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Dec 19 2013

GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY!

Cuttlefish is sharing the latest poll results — we’re winning.

nogodtable

Behold the change between 2003 and 2013: god belief declined 11% in America, while the ranks of the unbelievers swelled by 7%; the agnostics are hesitantly riding our coattails, and they’ve also increased in numbers by 4%.

Cuttlefish also notes the likely cause: the establishment of a publicly accessible font of information on righteous godlessness, Freethoughtblogs. Obviously. I should probably point out that “Support FtB” donation link over there on the left sidebar. Keep us going so we can continue to push back the forces of ignorance.

I suppose there are also a few other organizations, like the FFRF, American Atheists, American Humanists, Americans United, or your local freethinking group that have been making some contribution as well, so it would also be OK if you sent them an end-of-the-year donation in appreciation of their work.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    Cuttlefish

    Heh… the whole poll is fun reading, if you are a data wonk. Yeah, there are a couple of things I’d wish were different, but on all the big questions, it’s a breath of fresh air–for once, yes, good news, everybody!

  2. 2
    John Kruger

    I don’t want to be “that guy”, but in the 2003 column 66 + 12 = 78, not 79. Doesn’t really change the result overall, but still . . .

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    I believe in rounding errors.

  4. 4
    Rip Steakface

    I can’t be the only person who read the title in Prof. Farnsworth’s voice.

  5. 5
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @RIP Steakface

    No, no you were not.

  6. 6
    postman

    It should have been everyone.

  7. 7
    Eamon Knight

    “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

    (Um, just seemed appropriate, somehow, given the time of year ;-))

    Seriously: How many of the god-abandoners are still misogynist assholes? Sorry, but that’s the first question that popped into my mind….

  8. 8
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Postman:

    That would assume that we all know who Professor Farnsworth is. Remember that, among even self-selected gropes such as Pharyngula, some are still culturally clueless.

  9. 9
    rpjohnston

    Sounds like good news but…how exactly is one “somewhat certain” of something?

  10. 10
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re 8:

    Just to pile on; the “horde” here is spread over the whole world, not everyone sees or even knows about Futurama, so not everybody has even heard of Prof. Farnsworth and his inimitable voice characterization.

    But even so, I too read the Post’s title in Farnsworth’s voice. It is so appropriate. <Farnsworth voice>Back to work everyone!</Farnsworth voice>

  11. 11
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Oggie
    Professor Farnsworth employs the protagonists of Futurama, as space opera cartoon started by Matt Groening of Simpsons fame. His catchphrase is to enter the room proclaiming “Good News Everyone!” before explaining whatever horrible verging on suicidal mission he’s sending them on today.

  12. 12
    raven

    Good news for sure and consistent with lots of data over the 21st century.

    It’s likely that the real number of non believers is a lot higher.

    1. A lot of people are just census xians. Box checkers.

    They don’t go to church, don’t know the doctrines, have no idea what the bible says.

    2. A lot of fundie-ism is just right wing extremist politics with a few crosses stuck on for show. It’s a tribal identity to say you are an Oogedy Boogedy xian. And they can claim supernatural authority and jesus/god isn’t going to contradict them.

    3. There are data on these points. The Dawkins Ipso Facto poll in the UK and the Barna polls in the USA. Barna, an evangelical pollster found that only 37% were serious xians.

  13. 13
    Storms

    These are the lines that excite me:
    Darwin's theory of evolution +5
    Survival of soul after death -5

    The god-crazed are losing on all fronts. There is hope, and more, evidence of efficacy.

    Perhaps the up-tick in Ghosts and Reincarnation are the wooful moving from religious to ‘spiritual’?

  14. 14
    ChasCPeterson

    well, you know, there’s ‘culturally clueless’ and then there’s ‘don’t give a fuck about cartoons on television’.

  15. 15
    raven

    http: //w ww. ipsos-mori.com/ researchpublications/ researcharchive/2921/

    Just a third (32%) believe Jesus was physically resurrected, with one in five (18%) not believing in the resurrection even in a spiritual sense; half (49%) do not think of Jesus as the Son of God, with one in twenty-five (4%) doubting he existed at all.

    Asked to select which one statement best describes what being a Christian means to them personally, 40% chose ‘I try to be a good person’ and around a quarter (26%) chose ‘It’s how I was brought up’. Around one in six (16%) selected the statement ‘I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour’ and less than one in ten (7%) chose ‘I believe in the teachings of Jesus’.

    Data. Read it yourself, although I posted a small part of the conclusions from Census Xians.

    This is for the UK but results in the USA would be somewhat similar.

  16. 16
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Sorry, Chas. My #8 was not meant to be inclusive of anyone but me. I should have phrased it better. My bad.

  17. 17
    Rich Woods

    @Ogvorbis #16:

    I didn’t know who Prof. Farnsworth was, but your phrasing wasn’t all bad: I quite liked being described as a “self-selected grope”.

