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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Religion and mortality rates

Some atheists have argued that the USA's high rate of infant mortality is a function of its propensity for religion. That's untrue, it's actually the result of the fact that vastly superior US natal care allows the USA to count babies born under 1,500 grams as live births, whereas most other nations don't try to save them and don't even report these high-risk babies in their infant mortality rates.

A reasonable test of these two hypotheses is to look at the next level up and examine childhood mortality rates; UNICEF released a report celebrating the fact that the number of deaths of children under 5 for every 1,000 live births has dropped to 72, down from 93 in 1990 and 184 in 1960. If the atheist view is correct and the inordinately Christian nation's health care system is inferior, then the USA's under-5 childhood mortality rate should be well over 72.

The actual rate is 7 per 1,000.

UPDATE - Jamsco asked about specific countries, especially the four atheist-run nations. Here's the complete list, as for some selected examples:

07 - USA
05 - Germany
04 - Sweden
06 - UK
18 - Albania
19 - Vietnam
27 - China
55 - North Korea
79 - Laos

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