[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Tue Jan 16 22:38:33 UTC 2007

At 06:11 PM 1/16/2007 +0100, Anders wrote:
>I just put up an extended version of my analysis on my blog,
>so you can actually see the GSS results and check them. I also added an
>analysis of how fearful they were, and it supports my hypothesis that the
>fundamentalism-crime correlation is caused by fundamentalism being a
>coping mechanism towards a dangerous environment.

Very interesting.

I can get to just about the same conclusion starting from a slightly 
different perspective.

Crime and lower economic status are closely associated.

My expectation based on evolutionary psychology is that fundamentalism (as 
a kind of xenophobic religious meme) would be associated with lowered 
economic expectations.

Taking a long term view, fundamentalism has been on the rise in the US 
starting about the time a lot of people fell out of the middle class due to 
corporate downsizing and jobs being shipped overseas.

The rise of xenophobic memes is the result of psychological mechanisms 
leading to population support for wars.  Or at least that is my thesis in 
the EP, memes and war paper.

I don't know how to test this association as being causal in the modern 
world, though it probably was when we lived as hunter gatherers.

Any thoughts on how to test it?


PS.  The prediction out of this theory is that eventually (a generation?) 
people get used to the lower economic expectations and the fundamentalism 
memes should wane.  If religion is as closely associated with wars as I 
think, then the falling away of people in the Church of England is to be 
expected after two generations of no wars and generally rising (if 
moderate) economic expectations.

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