June 24th, 2008

Saint Nigel

Perspective on atheist believers

I've seen the statistic cited a few times today that 21 percent of (American) atheists believe in a higher power, which is roughly as absurd as saying that 21 percent of vegetarians eat meat.

It's pretty easy to make more out of a statement like that than the data really implies, and people have been rightly skeptical. But in chipuni's discussion thread (friends-locked), bernmarx links to the original study [PDF], and so we have the opportunity to unpack it a bit.

Is it statistical trickery?

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Is it linguistic trickery?

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Does it show that atheists are stupid, crazy and/or hypocritical?

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* * * * *

Also, apropos of nothing: props to hafoc for utterly out-Frosting me in the tech support poetry thread.

* The PDF has four pages of cover, credits and index; I'm following the numbering scheme of the document itself. In order to immediately locate any reference, jump to (page number + 4) in the PDF you download.
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The state, the state, the state is on fire

Visibility's a quarter-mile in town today. "*EVERYONE SHOULD AVOID ALL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OUTDOORS.*" There's talk of evacuating the tiny town of Washington, about 15 miles east; and that's not even the fire that's pelting us with smoke.

And it's like that in pretty much the entire northern half of California.

It's not a good time to be a firefighter. My thoughts go out to everyone on the front lines.
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