Feb 03 2010

Life expectancy vs well-being vs religiosity

After a ridiculous comment over at Le Café Witteveen, it occurred to me that a graph might help explain why the fundie-who-must-not-be-named is just pulling this crap out of his ass, as usual. I know he said Christianity specifically, but honestly, any religion is as good as any other in my books and the studies I found didn’t differentiate.

I pulled the numbers into a spreadsheet from this survey on religion for various criteria to compare against a number of different metrics for societal well-being, specifically life expectancy, self-reported happiness rank, GDP purchasing power parity, and income equality (richest 10% vs poorest 10% ratio). There were only so many countries that had numbers for all the variables, so I only included those that had numbers for all of them.

The life expectancy is in straight age for both sexes, and the metric I chose for religiosity was what percentage of the surveyed population reported that they prayed “several times a day”. In order to get the happiness and GDP numbers to fall into a 0-100, I took the happiness ranking (-5 to +5) value and I added 5, then multiplied by 10. This gives you a sort of subjective idea as to how happy the countries are, with concrete numbers that are based on the real numbers, and that scale to 100 properly. For GDP, I merely divided by 1000.

Science. It can be done by a guy and Wikipedia in an hour while watching Zombieland.


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  1. 1
    Paul S.

    Totally off topic, but I hope that you and Jodi have a great wedding!

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Thanks Paul. I hope so too! :)

    We’ll be posting videos shortly after the wedding so you’ll get to see how great (or awful) it turns out to be. Just not in realtime. Wish I could have done some kind of live feed.

  3. 3
    Dan J

    Zombieland rocked, by the way.

  4. 4
    Rich Wilson

    I would think ‘prays several times a day’ would bias towards Muslim nations, since multiple (five?) prayers per day is one of the five pillars. I think you can be a Christian and a pretty solid ’1′ on the Dawkins scale and only pray once per day, or even once per week.

    I know “Do you know God exists” isn’t data we have, but isn’t there some kind of “attends regular church service” or something?

  5. 5

    Hey where’s the wonderfully long lived happy healthy countries like The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark on there ?? I suppose I should also request the country where your and my Queen lives as well :-)

    And as for he-who-is-retardingly-ridiculously-deluded is seriously going even more la-la-land this decennium on Jeremy’s blog !!

  6. 6

    It seems that the map associated with http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2010/02/03/life-expectancy-vs-well-being-vs-religiosity has gone absent without leave. Would it be possible to bring it back perhaps?

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    DasHermit – It was an artifact of my move to Freethought Blogs. I’ve restored it, as it was still in my media library. Apologies!

  8. 8


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