Thursday, June 29, 2006

Atheists aren't reproducing; secularism is being bred out.

The cause and effect are too obvious to point out here, but the result is an interesting topic.

A Scientific Approach to Atheism

Fertility rates in the relatively secular blue states are 12 percent lower than in the relatively religious red states, according to Philip Longman in the March/April issue of Foreign Policy. In Europe, a similar correlation holds. As Longman writes: "Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? For whatever reason, people answering affirmatively . . . are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively." For the most secular cultures in the world, Longman predicts a temporary drop in absolute population as secular liberals die out and a concomitant cultural transformation as, "by a process similar to survival of the fittest," they are demographically replaced by religious conservatives.
This article in the Washington Post is actually a book review and critique, but it beings up some interesting issues. It reminds me - a bit- of the people that point out that the childfree are going to die out because we aren't producing more childfree. Although religiosity is more directly tied to upbringing, secular culture can spread itself in more ways than just reproducing. For example, just as education and technology reduces birthrates, so can it concurrently raise secularism. The two are inexorably tied. As hunger is reduced, dictatorships disappear, and infant mortality rates plummet - basically the process of moving from a third world country toward a second (or first) - we are naturally going to see both effects occur at once.

Most secular people I know were indeed raised Christian, albeit in the puritan-yet-not-fundamentalist north of the U.S. I suppose that we could be considered borderline secular culture.

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