26th September 2010

“A poll by the PEW organization found that one in six of the respondents said they were not affiliated with any particular religious faith, a figure that rises to one in four for those 18 to 29 years old. Unaffiliated does not mean irreligious, of course, but 4 percent of Americans, likely a significant undercount, do explicitly say that they are atheists or agnostics.”

John Allen Paulos

3 Responses to “26th September 2010”

  1. robb Says:

    SO WHAT????

    polls have a high probability for error. first, they’re based on Samples…….then the “results” for the poll are extrapolated from the information gathered from the sample (assuming you accept the sample information as being ” representative ” and/or accurate ).

    the weaknesses are all the variables that can affect the Sample…..and
    there are MANY variables.

    at best, polls offer a POSSIBLE interpretation, with WIDE plus or minus
    margins on either side of the stated conclusion.

    so, the conclusion of the PEW poll is no great mental stretch………..
    atheists/ agnostics are a minority………BIG DEAL !!!!! we already know that. what is actually more germane to the inquiry is WHY they ARE
    atheists.

    thank you………robb

  2. GreatEighthSin Says:

    Exactly, Robb. Polls are fun to look at, but do not state fact.

  3. Dan Says:

    As GreatEightSin said, as polls are context-dependent: depending on how you frame the questions, you can get slightly different answers. However if you ask the same exact questions to the same population in the same way over a long period of time, opinion trends become apparent. And the opinion trends on many of these questions leads one to conclude that religious doubt is growing in recent decades. The Vatican at least accepts this conclusion and seems pretty worried about it. For myself, I accept the conclusion and cheer.