miércoles, 20 de noviembre de 2013

Confusion on the net

Okay, it's been a while since I last wrote a post in English. Allow me to do an exception. Today I found this on a status on the net:

"[...] religious people vs. Atheist in US prisons (in 1997) from the Federal Bureau of Prisons is : Religious 99.791%, Atheist 00.209%. [...] That's a very disproportionately low total of Atheist in prison. In 2013 nearly 20% of US Citizens are currently non-religious. That's up from around 10% in the mid 90's. In 2013 %32 of people under 30 years old are non-religious. The non-religious US population has increased by 10% in the past 20 years. That's an average of .5% per year and it looks to be "snowballing". These figures indicate that as religion drops so does crime. Percentage of religious people in US prisons: http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm Non-religious population in the US at 20% in 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States".

Sorry to contradict you, but these figures alone indicate nothing, unless you are totally biased. Let's look at the second link, where we have a table indicating that, in the US, irreligious people make up to 20% among whites, 16% among lations and 15% among africans. Considering the majority of the population in the US is still the whites, or the fact that:

"On June 30, 2006, an estimated 4.8% of black non-Hispanic men were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9% of Hispanic men of any race and 0.7% of white non-Hispanic men. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics"

it is not so easy to see a correlation. A graph may be more self-explicit:
Why are not black, or african, more than doubling the percentage of hispanics/latinos, when there's only 1% more of believers among blacks? If a 1% makes such a difference, why is not such a difference with the 4% between the Hispanich population and the White one? Just wondering.

Something else that I couldn't help doing was comparing the following maps:
(percentage of religious people in European coutries)

 (World prison population per 100 000 people, per country)

According to these wiki sources, the US lead the prison population per 100 000 people (more than 700) with the 20% of irreligious people mentioned above. The same wiki sources atribute to Spain a 7.6% atheists (24.1% if you count them together with the 16.5% of non-believers) - yet Spain has a prison population in the 100-150 frame. Then you have the Czech Republic, one of the least religious democratic countries in the world (if not the absolute first), with a 37% of "believers in nothing at all", whose prison population ranks in the 150-200 frame. Can someone explain this lack of correlation to me?

Another comparison worth making would be between the highly religious Turkey and the relatively mid- or low religious Baltic Republics. According to the original inference, Turkey should have a higher prison population than any of the three Baltic Republics. However, it is the other way round. Further more, out of the Three, Estonia has the lowest percentage of believers (10-20% - which is, again, one of the lowest worldwide), but has the highest prison population in the European Union. What can one easily infer there, if one would not mind the possibility of maybe having incomplete information? And remember - now we have more data than we had at the beginning. Still, I refuse to accept the easy option that the less believers, the higher the jail population. Things are not that easy.

A last example: if we move to other places in the world than just the EU, let's compare India, with a 19% of the population describing themselves as atheist, not religious or not sure (click here for the source - again, wiki). It's jail population is less than 50 per 100 000 people, one of the lowest in the world. The US, with a similar percentage of non-believers, is on the other end, with the highest jail population in the world, as it was mentioned before.

It seems to be a correlation between prison population and belief in the US as a whole. However, our sources, which come from the same source as the ones provided in the original status, prove this correlation is not universal - not even in the US. We could just as simply infer that religious people don't mind paying with freedom for their crimes, while non-religious pay with money and remain free. But seriously, provided the given sources by either of us are reliable in their "wikiness", the only thing that we can infer deduce is that believing in something or belonging to a religion is not going to make a criminal out of anybody.

Live and let live. Give respect and you'll get respect back. If you connect religion with those that abuse religion, don't be surprised the day someone connects atheism with those that abuse atheism - hell, they exist too!! Surf the net and find them. Be serious.

My sources:




And for an extra map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion