Author Topic: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show  (Read 210 times)

Recusant

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There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« on: April 14, 2017, 08:48:25 AM »
Emphasis on "may." The methodology of the study is such that no conclusive result is possible.

"How many American atheists are there really?" | Vox

Quote
So if you can’t ask people outright whether they’re atheist and get an honest response, how do you go about finding them?

[University of Kentucky psychologists Will] Gervais and [Maxine] Najle set up a very subtle test. They sent a nationally representative poll to 2,000 Americans, who were randomly assigned to two conditions.

The first condition asked participants to read through a bunch of statements like, “I am a vegetarian,” “I own a dog,” and, “I have a dishwasher in my kitchen.”

All the participants had to do was simply write down the number of statements that were true for them.

The value of this method is that participants don’t have to directly say, “I am a vegetarian,” or, “I’m a dog owner” — they only have to acknowledge the number of statements that apply to them. That alone should zero out any embarrassment or hesitance to admit to a particular item.

That’s important because the other 1,000 or so participants saw the exact same list — but with one statement added: “I believe in God.”

By comparing the responses between the two groups, Gervais and Najle could then estimate how many people don’t believe in God. (Because both groups of 1,000 poll takers should, in theory, have the same number of vegetarians, dog owners, and so on in each group, any increases in the number of agreed-to statements from the first group to the second should be reflective of the number of people who don’t believe in God.)

One thing is clear from the results: Much more than 10 or 11 percent of the country (as assessed in Gallup and Pew polling) does not believe in God. “We can say with a 99 percent probability that it’s higher than [11 percent],” said Gervais.

His best estimate: Around 26 percent of Americans don’t believe in God. “According to our samples, about 1 in 3 atheists in our country don't feel comfortable disclosing their lack of belief,” Najle explains in an email.

[Continues . . .]

Preprint version of the study: "How Many Atheists Are There?" | PsyArXiv Preprints
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Gloucester

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 08:57:34 AM »
Like the idea, quite clever, might have more confidence with a couple of million people . . .

;)
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No one

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 11:03:33 AM »
According to our samples, about 1 in 3 atheists in our country don't feel comfortable disclosing their lack of belief

Personally, I have zero issues with stating my lack of belief,  that being said, I don't go around shouting it from the rooftops either.

I honestly can not understand why some people are embarrassed or even ashamed of their beliefs. My belief, or lack thereof, is not your concern, nor is it offensive to you. If it so turns out that there actually is a god, I guess I'll have to deal with the almighty impudent child when that time comes.

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 11:08:12 AM »
I'm sure my lack of belief is obvious to those who know me. I don't go to church and I am going in school for neuroscience.
But, uh...well there it is.


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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 04:48:04 PM »
...I am going in school for neuroscience.

Good choice! :grin:

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 11:29:43 PM »
..

Personally, I have zero issues with stating my lack of belief,  that being said, I don't go around shouting it from the rooftops either.

...
And this is why pollsters don't use one person in a poll.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Harmonie

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2017, 07:00:44 AM »
According to our samples, about 1 in 3 atheists in our country don't feel comfortable disclosing their lack of belief

Personally, I have zero issues with stating my lack of belief,  that being said, I don't go around shouting it from the rooftops either.

I honestly can not understand why some people are embarrassed or even ashamed of their beliefs. My belief, or lack thereof, is not your concern, nor is it offensive to you. If it so turns out that there actually is a god, I guess I'll have to deal with the almighty impudent child when that time comes.

I'm neither embarrassed nor ashamed of my lack of belief. Those are not the reasons I am uncomfortable being out. My reasons are mainly my family - they're religious and although I don't think they'd disown me, they'd be in constant fear that they won't see me in heaven.

I'd just rather not create such problems.

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

Gloucester

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2017, 07:36:50 AM »
According to our samples, about 1 in 3 atheists in our country don't feel comfortable disclosing their lack of belief

Personally, I have zero issues with stating my lack of belief,  that being said, I don't go around shouting it from the rooftops either.

