Archive for January, 2011

Send us your tired, your poor, your religious nutjobs….

28/01/2011

% No Religion in Nation (WVS) / % No Religion for US Immigrants (GSS)

The study of immigration in sociology has generally declined in importance along with the plummeting political and social stature of immigrants. Studying immigration is uncool, because it’s demography. And, demography is uncool because it’s boring and  all of the cool people did poorly in it because they can’t count or pay attention for very long.  So, it may be ok to study immigrant culture, something different and unique and other. But May All The Jesuses Weep if one take to explaining social change with reference to simple demographic processes like migration.

Rachel McCleary was kind enough to include a chapter on religion and immigration in her Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion which was just published. Above are some odds ratios from that paper comparing the nation of origin to immigrants from that nation. One of the things that I show (following up on some things done in Alanezi and Sherkat 2008), is that immigrants to the US from European nations are far more religious than people who stay in the homeland. Germans are more than twice as likely to reject a religious identification than are first or second generation Germans immigrants to the United States, and this is true for immigrants from MANY nations. While a substantial fraction of Dutch, Germans, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Belgians, Czechs, Lithuanians, Brits,  and French hold no religious identification, first and second generation US immigrants from these nations are much more likely to have an identification than are their former compatriots. In contrast, immigrants to the US from highly religious non-Christians nations (or even predominately Catholic countries) are less likely to be religious than those in their home nations.

Why is the United States so religious and Europe is not? Well, for one thing, you motherfuckers have been shipping your god-damned religious nutcases to the United States for more than 400 years. Thanks, assholes.

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Fifty Years of the Military Industrial Complex

19/01/2011

 

Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower warned us of the dangers of the Military Industrial Complex. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists….”

The war against Islam continues with expensive drone bombs and a massive invasion army in both Afghanistan and Iraq (we ain’t out yet, not even close! check the body count….).

Military contractors enjoy multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts–and pay no taxes–yet they spend millions each year lobbying to make sure that supporters of permanent war are our representatives.

Nobody cares but the people making money, and the rubes using it to fantasize about the return of their gods.

 

Repeal the 2nd Amendment

10/01/2011

2nd Amendment Solution---Repeal

“ A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Many of the most serious problems with the United States of America swirl around the politics of the 2nd Amendment to the constitution. The right to keep and bear arms, so we can have 2nd Amendment solutions to political outcomes not favored by gun nuts. Why? Well, gun nuts want to take this thing literally, and I guess they should. It’s literally in the fucking constitution! Shall not be infringed? What does that mean. Well, gee, I think that means that the United States cannot allow laws which prevent people from keeping and bearing “arms”. What are “Arms”? Well, any fucking armament!!! Here is where I agree with Larry Pratt, president of Gun Owners of America.  The second amendment clearly states that people are free to own and carry ANY armament they wish! Why? So they can form people’s militias!!!! Yes. That’s Right. I agree. That’s what the Constitution says, and that is what the founders originally intended.

But, remember that our founding fathers were a bunch of stinky drunk genocidal slaveholders who really wanted to make sure that white people would not be prevented from eliminating those damned indigenous! The original intent of the constitution was to ensure that white citizens could form armies (by any means necessary, using whatever armaments they could afford) so they could kill the indigenous and prevent slave uprisings!!

The “solution” to gun control is to admit that it is unconstitutional—the state does not have the right to ban handguns or automatic weapons–or even tanks  and bombs. It has no authority to restrict the purchase of guns, or even to prevent people from carrying them wherever they want. It is unconstitutional to ban carrying hand grenades in public spaces like sports stadiums, elementary schools, or hospitals.

Having now admitted that this gaggle of smelly racists made a stupid public policy decision a couple hundred years ago, we can get on with the business of repealing the second amendment and treating firearms and other armaments as dangerous devices which need strict regulation on their ownership, sale, production, storage, and transportation.

I’m not anti-gun or anti-hunting. I think sane stable citizens should be allowed to own hunting rifles and shotguns, and that serious shooters should be allowed to own target pistols and even semi-auto pistols. I don’t think anyone other than on-duty police officers should be allowed to brandish or conceal a weapon in public. The people who really want to own and carry military fireware are almost uniformly a bunch of cowardly pussies, and the rest are just nuts—or they are public officials, lawyers, and judges who have to fear for their safety because every nutjob has a gun. Conservatives are fearful, it’s in their brain. They’re afraid, so they need a gun. They need it in case they need to shoot someone on the way to the Safeway.

