still is a lack of good, high-paying tech jobs. And definitely a lack of companies to move to if the firm you are working for tanks...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 18:31:22.780138+00 by: baylink

Anyone wanna work for DirectNIC? I gather they're looking for new locations. :-)

I interpreted this story, without actually reading through the links yet, as "faith and intelligence are negatively correlated".

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 18:47:20.031491+00 by: Dan Lyke

I just slapped numbers up and redid that first one without the US:

I'm not sure I'd say that the trend is less obvious.

Yes, extreme paucity of samples, and this sort of thing would really be done better as a breakdown by state/province.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-09-28 18:48:32.536985+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I've travelled enough to realize that the US-Mainstream-Fundementalism-JerrySpringerish religion is unique in it's culture compared to what I've seen overseas. That deep fried eating, beer drinking, smoking, soap-opera lifestyle, high health risk person is both attracted to and a majority of the culture in places like the 'Lee Highway Assembly of God, the Lupton Avenue Baptist Church, 1st Presbyterian.. '. Although I'm still a devout practicing gnostic theist, I attend a variety of services often enough to stay in touch. My perception of the Bahai, Christian Scientists, Mormons, Quakers.. and many other smaller groups seems that they spend a lot more effort and thinking about their overall lifestyle choices, diet, exercise, additive substances (including Caffiene, my favorite) and how they live their lives. Overseas, Catholicism rules, but often with a 'small c', without as much guilt and strife and is more of background music of the daily culture and society.

I also think that "correlation != causation", but the causation (health factors) might cause the correlation. ie: Lots of people with health issues are looking for both the abstract help of $Diety, changing their lifestyles, beliefs.. etc.., as well as the social support mechanisms of a church.