[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Wed Jan 17 10:29:19 UTC 2007

pjmanney wrote:
> Usually when Anders weighs in, I feel like I don't have to comment
> anymore, because someone more astute than I is at the helm.  But you're
> all missing a fundamental point.

Nice to know. (I also have a some people that regularly tend to overawe me
with their thinking; I wonder if there is transitivity here, so that if A
is smarter than B (according to B), and B is smarter than C (according to
C) C will also think A smart. My guess is that it is not true in general)

> What I learned about Born Agains working with him was this -- the very act
> of declaring oneself born again was the ultimate 'get out of jail free'
> card.  It allowed you to be a miserable, greedy, bigoted, immoral wretch
> of a human being and still think that come the Rapture, you get a one-way
> ticket to the Almighty's side.

I think you might be on to something. Turning to GSS again, the FORGIVE1,2
and 3 variables (forgive yourself, forgive others, forgiven by god) are
very neatly correlated with fundamentalism. 88% fundies are always or
almost always forgiven by god, while moderates and liberals have far more
unforgiven (although 74% of respondents were always forgiven). Good
correlations everywhere.

Unfortunately ARREST and TICKET only go to 87, and forgiveness is in the
98n sample, so I can't correlate them! Argh! But if you are right we
should see a correlation here?

However, I don't think this would explain all the trouble in fundieland.
My previous results suggest that fundies on average are not the criminals
but the victims. If they have a malign influence it might rather be
cultural by spreading the meme that actions do not matter if forgiveness
is sought. Maybe there is a lot more external locus of control in the
bible belt?

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list