I think you should be more explicit here in step two

Recently I took a lot of books to the nearest used book store.  My main goal was to free up space in the apartment, but since the guy doesn’t pay cash for books and I’m not inclined to give him books for free I had to take store credit.  That meant picking up a few books.  What he had that I could imagine myself reading were popular science books about cosmology written in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s.  It’s been fun looking through those.  It’s as if I’ve been mentally reenacting the development of grand scale physical theory as it has played out over the last 60 years.  So I started with The Nature of the Universe,  a series of lectures delivered in 1950 by Fred Hoyle, who coined the phrase “Big Bang” as a silly name for what he regarded as a ludicrous hypothesis.  Then I moved on to a somewhat later book suggesting that the hypothesis might not be so ludicrous, to a still later book that explains it as a settled fact, and then to a relatively recent book which shows impatience with people who still talk about the Big Bang when the the real questions are all about the period of extremely rapid cosmic inflation that followed immediately after the Big Bang.

Seeing how dramatically cosmology has changed in the last 60 years and how much more powerful its arguments have become, it’s easy to think that physics must have reached maturity in that time.  One might think that physicists are done making great discoveries, and that in the next few years they will tidy up the few remaining problems facing their discipline.  Looking more closely, a different picture emerges.  So, reading one of the more recent books I came upon a reference to proton decay, including the casual remark that in the distant future, several trillion years from now, there won’t be any protons left.  I was curious as to how long it takes a proton to decay and what happens to the little fellow while he is decaying.  So I googled “how long does it take a proton to decay?”  That brought up some articles saying that we don’t know how long it takes protons to decay, and that as a matter of fact we have no proof that they decay at all.  No one has ever seen a proton decay, and since we know virtually nothing about the internal structure of the proton we cannot very well describe the process by which that structure would dissolve.  Knowing so little about the proton, we are in the dark not only about the origin and future of the proton, but we are also in the rather embarrassing position of not being able to explain why objects have mass.  The Large Hadron Collider is supposed to inform this ignorance, but at the moment physics is left with an enormous blank space.  This blank space suggests, not a mature science with only a few loose ends left to tie up, but a young science whose greatest discoveries are very likely still to be made.

Perhaps I will cap off my read-through of old popularizations of cosmology with a look at Stephen Hawking‘s forthcoming book. This book has already received a great deal of commentary, most of in response to this quote:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.

I haven’t yet seen the book, and these two sentences are not included in this excerpt from it published in Time magazine, or this one from the Wall Street Journal.   So I don’t know what Hawking is driving at with this line.  Since the book only became available on the 7th of this month, few in the armies of commenters can have seen it either.  Not even philosopher Ervin Laszlo quotes any part of the book aside from these 35 words.

It would therefore be both unfair to Hawking and superfluous for me to become yet another person who has reacted to these two sentences without reading the book from which they are taken.  So I will confine myself to mentioning some ideas of which this line has reminded me, ideas which I do not attribute to Hawking.

The discussion surrounding Hawking’s two sentences tends to be summed up in headlines like “Stephen Hawking: God Was Not Needed to Create the Universe,” “”Hawking’s Rejection of God Unpersuasive, Say Faith Leaders,” and “God Has No Role in the Universe, Says Stephen Hawking.”  The idea that the existence of the physical universe in some way or other proves the existence of a supernatural being who created and governs that universe is known as “the argument from design.”  To the extent that the 35 words quoted above summarize Hawking’s project fairly, that project would represent an attempt to refute the argument from design.  Over the centuries, other arguments have been advanced to prove that God exists; I very much doubt that an attempt to refute the ontological proof or the transcendental argument would inspire the furious reaction these 35 words have elicited in so many quarters.  Many people who are quite willing to see the other arguments as exercises for logic students to work through seem to be passionately attached to the argument from design, even to equate acceptance of its soundness with religious belief.

