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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The explosive growth of atheism... in prison

Atheists often like to erroneously claim that Christians are more likely to be imprisoned than atheists. Both Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have made this bizarre, and irrelevant, appeal to atheist "morality". But these arguments are inevitably based on nothing substantive, and more importantly, they are belied by actual prison statistics. While the USA doesn't keep comprehensive statistics related to religion, the UK does, and it's here that we can see the actual facts of the matter.

What is interesting is that it appears atheists have become significantly more criminal since I found the 2002 statistics when writing TIA. (Since then, the UK Ministry of Justice has gotten its online act together and it's much easier to find the relevant annual statistics.) In the seven years between 2002 and 2009, the number of imprisoned High Church Atheists rose 475%, from 0.17% of the England and Wales prison population to 0.84%. That's still fairly small, of course, but it's worth noting that it is a larger percentage of the prison population than is represented by any of the following religions and denominations:

Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Quaker, United Reformed Church, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Christian Scientist, Coptic Christian, Greek/Russian Orthodox, Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seven Day Adventist, BaHai, Jain, Pagan, Rastafarian, Scientologist, Zoroastrian.

That's only a partial list, as I left out about an equal number of more obscure denominations and religions. It was also the second-fastest rate of growth, surpassed only by the agnostic population, which increased 812% to 0.64% of the total prison population.

However, as I pointed out in TIA, the correct comparison between Christians and atheists is not between all Christians and self-identified High Church Atheists, but rather between all Christians and all No Religion atheists, less agnostics. It is easy to demonstrate why this is so, the inevitable Atheist Dance notwithstanding, given the correct definition of an atheist as "one who believes that God does not exist" rather than "one who calls himself an atheist". This assertion is supported by the action of the atheists at the British Humanist Association and their census campaign, which asserts that is an individual's identification with a religion - or presumably, identification with a specific appellation - irrespective of the extent of their religious belief or practice is not the appropriate concept to measure. And while one could argue that "no religion" is not perfectly synonymous with "belief that God does not exist", it is safe to assume that most, though not all, no religion individuals are practical atheists even if they are not inclined to call themselves atheists. It is also in keeping with the practice of Richard Dawkins, the British Humanist Association, and many vocal atheists to consider "no religion" a form of atheism.

The reason this matters is that is the Low Church atheists of the No Religion variety who make up 33.1% of the prison population, more than twice the 15% of the general population. (The 15.1% number is from 2001 and will likely be around 20% in the 2011 census; I will update the numbers accordingly when they become available.) The statistical overrepresentation of no religion atheists in prison is surpassed only by Buddhists (0.3% general, 2.2% prison) and Muslims (2.8% general, 11.9% prison).

So, keep this in mind the next time that an atheist attempts to claim that atheists are more moral or less criminal than Christians. All they are doing is cherry-picking the most intelligent subset of the atheist population and comparing it with the entire intelligence spectrum of the Christian population. Since low IQ tends to correspond highly with criminal behavior and imprisonment, it should come as no surprise that self-styled Atheists are less likely to be found in prison than no religion atheists.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Allied Atheists Unite! March 16, 2012 1:05 PM  

sigh...even if these figures are correct it will not slow an atheist trying to make a point.

Unfortunately the history of religion is so distorted twisted and full of murder its impossible for an atheist not to find fault, the atheist will have trouble understanding believers when the believers are incapable of acknowledging the truth and history of the bible. Some even deny the past in some cases...very interesting, hmmm...

Many discussions I myself have had with religious people result in desperate logic or quotes straight from the bible because they honestly have trouble thinking or answering for themselves. Some will even say that virtues, morals, faith, values and principles are things no human can possess without religion, this argument is obviously uneducated when we look at the wonderful amount of atheists that contributed to humanity that its almost unbelievable. You have to wonder how believers cant see around the paradox they have created for themselves.

FAITH - belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.


Now I admit some points and arguments of the atheist can be far fetched but its not the point, the point is we are constantly progressing at such an early stage and will continue to progress forever and thrive and discover more about the universe and our past. Religion will forever stand still with no progression to counter these discoveries except quotes and ancient passages or texts that are conveniently adjusted when these discoveries are made. Unfortunately for religion murdering innocents to hide the truth is not an option any more so you will just have to continue to cling desperately to your blind faith forever in denial holding on to your so called teachings of god to prevent your fragile minds from shattering to pieces for this simple fact...Which is your not mentally capable of having the basic understanding of morals, beliefs, virtues and principles without your religion to guide you which is the most saddest thing I have ever heard in my life...

The dramatic steep rise in atheism and has started to worry some believers for good reason, the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate and its steeply rising because people are getting fed up with religions that cannot stand together and are constantly separating humanity with violence and war. New generations and new ways of thinking have made people very aware of these facts and we can see things very clearly now.

Some scientists are even saying religion will some day be extinct with the figures and the way atheism is on the rise it will be true! now THATS a funny THEORY!

i love if and buts dont you?!!! scientific theory ifs and buts made it possible for computers to exist

So in conclusion to my ramblings i will finish by saying unlike many religions the atheist is not forced into atheism we are often neutral or converted individuals who have seen both sides and have made an decision based on common sense nothing more nothing less. We choose to think and love for ourselves and we choose to stand together as a family.

criticism, humour and other opinions from people thinking for themselves and not quoting passages very welcome, also please note my arguments are very simple and straight forward because its very late, please keep yours that way as well.

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