[Paleopsych] Journal of Religion and Society: Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Mon Oct 3 01:30:27 UTC 2005

This is an amazingly silly study, as it contradicts tons of social 
research on the actual effects of religion. America is a sui generis, 
and to compare us with any other country is ridiculous. Post hoc ergo 
propter hoc fallacy. Other than that I have no strong opinion.

Premise Checker wrote:

> Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with 
> Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies
> Journal of Religion and Society
> http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html
> [Creighton is a Roman Catholic Jesuit university, founded in Omaha in 
> 1878. First, an summary from the Times of London, to which Laird 
> alerted me.]
> RUTH GLEDHILL, TIMES, UK -  Religious belief can cause damage to a
> society, contributing towards high  murder rates, abortion, sexual
> promiscuity and suicide, according to research  published today.
> According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not  only
> unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute  to
> social problems. The study counters the view of believers that
> religion  is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of
> a healthy  society.
> It compares the social performance of relatively secular  countries,
> such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a  creator
> rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals  in
> the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that  it
> inspires atheism and amorality.
> Many liberal Christians and  believers of other faiths hold that
> religious belief is socially beneficial,  believing that it helps to
> lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide,  sexual promiscuity and
> abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a  society have been
> described as its "spiritual capital". But the study claims  that the
> devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its  ills.
> The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a  US
> academic journal, reports: "Many Americans agree that their
> churchgoing  nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the
> hill that stands  as an impressive example for an increasingly 
> sceptical world.
> "In  general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator
> correlate with  higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult
> mortality, STD infection  rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the
> prosperous democracies. The United  States is almost always the most
> dysfunctional of the developing democracies,  sometimes spectacularly 
> so."
> Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a  social scientist, used
> data from the International Social Survey Program,  Gallup and other
> research bodies to reach his conclusions. . .
> The  study concluded that the US was the world's only prosperous
> democracy where  murder rates were still high, and that the least
> devout nations were the  least dysfunctional. Mr  Paul said that rates
> of gonorrhea in  adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than
> in less devout  democratic countries. The US also suffered from "
> uniquely high" adolescent  and adult syphilis infection rates, and
> adolescent abortion rates, the study  suggested. . .
> He said that the disparity was even greater when the US  was compared
> with other countries, including France, Japan and the  Scandinavian
> countries. These nations had been the most successful in  reducing
> murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases  and
> abortion, he  added.
> http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html
> -------------------
>    ISSN: 1522-5658
> Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with 
> Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies
>    A First Look
>    Gregory S. Paul
>    Baltimore, Maryland
>    Introduction
>    [1] Two centuries ago there was relatively little dispute over the
>    existence of God, or the societally beneficial effect of popular
>    belief in a creator. In the twentieth century extensive secularization
>    occurred in western nations, the United States being the only
>    significant exception (Bishop; Bruce; Gill et al.; Sommerville). If
>    religion has receded in some western nations, what is the impact of
>    this unprecedented transformation upon their populations? Theists
>    often assert that popular belief in a creator is instrumental towards
>    providing the moral, ethical and other foundations necessary for a
>    healthy, cohesive society. Many also contend that widespread
>    acceptance of evolution, and/or denial of a creator, is contrary to
>    these goals. But a cross-national study verifying these claims has yet
>    to be published. That radically differing worldviews can have
>    measurable impact upon societal conditions is plausible according to a
>    number of mainstream researchers (Bainbridge; Barro; Barro and
>    McCleary; Beeghley; Groeneman and Tobin; Huntington; Inglehart and
>    Baker; Putman; Stark and Bainbridge). Agreement with the hypothesis
>    that belief in a creator is beneficial to societies is largely based
>    on assumption, anecdotal accounts, and on studies of limited scope and
>    quality restricted to one population (Benson et al.; Hummer et al.;
>    Idler and Kasl; Stark and Bainbridge). A partial exception is given by
>    Barro and McCleary, who correlated economic growth with rates of
>    belief in the afterlife and church attendance in numerous nations
>    (while Kasman and Reid [2004] commented that Europe does not appear to
>    be suffering unduly from its secularization). It is surprising that a
>    more systematic examination of the question has not been previously
>    executed since the factors required to do so are in place. The
>    twentieth century acted, for the first time in human history, as a
>    vast Darwinian global societal experiment in which a wide variety of
>    dramatically differing social-religious-political-economic systems
>    competed with one another, with varying degrees of success. A
>    quantitative cross-national analysis is feasible because a large body
>    of survey and census data on rates of religiosity, secularization, and
>    societal indicators has become available in the prosperous developed
>    democracies including the United States.
