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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Atheists are more criminal

Sam Harris, like many other atheists, likes to claim that the religious are no more moral than the non-religious. Unsurprisingly, he makes use of a nonsensical argument, a transitive one in which he states that since crime rates are higher in conservative states than in liberal states and liberals are less religious than conservatives, this means that the non-religious are more moral than the religious.

Never mind the fact that in every state, most crime occurs in large cities, those hotbeds of Christian conservatives. And of course, he avoids any actual statistics, such as the survey of the British prison population:

59.1% Christian
31.9% No religion

Compare this to the British population in the 2001 Census:

71.6% Christian
15.5% No religion

Based on these government statistics, the irreligious are overrepresented in prison by 110 percent. Christians, including even the most nominally Christian, are underrepresented by 17.5 percent. Based on Harris' own stupid* metric, then, the non-religious are far less moral than Christians.

*Stupid because, as I've often written, legality is not morality

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