Sunday, December 5, 2010

How does religiosity affect society?

Sam Harris in his new book The Moral Landscape makes the interesting observation that the most religious societies score worse on every measure of societal well-being (health, education, for example) than do more secular societies. Why might this be? Is it a true correlation or just a coincidence?

Could it be that societies operating on a basis of reason and rationality produce more benefits than societies that operate according to dictates of the supernatural belief?
Let's look at one example - In the late 1600's just as the modern scientific method was taking shape - Queen Anne of England had about 18 pregnancies producing many children born alive. Queen Anne was at the top of the social system with access to the best her nation could offer.  Not one of her children survived to adulthood.
 I am lower middle class. When my children were born in the latter half of the 20th century, I had life insurance salesmen trying to sell me policies on their lives.  Thanks to the advance of science, my children all survived to adulthood.
I'll take reason and rational thinking, thanks.

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