Internet polling is definitely not scientifically valid because it is not possible to be certain that the participants represent a random sample of the population. Clearly, asking the congregation of a Southern Baptist Church how many individuals were Muslims would not predict actual numbers of Muslims in America.

This lack of accurate prediction strikes me as a pity when 71% (at last check) of the respondents to Larry King's religious affiliation poll * reported being Atheists. This probably means that dogmatic theists have not discovered the poll and told friends, family, and fellow congregationalists to vote for God. I found a link to the poll on a popular atheist blog, and so, presumably, did other atheists. Even so, the proportion of atheist respondents was much higher than I expected.

"Indeed, countries containing high percentages of non-believers are among the most healthy and wealthy nations on earth (Paul, 2004). Of course, we must always distinguish between those nations where non-belief has been forced upon the society by dictators (“coercive atheism”) from those societies wherein non-belief has emerged on its own without governmental coercion (“organic atheism”). Nations marked by coercive atheism -- such as China, North Korea, Vietnam, and former Soviet states -- are societies marked by all that comes with totalitarianism: poor economic development, intellectual censorship, widespread corruption, ubiquitous depression, etc.. However, nations marked by high levels of organic atheism – such as Sweden, the Netherlands, and France -- are among the healthiest, wealthiest, most educated, and most free societies on earth."

I was interested in reading the above article describing what proportion of the Western population actually report being atheist vs theist. The study did not report on the full gradation: atheist, agnostic, deist, mild-mannered-theist, or fundamentalist theist. Until recently, fundamentalists theists (Fistians) seem to be the only ones making much noise.

Below is another status of religious belief scale:
1 – Complete certainty in God
2 – Very certain with God
3 – Leaning towards theism
4 – 50/50
5 – Somewhat certain there is no God
6 – Very certain there is no God
7 – Complete certainty in no God.

The above scale has been circulating is association with the AQ test and with the ridiculous notion that atheism can be explained away as resulting from AS.

*The Larry King poll as of 22/8/07 (~ 12 am GMT):
Which religion do you associate with?
Christianity 14% 3157
Judaism 4% 783
Islam 1% 322
Buddhism 1% 121
Hinduism 0% 76
Jehovah's Witnesses 1% 180
Atheism 71% 15754
Agnostic 3% 714
I am spiritual, but of no religion 3% 694
Mine's not listed 1% 270
Total Votes: 22071
This is not a scientific poll


tom sheepandgoats said...

Religion has acted too outrageously for too long, so I'm not surprised there should be a backlash, much of which adds to the ranks of atheism.

I am surprised how quickly it has developed, however.

sabeth said...

I think that most current atheists were *already* atheists long before the emergence of vocal atheists. (I certainly was.)

The apparently rapid development of atheism is probably attributable to the obvious political and intellectual problems caused by religion (acting outrageously).