This state of affairs puzzles me.  As a teacher in a university classics program, I often talk with students about the mythological ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  In these ideas, we see a culture which showed an intense concern with the birth of the gods, and an equally intense concern with the origins of various human populations.  The ancients usually worshipped their gods, not one at a time, but in groups.  Therefore, they needed stories that included descriptions of the primordial cosmos to explain what the kinship relations were among the gods.  Only with that knowledge could they properly appease the unseen forces that they believed to hold great power over their lives.  Most of the ancients lived, not as atomized individuals, but as members of close-knit kinship groups.  Therefore, they needed stories that included descriptions of the origins of the human race to know who their relatives were, and which groups were offshoots of other groups.  What pagan Greeks and Romans did not seek to find in myth was an account of the origin and basic governance of the physical universe.  Greek and Latin mythological texts simply take it for granted that “there is something rather than nothing,” that “the universe exists.”

To give just one example, the most famous Greek mythological text treating of the world before humans was Hesiod’s Theogony.  Not only does Hesiod say that the first cosmic entities emerged spontaneously from the void; this idea doesn’t even strike him as something needing explanation.  The gods did not create the physical world, as they were all descended from the entities formed in that first moment of spontaneous generation.  Hesiod does not appeal even obliquely to any process that might have produced the Earth.  “At first there was a gaping void, and then came into being deep-breasted Earth, the unshaken foundation of all the immortal gods who occupy the snowy peaks of Olympus, and shadowy Tartarus deep in the Earth’s wide ways, and Eros, most lovely of the immortals, who undoes the strength of minds and limbs and counsels both human and divine .”  And that’s it- from there on out we’re on to the interesting part, the cosmic family tree.

This blasé disregard for the origin of the physical world did not set the Greeks and Romans apart from their neighbors in the ancient Mediterranean world.  The ancient Hebrews, for example, were so bored by the topic that they placed two contradictory accounts of the origin of the world side by side in chapters one and two of Genesis, and then spent a good many centuries producing sacred texts that barely mention either account.  Having established that they were not an subgroup of any other existing nation, the Hebrews could go on to other subjects.

It has only been in the modern world that the idea has taken hold that the physical world operates like a machine, and that if there are gods who govern it they must be machinists.  With the prevalence of this idea, the “argument from design” became vitally important to believers of many stripes.  Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is often cited as the father of the argument from design, but it is worth pointing out that he in fact rejected the forms of the argument that are familiar today.  In Question 2, Article 3 of the Summa Theologica, Thomas pairs the following objection and response:

(more…)

Discover Magazine, June 2010

I’d like to note two articles printed in the June issue of Discover magazine. One is a report by Douglas Fox on research into the hypothesis that the cause of schizophrenia is a childhood infection, as yet unspecified, that releases a retrovirus from human DNA and sends it to the brain, where it overstimulates neurons.  This hypothesis has been gaining credibility in recent years, and some tentative steps have been made to sketch out the sort of treatments for schizophrenia that might become possible if it is fully established. 

Another report is about the idea that “we have already found life on Mars.”  Some of the tests the Viking probes ran on Martian soil indicated chemical processes like those which represent life on earth; because the samples were so different from life-bearing soil with which science was familiar in the mid-1970s, these results were generally dismissed at the time.  Since then, extremophile organisms have been found that have led biologists to expand the range of conditions under which they can imagine life existing, and some biologists have therefore looked at the Viking results with new eyes.

World Values Survey

I learned some wonderful news the other day.  One does not have to be a graduate sudent to have access to World Values Survey data.  It’s online!!  This is a lot of rich information concerning about 99 countries.  It is a sociologist’s dream.  Check it out.  I just did a research project using this as my data source. 

Religion and Politics: will you be Filing Jointly or Separately?

By Believer 1

Abstract

This study looks at how people respond to four key statements that explore the relationship between religion and politics.  I use the 2005 World Values Survey to try to answer the questions: What types of people support a link between politics and religion, and what types of people support a separation of politics and religion?  Although there are differences in how people responded to each statement, there are also some similarities. The variables for religious person, and highest educational attainment play an important role in explaining people’s responses to all four statements.  The variable for voted in the most recent elections does not explain people’s responses to any of the statements.     

