Sunday, July 04, 2010

Bogus Atheist Social Science: Zuckerman's Simplistic Analysis part 1

there's a would be study that atheists harp on from time to time, many of them dash it out when backed into a corner, and they quote it as saying that religion is socially damaging to a nation, nations which are less religious are better off. This is nothing but BS and it suffers from classic social science mistakes.

It's pretty obvious that Zuckerman argues that the society absent of religion is a better society (more progressive, better educated, more socially conscious concerning its needy) than are societies in which people are religious. We can knit pick over weather he used the phrase "atheist nation" or not, but the fact of the matter is the subtitle of his books is "what the least religious states tell us about contentment." (see his new book Society Without God: What the least religous states can tell us about contentment. That makes it pretty what he is arguing. But my argument, my major argument is basically that this is clearly wrong since none of the states he talks about God the way they are by being without God. Most of them had and still have strong religious populations, the European states emerge out of a context of Christianized society. Many people feel that Sweden is the least religious state. This is actually false, the part of the German republic that was the East German side has the most hard core atheists. That is according to the study on Religious Demand that I link to in part 2. Nevertheless,Sweden is a good test case. Let us examine the situation with Sweden.


We find that the Swedes were Vikings prior to the middle ages. They were pagan, they swooped down upon the brits and killed and took what they had. They were bloodthirsty barbarians. Well actually, that's the myth of the Viking. the truth of it is I've seen historians who now say there weren't that many raids, most Swedes were farmers, not vikings. The Viks didn't do that much, other than play football. Be that as it may, they were Christianized in the middle ages and by the reformation they settled into a state church centered around the Lutheran faith. What rading and so forth that did go on as abandoned when the Christianization came along. But out of the Lutheran inspired culture they raised up a modern society and through Christianity taught the core values that became the modern Swedish welfare state. It is true that the formal Church did not have much to do with building the welfare state, which mostly came about after world war II. But the core values planed in the culture by Christianity culminated in the cultural background that made the state possible.

A Political and Social History of Modern Eruope by Carlton J.H.Hayes

Prof of history Columbia University

Vol II, MacMillion 1916

Three Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Denmark, Norway were officially tied to the Lutheran Church. "Popular education was fostered under ecclesiastical supervision; all three people's developed native literature and a lively sense of nationalism. In all three social and Political democracy made steady progress. McMillian 1916



Religion has always played a role in Swedish culture. What Zuckerman pretends is not there, and what he hides in the data, the role played by religion in planting the core values that build the welfare state. He hides this by refusing to draw the distinction between Church attendance and real actual belief. Though attendence is low the role of religion in Swedish society is old, historical, complex and important:

Welfare and Values in Europe:Transitions Related to Religion, Minorities and Gender;

Sweden:
Overview of the national situation
by

Ninna Edgardh Beckman

Page 1

Welfare and Values in Europe:
Transitions related to Religion, Minorities and Gender
(WaVE)
Sweden:
Overview of the national situation
by Ninna Edgardh Beckman
Page 2

Introduction
Based on its very low figures of religious attendance and traditional religious faith, Sweden has a reputation of being one of the most secularised countries in the world. True as this might be, what the image conceals is the strong and complicated role that religion still plays in Sweden, not least through history and culture. The modern history of Sweden has its foundation in national homogeneity, grounded in the principle of one people and one faith. This principle is closely connected to the Lutheran majority church, to which nearly 80% of the Swedish population still belongs, even though formally state and church were separated in 2000. The recent presence of other world religions and official policies tending towards multiculturalism adds new religious aspects to Swedish culture. Religion thus continues to play an interesting role in Sweden, behind the seemingly straightforward image of a country on its way towards complete secularisation

The Swedish welfare state was built after the Second World War, based on the idea of ‘the home of the people’ (folkhemsidén). The basic principle of the model is that the state and local authorities guarantee the basic needs of all citizens. This principle is based on strong values of solidarity and shared responsibility. Decades of success for the system have since the 1990s been replaced by growing problems with keeping up the high level of benefits and services, a development, which is increasingly questioning also the values underpinning the whole welfare structure. Immigration is one factor, among many, challenging the system and immigrants have also been among those most affected by emerging new forms of poverty



