Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 39980
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2020/08/03 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
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2005/10/4-6 [Politics/Domestic/Abortion, Politics/Domestic/California, ERROR, uid:39980, category id '18005#3.2025' has no name! , ] UID:39980 Activity:nil
10/4    Good TPMCafe post pointing out the logical fallacies in that "study"
        which attempted to link high levels of religiosity with high levels
        of social dysfunction:
        http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/10/4/17430/4632
        \_ You mean that the moron ignored his own statement that
           correlation does not imply causation?
2020/08/03 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
8/3     

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Cache (8192 bytes)
www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/10/4/17430/4632
figures you'll see that the United States is an outlier among developed democracies both in terms o f religiosity and in terms of various metrics of social dysfunction. If you leave the USA out of the picture, it's not clear that any trend exis ts. High dependence on a single outlier is typically a sign that you're looking at a spurious correlation. Oct 04, 2005 -- 06:27:48 PM EST To take an example, if you looked at international rates of SUV ownership and international teen pregnancy rates, you'd almost certainly find a c orrelation between SUVs and teen pregnancy. That's because the United St ates has a much higher teen pregnancy rate than other rich democracies, and also has many more SUVs. But it would be rather absurd to argue that SUV ownership causes teen pregnancy, and equally ludicrous to claim tha t teen pregnancy causes SUV ownership. draw a bit more explanatory power out of this by noting that "the so-called blue states have lower crime/std/divorce rates than the s upposedly more spiritually grounded red states." good post on this right after the election which contained an important caveat: The oddity of this Red State moralism argument emerges most clearly when you look at statistics for virtually every form of quantifiable social dysfunction. Divorce, out-of-wedlock birth, poverty, murder, incidence of preventable disease --- go down the list and youll see that they ar e all highest in the reddest states and lowest in the bluest. There are exceptions certainly --- the Prairie states being the key exam ples. You've got your prairie states, and you've got your southern states. T he prairie states are quite a bit more religious than are yon decadent c oastal enclaves, but they're no more dysfunctional. So you don't have a strong intra-American correlation between religiosity (or political cons ervatism) per se and social dysfunction. Instead, the South is both very conservative and very dysfunctional. This is an important fact, and well-worth keeping in mind. The area of th e country which has been subjected to the most consistent application of conservative governance has not fared well. I t's also important, however, to keep in mind what it doesn't tell you. A lot of people look at the fact that the South is a relatively poor regi on, and a relatively rightwing region, and conclude that poor Americans are rightwingers. South breakout page which shows that Bush trounced Kerry in the region, 62-37. Nevertheless, among the poorest quarter or so of the Southern population, Kerry won handily. If you break it down i nto poorer-than-average (ie, less than $50,000) versus richer-than-ave rage, Kerry narrowly wins the bottom half and gets destroyed in the rich er half. All of which is just to say that American exceptionalism, and in particul ar Southern exeptionalism, are, indeed, important phenomena, but they're also pretty complicated and it's best not to leap to the most simplisti c possible conclusions. The social and racial issues that have existed for the past 250 ye ars remain. As far back as Frederick Douglass (1835) the explanation has been the set ting of poor whites against blacks while keeping the wealth in the hands of the slaveholders, plantation owners and now good old boys. As Douglass explained the wealthy promote racism as a way to distract the poor whites from noticing their economic status and demanding change. Oligarchies have a very poor record for economic development. Perhaps the entire US is not a banana republic, but the south certainly seems like one. What's new is the "Kansas Effect", as explained by Thomas Frank. Now the midwest has developed a group of social conservatives that work against their own economic interests as well. Not that organized religion leads to dysfunction (admitting some might take up that argument) but the imposition of religious morality is the natur al reaction to dysfunction. But here we get to religiousity leading to higher dysfunction. The more you tell people the "can't" do something t he more they will want to and do it. I have had a chance to meet many people from all over this country withou t ever leaving Connecticut. I've had the pleasure (and I do sincerely m ean that) of working with submariners from the New London sub base, each one is a great guy. In my conversa tions with them the subject of religion and culture has come up. I was always of the belief that the midwest and south were more "pious" than w e are in the northeast. And to a man each of them basically said, "Dude , the people where I come from are not more righteous. I was speechless, all my preconcieved notions of "southern righteouness" were shattered. I heard stories from one of my parttimers from Nebraska , Doug, that Crystal Meth use was the scourge of the plains. He told me stories of fathers having sex with their underage daughters then trying to justify it by saying that there was no Father-Daughter incest prohib ition in Leviticus (which there isn't, I went back and reread it). He was stationed in Kentucky f or a while and told me the police blotters in the local papers were fill ed with men and women having sex with minors. So long ago I shed my ill -conceived thoughts about the moral superiority of one region of the US over any other. In the meantime they blame the "decadent coastal enclaves" for being the cause of their behavior, which they are embarassed about. Then they go to church on Sundays and rail against all the immorality in America. Current regant ideology in USA is against providing tr uthful information about sex to teenagers, and providing them with contr aceptives, and against higher gasoline taxes. However, I agree that this ideology is quite uniquely American package. For example, religious nuts are very influential in Poland, although th e machanics of their influence are different in a multi-party system. E ven so, why they successfully oppose abortion, they are much less oppose d to sex education (actually, the political compromise that lead to outl awing abortion secured availability of contraceptives and sex education in schools). I guess oil-producing Muslim countries would combine cheap gasoline with public religiosity. Well, if forbidding women to atten d school, drive cars, leave the house without every bit of skin covered, and if sanctioning honor killings of women who so much as hold hands wi th a man in public are any indication, then I agree that such countries are a tad dysfunctional. So the US is not the only example the British study might have cited. BTW, this is a little outside the scope of the study, but when several such oil-producing Muslim countries get into a d isagreement with a major oil-consuming Christian country, such as the U S, the result could be a tad apocalyptic. In that case, religion will b e a comfort to the survivors. The only reason that poor voters trend Democratic in the South is be cause of the large African American population in most Southern states ( ranging in many states between 20-35%)--working class whites are NOT vot ing Democratic, with the partial exception of the small numbers of South ern working class whites in unions. Let's not forget that as recently a s the early 90s, Nazi/Klan alum David Duke was elected governor of white Louisiana with 55% of the vote--only the 98% of black voters who voted against him (representing about 30% of the total electorate) prevented h im from moving into the governor's mansion. Yeah, it's complicated, but you were closer to the truth a couple of week s ago with that "What the Matter with Mississippi?" post: racial anxiet y and reactionary religiousity trump just about anything else in the Dee p South, and when it comes to white folks, those factors cross class lin es. The only reason that poor voters trend Democratic in the South is because of the large African American population in most Southern states (rangi ng in many states between 20-35%)--working class whites are NOT voting D emocratic Blacks tend to be the poorest of the poor. The poorer the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Kerry. Which presumably includes most of t hat 15% of the white vote. Let's not forget that as ...