Introduction and Literature Review

            This study tries to answer the questions: What types of people support a link between politics and religion, and what types of people support a separation of politics and religion? American scalars rarely talk about the relationship between politics and religion without mentioning the first amendment of the United States constitution (Van Alstyne, 1963; Tamney, 1974;  Esbeck, 1985; Rohrer, 1987; Stephen, 2002).   Van Alstyne starts his article by saying, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” (Van Alstyne , 1963, P. 863).

For the United States in particular, the debate about the proper relationship between religion and politics really heats up with the start of the conflict over Sunday mail in 1810.  Prior to this, there is a connection between the government, especially state government, and religion that goes relatively unchallenged.  At this time, many states have what they call “moral laws” which among others include not working on Sunday (Rohrer, 1987).

            The Sunday mail debate consists of two opposing camps of people the Sabbatarians and the Anti-Sabbatarians.  The Sabbatarians believe in a covenant theology.  Put simply, this means the United States has a covenant with God that says that if Americans obey God, the country will be blessed by God.  However, the Sabbatarians do not use their covenant theology to argue against Sunday mail.  They use the constitution instead.  They argue that the first amendment prohibits the government from keeping people from practicing their religion, and that since it is against many people’s religion to work on Sunday, Sunday mail is unconstitutional.  They also argue that Sunday mail violates the moral laws of several states, and that the federal government should not go against state government (Rohrer, 1987). 

At first, the Anti-Sabbatarians, consisting of less dominate religious groups such as Unitarians, Universalists, and Baptists, simply argue that not having Sunday mail hurts businesses.  Later, they express a fear of one government endorsed religion.  This fear is brought a head,

“when, in 1827, Presbyterian minister Ezra Stiles Ely issued an influential call for the creation of a ‘Christian party in politics’.  Ely proclaimed that a moral reformation of America could be accomplished only if Christians selected leaders ‘orthodox in their faith’.  The Presbyterians alone, he argued, ‘could bring half a million electors into the field,’ while the five largest protestant denominations ‘could govern every public election in our country’” (Rohrer, 1987, P. 64-65).       

Stephen Carter, a law professor at Yale, says this about the separation of church and state argument in America’s early days, “It is vital that we in our legalist ahistoricism not forget that the Protestant separatists believed in dividing church from state, not God from state. The purpose of the separation was not to protect the state from religious believers but to protect the church…” (Stephen, 2002).  The Sabbatarians try to distance themselves from Ely claiming that he acted alone, but their efforts are in vain.  By 1830, the Sabbatarians loose the Sunday mail debate paving the way for a pro-separation of church and state viewpoint to prevail (Rohrer, 1987).  

            Carl Esbeck writes about five viewpoints concerning the relationship between politics and religion.  The first two are the strict separatists, and the pluralistic separatists viewpoints.  Like the Anti-Sabbatarians in Rohrer’s article about Sunday mail, people who subscribe to these viewpoints fear that a close link between religion and politics results in a loss of freedom, especially religious freedom, for those in less dominate groups (Esbeck, 1985; Rohrer, 1987). 

            As one might imagine, based on the title strict separatists, people with this viewpoint want a strict and complete separation of politics and religion.  Pluralistic separatists want a separation between politics and religion, but when moral issues such as those involving social welfare and peace are involved, these people have no trouble inserting their religious views into their political participation.          It is important to note that both of these groups may contain religious, as well as, nonreligious people.  The third point of view concerning religion and politics is referred to as the institutional separationists viewpoint.  People in this group want a stronger connection between politics and religion, but are not in favor of a theocracy.  They believe that both the religious realm, and the political ream are ordained by God.  As a result, there should, and will be some interplay between the realms.  At the same time however, each real has its own purpose and destiny (Esbeck, 1985).

