Category Archives: religiosity

AP/NORC poll: Most religious Americans see a message from God in the coronavirus pandemic

In one way things haven’t changed since the Middle Ages: the onset of a pandemic leads people to search for a greater meaning, usually involving the wrath of a god. So, for instance, the Black Death was blamed on a lack of piety (penitentes arose), the perfidy of the Jews, and so on. Now, in […]

A world survey: Do we need God to be moral?

A new study by the Pew organization (click on screenshot below or get full pdf here) surveyed 38,436 people in 34 countries across the globe, asking them questions about how important God or religion is to them and—today’s topic)—do you really need God to be moral.  The methods included both face to face and phone […]

Religion doesn’t improve society: more evidence

Religion is often touted as essential as a kind of secular glue, keeping society moral and empathic. Indeed, some say that even if there isn’t any evidence for a God, we should promote belief anyway because of its salutary side effects—the “spandrels” of belief. This “belief in belief” trope, as Dennett calls it, is counteracted […]

Nick Spencer returns to defend religion in Prospect magazine

Does the ubiquity and supposed beneficial effect of religion constitute evidence for God? Well, at least one intellectual (and I use the term loosely) thinks so. Reader Michael sent me a link to Nick Spencer’s favorable review in Prospect of Stephen Asma’s 2018 book Why We Need Religion (click on screenshot below). Michael added this: “Maybe […]

New Pew survey shows that Americans are rapidly becoming less Christian and more secular

The Pew Organization conducted surveys for their Religious Landscape Studies in 2007 and 2014, assessing the religiosity, non-religiosity, beliefs, and churchgoing habits of Americans. They continued these surveys last year and this year, though on a more restricted scale. Nevertheless, the new Pew Survey, whose summary you can see by clicking on the screenshot below […]

Bret Weinstein unfairly disses evolutionary biology (and New Atheism)

While Bret Weinstein is a stalwart champion of free speech and progressivism because of his brave behavior at Evergreen State, his views on evolution often seem to me to be pretty wonky. And not just biology: look at these tweets he exchanged with Sam Harris: I’m a “New Atheist,” and I don’t know what you’re […]

Why do people hate religion? Because Trump.

Well, I deliberately used Millennial jargon in the title because humor. But the article below, an op-ed in today’s New York Times, isn’t so much funny as wrong-headed. Timothy Egan, a contributing NYT opinion writer and author who seems to have a weakness for faith, uses a clickbaity and misleading headline to give us a […]

Atlantic article pretends that atheists are really religious by lying about the data

When I saw this article from last year’s online Atlantic, I thought it was going to push the usual guff: “atheists are religious because they adhere fervently to the doctrine of No God, with no proof of their (non)beliefs.” But no, it wasn’t that. It was worse. In fact, the title is an arrant lie […]

The dramatic increase of secularism in Britain

Just a short but heartening report from Humanists UK, which you can access by clicking on the screenshot below. (The pdf of the report—just an Excel file—can be downloaded here.) The take-home message is that the decline in religiosity in Britain is becoming precipitous, though Muslims, Jews, and Hindus, have increased—but not nearly enough to […]

I get emails from theists

Since my piece on the incompatibility of science and religion was published yesterday at The Conversation, I’ve been bombarded with emails and “requests for interaction” (The Conversation allows readers to contact you this way), with the latter being largely “requests for you to listen to my point of view.” Here’s an email from someone who found […]