Archive for September, 2011

No Money, No Honey, No Right-wing whore lies

30/09/2011

 

Household income by religious identification controlling for demographic factors: GSS 1973-2010

Right wing ideologues funded by right-wing foundations have been fond of claiming that if only Americans would heterosexually marry and embrace Jesus as their lord and savior, that all of our inequality would disappear. The idea being that since there is a slight bump for married individuals, and since they assume that religious fuckers are married, that this means that we should no longer have Medicare or Medicaid or supplemental income programs or even public schools. Only one problem. Jesus makes you poor, as well as stupid and unhealthy. The income gap across religious groups is astronomical, with the most fundamentalist groups fairing the worst, and this chart doesn’t even take into account the fact that sectarians, Baptists, and Mormons have larger households, which means that resources are spread even thinner in such households. Of course, it’s not a problem since the Christian limp patriarchs will take whatever they want….

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Are Republicans Stupid?

19/09/2011

 

Scientific Literacy and Verbal Ability by Fundamentalism and Party ID

Even vacuous Republican operatives masquerading as “journalists” are beginning to openly ponder whether Republicans are merely simpletons. While I would like to think this was the case, my research shows that only one segment of Republicans are know-nothing anti-intellectual numbskulls. This was a bit interesting, and unexpected. In my research on beliefs about same sex marriage I show strong influences of both religious beliefs and religious identifications and political beliefs and identifications on opposition to civil rights for same sex couples. This went counter to the prevailing logic that religious fundamentalism was the source of anti-gay bigotry among Republicans. I expected to find something similar here. But no. Republican identifiers, even after controls for age, race, gender, region, etc, are just as fluent with English and equally adept with basic scientific facts. However, they are pulled down by the fact that large proportions of Republicans are fundamentalist Christians–who have stunted vocabularies and retarded scientific literacy. If it weren’t for this, Republicans and Democrats would be quite equal in their intellectual capacities. The bottom line is that most Republicans understand science, they just don’t want it used to regulate their businesses, and they don’t want it taught to poor American people who might compete for jobs with their worthless offspring. In fact, they are LOVING this science gap with Asia, because it means that they can get much cheaper product, and not have to worry about the messy “human capital development” costs  which might cost them one of their vacation homes in taxes. No, Republicans aren’t stupid. They are simply using anti-intellectualism to attract fundamentalist voters who are too stupid to understand that they are being used.

 

Gallileo Pukes in his Grave

09/09/2011

Religion and Science

By sherkat

I wanted to repost this given the impending (finally!) publication of my paper “Religion and Scientific Literacy in the United States” in Social Science Quarterly. What with an entire political party, save one brave Mormon, rejecting science, it is important to remember that the constituency on which they feed is gullible in large part because it is willfully ignorant. The depth of anti-intellectualism among sectarian and fundamentalist Christians prevents them from seeing the world as it is, and political entrepreneurs have been quick to make themselves seem just as ignorant  as any other rube.  As I mention in my conclusions. “”Given the low levels of scientific literacy among fundamentalist and sectarian Christians, they may have difficulty understanding public issues related to scientific inquiry or pedagogy, and they may have a limited capacity to understand technical information regarding their own health and safety.”

Table 1

Adjusted Mean Number of Correct Answers on the 2006 GSS Science Exam by Religious Affiliation and Religious Belief

Religious Belief

Mean

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval

 

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

 % of Sample

Bible is literal Word of God

7.8

.100

7.6

7.9

33%

Bible is Inspired Word of God

8.6

.078

8.5

8.8

50%

Bible is a Book of Fables

9.1

.136

8.9

9.4

17%

Religious Affiliation
Sectarian Protestant

8.0

.117

7.8

8.2

26%

Catholic

8.1

.121

7.9

8.4

23%

Other Protestant

8.7

.097

8.5

8.9

28%

Non-Christian

8.8

.122

8.6

9.0

23%

 Religious activists, funded by religious foundations, have become fond of asking idiotic survey questions which appear to blur the lines between religion and science. I don’t know what ”Religion” or “Science” really mean at this level of abstraction (that’s for philosophy and theology), but I do know that particular variants of religious beliefs which are promoted in particular religious institutions generate considerable hostility towards scientific research and pedagogy. Still, many like to dress up their ignorance in a veil of pseudo science, hence we have “creation science,” and “theories”of intelligent design.

The 2006 General Social Surveys included a brief science examination. I shorten it to 13 items to exc lude a question on evolution, since fundamentalists may reflexively get that one wrong. Using data from 1780 respondents to the most recent General Social Surveys, I found that that Americans who believe that the Bible is the literal word of god (about 30% of respondents in the nationally representative sample of U.S. Adults) scored substantially lower the other respondents on a test of basic scientific literacy. Bible believers averaged 54% on the 13 question examination, which included questions about basic scientific understanding (like experimental design, and probability), earth science (such as whether the core of the earth is cold or hot, and whether continents have and continue to drift), and biology (such as whether antibiotics kill viruses). The test excluded controversial items such as evolution. In contrast, more skeptical believers averaged 68% on the exam, and non-believers answered 75% of the questions correctly.

Notably, my findings are not a function of race, social class, region, or gender. Even after statistical controls for these factors, religious conservatives scored significantly lower than non-Christians and non-believers. In fact, the effect of conservative religious identifications (affiliation with Baptists, Pentecostals, and other sectarian groups, or with Catholicism), and fundamentalist beliefs in the Bible have a stronger predictive effect on scores on the science examination than do income, race, or gender. While much has been made about racial and gender differences in scientific ability, my results suggest that cultural factors like religion are much more important impediments of scientific literacy.