Monday, December 10, 2012

Gallup swallows the Kool-aid!

People who have known me for some time and have been reading my stuff for a while know that I've been saying for a very long time that the numbers of people who are either atheist or simply non-religious are higher than people have acknowledged in the past.

Even other atheists have doubted that, noting the previous polls showing the numbers in the 10-15% range.

But, now I've proof, and I contend that this proof shows that the numbers are even higher than this poll shows.

Why?  Because the polling organization is the Gallup folks!

Go read this poll by Gallup.

Now, the first thing that will jump out at you is that Gallup is trying to use the poll results to show that the US is "still" a Christian Nation.  But I would like you to note that in the past, Gallup has put the numbers of non-religious at lower than 10%, in the single digits.  A while back, the Pew Research folks noted the now famous poll setting that number at around 15%.

Now, when you go look at that Gallup poll, I want you to notice the numbers;

They are defining the very religious as those who go to church regularly.  But notice the non-religious! Now that number has jumped to over 30%!!

Before you point out that the religious, both very and moderate, are almost 70%, please note that for decades, Gallup has been reporting that figure to be at or almost 80%.  This is a huge drop in that figure and a huge increase in those who are non-religious.  They are, in this article, blithely ignoring that trend.

Additionally, I would note, again, a site that I have linked to a lot in the past.

The website from the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, has a page on How Many North Americans Go Regularly to Church.  On that page, they conclude, among other things:

How many people lie about going to religious services? 
Various studies in recent years have cast a grave doubt on the 40% value. 
Public opinion polls generally do not report real opinions and events. They report only the information that the individuals choose to tell the pollsters. Quite often, their answers will be distorted by a phenomenon called "social desirability bias." Pollees answer questions according to what they think they should be doing, rather than what they are doing. For example, a poll by Barna Research showed that 17% of American adults say that they tithe -- i.e. they give 10 to 13% of their income to their church. Only 3% actually do.  
The gap between what they do and what they say they do is closer in the case of religious attendance. It is "only" about 2 to 1.
So, I leave it to you, gentle reader, to draw your own conclusions.  Given that Gallup has a historical conservative bias, just how likely is it that the numbers of the non-religious noted in this recent poll are not actually higher, since Gallup did note that the results are based on self-reporting by those polled?

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