Hey, so I started reading your website about three hours ago, when I searched '
disney movies nobody cares about' and got led to annoying shitheads anonymous.
Yeah. I really don't know.
Anyway, that's actually completely irrelevant to the topic I originally started
writing this for, which is in fact religions. I know that your atheist, and I
know you don't agree with christianity. I also know that my mom told me some
type of crap how people who have some kind of faith are statistically proven to
live longer than people who don't. Well, I don't know if that's true, but even
if it isn't, I suggest (if you haven't done so already) to look into
pastafarianism. Even if you don't believe in it, It makes conversations with
people over who's right religiously about 100 times funner. So yeah. Just
thought I'd tell you about that.
Ania, thanks for the email and thanks for checking out the site. First of all, I am not actually an atheist. I am a devout follower of Roman Cathalcoholism, which is a religion I thought up one day when I was really super drunk. It's pretty awesome. I actually briefly discussed Roman Cathalcoholism as well as a few other "alternate" religions, including Pastafarianism (which is of course the worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) in a piece I wrote titled "Agnostic No More." And yes, throwing in references to His Noodley Goodness always makes any religious discussion far more interesting. It's quite comical how people are willing to criticize others for professing belief in an invisible being who created everything when that individual is made of spaghetti, but when you're talking about an invisible being who created everything that's an old dude with a white beard sitting on a cloud surrounded by blonde chicks in robes playing the harp, that's obviously far more credible. I just wish that more people had the ability to step outside of their own ingrained beliefs for five fucking minutes and look at things objectively without assuming things and getting defensive.
As for the "statistic" that people of some faith live longer than others, of course my first reaction is to call BS outright. I would guess that is nothing more than a bald-faced lie someone made up on the spot to attack atheists and it sounded good to others so it was taken as gospel and likely the individual you heard it from has no idea of the original source. Secondly, even if there was actually some "research" done to support that statement, I would then say it likely falls into the old "lies, damned lies, and statistics" category. There are so many ways to manipulate surveys, research, and statistics that you can come up with numbers to make almost any claim you would want to. First of all, how would you come up with such data, ask everyone who's about to die what their religious opinions are? And even if you would do such a morbid and ridiculous survey, that would get greatly skewed responses in favor of religion because people who know they are about to die are very likely to convert to one religion or another out of fear alone. It has been said that faced with death, atheism isn't a gambling man's religion. Let's face it, it takes a very high level of conviction to knowingly die an atheist because there's no upside.
I have a marketing degree and I actually had a class in which we studied how companies and organizations manipulate data to lead people to believe what you want them to believe without actually lying (thus leaving yourself vulnerable to a false advertising claim). It's actually really disgusting how toeing the line between misleading and lying has become such an art form with some organizations. One example we studied was a religious group's abstinence campaign and one of their big talking points was that many people have sex for the first time because they think it will bring their relationship closer. They then claimed that this was faulty logic because most couples who lose their virginity together break up within two weeks of having sex. Now, even assuming there was an actual survey of some sort done to support this claim, it's still misleading because of the wording. You see, with this sentence in the context of an abstinence campaign, obviously they are trying to convince their audience that young couples who have sex for the first time are likely to break up soon after because they had sex. However, look closely at the wording of this statement of "evidence" and you will see how duplicitous it really is. All the sentence says is that young couples who lose their virginity together break up within two weeks of having sex. It doesn't say within the two weeks of THE FIRST TIME they have sex. It also doesn't say anything about the couple's reasons for breaking up. So the couple's breakup could be much later and have nothing to do with sex at all. For example, my first serious relationship would fall under this deliberately misleading statement. My first girlfriend and I did break up within two weeks of having sex. However, when we broke up, it was the better part of a year after the first time we'd had sex and sex had nothing to do with our breakup. So for people that knew us, our relationship and the after affects of our losing our virginity together is actually the exact opposite of what these groups are trying to say, because neither of us had any regrets about it whatsoever, but they have worded their "evidence" in such a way that it could actually be a part of the statistic that helps their argument. They want you to be drawn to that conclusion on your own by putting that statement in a misleading context, hoping you will connect the dots as they want you to.
So that is why you should always consider the agenda of someone throwing statistics at you and be very careful before repeating them yourself so as not to be spreading unsupported propaganda just because a duplicitous individual said something that sounds good so you latch onto it.