Nothing about atheism or being an atheist involved there


Historians Find Religion Always Played a Role In European Social Democracy


Through Europe the role of religion in the rise of modern secular liberal states is coming to be re-evaluated. Many historians are finding now that religion always played a more vital role than previously thought. Here is a quote from a new ground breaking book:

Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States


Series: Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics
Edited by Kees van Kersbergen
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Philip Manow
Review
Universität Konstanz, Germany


This book radically revises established knowledge in comparative welfare state studies and introduces a new perspective on how religion shaped modern social protection systems. The interplay of societal cleavage structures and electoral rules produced the different political class coalitions sustaining the three welfare regimes of the Western world. In countries with proportional electoral systems the absence or presence of state–church conflicts decided whether class remained the dominant source of coalition building or whether a political logic not exclusively based on socio-economic interests (e.g. religion) was introduced into politics, particularly social policy. The political class-coalitions in countries with majoritarian systems, on the other hand, allowed only for the residual-liberal welfare state to emerge, as in the US or the UK. This book also reconsiders the role of Protestantism. Reformed Protestantism substantially delayed and restricted modern social policy. The Lutheran state churches positively contributed to the introduction of social protection programs.

• Radical revision of established knowledge in comparative welfare state studies based on a combination of country case studies and comparative accounts • Introduces a new perspective on why and how religion shaped modern social protection systems and gives a new comparative account of the formation of different welfare state regimes • Systematic inquiry into the role of the state–church conflict for social policy in advanced industrial societies

Contents

1. Religion and the Western welfare state: the theoretical context Philip Manow and Kees van Kersbergen;

2. Western European party systems and the religious cleavage Thomas Ertman;

3. The religious foundations of work-family policies in Western Europe Kimberly J. Morgan;

4. Italy: a Christian democratic or clientist welfare state? Julia Lynch;

5. Religion and the welfare state in the Netherlands Kees van Kersbergen;

6. A conservative welfare state regime without Christian Democracy? The French Etat-providence, 1880–1960 Philip Manow and Bruno Palier;

7. Religion and the consolidation of the Swiss welfare state, 1848–1945 Herbert Obinger;

8. The church as nation? The role of religion in the development of the Swedish welfare state Karen M. Anderson;

9. The religious factor in US welfare state politics Jill Quadagno and Deanna Rohlinger;

10. Religious social doctrines and poor relief: a different causal pathway Sigrun Kahl. Contributors


(contributors include:Philip Manow, Kees van Kersbergen, Thomas Ertman, Kimberly J. Morgan, Julia Lynch, Bruno Palier, Herbert Obinger, Karen M. Anderson, Jill Quadagno, Deanna Rohlinger, Sigrun Kahl).



Modern Swedish life no longer includes church attendance as a strong element. This is the only measurement Zuckerman uses to determine the extent to which Sweden, or any country, is "secularized." But there are other measure that are more important. There is a new role emerging for religion in Northern Europe. The fact of secularization in terms of church attendance does not mean that people are not seeking spiritual reality.

The traditional relationship between swedes and the church has changed. Swedes are no longer as connected to conventional church fucntions. But this does not mean that they don't beileve. There is a new string for alternatives to convention, but the embers of belief are still smoldering.


Article:
Sweden.SE the official gateway to Sweden.

Sep 1, 2006
Are Swedes losing their religion?
by: Charlotte Celsing, freelance writer


Annika Gustafsson is a theology student whose studies have included work experience in congregations and at confirmation camps. She says that almost all of the young people she meets are open to questions relating to religious and spiritual matters, even though they may have objections to ecclesiastical matters.