I honestly can not understand why some people are embarrassed or even ashamed of their beliefs. My belief, or lack thereof, is not your concern, nor is it offensive to you. If it so turns out that there actually is a god, I guess I'll have to deal with the almighty impudent child when that time comes.

I enjoy the disbelief in some that one can go through life without an "external moderator," on things like morals and ethics, when you tell them that you have no belief in a "higher order" that is not part of a shared, evolved human psychology.

Somehow they often thing it is a kind of vanity, even when you say that total "goodness" can only ever be an aspiration that is unacheivable, that humanity is fallible - just like their own bible tells them.
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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2017, 09:26:01 AM »
I do have a fear of coming out though. I should have said this before. My Dad was angry when I brought up the subject of athiests before and his last wife, my old step family, was/were christian fundies. I was always pressured into being religious even when I had doubts. My Dad was one of the people who went to church but criticized the fuck outta it. He was pretty much unreligious until he met his last wife. They brought eachother to somewhere in the middle but I was lost cuz I felt like my Dad changed. I was only 12 at the time and I didn't understand that people do things that are out of character because the person they show you is just a front. I only realized after 12 more years that my Dad tried to hide behind acting tough to hide his depression. He's a sad man but I love him.

Sorry what was this thread about?
But, uh...well there it is.


Gloucester

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 10:20:00 AM »
I do have a fear of coming out though. I should have said this before. My Dad was angry when I brought up the subject of athiests before and his last wife, my old step family, was/were christian fundies. I was always pressured into being religious even when I had doubts. My Dad was one of the people who went to church but criticized the fuck outta it. He was pretty much unreligious until he met his last wife. They brought eachother to somewhere in the middle but I was lost cuz I felt like my Dad changed. I was only 12 at the time and I didn't understand that people do things that are out of character because the person they show you is just a front. I only realized after 12 more years that my Dad tried to hide behind acting tough to hide his depression. He's a sad man but I love him.

Sorry what was this thread about?

But you live in a country where religion has a much stronger grip on the mob mind than it does in many others. Most in the UK don't really give a damn what you believe, so long as you do good stuff. That is orher than some professional god-botherers and the nutters.
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Icarus

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2017, 03:27:17 PM »
I have some quietly seething resentment about the fact that so many of us are best served by not being "out".  The subject pollsters are aware of that reality,thus their inventive method of measurement.

I would not want to run for some minor local office such as city council while being out. I'd never be elected. My community is not composed primarily of Jesus freaks but they are suspicious of anyone who is not an announced Christian. The Fundies have done a good job of promoting the criminally false notion that non believers are inherently evil.  I will not hesitate to state my case when the need arises. The need seldom arises. 

I am on the side of Harmonie and others who keep their belief unadvertised in order to spare the anguish that comes from having the belief that ones daughter or other close relation, is doomed to hell. Just who are the more thoughtful and  compassionate ones in cases like that??? 

We are a conflicted lot. We are a bunch of damned nice people who truly love and protect puppy dogs, small children, little old ladies, and the sick or disadvantaged. My wife and I even contribute toward feeding the homeless. We are active in a local agency that attempts to provide needed services to the the down and out, sick, and needy. All the while the agency is "faith based".  So we need to keep our attitude toward Jesus and friends as a private matter. I resent the hell out of that necessity. The agency does some good things, so we just roll with it.

'Scuse me.  I will stop typing because I am about to get on my soap box. ...

Gloucester

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 12:06:07 AM »
Just remembered that I have a "humanist" sticker on my car passenger side rear door window.

Still got a car - with a full set of intact windows.

It is a smallish sticker...
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 12:22:44 AM by Gloucester »
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Icarus

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 10:43:05 PM »
^ Some of the more militant religious freaks do not know what  the term; humanist implies. Such ignorance is best for our auto windows and tires.

Gloucester

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Re: There May Be More Atheists in the US Than Polls Show
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2017, 12:09:06 AM »
^ Some of the more militant religious freaks do not know what  the term; humanist implies. Such ignorance is best for our auto windows and tires.

Perhaps we are lucky that we have very few militant or violent fundamentalist (excepting Islamists) religionistas in the UK. As I said before, the vast majority just do not give a shit what you do or do not believe in.
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