Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why Some, Not All, Atheists Go Nine Bubbles Out Of Level And Give Crap Advice 'yeah, It's Hate Mail

It is one of the most astonishing things I've found in the going on two decades of reading people's unedited thinking online just now clueless so many of the biggest sci-rangers are when it comes to even basic math.  It also is shocking about how many political types are so clueless about the fact that in order to win an election you need votes in raw numbers that are then expressed in percentages, And the third absolute fact, if you are a Democrat, these days, you need even more, more votes because the Constitution, the Supreme Court and so many state governments have rigged things in favor of Republicans.   It would seem, from reading some current and once eminent bloggers that such basic realities go out the window when the topic is the politics of religion.

There really isn't any way to know how many members there are of a group which doesn't keep track of its membership, not to mention groups that are not groups but are defined as such by sociologists. A figure I've seen used for atheists is that there are about 9,886,000 atheists in the United States - though the percentage figures you always see are hardly reliable.  In fact if you really care about accuracy, they aren't reliable at all.   According to one of the groups whose statistics are often cited, Pew, there are some interesting "facts" about atheists, one of which is 

8% of those who call themselves atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Indeed, 2% say they are “absolutely certain” about the existence of God or a universal spirit. Alternatively, there are many people who fit the dictionary definition of “atheist” but do not call themselves atheists. About three times as many Americans say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit (9%) as say they are atheists (3%).

I have seen other numbers from other organizations that lead me to believe that the number of atheists is, to a large extent, a matter of manipulation of survey questions.  Looking at the methodology of some of them would lead me to suspect that the actual number might be less than one percent, some others, as high as six percent, though I think both are as much a product of the manipulation of questioning, seeking a result by those conducting the alleged research.    

But, also, like all surveys of this type, any particular datum you include in your data, is only as good as the understanding, the competence, the honesty and the earnestness of the person who was asked to provide it.  There is no way to test the responses for their truth, accuracy or understanding of the question, that is left to being a matter of faith and what the analysis throws out in a way to rig the results.  All survey results will include data which will range from totally unreliable to somewhat more reliable, perhaps.  

And don't leave out that practice of just throwing out data you don't like.  What do you do about someone who claims to be an atheist but who is "absolutely certain" about the existence of God or a universal spirit" or about someone who doesn't believe in God but who will not call themself an atheist?  And if you just throw those responses out you aren't clarifying anything about the actual composite religious nature of the American People*.  Claiming that someone who, when given the chance, refuses to self-identify as an atheist is an atheist would only add another layer to the dishonesty of the entire enterprise of gathering such data, substituting the opinion of the surveyors for that of the people whose honest reports they are allegedly relying on. 

I have written about the phony, ideologically created group "Nones" as a means of confusing people into thinking there are more atheists in the United States than there are, but it - against all logic and all practice of accurate definition - tosses together any number of dissimilar people, believers, non-believers, people who pretend to not have made up their minds, etc.  Believers, in the breakdowns of the "Nones" tend to be far more in number than the non-believers or the "agnostics" who call themselves that.  Though I wouldn't trust the surveyors who resort to that atheist propaganda dodge to have nearly uniform means of generating their data or defining it or shoving them into that category.

Religious groups which do keep track of membership at least can tell you if someone has been a member of their church so at least those numbers are probably somewhat more reliable.  Some keep better records than others.   

In order to avoid having to continually use qualifiers because I really don't believe their survey results, I'm going to state that I'll pretend for what follows that those are reliable.  Though I want to make it clear that I don't buy them for a second. 

Anyway, the fact is that 85% of the presumed 3.1% of  American Voters identified as atheists who are reported as voting for Hillary Clinton, make up a far smaller number of people than the combined members of religious denominations who voted for Hillary Clinton both in total numbers, going from the religious denominations who gave her the least percentage of their reported votes (just under one fifth of Mormons) to the most (African Methodist Episcopalians, 92%) that number of voters is certainly not a group which Democrats can afford to ignore, not even to please such atheists as Duncan Black and Kevin Drum.  Advocating the position they did is absolutely sheer stupidity.  Given that the number of religious voters is about the largest sub-set of all voters, it would make more sense in sheer term of trying to win an election to leave one of the genders out of the discussion.  It certainly would make more sense to leave out those atheists and agnostics who advocate such stupidity.  And I do know for a fact that they don't speak for all atheists.  I doubt Barney Frank would say such a stupid thing about politics and I know my former state legislator who knew how to count votes wouldn't.  If you think I've been hard on them, he'd be likely to dope slap them.  He's had to try to win election instead of just tapping a keyboard about politics. 

*  Such composite entities don't really exist, they are a mythical creation of such pseudo-science as sociology is made of. 

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