April 18, 2007

Muslim Integration in Britain

Filed under: culture, education, religion, research — ted @ 11:51 am

On the Foreign Policy website, you can read a fascinating collection of survey data about the attitudes of London Muslims compared to the British public at large. As the commentary notes,

A 2006 Pew poll of the British public found that British Muslims, when asked to cite the source of their primary identity, overwhelmingly chose their faith, while the majority of the British public chose their country. The finding set off alarm bells in a nervous Britain still reeling from the 7/7 attacks and was widely cited as proof that the country suffers from a crisis of integration.

The chart looks like this:

This comes as no surprise: the British public, largely secular and post-Christian, does not suffer from the conflict of interest between religion and state (God and Caesar, as Christ put it). What is surprising is that this does not prevent British Muslims from identifying themselves as Brits and as Muslims:

This is most fascinating, and, from my perspective, a cause for optimism, especially when coupled with this chart:

British Muslims strongly believe that getting a good education and becoming involved in public life are the most important aspects of integrating. Presumably, following survey data with which we’re all familiar, as the Muslim public becomes better educated and more fully integrated into a post-religious society, they will become less attached to their faith, and perhaps even just as tolerant and cosmopolitan as those 78% of Brits who don’t think becoming less religious is important…


March 15, 2007

Only 13

Filed under: ephemera, research — ted @ 9:38 am

I’m loving that I can get new Gallup Poll results as an RSS feed. They’re always interesting and often fascinating.

Here’s one that showed up today: Thirteen Percent of Americans Bothered to Stay on Hotels’ 13th Floor. The age and gender of the participants made a big difference:

March 14, 2007


Filed under: baseball, ephemera, research — ted @ 11:19 pm

I know that’s George Brett, above, but I have no idea what to make of this.

Someone’s been watching Eternal Sunshine

Filed under: research, science — ted @ 1:06 pm

On the Nature newsblog:

A single, specific memory has been wiped from the brains of rats, leaving other recollections intact.

The study adds to our understanding of how memories are made and altered in the brain, and could help to relieve sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of the fearful memories that disrupt their lives.

February 24, 2007

Vocabulary vs. the Bible

Filed under: christianity, education, religion, research — ted @ 11:35 am

The Jewish Atheist has created some very interesting statistics on the relationship between a person’s vocabulary scores and their religious beliefs:

Here are some things I’ve come up with:

People who score higher on the vocabulary test are much less likely to believe that the Bible is “the word of God,” to be “fundamentalist,” to believe “God concerned with human beings personally,” to consider church “very important,” or to believe that “atheists shouldn’t hold public office.”

Here’s one of his graphs:

February 23, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Meddle

Filed under: culture, politics, religion, research — ted @ 4:52 pm

A new Gallup poll indicates that most Americans who identify themselves as “religious” are “content to be personally religious or do individual conversion attempts.”

Recently collected Gallup Poll data suggest that most highly religious Americans either believe that they can be personally religious without needing to spread their beliefs, or that they can best spread their beliefs by converting others to their religion. Only a small percentage of highly religious Americans — 15% — believe the best way to spread their religion is to change society to conform to their religious beliefs.

Bottom Line

The majority of highly religious Americans believe that they do not need to change the society around them to conform to their religious beliefs, but instead can live the best possible personal religious life, or focus on one-on-one conversion.

February 22, 2007

Dolly Redux

Filed under: nature, research, science — ted @ 11:17 am

A special feature in Nature revisits the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep, which sparked a media frenzy ten years ago. The article explains how the science of cloning has shifted into stem cells and other research, instead of wholesale cloning.

Back in early 1997, none of Wilmut and his colleagues, the referees who reviewed their paper, or the Nature editors who oversaw it, anticipated the huge public reaction to the cloning of Dolly. Scientists in the field saw her birth as an incremental advance — in large part because one year earlier, Nature had published a paper from Wilmut’s group reporting the cloning of two lambs, Morag and Megan, using nuclei from embryonic cells.

“I always maintained that Dolly was expected and Morag and Megan were truly surprising,” says Davor Solter, director of the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg, Germany. Solter wrote a News & Views article in Nature about the paper on Morag and Megan, suggesting that it was time to start thinking about the implications and uses of cloning mammals from adult cells.

The feature also has a sweet Cloning Timeline.

February 20, 2007

Good Thing No Atheists Are Running for President

Filed under: culture, politics, religion, research — ted @ 5:21 pm

Because they wouldn’t have a chance.

The results of this Gallup poll indicate that Americans would be more willing to vote for a homosexual president than an atheist.

The poll was mainly meant to feel out the stigmas attached to Presidential hopefuls: Hilary the woman, Obama the black man, Giuliani the divorcee, McCain the old man, etc. As far as I know, no heretics or gays are serious candidates.

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