Religious decline in United States following Western European pattern

America seems to be following the same trajectory as Western Europe, but forty years later.

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Religiosity appears to correlate negatively with social health

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God on trial?

UPDATE: This play has now been broadcast.  If you’re looking for a review, see my other article.  This article was originally posted here on August 19.

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A new form of craziness abounds

This is an exceedingly stupid application, but it’s fun. The displayed map shows members of the Richard Dawkins forum who have chosen to add information about themselves to the map.  You can see a photograph, an email address, and a one-line comment from each person.

Larry Moran’s belief charts: rationalism wins over superstition

Larry Moran is a longtime net user, a veteran of the talk.origins Usenet newsgroup, and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.  His blog “Sandwalk” is named after the path along which Charles Darwin used to walk every day at noon behind Down House in Kent after a morning working on his revolutionary theories.

A recent posting by Larry showed some striking and entertaining graphics showing the contrast between the diversity of “Beliefs held as a result of the accident of where an individual was born” and the coherence of “Beliefs based on logic, reason and critical thinking”.

Sandwalk: Superstition vs rationalism charts

There is a strong tendency to buy the fiction that religion has a strong hold over human thought.  I think that’s exaggerated both by atheists and believers, and these charts present an alternative view in an attractive, amusing, and thought-provoking way.

The 5,300 year embrace

PZ Myers is off in the Galapagos for a while so he’s left a few “PZminions” in charge of his blog, Pharyngula.  Today’s entry from LisaJ is about an old human burial site found by paleontologists hunting dinosaur fossils in northern Niger.  One of the most striking pictures is a cast of a burial arrangement of a woman and two young children, holding hands.  The bodies were laid to rest on top of flowers, some 5,300 years ago.

I found this most moving.  In the comments, a mother of small children said that it moved her to tears.