>    [2] This study is a first, brief look at an important subject that has
>    been almost entirely neglected by social scientists. The primary
>    intent is to present basic correlations of the elemental data. Some
>    conclusions that can be gleaned from the plots are outlined. This is
>    not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause
>    versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health. It
>    is hoped that these original correlations and results will spark
>    future research and debate on the issue.
>    The Belief that Religiosity is Socially Beneficial
>    [3] As he helped initiate the American experiment Benjamin Franklin
>    stated that "religion will be a powerful regulator of our actions,
>    give us peace and tranquility within our minds, and render us
>    benevolent, useful and beneficial to others" (Isaacson: 87-88). When
>    the theory of biological evolution removed the need for a supernatural
>    creator concerns immediately arose over the societal implications of
>    widespread abandonment of faith (Desmond and Moore; Numbers). In 1880
>    the religious moralist Dostoyevsky penned the famous warning that "if
>    God does not exist, then everything is permissible." Even so, in
>    Europe the issue has not been a driving focus of public and political
>    dispute, especially since the world wars.
>    [4] Although its proponents often claim that anti-evolution
>    creationism[1]<1> is scientific, it has abjectly failed in the
>    practical realms of mainstream science and hi-tech industry (Ayala et
>    al.; Crews; Cziko; Dawkins, 1996, 1997; Dennett; Gould; Koza et al.;
>    L. Lane; Miller; Paul and Cox; Shanks; Wise; Young and Edis). The
>    continuing popularity of creationism in America indicates that it is
>    in reality a theistic social-political movement partly driven by
>    concerns over the societal consequences of disbelief in a creator
>    (Forrest and Gross; Numbers). The person most responsible for
>    politicizing the issue in America, evangelical Christian W. J.
>    Bryan,[2]<2> expressed relatively little interest in evolution until
>    the horrors of WW I inspired him to blame the scientific revolution
>    that invented chemical warfare and other modern ills for "preaching
>    that man has a brute ancestry and eliminating the miraculous and the
>    supernatural from the Bible" (Numbers: 178).
>    [5] In the United States many conservative theists consider
>    evolutionary science a leading contributor to social dysfunction
>    because it is amoral or worse, and because it inspires disbelief in a
>    moral creator (Colson and Pearcey; Eve and Harrold; Johnson; Numbers;
>    Pearcey; Schroeder). The original full title for the creationist
>    Discovery Institute was the Discovery Institute for the Renewal of
>    Science and Culture (a title still applied to a division), and the
>    institute's mission challenges "materialism on specifically scientific
>    grounds" with the intent of reversing "some of materialism's
>    destructive cultural consequences." The strategy for achieving these
>    goals is the "wedge" strategy to insert intelligent design creationism
>    into mainstream academe and subsequently destroy Darwinian science
>    (Johnson; Forrest and Gross note this effort is far behind schedule).
>    The Discovery Institute and the less conservative, even more lavishly
>    funded pro-theistic Templeton Foundation fund research into the
>    existence and positive societal influence of a creator (Harris et al.;
>    Holden). In 2000 the Discovery Institute held a neocreationist seminar
>    for members of Congress (Applegate). Politically and socially powerful
>    conservatives have deliberately worked to elevate popular concerns
>    over a field of scientific and industrial research to such a level
>    that it qualifies as a major societal fear factor. The current House
>    majority leader T. Daley contends that high crime rates and tragedies
>    like the Columbine assault will continue as long schools teach
>    children "that they are nothing but glorified apes who have
>    evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup of mud" (DeLay and
>    Dawson). Today's leaders of the world's largest Christian
>    denomination, the Catholic Church, share a dim view of the social
>    impact of evolution. In his inauguration speech, Benedict XVI lauded
>    the benefits of belief in a creator and contended, "we are not some
>    casual and meaningless product of evolution." A leading church cleric
>    and theologian (Schonborn) proclaimed that "the overwhelming evidence
>    for purpose and design" refutes the mindless creation of Darwinian
>    natural selection (also Dean, Dean and Goodstein).