  18. 18
    Rip Steakface

    @14

    There’s also “aggressively dismissive of things other people like.” Good for you that you don’t give a fuck about cartoons on TV – I happen to like Futurama, along with many other adults. Is that a bad thing?

  19. 19
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @raven

    Around one in six (16%) selected the statement ‘I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour’ and less than one in ten (7%) chose ‘I believe in the teachings of Jesus’.

    How can you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour and yet not believe in his teachings? Fuck, even I believe in some of “his” teachings, and I’m not even sure he existed, let alone that he was the Son of God! Damn, Xians are nutty.

  20. 20
    Eamon Knight

    @19: Read it carefully: the survey was “pick one statement”. The 16% would be the Born Agains (who presumably also believe in Jesus’ teachings), while the 7% would be Christians who don’t go in for the crude “Jesus is my BFF” salvationism of American-style Evangelicalism.

  21. 21
    screechymonkey

    Clearly the hard work of accommodationists has paid off!

  22. 22
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Eamon

    Ah, thank you :)

    Apologies to Raven for my inability to read.

  23. 23
    unclefrogy

    I suspect that one of the contributing reasons for the change from belief toward none belief has to be the fundamentalists themselves. There is just too much that is becoming accepted as common knowledge that contradicts fundamentalist beliefs and the at the root of them all is the attitude that the body and its desires is sinful and corrupt. The fundies embrace a tyrannical and an impossibly constrained life and world view of absolute obedience in all things to some deeply disturbed all to human authority be it the mullahs of the Taliban or your local baptist preacher
    The conflict they have with living at their core drives many away.
    uncle frogy

  24. 24
    Nemo

    Pretty soon we’re going to need “I was an atheist when atheism wasn’t cool” t-shirts.

  25. 25
    auntbenjy

    2013 Census data that is slowly being released in NZ seems to be indicating that for the first time, self identified christians are less than 50% of the population.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9501270/Census-points-to-non-religious-NZ

    The numbers here might look small, but bear in mind that our total population is only about 4.4 million. I’m not sure how the “Jedi” faction or the Pastafarians get counted…

  26. 26
    John Kruger

    I believe in rounding errors.

    And of course, there is a note in the first table that mentions that very thing. I am going to go shrink into a dark corner for a while.

  27. 27
    Mobius

    Jerry Coyne also posted about this poll on WEIT. He also presents several other tables derived from the same poll.

  28. 28
    chigau (違う)

    Chas #14
    Why do you do that?

  29. 29
    kreativekaos

    Professor, it’s quite encouraging to see the directions that the numbers are moving, but really….. do we need to express the positive direction of the stats in terms of ‘winning’ ( and presumably, ‘losing’)?

    I feel gauging any successes in terms of football/sports expressions is a bit childish. Just applaud the continuing education, enlightenment and consciousness-raising of the populace, without the metaphorical ‘ra-ra’ and pom-pom waving.

  30. 30
    anchor

    With all due appreciation to perceived cause and effect…

    As alluded to elsewhere (rather furtively) we may interpret (dare I say ‘hope’?) that the change is in some significant measure a consequence of certain and particular efforts. Encouragement from these numbers may not be sufficient reason for thinking we have been principally responsible for it. We may certainly aspire to help magnify this trend, as long as we actually appreciate exactly how our efforts actually impinge on those figures – something that hasn’t yet been established.

    You know. Science.

    But then, we all already knew that, yes?

  31. 31
    lpetrich

    Oodles of nice stuff in that poll. I looked for correlations for year of poll, generation, and political party, and this is what I found:

    Belief in God, Miracles, Heaven, Jesus is God or the Son of God, Angels, The resurrection of Jesus Christ, Survival of the soul after death, Hell, The Devil, The Virgin birth (Jesus born of Mary), and Creationism are all correlated with each other in the same direction. Belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution is correlated with these, but in the opposite direction. The remaining items, Ghosts, UFO’s, Astrology, Witches, and Reincarnation (that you were once another person) have different patterns of behavior.

    So belief in creationism is positively correlated with religiosity, and belief in evolution negatively correlated. So it will be decline of religion which reduces the influence of creationists.

    That shows the wimpiness of many religious defenders of evolution. Why don’t they take a firmer line and argue that creationism makes baby Jesus cry? Or make fun of excessive literalism, like saying “you are the salt of the Earth” doesn’t mean that you’ll go the way of Lot’s wife, turned into a pillar of salt.

    There’s a clear decline of religiosity with decreasing age, and Republicans are more religious than Democrats and Independents, who are about the same. Southerners and Midwesterners are more religious than Northeasterners and Westerners.

    Opinion is about evenly split over whether God is male or neither sex. Some people believe that God is both sexes, and while women are more likely to believe that God is male, it is mostly women who believe that God is female.

    The more religious people tend to believe that God controls the Universe as opposed to God being a passive observer.

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