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September 28, 2010

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I probably won't be the only person to mention this, but we should be thankful that they didn't elaborate on how many people thought they were being asked about Martin Luther King.

Everybody knows that there are "300 million" gods in the Hindu religion, but when I was in India, recently, I was told the average Hindu would be hardpressed to name 20 of them.

And the same applies to belief in global warming.

Did I miss the survey that said deniers of global warming know more than supporters?

Obviously atheists are more likely to be elite, who are more likely to be smart. Smart people know more than dumb people about just about everything.

Most of the global warming believers I meet have no idea that the central and critical part of the hypothesis is water vapor feedback.

Actually a study came out a few weeks ago indicating that more women than men believe in global warming. This was offered as evidence that women are more scientifically literate than men.

But it actually confirms (in my opinion) that women are more prone to believing what they think they are supposed to believe.

"Anyway, the moral of the story is that people believe in what they believe for social reasons and not because they actually know anything about what they believe"

This is 100% true. At least as far as abstract beliefs go such as global warming or religion. In terms of practical, day-to-day beliefs, it's a different story.

"A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation"

I wonder if the majority of lutherans could identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the protestant reformation.

There's also a lot of very weird dogma at the center of the Mormon faith that I bet a lot of Mormons would be hard pressed to explain, or don't understand - the belief in an eternal soul that exists before God, the idea that an exalted man gets his own planet and many wives after death, the idea that God lives on a planet called Kolob, etc.

Yeah, that global warming thing seemed tacked on there.

Atheists (or New Age/ Buddhists, more often, and it was always guys) had this obnoxious habit in college of taking those religious survey courses so that they'd have some info to quiz people on at social events to make them feel stupid. So of course the information was a lot fresher in their minds than for those of us who were taught as children. And it was taught with a more critical tone, so they had these little "gotcha" inconsistencies to whip out that were merely whatever the book said or the professor had taught them. They were so annoying.

"And the same applies to belief in global warming."

Yes, but that works both ways. You can pretty well predict whether someone believes in global warming if you know how they feel about the kind of transnational environmental regulations that its prevention would require.

Protestantism came about because northern Europeans didn't want an Italian telling them what to do. The theological differences between Catholicism and Protestantism are too subtle even for most college graduates.

[HS: Pope-no pope: not subtle.]

The Martin Luther question is more a matter of history than theology, in other words knowledge of his achievements isn't strictly necessary to worshiping as a Protestant. This is especially so with respect to fundamentalist churches, who look solely to the Bible as a source for their doctrine.

Catholic doctrine holds that the transformation (transubstantiation) of the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood occurs even though the physical appearance of the items stays the same. It's a somewhat confusing doctrine, so it's not surprising that many Catholics get it wrong.

@ jewishatheist

they know more about the flaws in the AGW dogma, that is for sure...

and opponents of "the healthcare bill" were shown to be more knowledgeable than its supporters, this was even commented on in the official press, so it must have been extraordinarily widespread

"Did I miss the survey that said deniers of global warming know more than supporters?" ~JewishAtheist

You didn't miss it, it didn't happen. Firstly because no one supports global warming; secondly, because deniers are clueless.

~~Everybody stand back, I'm going to try SCIENCE!~~

IHTG beat me to it.

The atheist score is identical with Mormon and Jewish and is in fact padded a bit because they know more world religion questions.

In fact the Jew/Atheist scores are so close it make you wonder if there isnt a lot of overlap in those categories.

Here is the Martin Luther question, which is a bit harder than the way the newspaper writes it up:
"What is the name of the person whose writings and actions inspired the Reformation? Luther, Aquinas or Wesley?"


Here is another toughie:
"Who was a preacher during the First Great Awakening? Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney or Billy Graham?"

Other than eliminating Superstar Billy Graham, its hard to proceed.

@JewishAtheist

You might of missed that statement where scientists from fields unrelated to global warming signed a statement declaring their skepticism, despite the fact that much of the mainstream bodies of science have expressed supportive views.

What do average people know anyways, Rush Limbaugh is given more time to discuss the issue then climatologists.

>>[HS: Pope-no pope: not subtle.]<<

Yes, but that is a question of authority, not theology.

I think coldequation makes a good point, but I would add to it a little bit.

I would guess that your average Joe who is a global warming skeptic doesn't know much about the science. He is just correctly mistrustful of Leftists or anyone for that matter who claims that the world is doomed if you don't give them money.

Without knowing anything about the science of global warming, it's reasonable to believe that Al Gore is peddling snake oil just based on general experience and common sense.

In short, global warming has all the red flags of a scam.

This is the thing that I have never understood about most religious believers. It has never made any sense to believe in anything without understanding it first.

Sabril says:

""Anyway, the moral of the story is that people believe in what they believe for social reasons and not because they actually know anything about what they believe"

This is 100% true. At least as far as abstract beliefs go such as global warming or religion. In terms of practical, day-to-day beliefs, it's a different story."

Except for those of us with some experience in the realm of religion/spirituality.

Then you realize that religion isn't exactly abstract.

"And the same applies to belief in global warming.

Did I miss the survey that said deniers of global warming know more than supporters?"

Well, women are more likely to believe in global warming and generally women are less informed on any given topic.

Protestantism generally holds that church Tradition (and pretty much everything else) is heavily trumped by Scripture. Catholicism distributes authority between the Pope, Tradition, and Scripture---they use metaphors like a 3 legged stool or a 'layer cake' to describe it. I've got a post on my take on Sola/Solo Scriptura on my blog.