The role of religion has changed

Religion has not become less important in Swedish society but it has changed color, according to a report from Åbo Academy (Finland). In the secularized Nordic area the Protestant Lutheran church has to be liberal and open to a modern interpretation of the Christian message. Otherwise the church feels too authoritarian – an attitude that most Swedes do not accept....Yet many Swedes express a longing for a spiritual dimension and a deeper meaning. Modern society has left a void that neither science nor a high material standard can fill....Those who the Church of Sweden fails to attract look for alternatives. Non-conformist churches – of which the Pentecostal Movement is the largest with around 87,000 members – is one example. Others are varieties of eastern religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism.


Due to immigration to Sweden, Islam is now the country’s second largest religion after Christianity. A number of mosques have already been built in different parts of Sweden and more are planned.


Within Christianity the Catholic Church in Sweden is also large. Today it has a total of 80,500 registered members.

* Almost 8 out of 10 Swedes are members of the Church of Sweden - 7 million.
* Only 1 in 10 Swedes thinks religion is important in daily life.
* Around 7 out of 10 children are christened in the Church of Sweden.
* Just over 5 out of 10 weddings take place in church.
* Almost 9 out of 10 Swedes have Christian burials.
* Islam has around 130,000 adherents in Sweden (more according to Muslim
sources).(Ibid)



Zukerman's simplistic formulation would have us believe that Christianity = conservative and atheist = social consciousness and only atheists could ever support progress social institutions.


Modern Church in Europe plays role in social services and culture


2. The second thing is that the church is seen as an emergency exit. The welfare state of Western Europe is the best attempt so far in world history to guarantee safety and security. But life is complicated. In national catastrophes, the churches get filled with people. Catastrophes happen also on a personal basis, and the church has an open backdoor: You are not left alone; you have a backup.

3. The third point is the fact that the churches are seen as embassies of solidarity and mercy. All over Europe, illegal immigrants are hidden by parishes. Anti-racism demonstrations are normally organized by parishes. The protests against reductions in childcare or hospitals and for Jubilee 2000 are signs of solidarity.

From the beginning of Christianity in Northern Europe, the church can be described as a part of the state. Church and state were the same. Probably in the year 1008, King Olof Sk^tkonung of Sweden was baptized by St. Sigfrid, Bishop of Vïxj^. Out of Christianity grew the state. Through baptism you became a Swede. The faith of the king united the nation, confirmed the royal house, and incorporated this northern part of the world into the international community under the pope of Rome.

Five hundred years later the Reformation supported the idea of a nation state. The king of Sweden - as well as the king of Denmark and the king of England - took the place of the pope. They became heads of their national churches. The Swedish king had no liturgical or confessional interests, so the clergy could marry officially but still use the medieval chasubles and hymns and keep the apostolic succession. The king needed the land owned by the monasteries, and in the church he got an obedient instrument for creating conformity in his country: one people, one faith, one king, one church. (Ibid)



In his ground breaking work The Secular City Theologian Harvey Cox Argued that secularization was a good thing. Secularization had created a neutral playing field necessary to stop the religious wars of the seventeenth century. For that very reason secularization has actually been very good religion. It was ironically secularization that allowed the proliferation of religions in America. That's because when there was no state imposed Church Tax, as in much of Europe, and not one organization or Church favored by the state, as in much of Europe and in England, everyone was free to worship as he saw fit and to start new churches, and so they did stat new ones in profusion. Secularization in itself is no threat to religion. But Zuckerman is obviously saying that Society is better off without religion. Now does that mean without church or without any kind of belief? I'm sure he would say the latter, but the only data he presents only backs the former. Yet the conclusions he draws are screwed precisely becasue without taking into account belief in all aspects he's just creating a false data base by equating low church attendance with a less religious society.

Zuckerman reduces the complexity of the development of history int he modern world from the early modern to contemporary, with its sweeping changes in economics, sociology, psychology, technology, the means of production, political theory and so forth, burying all under the rug and reducing it all to a simplistic formula about church attendance. From this kind fo superficial bs atheist mold and shape their morose of lies and propaganda to destroy civilization.


Here's a quotation I found on a blog comment section by a Dane about Zuckerman's book:

This a person claiming to be an Anthropologist on a blog called " from the squre."



