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02 July 2007 @ 01:12 pm
Fox "News"  

Mmmm... fair & unbiased.

Turns out I'm the victim of a "fad".
Current Music: ABC Science Online - the Lab - 2007-06-28 Ozone Smell at the Seaside
Andrewdelwyn on July 2nd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Well at least the priest said he didn't believe that Atheism was a fad in the public, just that it was becoming a fad for publishers and celebrities
Jacobyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think his ostrich-like point was that it's not a fad in the public because there aren't actually any atheists in the public.

They somehow just exist in "the lefty media", that apparently exists in a vacuum.
Gregpeachofpain on July 2nd, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
Woot, atheism, the hippest craze in town.
splatchtrocksplatchtrock on July 2nd, 2007 06:59 am (UTC)
Well, Atheism is certainly selling a lot of books lately.
Jacobyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 09:51 am (UTC)
Yes, but obviously only to good, upstanding Christians who want to understand their (apparently non-existant) atheist neighbours better.
splatchtrocksplatchtrock on July 2nd, 2007 09:53 am (UTC)
Well, I actualy haven't watched the clip (I really dislike YouTube), it just seems that Atheism is very 'Flavour of the Month' of late.
Jacobyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 10:18 am (UTC)
Well, the clip claims that atheism is a "fad" being perpetuated by the publishing houses, rather than something that's actually being taken on board by ordinary Americans.

They basically say that books on atheism are at the top of the best seller's list, not because people are actually interested in atheism, but because they want to understand the arguments made by atheism, so they can counter them.

But, more to the point is the whole feel of the piece. It's on what's supposedly a "news" channel, and it feels like your watching one of those early morning televangalism shows. You basically have a priest telling the news anchors that atheism isn't really very popular and the news anchors expressing what a relief it is to know that.
splatchtrocksplatchtrock on July 2nd, 2007 10:29 am (UTC)
I think it is a 'fad' inasmuch it is the thing to be reading books about of late. I don't know how many people buying The various Atheist bestsellers are necessarily buying them for their own interest or because they are featured in the newspapers and they feel they are things that 'need' to be read in order to keep abreast of the hot topics of the day.

Then again I tend to be snobbily suspicious of people buying books that have received publicity at all.

It will in time blow over and give way to the next publishing fad. Underwater basket weaving, perhaps.
Jacobyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
You may be right, but the issue is that Fox News is trying to couch the issue in those terms. That is, making it seem as though the only interest in atheism is that of a publishing fad that's going to blow over.

So, whilst I acknowledge that any hot topic will dominate book shops before being replaced by the next big thing, that doesn't mean that that's the whole extent of people's interest in that topic.

Come six months time, underwater basket weaving may well be dominating the best seller lists, but that does not mean that all interest in atheism will have evaporated.

As I discussed with Luke, the statistics seem to show that, in the US, belief in god has been on the decline for quite some time. These statistics pre-date the current publishing fad and, if anything, it's likely that this new-found skepticism is driving the current fad.

I seriously have trouble believing that the religious right is the main group responsible for buying a book called 'The God Delusion' (to craft counter-arguments).
Outlier Manlukeii on July 2nd, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
What is that 90% stat based on, I wonder?
Jacob: atheistyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 11:00 am (UTC)
From a brief scan of online resources, discarding those that are obviously skewed (like one whose commentary on their stats included the revelation that the US is not "amoral like Mikel Jackson or Prince or Madonna or Larry Flint"), I can find you stats for those that don't believe in god in America as being anywhere between 4% - 17%, depending on which study you believe and how broadly you define "not believing in god".

The study that seems to be the most credible is the American Religious Identification Survey which puts the figure at 14.1%, which breaks down as: 0.4% atheist, 0.5% agnostic, <0.1% humanist, <0.1% secular and 13.2% "no religion".

I think you could easily classify this entire group as not believing in god, and if you wanted to skew the facts, you'd surely be trumpeting the 0.4% atheist stat.

These stats are from the latest study from 2001. Interestingly enough, the previous study seems to conform to their 90% figure with that many identifying with a particular religion. However, the previous study is from 1990, meaning that belief in god is pretty clearly in decline.

Or, to put it another way, the percentage of people who don't believe in god grew by almost 50% in just 11 years, a pretty staggering statistic. If those trends have continued, the number of people in the US today who don't believe in god could well be approaching 20% - but that's pure speculation. Still, speculation is better than the outright fabrication you get on Fox News.
Jacobyak_boy on July 2nd, 2007 11:19 am (UTC)
Looking at the results of the 1990 study, and the 10% actually includes those that refused to answer. By that logic the number of non-believers has actually close to doubled. But, that's obviously misrepresenting the numbers, so what we're left with is:

1990: 8.2% non-religious
2001: 14.1% non-religious

Which is an increase of about 72% over 11 years.

My totally unscientific extrapolation of that makes it 24.25% of the US godless by 2012. :)
Robet Éivaayvah on July 3rd, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Depends very much on whether it's linear, exponential or even a bell curve...

But what about buddhists? They're also atheists, aren't they? And Hindus -- they don't believe in "a god", they believe in a group of gods.

Their statistic didn't say 90% "non-religious", it said 90% monotheistic. And THAT definitely seems unrealistic.

It was biased the moment they brought on a Christian priest to talk about atheism. If they wanted fairness, they could have used an atheist (especially considering the anchors were clearly pro-Christian), maybe a religious figure from a minority religion, or perhaps just brought on an atheist to debate with the Christian (though I'm sure they'd twist it somehow).
escarpeescarpe on July 2nd, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
My favourite bit is when the female anchor woman says "Oh yeah, well the miricle of the birth of a child will turn you right around on that one"
I couldn't help but desperatly want Bill Hicks to be part of the panel at that point....I feel that he would have had a way of blunty changing her mind...I think you know the quote I mean.
In part they are right, Atheism is a fad at the moment but the fact that it is popular in the media or with publishers does not in any way mean it is wrong or should be dismissed.
It's funny becasue these people don't look like Emo's (except the priest of course who is as Emo as they come) but I doubt that they dismiss anything else becasue it's popular infact quite the opposite I would think. But they are right on another point, people shouldn't follow things becasue they are popular, they should listen to both sides, reasonably consider the arguemnts and then finally agree with me....I mean decide for themselves. Of course people like me have the smugness of saying "I liked athiesm before it was popular" and fortunatly I have the journal to prove it.