Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Theistic certitude vs. Infant mortality

Even more interesting data coming out of the new Pew Forum study.

Turns out there is a bizarre and striking degree of linearity between the likelihood that some people will die young (x-axis) and the degree to which survivors definitively affirm the existence of a god (y-axis). Evidently, the evidential argument from evil is losing against an inherent urge to make sense of the world, or rather to declare that the world ultimately makes sense.

Why is god dying where the babies aren't?


agnostiChicagOkie said...

Before you ask, I know that correlation is not causation. But what confounding variable can possibly paint theism rosy?

Yoo said...

Could it be that simply that the religious have more children so that either each child receives less healthcare or more complications showing up in children with more childbirths? Or could it be that lower income correlates with higher religiosity?

A preference for pseudo-scientific medical remedies (e.g. prayer) over scientific medical treatment seems unlikely, in that only a tiny fraction of the religious would actually have such a preference.

agnostiChicagOkie said...

Hey you - (yes, Yoo) ...

I'm trying to fathom what it is about poverty generally that might make people even more certain of unseen realms. Is it merely Freudian 'wishful thinking' or something like that, or is it a more complex phenomenon?

Yoo said...

My own theories are that it's either education or personality traits.

It could be that lower income correlates with lower education levels, which means one will be that much less likely to be exposed to conflicting viewpoints. This in turn means that it becomes harder to apply critical thinking to one's own beliefs.

Or it could be that people with gullible or uncritical thinking are more likely to be unable to earn higher incomes, which means being poorer.

Basically, it could be poverty which causes uncritical thinking, or it could be the opposite. Of course, it could be something else entirely ... (E.g. certain cultures might enforce conformity, which could brew both superstition and poverty.)