>    [6] Agreement with the hypothesis that popular religiosity is
>    societally advantageous is not limited to those opposed to
>    evolutionary science, or to conservatives. The basic thesis can be
>    held by anyone who believes in a benign creator regardless of the
>    proposed mode of creation, or the believer's social-political
>    worldview. In broad terms the hypothesis that popular religiosity is
>    socially beneficial holds that high rates of belief in a creator, as
>    well as worship, prayer and other aspects of religious practice,
>    correlate with lowering rates of lethal violence, suicide,
>    non-monogamous sexual activity, and abortion, as well as improved
>    physical health. Such faith-based, virtuous "cultures of life" are
>    supposedly attainable if people believe that God created them for a
>    special purpose, and follow the strict moral dictates imposed by
>    religion. At one end of the spectrum are those who consider creator
>    belief helpful but not necessarily critical to individuals and
>    societies. At the other end the most ardent advocates consider persons
>    and people inherently unruly and ungovernable unless they are strictly
>    obedient to the creator (as per Barna; Colson and Pearcey; Johnson;
>    Pearcey; Schroeder). Barro labels societal advantages that are
>    associated with religiosity "spiritual capital," an extension of
>    Putman's concept of "social capital." The corresponding view that
>    western secular materialism leads to "cultures of death" is the
>    official opinion of the Papacy, which claims, "the proabortion culture
>    is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on
>    contraception is rejected" (John Paul II). In the United States
>    popular support for the cultural and moral superiority of theism is so
>    extensive that popular disbelief in God ranks as another major
>    societal fear factor.
>    [7] The media (Stepp) gave favorable coverage to a report that
>    children are hardwired towards, and benefit from, accepting the
>    existence of a divine creator on an epidemiological and
>    neuro-scientific basis (Benson et al.). Also covered widely was a
>    Federal report that the economic growth of nations positively responds
>    to high rates of belief in hell and heaven.[3]<3> Faith-based
>    charities and education are promoted by the Bush administration[4]<4>
>    and religious allies and lobbies as effective means of addressing
>    various social problems (Aronson; Goodstein). The conservative Family
>    Research Council proclaims, "believing that God is the author of life,
>    liberty and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as
>    the basis for a just, free and stable society." Towards the liberal
>    end of the political spectrum presidential candidate Al Gore supported
>    teaching both creationism and evolution, his running mate Joe
>    Leiberman asserted that belief in a creator is instrumental to "secure
>    the moral future of our nation, and raise the quality of life for all
>    our people," and presidential candidate John Kerry emphasized his
>    religious values in the latter part of his campaign.
>    [8] With surveys showing a strong majority from conservative to
>    liberal believing that religion is beneficial for society and for
>    individuals, many Americans agree that their church-going nation is an
>    exceptional, God blessed, "shining city on the hill" that stands as an
>    impressive example for an increasingly skeptical world. But in the
>    other developing democracies religiosity continues to decline
>    precipitously and avowed atheists often win high office, even as
>    clergies warn about adverse societal consequences if a revival of
>    creator belief does not occur (Reid, 2001).
>    Procedures and Primary Data Sources
>    [9] Levels of religious and nonreligious belief and practice, and
>    indicators of societal health and dysfunction, have been most
>    extensively and reliably surveyed in the prosperous developed
>    democracies ([5]Figures 1-9). Similar data is often lacking for second
>    and third world nations, or is less reliable. The cultural and
>    economic similarity of the developing democracies minimizes the
>    variability of factors outside those being examined. The approximately
>    800 million mostly middle class adults and children act as a massive
>    epidemiological experiment that allows hypotheses that faith in a
>    creator or disbelief in evolution improves or degrades societal
>    conditions to be tested on an international scale. The extent of this
>    data makes it potentially superior to results based on much smaller
>    sample sizes. Data is from the 1990s, most from the middle and latter
>    half of the decade, or the early 2000s.
