Friday, May 25, 2007

Why the gods will not die   posted by Razib @ 5/25/2007 04:35:00 PM

Over at my other weblog I have a long response to the Edge piece which argues for the power of the Secularization Hypothesis, roughly, that with modernity there comes a falling away from supernaturalism. In short, the authors dig into some data, but like those who make arguments about the inevitable conquest of secularity by religion, their narrative is characterized by selection bias. That is, where the data is powerfully in favor of their argument they draw upon surveys, where it is not powerful or argues against their case they just quote impressions about how non-religious people really are, and sometimes they just pull data out of context (e.g., focus here on South Korea). In any case, I'm just here to remind people of a little history: atheism and theism have basically always been around. The finally victory of either will likely not be won in the human future, as retreat seems to herald future advances. The relative power of atheism or theism varies over time and space, but neither morph ever seems to fix. The sample space of data is so large that like a high school essay it isn't that hard assemble a list of data which support your thesis. It is natural then that the various camps will have their court propagandists outlining their case. But this just really masks the true variation and diversity on this character and its multi-dimensional nature.