I was lucky. The crazy dumbfuck psychiatric patient Vietnam Vet with a plate in his head who shot me only hit me once in the shoulder. He unloaded a 38 revolver at me in front of a convenience store in Tulsa in 1986, but I dodged the first five shots. He had three other guns in his apartment at the time. He should not have been allowed to purchase guns or ammunition.

Repeal Now!  Yeah, right….Only if we were a sane and civilized nation…..

Christian Terrorist Shoots U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Other Liberal Communist Antichristians

09/01/2011

I got my socialist security card in this building!

Christian Terrorism strikes once again, at this point Representative Gabriella Giffords is still alive, and doctors sound hopeful for some kind of “recovery” but they didn’t exactly say what that means, and she’s certainly not out of the woods. Several others, including a federal judge and a nine year old girl were not even so lucky. All because of right wing Christian Hate movements! Welcome to the fascist state….

From the NYT:

“During the fall campaign, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, posted a controversial map on her Facebook page depicting spots where Democrats were running for re-election; those Democrats were noted by crosshairs symbols like those seen through the scope of a gun. Ms. Giffords was among those on Ms. Palin’s map, which later removed the crosshairs symbols.” That was real Christian of her, don’t you think? You Betchya!!

Religion makes you unhealthy, poor, and stupid.

07/01/2011

Religion makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise…..Well, except the healthy, wealthy, and wise parts. The myth that religion is good for you has become almost as popular as the idea that some smelly sand virgin conceived a god-child. The promulgation of this myth is part of an orchestrated effort by well-funded right wing pseudoscholars to help provide the pseudointellectual foundations for their theocratic wet dreams. But, most of the actual research findings are for minor league indicators of mood, very small effects on depressive symptoms, and associations with survival. Most of the associations are with indicators of public religious participation (gee, people who are well enough to get out and see their friends live longer and are happier, surprise, surprise).  Some mood effects are also found for prayer and other forms of meditation. Frankly, I’ve become quite skeptical of most of the research in this area, particularly clinical type studies conducted by religious devotees (and it isn’t just Christians, there are Hindu and Buddhist nutters  in spades).  Yet another new article in ASR on this almost made me puke. It said nothing that couldn’t have been learned from Ellison, Gay, and Glass (1989, SF) and I can’t for the life of me see how it merited publication in ASR, except that the authors are religionists and heavily funded by Templeton–so they got hand-job reviews from other fundees maybe? ASA needs a policy on conflicts of interest.

I’ve been helping on a paper with Ben Moulton which shows some quite interesting problems with the “healthy” issue. What Ben’s findings show is that the positive correlation between survival and church attendance is only present among people who don’t have a college degree. Indeed, among college graduates, going to church kills you. You can see this in the graph of mortality risks above by church attendance and degree status. College graduates who went to church a lot were much more likely to die during  a 10 year follow up than were college graduates who NEVER GO to CHURCH. This echoes similar findings on mental health outcomes from Scott Schieman, though you never see this issue amplified and Ben has had a very tough time with true believer reviewers at several journals. I was shocked to see a nice paper in JSSR showing that sectarian religious nutters have the highest mortality rates. Of course, this key finding is not presented in the abstract or amplified in the paper. I wonder how that one slipped past the Christianists? I’m sure if the author showed that sectarian christians have the lowest mortality rates it would have been a ringer for ASR.

Given the weakness and equivocality of the impact of religion on health in the United States, it’s interesting to see that the Division of Jesus in the United States Armed Forces has now been tracking the “spiritual fitness” of our troops. And, you gotta know that that their little spiritual fitness questionnaire was designed by some “social scientist”, right? After all, if our troops don’t believe in a great sky wizard, how will they have the will to kill them Muslims? I mean, there is no way a guy can do six tours in Iraqistan if he or she doesn’t believe in a higher power giving meaning and purpose to killing people for Halliburton! And, obviously, what the hack pseudoscholars really want to do is to prescribe jesus. You sick? Go to church! Pray to the lord Jesus! You don’t need Medicaid or Medicare or Obamacare or any of that godless communist moslem homosexual stuff, you need the lord jesus! Jesus makes you unhealthy, poor, and stupid. That’s what real research shows.

War Against Sperm Banks 2nd Most Idiotic Right-Wing Brainspooge

01/01/2011

Wow, even the trust funders at the Village Voice think the Institute for American Values is among the top of the heap in right-wing crazy, scoring second place for their war against sperm banks in the Village Voice’s roundup of idiotic shit put out by right wing pseudointellectuals! Of course, all of the right wing closet cases won’t rest until condoms are illegal (unless you’re going to use them with a male prostitute!), and women are banned from public spaces.  It’s a pretty sad state of affairs for the sociology of religion that this is the kind of shit we condone.