            People who subscribe to the forth viewpoint are referred to as nonpreferentialists.  Like institutional separationists and other separatists, these people are against the government supporting a particular religion.  Nonpreferentialists attack this issue from a different angle than the separatists.  They argue the government should support all religious organizations, as opposed to not supporting any religious organizations.  American nonpreferentialists may not be alone in their approach.  Joseph Tamney argues that people in Indonesia believe that their government should support every religion.  Nonpreferentialists argue that supporting religious organizations reduces government costs, because these organizations provide services to communities at a lower cost, and in a more personal manner than the government.  As one might accept, political conservatives are often nonpreferentialists (Tamney, 1974;  Esbeck, 1985).

            Lastly, “restorationists believe that the United States is a Christian nation or was originally intended as one, and they often argue for the restoration of the nation’s high view of Christianity as it existed in the founding period.  Not only is the public theology explicitly Christian in its creed, but much of restorationism has a decidedly Puritan or at least a ‘chosen people’ cast to it” (Esbeck, 1985, P. 371).  For these people, religion and politics cannot be separated.  The government must protect the church; while at the same time avoid interfering with the church (Esbeck, 1985). 

            Based on the literature, I hypothesis that the variable for religious person will explain more of the variance in the dependent variables, than will the variable for religious denomination.  I argue that the dominance of particular religions are different depending on the society considered.  Put another way, one country’s dominate religion, may be another country’s least dominate religion, and vice versa.   Therefore, I argue that for a world sample, such as the sample for this study, religiosity is more important that religious denomination.  I hypotheses that the variable for voted in most recent elections will play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variables.  It makes sense that people who participate politically have probably thought about how government interacts with other social institutions, such as religion.  Lastly, I hypothesis that several demographic variables will play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variables.     

Methodology

            I use the 2005 World Values Survey for my study.   The World Values Survey consists of face-to-face interviews of a randomly selected, representative sample of people living in 99 countries.  There are 67,268 respondents.  The sample is made up of individuals with very low income all the way up to individuals with very high income, with each income level fairly represented.  Highest educational level attained includes people with no formal education all the way up to people with college degrees.  Age is presented as an open-ended question.  There are more than thirty categories for religious denomination, and the sample is 48% male and 52% female.  Nearly three quarters of respondents said they voted in recent parliament elections, and a majority of the respondents said they are religious. 

My dependent variables are four key statements that explore the relationship between religion and politics.  Statement number one is: Politicians who do not believe in God are unfit for public office.  People who agree with this statement support a link between religion and politics, and people who disagree with this statement favor a separation between religion and politics.  Statement number two is: Religious leaders should not influence how people vote in elections.  People who disagree with this statement support a link between religion and politics, and people who agree with this statement favor a separation between religion and politics.  Statement number three is: It would be better for (insert Country) if more people with strong religious beliefs held public office.  People who agree with this statement support a link between religion and politics, and people who disagree with this statement favor a separation between religion and politics.  Statement number four is: Religious leaders should not influence government decisions.  People who disagree with this statement support a link between religion and politics, and people who agree with this statement favor a separation between religion and politics.

My independent variables are country/region, religious denominations, religious person, voted in most resent parliament elections, sex, age, highest educational attainment, and income.  The answer options for religious person are religious, nonreligious, and committed atheist.  Voted in most resent parliament elections is a yes or no question.  The answer options for sex are male and female.  Income data is coded in a scale of income.  I used linear regression to analysis the data for my study.        

Results

            Table 1 explains some of the variance in the dependent variable: Politicians who do not believe in God are unfit for public office.  The variable for religious person, which explains the most, explains 9.5% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 1 shows religious people are significantly more likely, than nonreligious people or atheists to agree with the statement.  The variable for religious denomination explains .5% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  When explaining this dependent variable, Hypothesis 1 is correct.  The variable for voted dose not explain any of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Therefore, hypothesis 2 is incorrect. 

