Thoughtful analysis on a recent poll regarding Evolution vs. Creationism.
I completely understand what he means about being embarrassed. One thing I would like to point out, though: How many of these people who answer the poll are being completely honest as opposed to either 1) parroting what they believe the status quo is or 2) wanting to project a certain image about the U.S. or themselves (e.g., want people to know that the U.S. is a “good Christian country”). As a budding statistician, I can tell you that one question to which the response is almost always an exaggeration is “How often do you attend religious ceremonies?” Except for those who actually do attend once or more per week (I forget roughly how great that is) or who are atheist and never attend, a very significant number lie.
JJ: Would ‘most of them’ qualify as ‘a very significant number’?
I live in Los Angeles County in a suburb where parking is at a premium. If people would leave their homes in large numbers Sunday morning to go to church, they ought to be visible, right? If they walked, we’d see a horde of pedestrians. If they drove, we’d see a sudden surge in available parking spaces, and the ‘unchurched’ would be out there in force to take advantage and upgrade to better spots.
Neither of these happen. There is no discernible difference between Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Ergo, at least out here on the Left Coast, the bulk of people lie about their church attendance.
Nelson, you actually made me break out the paper I wrote a couple years ago based on 2004 GSS data. The question is, “How often respondent attends religious services.” Roughly 18% of respondents said they went once per week (I’m looking at a chart and not raw data, that’s why I say “roughly”) and about 8% say they go more than once per week. “Never” is a healthy 17% or so.
As I don’t want to dump a lot of data, I’ll just kind of give very minimal, informal results here. If you regress that variable with the faith of the respondents, you find that being black (coeff = 1.37) or female (0.53) or Islam (.52) corresponded most with increased religious attendance, and being irreligious (-2.897) or other religion (-2.118) or Buddhist (-1.53) corresponded most with decreased religious attendance. The differences between male and female, and white and black (there’s also a category “other”) are very significant (p < < 0.05). Also those who are divorced and separated are (much) less likely to attend religious services (again, p far less than 0.05)
At the risk of seeming like I’m spamming this post, I like that last bit about the divorced/separated result so much, I actually grabbed the chart from my paper and posted it here:
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