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← Ireland is also more secular than we thought

Ireland is also more secular than we thought - Comments

tboulay's Avatar Comment 1 by tboulay

If a religion indoctrinates generation after generation of children it keeps propagating, but, if that religion beats and rapes generation after generation of children my guess is that you're going to end up with parents who won't let their kids anywhere near that fucking cult.

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 14:54:48 UTC | #921488

nurnord's Avatar Comment 2 by nurnord

"Unlike the Dawkins Foundation poll, then, this one was not conducted by a pro-secularist organization, and thus cannot be criticized on that count."

  • as Paula Kirby has already pointed out over on Jerry Coynes' WEIT website...
  • "Just one thing I’d like to pick up on. The RDFRS UK poll was commissioned but not conducted by us. It was conducted by Ipsos MORI to their very high professional standards and, as with all polls that they carry out, it was rigorously scrutinised at every stage to ensure that the questions were fair and not leading, that the sample group were representative, and that all statements we made about the results were genuinely supported by the data, etc.

    You are right that there are some who have tried to suggest that the results are unreliable because RDFRS UK has strong views on the subject-matter, and that this completely unjustified objection is less likely to be thrown at the Irish results; but simply because the objection has been made in some quarters, I am seizing every opportunity to put it straight. Ipsos MORI would not have acquired its respected position in the world of opinion-polling if it did not ensure its polling procedures were as representative, as accurate, and as unbiased as possible."

    Paula Kirby, February 24, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:03:02 UTC | #921489

    Vorlund's Avatar Comment 3 by Vorlund

    In the space of a generation Ireland has taken some big steps forward.

    Now they need an Ipsis MORI poll asking them some probing questions about catholicism and the results published and sent to Ratzo

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:06:00 UTC | #921491

    Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 4 by Steve Zara

    Comment 2 by nurnord

    as Paula Kirby has already pointed out over on Jerry Coynes' WEIT website...

    I'm glad Paula picked up on this. It did seem an unreasonable criticism of a good survey.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:08:12 UTC | #921492

    phill marston's Avatar Comment 5 by phill marston

    I think there's hope for the future of Ireland and its freedom from the shackles of the catholic church when its journalists can write something like this and have it published in a mainstream paper. I think she nails it with her final paragraph,

    Voltaire, who was himself viewed as a dangerous secularist in his time, said that the only way to grasp the mathematical concept of infinity was to contemplate the extent of human stupidity. One wonders what he’d make of the fervently religious, and totally iniquitous, American model of society that a myopic Baroness Warsi seems so eager to ape.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:12:15 UTC | #921494

    hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 6 by hungarianelephant

    The poll shows that despite being a “Catholic” country (the 2006 Census put the proportion of Catholics above 86%) and in spite of Irish religious lobby groups insisting that the conservative status quo remains, it seems that a comfortable majority of Irish people do not take their cues about morality from the Church at all. In fact, an article in Thursday’s Irish Examiner by June McEnroe shows that the Irish overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage, and also do not support Ireland’s ill-conceived new Blasphemy Law.

    Except that the poll didn't say that the Irish overwhelmingly "support" same-sex marriage, only that 70%+ think it should be allowed in the Constitution. And bizarre as it may seem, the Catholic Church didn't support the blasphemy law either. In fact it's hard to find anyone that did, other than some loony Muslim outfit. Oh, and that guy from Meath who tries to bait Tyler in the letters section of the Indo.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:27:28 UTC | #921502

    RJMoore's Avatar Comment 7 by RJMoore

    I find it hard to believe that 3/4 of respondents favour allowing gay marriage, while only half support removing the comment about a woman's place within the home being necessary for the common good. If two men are allowed to marry, how can the 'common good' be achieved? After all, there is no woman, home-maker or not, in that equation! Also, I think its odd that only half of respondents are opposed to the blasphemy law; I suspect that many of those who said they supported it might have confused blasphemy with incitement to hatred or something. For example, to say that Mary was made pregnant with Jesus after a one night stand with Joseph could be considered blasphemous, or it might be considered blasphemous to say that Jesus wasnt god but was a loony and largely ignored apocalypticist; I doubt very much if more than a handful of people believe that these utterances should be criminal offences.