>    [10] Data sources for rates of religious belief and practice as well
>    as acceptance of evolution are the 1993 Environment I (Bishop) and
>    1998 Religion II polls conducted by the International Social Survey
>    Program (ISSP), a cross-national collaboration on social science
>    surveys using standard methodologies that currently involves 38
>    nations. The last survey interviewed approximately 23,000 people in
>    almost all (17) of the developing democracies; Portugal is also
>    plotted as an example of a second world European democracy. Results
>    for western and eastern Germany are combined following the regions'
>    populations. England is generally Great Britain excluding Northern
>    Ireland; Holland is all of the Netherlands. The results largely agree
>    with national surveys on the same subjects; for example, both ISSP and
>    Gallup indicate that absolute plus less certain believers in a higher
>    power are about 90% of the U.S. population. The plots include Bible
>    literalism and frequency of prayer and service attendance, as well as
>    absolute belief in a creator, in order to examine religiosity in terms
>    of ardency, conservatism, and activities. Self-reported rates of
>    religious attendance and practice may be significantly higher than
>    actual rates (Marler and Hadaway), but the data is useful for relative
>    comparisons, especially when it parallels results on religious belief.
>    The high rates of church attendance reported for the Swiss appear
>    anomalous compared to their modest levels of belief and prayer.
>    [11] Data on aspects of societal health and dysfunction are from a
>    variety of well-documented sources including the UN Development
>    Programme (2000). Homicide is the best indicator of societal violence
>    because of the extremity of the act and its unique contribution to
>    levels of societal fear, plus the relatively reliable nature of the
>    data (Beeghley; Neapoletan). Youth suicide (WHO) was examined in order
>    to avoid cultural issues related to age and terminal illness. Data on
>    STDs, teen pregnancy and birth (Panchaud et al.; Singh and Darroch)
>    were accepted only if the compilers concluded that they were not
>    seriously underreported, except for the U.S. where under reporting
>    does not exaggerate disparities with the other developing democracies
>    because they would only close the gaps. Teen pregnancy was examined in
>    a young age class in which marriage is infrequent. Abortion data
>    (Panchaud et al.) was accepted only from those nations in which it is
>    as approximately legal and available as in the U.S. In order to
>    minimize age related factors, rates of dysfunction were plotted within
>    youth cohorts when possible.
>    [12] Regression analyses were not executed because of the high
>    variability of degree of correlation, because potential causal factors
>    for rates of societal function are complex, and because it is not the
>    purpose of this initial study to definitively demonstrate a causal
>    link between religion and social conditions. Nor were multivariate
>    analyses used because they risk manipulating the data to produce
>    errant or desired results,[6]<5> and because the fairly consistent
>    characteristics of the sample automatically minimizes the need to
>    correct for external multiple factors (see further discussion below).
>    Therefore correlations of raw data are used for this initial
>    examination.
>    Results
>    [13] Among the developing democracies absolute belief in God,
>    attendance of religious services and Bible literalism vary over a
>    dozenfold, atheists and agnostics five fold, prayer rates fourfold,
>    and acceptance of evolution almost twofold. Japan, Scandinavia, and
>    France are the most secular nations in the west, the United States is
>    the only prosperous first world nation to retain rates of religiosity
>    otherwise limited to the second and third worlds (Bishop; PEW).
>    Prosperous democracies where religiosity is low (which excludes the
>    U.S.) are referred to below as secular developing democracies.
>    [14] Correlations between popular acceptance of human evolution and
>    belief in and worship of a creator and Bible literalism are negative
>    ([7]Figure 1). The least religious nation, Japan, exhibits the highest
>    agreement with the scientific theory, the lowest level of acceptance
>    is found in the most religious developing democracy, the U.S.
>    [15] A few hundred years ago rates of homicide were astronomical in
>    Christian Europe and the American colonies (Beeghley; R. Lane). In all
>    secular developing democracies a centuries long-term trend has seen
>    homicide rates drop to historical lows ([8]Figure 2). The especially
>    low rates in the more Catholic European states are statistical noise
>    due to yearly fluctuations incidental to this sample, and are not
>    consistently present in other similar tabulations (Barcley and
>    Tavares). Despite a significant decline from a recent peak in the
>    1980s (Rosenfeld), the U.S. is the only prosperous democracy that
>    retains high homicide rates, making it a strong outlier in this regard
>    (Beeghley; Doyle, 2000). Similarly, theistic Portugal also has rates
>    of homicides well above the secular developing democracy norm. Mass
>    student murders in schools are rare, and have subsided somewhat since
>    the 1990s, but the U.S. has experienced many more (National School
>    Safety Center) than all the secular developing democracies combined.