Comment from karen Schousboe
Time November 25, 2008 at 4:24 am



To readers who were duped by zuckerman’s book it might accordingly be of interest to know, that Denmark is in no way a society without God. 82% of the Danish population are members of the Danish national Church and have a fond relationship with their local church. It is true that the church is considered a different entity and plays a different role in the local community than what is common in US. This has to do with the fact that the churches are not so much old institutions, than old buildings framing the idea of Danishness - Danes don’t talk about God directly; they talk about their family, their history, their traditions. The preferred location chosen for this “conversation” is however their local church, which means that people do not seek the church sunday mornings to celebrate God; but they take part in year-long and life-long celebrations whenever there is a special occasion in the life of our families or communities. Does this mean that “God is absent”? Not at all: it just means that we encounter God under other circumstances than the traditional American way on sunday mornings. We encounter God instead at family occasions on an average of 4 to 5 times a year. Yes, our “God” does not “live” in an American temple or church. It does not mean, however, that “God” in general is absent from the livess of Danes. It just means that the American God is absent. It also follows that the Danish church is an extremely important factor in the construction of what Zuckerman thought was a society “without God”.


"It might be important to know that most academic reviews in the National papers in Denmark noted that Zuckermans book represented a classical example of an anthropologist or sociologist falling short, while being duped by the natives."
(ibid)

26 comments:

A Hermit said...

I haven't read Zuckerman's book (I don't know if you have either...) but it seems to me you're overstating his position. He's not saying that non-religious societies are necessarily better; e's just demonstrating that a less religious society isn't necessarily worse.

Metacrock said...

I'm talking about the way atheists use it. I've destroy their stupid little fail safe they trot out when hey are losing other arguments.

Metacrock said...

Look at the little ideologue the good solider. His only concept of truth is "what helps the cause?"

first words out of his mouth "I haven't read the book..."

but does that stop him form flapping his gums? noOOOOOooooo

the second words out of his mouth:

but I still know what what he meant anyway (let's face it, that's basically what he said although not in those exact words).


You have not read the book, so stop flapping your gums (or finders).

A Hermit said...

Have YOU read the book?

A Hermit said...

By the way, you should take the advice of your incredibly patient friend Quantum Troll:


"As long as you think of atheists as the sorts of people you describe in your posts here, you'll continue having a difficult time with atheists. Consider that your view of atheists and atheism often appears just as limited and narrow as if I talked only of fundamentalist Bible-thumpers."

Metacrock said...

Have YOU read the book?

yea

Metacrock said...

"As long as you think of atheists as the sorts of people you describe in your posts here, you'll continue having a difficult time with atheists. Consider that your view of atheists and atheism often appears just as limited and narrow as if I talked only of fundamentalist Bible-thumpers."


the same is true for a the bitter vile idiotic things that atheists say to mock and ridicule Christians.

A Hermit said...

"
Zukerman's simplistic formulation would have us believe that Christianity = conservative and atheist = social consciousness and only atheists could ever support progress social institutions."


Of course Zukerman is saying nothing of the kind; this is just a strawman you've created to smear and slander the man. I haven't read the book, but I have read articles and interviews with the man; in fact he makes it quite clear that he is NOT saying what you claim he is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9vc7v7em_4

Metacrock said...

what did I say hermit. use yoru brain man. I said that's what ATHEISTS say he says!@

that is exactly what they say he says. tons of them have used it that way.

A Hermit said...

Why do you only post about half of my comments?

A Hermit said...

I see that Zuckerman has completely demolished the lies told by that last commenter you quote here. Are you going to acknowledge that fact?

Metacrock said...

A Hermit said...

I see that Zuckerman has completely demolished the lies told by that last commenter you quote here. Are you going to acknowledge that fact?


this is another example of atheist reading comprehension problems. He states his opinions and that's all you need for a "fact" an atheist opinion.

He did not answer what she said.

