But cold statistics prove the association between religion and morality wrong. A paper published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology concluded that societies with the lowest measures of dysfunction are the most secular. Paul, arrive at this conclusion? He analyzed 25 indicators of “social dysfunction” including rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STDs, unemployment and poverty. He compared those rates to religiosity as measured by self professed beliefs and frequency of church attendance within each country studied. The two most religious countries, the United States and Portugal, turn out also to be the most socially dysfunctional measured against those 25 indicators. His conclusions have been challenged by some skeptics who claim the results are a consequence of “selection bias” in what data are collected and analyzed. There is likely some truth to that since social and behavioral studies can only rarely completely eliminate the bias of self reporting. Paul’s conclusions though are fairly robust in spite of the study’s flaws. Society has the association of morality with religion inverted. Humanism is the guardian of morality, not its greatest threat.
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