>    Other prosperous democracies do not significantly exceed the U.S. in
>    rates of nonviolent and in non-lethal violent crime (Beeghley;
>    Farrington and Langan; Neapoletan), and are often lower in this
>    regard. The United States exhibits typical rates of youth suicide
>    (WHO), which show little if any correlation with theistic factors in
>    the prosperous democracies ([9]Figure 3). The positive correlation
>    between pro-theistic factors and juvenile mortality is remarkable,
>    especially regarding absolute belief, and even prayer ([10]Figure 4).
>    Life spans tend to decrease as rates of religiosity rise ([11]Figure
>    5), especially as a function of absolute belief. Denmark is the only
>    exception. Unlike questionable small-scale epidemiological studies by
>    Harris et al. and Koenig and Larson, higher rates of religious
>    affiliation, attendance, and prayer do not result in lower
>    juvenile-adult mortality rates on a cross-national basis.[12]<6>
>    [16] Although the late twentieth century STD epidemic has been
>    curtailed in all prosperous democracies (Aral and Holmes; Panchaud et
>    al.), rates of adolescent gonorrhea infection remain six to three
>    hundred times higher in the U.S. than in less theistic, pro-evolution
>    secular developing democracies ([13]Figure 6). At all ages levels are
>    higher in the U.S., albeit by less dramatic amounts. The U.S. also
>    suffers from uniquely high adolescent and adult syphilis infection
>    rates, which are starting to rise again as the microbe's resistance
>    increases ([14]Figure 7). The two main curable STDs have been nearly
>    eliminated in strongly secular Scandinavia. Increasing adolescent
>    abortion rates show positive correlation with increasing belief and
>    worship of a creator, and negative correlation with increasing
>    non-theism and acceptance of evolution; again rates are uniquely high
>    in the U.S. ([15]Figure 8). Claims that secular cultures aggravate
>    abortion rates (John Paul II) are therefore contradicted by the
>    quantitative data. Early adolescent pregnancy and birth have dropped
>    in the developing democracies (Abma et al.; Singh and Darroch), but
>    rates are two to dozens of times higher in the U.S. where the decline
>    has been more modest ([16]Figure 9). Broad correlations between
>    decreasing theism and increasing pregnancy and birth are present, with
>    Austria and especially Ireland being partial exceptions. Darroch et
>    al. found that age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners and
>    similar issues among teens do not exhibit wide disparity or a
>    consistent pattern among the prosperous democracies they sampled,
>    including the U.S. A detailed comparison of sexual practices in France
>    and the U.S. observed little difference except that the French tend -
>    contrary to common impression - to be somewhat more conservative
>    (Gagnon et al.).
>    Discussion
>    [17] The absence of exceptions to the negative correlation between
>    absolute belief in a creator and acceptance of evolution, plus the
>    lack of a significant religious revival in any developing democracy
>    where evolution is popular, cast doubt on the thesis that societies
>    can combine high rates of both religiosity and agreement with
>    evolutionary science. Such an amalgamation may not be practical. By
>    removing the need for a creator evolutionary science made belief
>    optional. When deciding between supernatural and natural causes is a
>    matter of opinion large numbers are likely to opt for the latter.
>    Western nations are likely to return to the levels of popular
>    religiosity common prior to the 1900s only in the improbable event
>    that naturalistic evolution is scientifically overturned in favor of
>    some form of creationist natural theology that scientifically verifies
>    the existence of a creator. Conversely, evolution will probably not
>    enjoy strong majority support in the U.S. until religiosity declines
>    markedly.
