According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.
Apparently they is serious. According to this "study", nations/societies which are more "religious" have a higher incidence of "dysfunction".
You know what drives me NUTZO about this kind of news story? It's not just that I disagree with the results. It's something that happens a lot with "studies" on everything from the latest food linked with a certain disease to the factors associated with teen drinking or whatever.
PEOPLE. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORELLATION AND CAUSATION!!!!!
I can't stress this enough. But the media, in its sensationalism, and the idealogue with an agenda will fuzzy-up the distinction to suit their purposes. Here's a typical example from the above article:
He [the author of the study]said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills.
One might argue that societal problems possibly cause more people to turn to religon. Or one might argue that there are a multitude of factors invovled here - from which "dysfunctions" are counted, their relative weight, the cultural, economic, and historical factors (how does a study "control" for all these?).
Add to that the question of what "religious" means - which religion are we talking about? Christianity, in all its forms? Islam? I wonder if this study would say Islamic countries are "dysfunctional" or not.
Does anyone else here smell an AGENDA???? The whole thing is laughable - that something like this could even be scientifically knowable. Give me a break.
WELL WELL, LOOKIE Here.... It appears the author of the study is a member of the Council for Secular Humanism. His bio:
Gregory S. Paul
A respected expert on Dinosaur anatomy, paleontology, and geology, Gregory Paul is an excellent candidate to counter young-earth creationists. His book, Beyond Humanity, discusses the impact of intelligent cybertechnology on religion, further equipping him to speak on the role of religion in society. Because of his scientific background, Paul is also able to speak on broad debate issues, such as evolution v. creationism and the like. Paul has written two articles for Free Inquiry: "The Secular Revolutionof the West" (Summer 2002) and "The Great Scandal: Christianity in the Rise of the Nazis" (Oct-Nov 2003, Dec 03-Jan 04).