Metacrock said...

let's look at what Hermit calls "facts."

this is Z's answer to the woman quoting his publisher:

"here’s what the Danish publisher of my book had to say in a recent e-mail about the reviews of my book: “What the woman states is wrong! There has been negative comments, and some actually pritty ‘loud’, but it has only been what we expected. Basically the comments can be split up into two cathegories: those comming from a Christian background eagerly defending the Christian entity, and ‘others’ – e.g. including sociologist of religion. Those critical are the ones in the first group. Unfortunately one of these ‘voices’ were asked to give a bookreview in Weekendavisen – and he came out fourious… But the ‘others’ have primarily been positive, embracing your book as raising an important question. So, far from all journalists or bookreviewers have been negative. What is the name of this woman? It shouldn’t by any chance be Karen Skovsgaard??? She was the first to criticise your book – that is what she always do… If you need more data on which reviews were positive and which where not, please let me know."

so first admitts there's been a lot of criticism and he even calls it loud! so much for the lie that it's a fact that he "disproves her lies." that says exactly she was right, now they put a spin on it. Instead of saying "I got a lot of criticism from sociologists" he "there was a lot of loud criticism" that means it got a lot of criticism wso that aspect of her statement was not a lie. Then fathers segments the groups, remember he's not quoting stats he's spinning the answer:

the dismisses the critics by saying "that's what we expected." fine then they expected the scholars would pan the book so they are not upset about it. that certainly does not disprove what she said.

he is dismissive of criticism, lumping it all in as "sociologists of religion" as though that they are biased religious people. Sociologists of religion are not necessarily religious and they are sociologists so they are his peers,and thus the experts don't like the book.

what he does not say is that all the secular sociologists support it. Atheist can be sociologists of religion and most of them are atheists.

A Hermit said...

Here's the important part you're missing; His publisher said " “What the woman states is wrong!" her characterization of the criticism was false, as was her assertion that Zuckerman had only interviewed his academic colleagues.

Gonna post all my comments, or not?

Metacrock said...

he did not say anything to prove she was wrong. atheists keep using words like "fact" and "proof" to mean "this is what I think."

the publisher put a spin on the facts. His own spin he did not disprove them. He didn't quote anything either.

Metacrock said...

the publisher wants money form the book, right? did you know that? so he's going to spin it his way.

A Hermit said...

It's very simple: She claimed that academic reviewers had panned the book; the publisher says otherwise. She says Zuckerman only interviewed his academic colleagues, Zuckerman says otherwise. What part of this are you having trouble with?

Oh I see; the unknown blog commenter's opinion must be reliable because what she says reinforces your bias; the person who wrote the book, the information in the book itself and the publisher must be liars because they all contradict her unsupported assertions...

You must be joking...

Metacrock said...

no he did not say otherwise. you really can't read can you? you are deceptive.remember he said the critical are sociologists of religion that means he's admitting that there were academic critics.

A Hermit said...

I see you're also avoiding the part where she lied about his having only interviewed his academic colleagues...

Metacrock said...

this Hermit guy will just do anything to procure the sliest little bs victory no matter how trivial. The holy cult of atheism must survive!

He's trying to read the publisher's statement as saying the sociologists weren't criticizing suckerman. I know for a fact American sociologists do. how valuable is the statement by the guy who is making money off the damn book?

but read the statement there's' no way you can understand it to say that the sociologists are not the critics.

he's trying to say only the Christians panned it and the sociologists of religion didn't. that's not what it says.

Metacrock said...

what Hermits lies about her saying:

"She says Zuckerman only interviewed his academic colleagues, Zuckerman says otherwise. What part of this are you having trouble with?"


what she said:
"It might be important to know that most academic reviews in the National papers in Denmark noted that Zuckermans book represented a classical example of an anthropologist or sociologist falling short, while being duped by the natives."
(ibid)

so she actually said the sociologists say he'd duped by the natives not that he only talked to sociologists. since you love to call people who disagree with you liars, you are lying about what she said!

A Hermit said...

