Archive for March, 2011

The Political Impact of Atheism


Belief in God by Obama Vote: 2010 GSS

You just can’t stop stupid. Now, another boot licking toadie for the radical right is claiming that atheism is unimportant because it is politically impotent, and we don’t read outdated top-down narrative history. This shit gets published in the Chronicle! Proof that a trust-funder kochsucker will always have more influence in the “public sphere” than a genuine scholar.  Well, let’s just whip that little puppy out, put it in the penis analyzer, and measure its length, girth, and thrust. Above you can see the percentage of white Americans voting for Barack Hussein Obama (anti-Christ, from Kendonesia) from the 2010 General Social Survey. Nearly 22% of white Americans do not believe in a god. 3% identify as Atheist, 7% as Agnostic, and 12% believe in some power “but not a god.” Notably, all of those three belief groups have exceptionally similar voting patterns—about 75% in each voted for the Obama. In contrast, only 41% of white god-believers voted for Obama. As a rough estimate, about 25% of Obama’s total vote was from white secular Americans–and this is  comparable to the number of votes he received from African Americans.  And, that excludes the contribution of non-white secular Americans.

In contrast to what some bullshit armchair pseudointellectual thinks, honest to fuck social scientific data show that secular Americans are a very powerful political force. There are far more secular Americans than there are African Americans or Latinos, and we vote at high rates and for liberal candidates (well, except for the anti-Christ, we had to do that because of the secular homo islamic pact to rule the world, it’s complicated).

Education and Support for Same Sex Marriage: Religion Blocks Education


Support for Same Sex Marriage by Education and Religion: 2010 GSS

In our 2011 Social Science Research paper we show that sectarian and fundamentalist Christians are much more opposed to marital rights for same sex couples even after controlling for the fact that sectarians and fundamentalists have low educational attainment (as Darnell and I showed long ago using longitudinal data and controls for parental education and income).  In one version, we presented the distribution of same sex support by religious beliefs and educational attainment, however over many revisions that relationship got nixed. Above is the gist of it, presented using 2010 data in a simple crosstabulation. What is evident is that the effect of education is non-linear by degree attainment (we modeled education as a simple linear relationship in the paper, maybe need another paper on this…). Notably, among Biblical Fundies the higher the level of educational attainment, the lower the level of support for marriage rights. Only about 17% of fundies with a college degree of any type support same sex marriage, while among seculars 81% favor civil rights.

However, another really interesting thing is going on in the “middle” of the religious spectrum. Among those who believe the Bible was inspired by a god, post-secondary education has no effect on their level of support for same sex marriage (45% of the sample, compared to 32% fundy and 21% secular). High school graduates are more supportive than high school dropouts, but for high school and beyond support is basically at 50%. College teaches them nothing. I find a similar increasing gap with education for sectarians and fundies in my papers on verbal ability and scientific literacy. Among sectarians and fundamentalists, education has less of an effect on verbal ability and scientific literacy.

More Christian Terrorism, while HUAC Investigates Muslims


Sikh? I thought he was a Muslim!

Ah, this last decade of Christian Terrorism has been really tough on the Sikhs. I’d have to scan back, but I think these are the fifth and sixth Sikhs to die at the hands of Christian terrorists since 2001. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sikhs since before Bend it like Beckham–my alma mater Duke always made sure to have Sikh’s in the stands for the basketball game—bouncing Sikhs reduce the opponent’s free throw percentage by 2.5%. And, unlike American Christians, American Sikhs are really engaged in science and learning. But, of course, for Fundy Christian Terrorists, they’re all just towelheads who should be killed. Old men. Shot and left to die. At least the FBI finally found and charged the Tim McVeigh wanna be who almost succeeded in killing hundreds in the Martin Luther King Day parade. And, another group of Christian Terrorists was thwarted up in Sarah Palin country before they killed a Federal Judge and a bunch of troopers. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives Unamerican Activities Committee is promoting rounding up all of them Muslims into concentration camps, might as well put the Sikh’s in there for good measure, eh? And what about the Jews? And the gays? And the Mexicans? And the Kenyans?!

Happy Virgins, Sad Sluts? The Fictitious Foundation of Christian Sociology


Happiness by Sex Partners: Unmarried women under 40 in the GSS

Susie Bright did a wonderful job eviscerating the idiotic premises of the current cause of concern for Christian Sociology–Premarital Sex!! Yes, premarital sex is killing society. So, we need to ban Planned Parenthood, make contraception and abortion illegal, and publicly flog any sluts who get preggers through fornication and adultery. Because, so they say, sluts are unhappy anyway, and premarital sex makes women sad. And, sluts make good women sad, so let’s make sure that the social order is set up to hurt sexually active women. Real women hate sex. Because, when some random psycho asks to have sex with them they refuse. Wow. How scientific!!! I’m impressed. And, of course, everyone has had a hook up. Once. So, everyone is having sex with anyone they meet, and Christian sociologists have to get theirs in the port-a-potty in the park across from the church. Well, there is a bit of a problem. The foundation for the Christianist argument against sex is dead wrong. Virgins aren’t happy and sluts aren’t sad. And, despite the fact that most people reject sectarian Christianity, most people can only tolerate having sex with one person. It isn’t that they don’t want to have sex with other people, just that real humans can’t get along with very many other members of their species long enough to have sex with them.