            The variable for highest educational attainment, which explains the second largest amount, explains 1.9% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 1 shows that those with less education are significantly more likely, than those with more education to agree with the statement.  Because only one demographic variable plays an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variable, hypothesis 3 is incorrect.  Model 9 shows that considering all of the independent variables explains 7.5% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.          

 

 

 

Table 1

Regression Results for Dependent Variable:Politicians who do not believe in God are unfit for public office.
Model 1 ConstantCoefficient CountryCoefficient RSquared

as %

  2.893*** .002 .5%
Model 2 ConstantCoefficient Religious DenominationCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.447*** -.006*** .5%
Model 3 ConstantCoefficient Religious PersonCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.980*** -.734*** 9.5%
Model 4 ConstantCoefficient VotedCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.055*** -.050*** 0%
Model 5 ConstantCoefficient SexCoefficient RSquared

as %

  2.880*** .080*** .1%
Model 6 ConstantCoefficient AgeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.139*** -.003*** .2%
Model 7 ConstantCoefficient Highest EdCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.402*** -.076*** 1.9%
Model 8 ConstantCoefficient IncomeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.229*** -.050*** .8%
Model 9 ConstantCoefficient All inCoefficients RSquared

as %

CountryReligious Denomination

Religious Person

Voted

Sex

Age

Highest Ed

Income

 4.936*** .002***-.007***

-.640***

-.095***

-.009

-.005***

-.046***

-.027***

 7.5%
P Value = * < .05, ** < .01, *** < .001

            Table 2 explains very little of the variance in the dependent variable: Religious leaders should not influence how people vote in elections.  The variable for religious person, which explains the most, explains 1.1% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 2 shows religious people are significantly less likely, than nonreligious people or atheists to agree with the statement.  The variable for religious denomination explains does not explain any of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  When explaining this dependent variable, Hypothesis 1 is correct.  The variable for voted only explains .1% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  This demonstrates further that hypothesis 2 is incorrect.  Nevertheless, table 2 shows that those who voted are significantly more likely, than those who did not to agree with the statement. 

            The variable for highest educational attainment, which explains the second largest amount, explains 1% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 2 shows that those with more education are significantly more likely, than those with less education to agree with the statement.  Because no demographic variables play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variable, there is still no support for hypothesis 3.  Model 18 shows that considering all of the independent variables only explains 1.2% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.

Table 3 explains some of the variance in the dependent variable: It would be better for (insert Country) if more people with strong religious beliefs held public office.  The variable for religious person, which when considered by itself, explains 13% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 1 shows religious people are significantly more likely, than nonreligious people or atheists to agree with the statement.  The variable for religious denomination explains .1% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  When explaining this dependent variable, Hypothesis 1 is correct.  The variable for voted dose not explain any of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  This demonstrates further that hypothesis 2 is incorrect.

 

 

Table 2

Regression Results for Dependent Variable: Religious leaders should notInfluence how people vote in elections.
Model 10 ConstantCoefficient CountryCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.810*** .000* 0%
Model 11 ConstantCoefficient Religious DenominationCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.722*** .001* 0%
Model 12 ConstantCoefficient Religious PersonCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.527*** .204*** 1.1%
Model 13 ConstantCoefficient VotedCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.886*** -.062*** .1%
Model 14 ConstantCoefficient SexCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.843*** -.029** 0%
Model 15 ConstantCoefficient AgeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.727*** .002*** .1%
Model 16 ConstantCoefficient Highest EdCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.559*** .045*** 1%
Model 17 ConstantConfident IncomeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.718*** .017*** .1%
Model 18 ConstantCoefficient All inCoefficients RSquared

as %

CountryReligious Denomination

Religious Person

Voted

Sex

Age

Highest Ed

Income

 3.264*** .000.002***

.120***

-.042**

-.002

.002***

.039***

.002

 1.2%
P Value = * < .05, ** < .01, *** < .001

Table 3

Regression Results for Dependent Variable: It would be better for (insert Country)If more people with strong religious beliefs held public office.
Model 19 ConstantCoefficient CountryCoefficient RSquared

