Saturday, November 30, 2013

Religion and social health

Sigh!! Once again it seems that I have to point out an elephant in  the room.  Elephant detection seems to have become one of my more frequent contributions to public debate lately.  I pointed out another one just yesterday.

There is a paper here by a Gregory S. Paul which claims that religion is bad for "societal health".  It is a 2005 paper but a reader has asked for my comments on it so I thought I might devote a few lines to it here.

The key finding is that the USA is more religious than other first world countries but has high levels of social dysfunction (crime etc.).  The elephant is that the paper treats the U.S. population as an homogeneous whole, which it is not.  The high  levels of crime in the USA largely reflect the doings of America's large African-origin population.  Look at whites alone and the case falls apart (see e.g. here).

There is a more thorough dissection of the paper here

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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