Sunday, October 12, 2008

"The irreligious are all lunatics!" A reader by the pseudonym of Jewish Atheist claimed in a comment in the last post that the only people supporting McCain these days are racists and religious nuts. Let's set aside the fact that JA just impugned the motives of about 100 million people--boringly typical among lefties--and see if there is any empirical basis to his fact-free assertion about the craziness of really religious people.

The General Social Survey asked 5,273 Americans about their church attendance as well as how many days of mental illness have they have experienced in the past 30 days. Here are the means:

Mean days of mental health problems last month

Never attends church 4.66
Less than once a year 4.22
Several times per year 3.66
Once a month 3.70
Two to three times a month 3.51
Nearly every week 3.10
Every week 2.69
More than once a week 3.53

People like JA have 1.7 times the mean number of mental illness days per month compared to a weekly churchgoers like myself. So, let me mirror JA's type of language with the one exception of actually basing it on data: "The irreligious are all lunatics!"

I expect a response back from JA saying something to the effect of, well, maybe religious people are healthier, but their POLICIES are sick!

(If JA wants to claim it's only conservative religious people who are nuts, I'd be happy to look at that as well.)


  1. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Better to feed the mob this time with a Dem liberal than give them another GOP liberal whom they imagine to be a "conservative." The mob I'm referring to is made up of delusional whites who would serve themselves better by channeling their desire for transcendence into the practice of just about any form of religion. Maybe even Scientology.

    Let's hope for minimal losses by the the GOP in Congress, but McCain is, and will remain, a burden to the party and a source of despair for those few who actually think it stands for something.
    Furthermore, not just the pattern of McCain's behavior, but the motive for it, is evident:


    How is it that Powerline has been observing McCain for so many years and still hasn't figured out his m.o., and so is still "shocked, shocked" when this lifelong ally of Democrats acts like ... an ally of Democrats?

    Which brings us to the one silver lining of an Obama presidency: we won't have a Republican president who is compelled by his deepest beliefs to side with Democrats and oppose Republicans. And we won't have clueless conservative pundits promoting and defending a "conservative" Republican president who is in reality an agent of the Democratic party.

    Rick Santorum is rather candid about Mac in an interview with Hugh Hewitt:
    HH: ... Do you believe [McCain has] sincerely changed on the immigration bill to where he understands the message that was delivered last summer?

    RS: No.

    HH: Why not?

    RS: Well, I mean, because John McCain was the leader on the other side of the aisle. John McCain was the guy who was working with Ted Kennedy to drive it down our throats, and lectured us repeatedly about how xenophobic we were, lectured us, us being the Republican conference, about how wrong we were on this, how we were on the wrong side of history, and that you know, this is important for his ... because having come from Arizona, knowing the strength of the Hispanic community, that we were going to be seen as racists, and he wasn't going be part of that, that he was not a racist, and that if we were for tougher borders, it was a racist thing. Look, John McCain looks at things through the eyes, on these kind of domestic policy issues, looks at it through the eyes of the New York Times editorial board, and accepts that predisposition that if you are not, if you stand for conservative principles, there's some genetic defect.
    RS: ...He buys into the complete left wing environmentalist movement in this country. He is for bigger government on a whole laundry list of issues. He was…I mean, on medical care, I mean, he was for re-importation of drugs. I mean, you can go on down the list. I mean, this is a guy who on a lot of the core economic issues, is not even close to being a moderate, in my opinion. And then on the issue of, on social conservative issues, you point to me one time John McCain every took the floor of the United States Senate to talk about a social conservative issue. It never happened. I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it's marriage or abortion or the like. He always fought against us to even bring them up, because he was uncomfortable voting for them. So I mean, this is just not a guy I think in the end that washes with the mainstream of the Republican Party.

  2. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Jewish Athiest himself suffered from depression. Link. Didn't he mention somewhere that he took anti depressants as well?

  3. Haven't there been lots of studies in the medical literature showing that church is good for you? It gives you a peer group that engages in prosocial behaviors and avoids unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking, as well as providing a social outlet, source of connections, and in the case of the poor, a method of pooling resources.

    Just because God doesn't exist doesn't mean following him isn't good for you. ;)

    Shoot, I may go find a Unitarian church now that I've posted this...

  4. In defense of Jewish Atheist:
    You're only looking at a phrase he used, not a complete idea. Quote: ... religious nuts and the racist/xenophobes .... We can't really know for sure that he thinks religious = nuts, can we? That would just make his phrase needlessly cumbersome and repetitive. He may well believe "religious sane people love Obama!" or something along those lines.

    I find J.A. to be generally above personal attacks and unnecessary bitterness, but I do regard him as being far too quick to call his opponents racist. If folks like him are allowed to redefine the word "racist", I honestly don't know what word we'll use to describe someone who doesn't like so-and-so simply because of the color of their skin. (At this point it seems to be used to describe someone who doesn't like people of a certain skin color when those people consider themselves instruments of god and advocate exactly those social changes which have been proven to cause misery and disaster.)

    Anyway, kudos again on your creative use of the GSS. It was you who turned me on to it ... I love that tool.


Which ethnic groups think astrology is scientific?

It is important for America that we have people who understand and value science.  The General Social Survey asked people residing in the US...