Santorum Spreads the Truth, while Krugman froths fiction

I told you Social Forces was a Trap!

The surge of Santorum in the South is causing academics to froth at the prospect of Santorum in the White House–as VP, at least. And, Santorum’s virulent opposition to education is well documented. Santorum argues that higher education is particularly damaging to faith, and that college undermines beliefs in the baby Jesus and how the virgin born white Catholic Jesus is the only way to avoid being sent to hell for masturbation and stuff. And, verily, it is true. Yet, evil Jewish Egghead Economist Paul Krugman (who definitely has horns, and a beard and is certainly a relation of Satan, if not an incarnation) claims in the evil New York Times that college does not undermine faith, and that SCIENCE supports this. The Dark Lord is usually right about everything, however in this case, he’s been mislead by Christianist pseudointellectualizing about the influence of education on religion.

Back when Social Forces was a real journal, a  sociologist used actual longitudinal data from parents and children followed over 17 years of the early life course to examine the impact of a variety of factors on religious beliefs,  participation, and affiliation.  It is important to realize how Christianist sociology misconstrues the relationships, pulling a bait and switch that the Dark Lord and other non-Christianists wouldn’t understand. Instead of examining how fundamentalist religious beliefs and sectarian religious affiliations influence education—and vice versa—they gravitate to church attendance—which has almost always been shown to have a positive correlation with social status in the United States. Further, any kid who can be made to attend church at an above average level when they are in high school, likely has nothing else to do but whatever it is told (and is therefore less likely than its peers to wind up pregnant living in a trailer, instead of in college). But, as the Frothy One spewed, college does indeed have a negative impact on beliefs about the veracity of the Bible—not just fundamentalism, the more education people get, the more likely they are to CHANGE their beliefs to a more skeptical position (god’s word, inspired by god, crock of stinking shit)—see Table 2 and Table 5. It is true that the total effect of education on religious participation is positive—because educated people are less likely to be working at the Wal Mart or Quicky Lube on Sunday morning–but education has a significant NEGATIVE indirect effect on religious participation (see Table 5), and in other work SOCIOLOGY shows that education increases rates of apostasy , and decreases the likelihood that apostasy is short-lived.

Indeed, Frothy could have gone further, because one of the strongest negative effects of educational factors on believing religious crap and belonging to religious groups is taking college preparatory coursework in high school. Religion makes you ignorant and uneducated, but if people are led to knowledge and become educated they tend to reject religion. Which is why conservative Christians (and Mormons, who are not really Christians, not that I care….) are opposed to all education.

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