Above I present the distributions on the happiness items in the GSS by number of sex partners in the last year for women under the age of 40 who have never married.  17% of unmarried female GSS respondents reported no sex partners in the last year, while 55% reported one partner, and 17% reported 2 partners, 5% reported 3 partners, and 6% reported 4-100 partners. As you can see above, there are almost no substantively important differences in self reported happiness for women who have different numbers of sex partners. Most women who have from 4-100 sex partners are happy or very happy. Indeed, “virgins” don’t fare so well when compared to respondents who at least fornicate. There is simply no basis in truth for the assertion that sex is bad for women. Christian “sociologists” cook this up by looking at sexual abuse among pre-teens and early teens. Yes, 14 year olds with more than 10 sex partners are less happy……if it weren’t for the Christian teabaggers, we’d have social service professionals to try to help those poor people. But, adults who choose to have sex are perfectly happy.

Normal adult sexuality is not fucking everyone you meet, in contrast to the assumptions of Christian sociology. Hooking up is rare, age specific, and harmless. Indeed, women who have sex with five to ten different partners in a year are not substantively less happy than are women who are monogamous or women who don’t have sex. Claiming otherwise is a lie, but it will get you money from right wing foundations.

The right wing propaganda mill wants us to demonize and criminalized sexuality, and to defund programs which help women control their fertility while maintaining normal, healthy, happy sex lives. They want women to suffer from their sinful sexual behaviors. They want to force women under the boot of patriarchy. And sociologists are the leading propagandists for this neo-patriarchy movement. I hope this propaganda shit doesn’t count for their promotion or tenure….political activism isn’t sociology.

Race and Opposition to Same Sex Marriage


Opposition to Same Sex Marriage by Race: GSS 1988-2010

Last year, we published an article in Social Science Quarterly examining the racial gap in support for same-sex marriage, and showing that religious factors are a major reason why African Americans are more opposed to civil rights for same sex couples. Given the trend towards liberalization, I was wondering how far African Americans had moved between 2008 and 2010. As you can see above in the trend in opposition or strong opposition to same sex marriage, the latest General Social Survey shows that both whites and African Americans liberalized, and at roughly the same rate. However, the gap persists. Over half  (51%) of African Americans remain opposed to civil rights for same sex couples, while only 39% of whites are in opposition. Notably, if the trend persists, African American opposition will fall well-below 50% in the 2012 GSS.

Marijuana Legalization Support Nears a Majority


Support for Marijuana Legalization: 1973-2010 GSS

Support for legalizing marijuana is one of the few social attitudes that shows genuine period effects. It was high in the 1970s, low in the Just Say No 1980s, but it’s been increasing ever since that nadir. The latest General Social Survey (the last remaining scientific survey of American public opinion) shows that almost 48% of American adults supported the legalization of marijuana in 2010. A huge shift from even a few years ago. People are sick of watching their kids, their friends, their friends’ kids, and their neighbors and other associates get  put in prison because they smoke or sell a bit a weed. We  need to legalize pot, and most importantly we need an immediate amnesty on those incarcerated under these draconian laws which were applied quite unevenly across social groups. Legalize weed and set the people free. That would generate tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue, while reducing the cost of policing and incarceration quite dramatically.

Religion, Politics, and Support for Same Sex Marriage: 2010


Party Identification, Religious Beliefs and Support for Same Sex Marriage

In our  recent Social Science Research article, we demonstrate that both religion and politics play  strong independent roles in structuring support for and opposition to same sex marriage. The Republicans have not simply been taken over by the fundies, but instead are also directly complicit in supporting homophobia and opposition to civil rights among their more secular constituents.  The above graph updates our findings using the 2010 General Social Survey.  Notice that among fundies, who believe the bible is the inerrant word of god, support is very low even if you are a strong Democrat–but it’s twice as high as it is among Republican fundies. Among moderates and seculars, the effect of political party is quite dramatic—67% of strong Democrats who think the Bible  was inspired by god support same sex marriage, while among Republicans with the same beliefs support is 18%. Among people who think the bible is bunk, 82% of strong democrats support same sex marriage, while only a third of republican non-believers support civil rights. Party matters.

Christian Fundamentalism, Secularism, and the Obama Election


Obama Vote Percentage by Religious Beliefs: White Americans 2010 GSS

Clueless pundits and agents from right wing religious groups are fond of saying that sectarian religion transcends politics. It doesn’t. And the best measure of sectarian tendencies–when religion makes people think that they deserve supernatural rewards while people with other beliefs deserve punishment—is an indicator of fundamentalist beliefs in the sacred texts of the dominant tradition. Voting behavior in the US is so strongly divided by race that it is best to analyze the association separately, so I present the voting patterns for whites in the GSS by beliefs in the Bible. Among those who believe the bible is the inerrant word of god, only a third voted for Barak Hussein Obama (probably the anti-Christ, from Kenya, or maybe Indonesia).  Just under 50% of white Americans who thought the Bible was inspired by God (48% of whites) voted for Obama.  But, among the nearly 23% of white Americans who think the Bible is a load of bunk written by ancient goatfuckers, 79.3% voted for Barak Hussein Obama!!! Yeeeeeee HAwwwww!