"It has never made any sense to believe in anything without understanding it first."

Churches are like schools or TV producers - they dumb down the content so the people will like it more. There was a time when preachers like Charles Beecher would go off on long intricate discussions of church theology, but then the Protestant denoms lost market share so they shitcanned all that.

"Except for those of us with some experience in the realm of religion/spirituality.

Then you realize that religion isn't exactly abstract."

Can you give me an example?

The more you know about your religion the less of it you will believe. I was born a Catholic. I read the bible in 8th grade and decided from then on to be an atheist.

Does anyone else think this part is a little weird?

"The sample of 3,412 respondents
included interviews with a nationally
representative sample of 3,013 adults as
well as an oversample of 399 people who
are Jewish, Mormon, atheist or agnostic.
One goal of the study was to attain
sufficient numbers of interviews with
members of these groups to permit
reliable analysis of their religious
knowledge. Oversampling was necessary
because these groups account for a
relatively small share of the overall
population. Jews and Mormons each
comprise roughly 1.7% of U.S. adults,
according to the Pew Forum’s 2007 U.S.
Religious Landscape Survey, while
atheists and agnostics combined account
for about 4% of the adult population,
meaning that most surveys – even those
based on large samples – do not include
enough interviews with members of
these groups to permit analysis of their
views and characteristics."

http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Belief_and_Practices/religious-knowledge-full-report.pdf
p58

The three "oversampled" groups got nearly identical scores- 20.9, 20.6 and 20.3.

Perhaps there is something self selecting about the people who agreed to participate in a second survey. Maybe its the people who feel they do well on tests, ie. the college educated, that agree to be reinterviewed.

You know what's interesting? I took a quiz on basic religious facts and got 14 out of 15 right. Am I an atheist or agnostic? Nope! I'm a nondenominational Christian! I have taken World Religions classes, and I am interested in learning about other faiths. I was shocked to see that so many people get these questions wrong!

You don't have to be a theologan to follow a religion just as you don't have to be a scientist to believe or not believe in anthropogenic global warming.

"Protestantism came about because northern Europeans didn't want an Italian telling them what to do."

Silly. One of the popes during Luther's time was a Dutchman.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Adrian_VI

"Anyway, the moral of the story is that people believe in what they believe for social reasons and not because they actually know anything about what they believe. And the same applies to belief in global warming."

Well if you don't know much about a subject from independent study, the only source of information you have for deciding what to think is talking to friends, family, co-workers etc.

I think anyone who has an extremist view (regardless of which extreme) is going to know more about the subject then those who hold the majority view, simply because one generally has to do a lot of research before being confident enough to think "I'm right and everyone else is wrong." So folks who think God is a myth are going to know more about the Bible than the average American, but at the opposite extreme, Christain fundamentalists probably know more about the Bible than the average American too.

Similarly, extreme right-wingers and extreme left-wingers probably both know more about politics than independents.

CNN showed a ranking of groups based on correct answers. It looked a bit HBDish to me.

"You don't have to be a theologan to follow a religion just as you don't have to be a scientist to believe or not believe in anthropogenic global warming.

DrolePole, I agree: http://ow.ly/2LEQg

Linda,

It is ok to blame smart people `extrem'. It is also true that dumb people are easily manipulated to whatever you want them to be.

Harold1234 said: "The more you know about your religion the less of it you will believe. I was born a Catholic. I read the bible in 8th grade and decided from then on to be an atheist."

And at 13 you were capable of making an informed and considered decision on such a deep and complicated topic?

The difference is that religious belief is based upon allegiance. People don't even understand religious ideas like God or Heaven or sin... they simply become emotionally attached to declaring their allegiance to that religion or to their congregation. Their "belief" is faith. A person who accepts the scientific consensus on climate change (even Jon Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist", now concedes that there's a problem and that we need to address it) doesn't have to have an emotional relationship to the theory of climate change.

You will often see global warming deniers attribute ridiculous, emotion-based motivations to global warming theory supporters, like "they're socialists out to destroy America" or "they just want to create a one world government". I'm never sure whether it's an intentional attempt to smear liberals, or whether they actually believe it. It's typical of liberal-smearing that the smearers are caught in that halfway point where they half-believe it and half-know it's BS but spread it anyway because who doesn't like a good liberal-smear?

You don't need to know the history of the Catholic or various Protestant churches in order to be a good Christian--yeah it's nice to know about some of that stuff but it's not necessary. I think it is important to know the different between knowing the history of a particular faith and knowing about the practice of the faith itself, i.e., knowing what you are supposed to do and why/when/when it came about that you are supposed to do it, are two different issues.

I think it would be fairer to say that Atheists are clearly better historians than Christians--which is the only assumption that can be gleaned from this study.

"The difference is that religious belief is based upon allegiance. People don't even understand religious ideas like God or Heaven or sin... they simply become emotionally attached to declaring their allegiance to that religion or to their congregation. Their 'belief' is faith. A person who accepts the scientific consensus on climate change "

____________

I think the distinction is a lot more blurry than you imagine. Although it's probably true that most religious people believe what they do out of allegiance, I doubt that they themselves see it that way. On the contrary, it seems normal and natural to accept the authority of the leaders of their community.

So too with global warming. Upon close inspection, the so-called "consensus" is essentially a myth.

Hoo hoo. Check out the new global warming ad campaign, where heretic school children get executed by the teacher:


http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/10/01/most-honest-political-ad-of-all-time/

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