as %

  2.973*** .002*** 1.1%
Model 20 ConstantCoefficient Religious DenominationCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.388*** -.002*** .1%
Model 21 ConstantCoefficient Religious PersonCoefficient RSquared

as %

  4.198*** -.802*** 13%
Model 22 ConstantCoefficient VotedCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.142*** -.028* 0%
Model 23 ConstantCoefficient SexCoefficient RSquared

as %

  2.951*** .115*** .2%
Model 24 ConstantCoefficient AgeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.283*** -.004*** .3%
Model 25 ConstantCoefficient Highest EdCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.616*** -.093*** 3.3%
Model 26 ConstantCoefficient IncomeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.373*** -.054 1%
Model 27 ConstantCoefficient All inCoefficients RSquared

as %

CountryReligious Denomination

Religious Person

Voted

Sex

Age

Highest Ed

Income

 4.960*** .002***-.004***

-.704***

-.091***

.015

-.006***

-.059***

-.021***

 10.7%
P Value = * < .05, ** < .01, *** < .001

The variable for highest educational attainment, which explains the second largest amount, explains 3.3% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 3 shows that those with less education are significantly more likely, than those with more education to agree with the statement.  The fact that only one demographic variable plays an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variable, further shows that hypothesis3 is incorrect.  Model 27 shows that considering all of the independent variables explains 10.7% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.

            Table 4 explains very little of the variance in the dependent variable: Religious leaders should not influence government decisions.  The variable for religious person, which explains the most, explains 1.6% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 4 shows that religious people are significantly less likely, than nonreligious people, or atheists to agree with the statement.  The variable for religious denomination explains none of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  When explaining this dependent variable, Hypothesis 1 is correct.  The variable for voted dose not explain any of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  This demonstrates further that hypothesis 2 is incorrect.     

            The variable for highest educational attainment, which explains the second largest amount, explains .2% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.  Table 4 shows that those with more education are significantly more likely, than those with less education to agree with the statement.  The fact that no demographic variables play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variable, further shows that hypothesis 3 is incorrect.  Model 36 shows that considering all of the independent variables explains only 1% of the variance in the way people respond to the statement.

Table 4

Regression Results for Dependent Variable: Religious leaders should notInfluence government decisions.
Model 28 ConstantCoefficient CountryCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.665*** .000*** 0%
Model 29 ConstantCoefficient Religious DenominationCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.658*** .000 0%
Model 30 ConstantCoefficient Religious PersonCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.350*** .256*** 1.6%
Model 31 ConstantCoefficient VotedCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.736*** -.039** 0%
Model 32 ConstantCoefficient SexCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.788*** -.064 .1%
Model 33 ConstantCoefficient AgeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.628*** .002*** 0%
Model 34 ConstantCoefficient Highest EdCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.574*** .022*** .2%
Model 35 ConstantConfident IncomeCoefficient RSquared

as %

  3.604*** .018*** .1%
Model 36 ConstantCoefficient All inCoefficients RSquared

as %

CountryReligious Denomination

Religious Person

Voted

Sex

Age

Highest Ed

Income

 3.197*** .001***.001*

.199***

-.029*

-.030*

.002***

.011***

.013***

 1%
  P Value = * < .05, ** < .01, *** < .001
         

Dissection

This study tries to answer the questions: What types of people support a link between politics and religion, and what types of people support a separation of politics and religion?  The first hypothesis is that the variable for religious person will explain more of the variance in the dependent variables, than will the variable for religious denomination.  This hypothesis is supported by several scalars mentioned previously (Tamney , 1974; Esbeck, 1985; Rohrer, 1987).  First Rohrer states that at first, the Anti-Sabbatarians, consisting of less dominate religious groups such as Unitarians, Universalists, and Baptists, simply argue that not having Sunday mail hurts businesses.  Later, they express a fear of one government endorsed religion.  He says that both groups in the Sunday mail controversy are made up religious people.   The Anti-Sabbatarians do not fear religion: The fear dominance (Rohrer, 1987).

