Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Homicide and religion linked

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developed democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so.

Legend: A = Australia, C = Canada, D = Denmark, E = Great Britain, F = France, G = Germany, H = Holland, I = Ireland, J = Japan, L = Switzerland, N = Norway, P = Portugal, R = Austria, S = Spain, T = Italy, U = United States, W = Sweden, Z = New Zealand.

Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies. Gregory S. Paul, 2005.

Plenty of other figures and text in the article.
See also a new article (1. February 2008) by Gregory S. Paul: Why is Secular European Society Doing so Much Better Than God-Fearing America?


Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
The most plausible explanation is that atheists are better education. Also they are better human beings in every way who love puppies, shine with light and cure cancer with their touch.

Just kidding! I know atheism and moral behavior are corralated and there is some causation (religions tend to have beliefs and mandatory actions that are immoral), but how much of it is due to religion and how much is due to some third factor?

Strappado said...

When it comes to USA, there's plenty of other factors, such as a very diverse population. But if you think about it, the most common thing you hear (especially from American Christians) is that without religion, you can't be moral etc. etc. That view have been thoroughly falsified here.

It should also be mentioned that few other god fearing countries tend to fare well in surveys like this, so while it's silly to say religion => homocide, there's certainly a correlation of sorts.