"what Hermits lies about her saying:

"She says Zuckerman only interviewed his academic colleagues,"


Follow the link in your own post to Karen's comments; if you actually read them you will find that, in her very first comment, she says this:

" you then base your research primarily upon interviews with collegues or friends of collegues at the department of religious science at the aforementioned university..."

Zuckerman's reponse:

" Most of my informants did NOT come from any university. I interviewed 149 people. The vast majority were not academics at all. To say that I based my research “primarily upon interviews with colleagues and friends” is simply a flagrant distortion and a cold lie and again indicates true hostility on your part that I find rather sad."

Karen never responds to this.

Why don't you post the comment in which I explained your error regarding the negative reviews? I went through the whole comment, and Zuckerman's publisher's reply line by line and explained it to you. He makes it clear that the negative reviews did NOT come from academics.

Metacrock said...

A Hermit said...

"what Hermits lies about her saying:

"She says Zuckerman only interviewed his academic colleagues,"

Follow the link in your own post to Karen's comments; if you actually read them you will find that, in her very first comment, she says this:


Met: I quoted I her. where it hes' "he's being filled by the natives" that's her talking.


"It might be important to know that most academic reviews in the National papers in Denmark noted that Zuckermans book represented
A CLASSICAL EXAMPLE OF AN ANTHROPOLOGIST OR SOCIOLOIST FALLING SHORT WHILE BEING DUPED BY THE NATIVES!"

THAT'S HER TALKING, I GOT IT FROM THE LINK GENIUS!


" you then base your research primarily upon interviews with collegues or friends of collegues at the department of religious science at the aforementioned university..."


Meta: It's a question, it doesn't say exclusive it says "primarily."

Zuckerman's reponse:

" Most of my informants did NOT come from any university. I interviewed 149 people. The vast majority were not academics at all. To say that I based my research “primarily upon interviews with colleagues and friends” is simply a flagrant distortion and a cold lie and again indicates true hostility on your part that I find rather sad."

Karen never responds to this.

Why don't you post the comment in which I explained your error regarding the negative reviews? I went through the whole comment, and Zuckerman's publisher's reply line by line and explained it to you. He makes it clear that the negative reviews did NOT come from academics.



I did post the whole comment stupid. If you had any brains you would know that.

I didn't post the latter ones because I didn't know about them. that latter exchange was several years before I saw it.

Metacrock said...

I told Zuckerman about my historical research proving that the social welfare state in Sweden was started by Christians.

He has not responded.

Metacrock said...

while good solider boy Hermit clutches that bone like a good little minion determined to win for hate group and it's ideology every single tiny little nuance of a victory it can get, he totally ignores all the other quotes and issues that spelling crushing defeat for this pretense at social sciences.

Anonymous said...

Wow! what a great discussion! Never seen anything like it.
Let's do a quick survey.
Christian Nations: USA, Europe - high SES; more recently less religious and less happy and less monied.
China - increasinly Christian and higher SES
Singapore - mixed, but funding a lion's share of Christian missions in Asia, GDP way up
USSR and satellite nations - atheist, unhappy, low SES, and governments no longer exist
(btw the one that I know of that was industrialized, Czeckoslovakia had lowered SES)
Africa - low SES traditionally, but converting to Christianity recently
India - reported high on happiness, it is a very religious nation, lower castes converting to Christianity now
Middle Eastern Nations - mixed SES, mixed religiosity

So a) hard to measure happiness, but studies do show that in US at any rate is related to SES, also studies show that culture influences
b) better to distinguish KIND of religiosity
c) real research will be better than spins or even informal tours like I gave.

I observe that Judeo-Christian perspective has long de-mystified the religion of surrounding cultures (e.g. Genesis one : "lights in the sky" not beings who control your destiny) and further, very much contrary to atheist carping, has always been friendly to the rise of science. It was, after all, from Christian Europe that modern science arose. The Roman church had observatories in Gallileo's day - so it is NOT a correct reading to suggest that religion must and has always suppressed science. Nor is it correct reading that science makes people happy. Look around.

Thanks for the forum.