In his article discussing different viewpoint of the relationship between religion and politics, Esbeck says that nonpreferentialists argue the government should support all religious organizations, as opposed to not supporting any religious organizations.  American nonpreferentialists may not be alone in their approach.  Joseph Tamney argues that people in Indonesia believe that their government should support every religion (Tamney , 1974; Esbck, 1985).  Given all of this information, one might wonder how my first hypothesis is supported.  I argue that the dominance of particular religions are different depending on the society considered.  Put another way, one country’s dominate religion, may be another country’s least dominate religion, and vice versa.   Therefore, I argue that for a world sample, such as the sample for this study, religiosity is more important that religious denomination.  The first hypothesis is correct.  When determining what kind of relationship people support beteen religion and politics, it is more important to know whether a person is religious or not, than it is to know their religious denomination.  This importance of this finding stretches beyond the church-state issue.  The finding shows commonality between religions. 

My second hypothesis is that the variable for voted in most recent elections will play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variables.  When starting my study, It made sense that people who participate politically have probably thought about how government interacts with other social institutions, such as religion.  My second hypothesis is incorrect.  My error in thinking may have been the result of my extensive training as a sociologist.  Maybe political participation dose not result in thinking about how government interacts with other social institutions, such as religion for the average person.  Future studies could explore this in more depth by looking at other forms of political participation. 

My third hypothesis is that several demographic variables will play an important role in explaining the variance in the dependent variables.  This hypothesis is incorrect.  Highest educational attainment is the only demographic variable that plays an important role in explaining differences in the way people respond to the statements. 

In conclusion, this study makes a modest yet important contribution to answering the questions: What types of people support a link between politics and religion, and what types of people support a separation of politics and religion?  It is more important to know whether a person is religious or not, than it is to know their religious denomination.  Religious people tend to support a link between politics and religion. Nonreligious people and atheists tend to support a separation of politics and religion.  People with higher levels of education tend to support a separation of politics and religion.  People with lower levels of education tend to support a separation of politics and religion. 

Bibliography

Carter, S. L. . (2002). The J. Byron Mccormick Lecture: Reflections on the Separation of Church and State. Arizona Law Review, 44(293), Retrieved from http://sb6nw2tx4e.scholar.serialssolutions.com/?sid=google&auinit=SL&aulast=Carter&atitle=Reflections+on+the+Separation+of+Church+and+State&title=Arizona+law+review&volume=44&date=2002&spage=293&issn=0004-153X

 Esbeck, C. H. (1985). Five Views of Church-State Relations in Contemporary American Thought. Brigham Young University Law Review, Retrieved from http://lawreview.byu.edu/archives/1986/2/esb.pdf

Rohrer, J. R. (1987). Sunday Mails and the Church-State Theme in Jacksonian America . Journal of the Early Republic, 7(1), Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3123428?seq=1

 Tamney , J. B. (1974). Church-State Relations in Christianity and Islam. Review of Religious Research, 16(1), Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3510193?cookieSet=1

Van Alstyne, W. W. (1963). Constitutional Separation of Church and State: The Quest for a Coherent Position. The American Political Science Review, 57(4), Retrieved from http://library.csus.edu/guides/amatab/History/jstorex.pdf

Higher Education (Look Around You)

Alternative CPR

Not quite as much like an episode of The Twilight Zone as it sounds

The New Scientist, via Neatorama:

Our World May Be a Giant Hologram

The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.

The whole article is remarkably clear.  You may have to click the link twice to get past The New Scientist‘s subscription pitch, but it’s worth the effort. .

But can she make a sandwich?

Bug Consciousness

How much consciousness must one have in order to be granted “rights”? 

Excuse me, but you have an alien in your nose.

jag.lcc.gatech.edu

Nostril-probing for aliens sure beats aliens anal-probing.

Y Chromosome Struggles to Adapt

fontstock.net

Double X chromosome pairing appears more adapted.