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.


  1. says

    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.

  2. Rich Wilson says

    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?

  3. says

    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 !!

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