>    [18] In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator
>    correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult
>    mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the
>    prosperous democracies ([17]Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous
>    democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin
>    predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional
>    of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost
>    always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a "shining city on the
>    hill" to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic
>    measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the
>    general trend because there is not a significant relationship between
>    it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have
>    combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high
>    rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of
>    human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and
>    the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None
>    of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing
>    high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly
>    religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from
>    less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developing
>    democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded,
>    sometimes outstandingly so.
>    [19] If the data showed that the U.S. enjoyed higher rates of societal
>    health than the more secular, pro-evolution democracies, then the
>    opinion that popular belief in a creator is strongly beneficial to
>    national cultures would be supported. Although they are by no means
>    utopias, the populations of secular democracies are clearly able to
>    govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data
>    examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular,
>    pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come
>    closest to achieving practical "cultures of life" that feature low
>    rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related
>    dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developing
>    democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most
>    successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution
>    democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good
>    conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.
>    The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal
>    disaster is therefore refuted. Contradicting these conclusions
>    requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal
>    conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data - a
>    doubtful possibility in view of the observable trends.
>    Conclusion
>    [20] The United States' deep social problems are all the more
>    disturbing because the nation enjoys exceptional per capita wealth
>    among the major western nations (Barro and McCleary; Kasman; PEW; UN
>    Development Programme, 2000, 2004). Spending on health care is much
>    higher as a portion of the GDP and per capita, by a factor of a third
>    to two or more, than in any other developing democracy (UN Development
>    Programme, 2000, 2004). The U.S. is therefore the least efficient
>    western nation in terms of converting wealth into cultural and
>    physical health. Understanding the reasons for this failure is urgent,
>    and doing so requires considering the degree to which cause versus
>    effect is responsible for the observed correlations between social
>    conditions and religiosity versus secularism. It is therefore hoped
>    that this initial look at a subject of pressing importance will
>    inspire more extensive research on the subject. Pressing questions
>    include the reasons, whether theistic or non-theistic, that the
>    exceptionally wealthy U.S. is so inefficient that it is experiencing a
>    much higher degree of societal distress than are less religious, less
>    wealthy prosperous democracies. Conversely, how do the latter achieve
>    superior societal health while having little in the way of the
>    religious values or institutions? There is evidence that within the
>    U.S. strong disparities in religious belief versus acceptance of
>    evolution are correlated with similarly varying rates of societal
>    dysfunction, the strongly theistic, anti-evolution south and mid-west
>    having markedly worse homicide, mortality, STD, youth pregnancy,
>    marital and related problems than the northeast where societal
>    conditions, secularization, and acceptance of evolution approach
>    European norms (Aral and Holmes; Beeghley, Doyle, 2002). It is the
>    responsibility of the research community to address controversial
>    issues and provide the information that the citizens of democracies
>    need to chart their future courses.
>    Figures ([18]return)
>    Indicators of societal dysfunction and health as functions of
>    percentage rates of theistic and non-theistic belief and practice in
>    17 first world developed democracies and one second world democracy.
>    ISSP questions asked: I know God really exists and I have no doubt
>    about it = absolutely believe in God; 2-3 times a month + once a week
>    or more = attend religious services at least several times a month;
>    several times a week - several times a day = pray at least several
>    times a week; the Bible is the actual word of God and it is to be
>    taken literally, word for word = Bible literalists; human beings
>    [have] developed from earlier species of animals = accept human
>    evolution; I don't know whether there is a God and I don't believe
>    there is a way to find out + I don't believe in God = agnostics and
>    other atheists.
>    [19]Figure 1
>    [20]Figure 2
>    [21]Figure 3
>    [22]Figure 4
>    [23]Figure 5
>    [24]Figure 6
>    [25]Figure 7
>    [26]Figure 8
>    [27]Figure 9
>    Legend
>    A = Australia
>    C = Canada
>    D = Denmark
>    E = Great Britain
>    F = France
>    G = Germany
>    H = Holland
>    I = Ireland
>    J = Japan
>    L = Switzerland
>    N = Norway
>    P = Portugal
>    R = Austria
>    S = Spain
>    T = Italy
>    U = United States
>    W = Sweden
>    Z = New Zealand
>    Bibliography
>    Abma, Joyce, Gladys Martinez, William Mosher and Brittany Dawson
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