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Is Religion Becoming Extinct?
« on: April 09, 2011, 02:39:53 PM »
Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Dallas
22 March 2011 Last updated at 07:31 GMT


The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.


More at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811197

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Re: Is Religion Becoming Extinct?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2011, 02:45:37 PM »

Study predicts organized religion will become extinct in several countries

By Troy Reimink | The Grand Rapids Press
Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 12:21 PM   Updated: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 6:51 PM


Organized religion is headed toward extinction in nine democracies, according to a team of mathematicians who have studied a century's worth of census data on religious affiliation.

Any guesses which nine? CNN reports on the findings, which indicate organized religion will gradually vanish in Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland.

The prediction, presented at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, is based mainly on a steady rise in the number of people claiming no religious affiliation and an analysis of how affiliation (or non-) spreads through social groups.

The BBC explains the mathematical model used to analyze the data: "Their means of analysing the data invokes what is known as nonlinear dynamics - a mathematical approach that has been used to explain a wide range of physical phenomena in which a number of factors play a part."

The researchers are careful to note that they're not making a value judgment on organized religion but are merely making predictions based on trends. For more background and context, check out this summary from Discover.

The researchers based their study on two sociological assumptions -- that in the countries where organized religion is on the wane there are social, economic and political advantages to claiming no affiliation; and that it's preferable to be part of the majority rather than the minority.

The second assumption prompted a quick rebuttal from Wendy Grossman in the Guardian:

There are so many other factors that may change the demographics of a country in abrupt and unexpected ways: immigration, changes in birth patterns, social trends, natural disasters. But the main thing is that when a group of humans becomes sufficiently small it tends to become deeply protective of itself. People stick to religious beliefs and affiliations sometimes even when there are very strong social pressures not to.

The study did not include the United States because the census here does not collect information on religion.


http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/03/study_predicts_organized_relig.html



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