    And just to clarify: abortion isnt illegal in Ireland; its permitted where the mother's life(including being at risk from suicide) is at risk. No political party, left or right, seems to want to legislate for the issue, and the Medical Council considers the intentional killing of unborn life to be unethical.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:26:14 UTC | #921536

    Tony d's Avatar Comment 8 by Tony d

    I am not surprised by this as a large proportion of the country claimed their compensation money for abuse at the hands of the catholic church.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:34:36 UTC | #921542

    MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 9 by MilitantNonStampCollector

    I often wonder if Ireland's ridiculous blasphemy law was just a knee-jerk reaction to Muslim sensitivities. I'm thinking along the lines of the Danish cartoons and that kind of thing.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:34:39 UTC | #921543

    RJMoore's Avatar Comment 10 by RJMoore

    tboulay

    .....but, if that religion beats and rapes generation after generation of children my guess is that you're going to end up with parents who won't let their kids anywhere near that fucking cult.

    If generation after generation had been beaten and raped, it would indeed be strange for the majority of catholic parents to continue to have church weddings, have their kids baptised, or send their kids to church-run schools. The majority still participate in these sacraments, so Ill leave you to work out what part of your proposition is wrong.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:39:46 UTC | #921546

    ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 11 by ZenDruid

    Comment 10 by RJMoore :

    tboulay

    .....but, if that religion beats and rapes generation after generation of children my guess is that you're going to end up with parents who won't let their kids anywhere near that fucking cult.

    If generation after generation had been beaten and raped, it would indeed be strange for the majority of catholic parents to continue to have church weddings, have their kids baptised, or send their kids to church-run schools. The majority still participate in these sacraments, so Ill leave you to work out what part of your proposition is wrong.

    Difficult to opt out of church-run schools if all the schools are church-run.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 17:07:34 UTC | #921561

    aquilacane's Avatar Comment 12 by aquilacane

    53% against the blasphemy law. A small majority that would have been 100% if the other 47% weren't afraid that saying yes against it was blasphemous and grounds for arrest.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 19:00:33 UTC | #921590

    RJMoore's Avatar Comment 13 by RJMoore

    Difficult to opt out of church-run schools if all the schools are church-run.

    The great majority are church-run, particularly at primary level, although non-denominational schools are the becoming more and more popular. However, fee-paying church-run secondary schools are also becoming more popular, even though there has been quite a severe recession in the country. Many of these pupils comprise the second or third generation of families associated with the school, so if 'beating and rape' were endemic in years gone by....well, lets just say I doubt many parents would subject their kids to more of the same. And it certainly doesnt explain why most still have church weddings, funerals, baptisms, firts communion, confirmations etc; people have all the choice in the world in respect of these rituals.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 19:30:57 UTC | #921602

    Stonyground's Avatar Comment 14 by Stonyground

    The misguided criticisms of the RDF/Mori poll are interesting. The religious side seem to be projecting. Presumably had they commissioned such a poll they would have made sure that the questions were carefully worded to lead the respondents to give them the desired result. Even the UK National Census asked the religious question in a non neutral way. As a result, they assume that atheists commissioning a poll would do likewise. They simply do not understand the way in which we value truth. Funding the Mori poll was a bit of a risk, it might have shown that UK residents were just as religious as our churchmen and politicians claimed them to be. Had that been the case, we would want to know about it so that we could deal with that reality, not skew the results so that we could go on to base our position on lies.

    I am pretty sure that our politicians know the difference between a properly conducted poll and a skewed one. Now that they know that the Godly are a tiny minority, maybe they will stop pretending to be religious.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 20:16:10 UTC | #921617

    Wokkie's Avatar Comment 15 by Wokkie

    I don't care so much about polls about Christains. How about the muslims in the UK? I'd like to know how tolerant they are lately.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 20:21:32 UTC | #921618

    BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 16 by BowDownToGizmo

    This fits. I visited Donegal recently and got a bit of taste for the religiosity of the country. It feels a bit like the UK in that religion's hold over people is proportional to their age.

    The Child rape scandal has had a big effect on the younger generation though, who are angry and becoming more and more disillusioned with the church. While the passing of generations would surely make the country more secular gradually, this effect is much more acute following these incidents.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 20:47:57 UTC | #921624

    Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 17 by Mrkimbo

    It's excellent, good for the Irish.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 21:09:49 UTC | #921630

    aquilacane's Avatar Comment 18 by aquilacane

    Comment 13 by RJMoore

    Just refuse to attend. I would never have allowed my education to come from a religious school, no matter what my parents wanted. I barely tolerated the public system. Both my sister and brother went to a private college in Ontario; I did not because I refused to attend morning assembly in the church. I was accepted but only if a went. I said no, I will not step foot in that building, a school is no place for religion.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 21:41:40 UTC | #921633

    rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 19 by rod-the-farmer

    Paula/Richard......one question I have for which I haven't seen an answer. "Who came up with the questions on the survey ?"

    It is one thing to commission a survey, wherein the survey group takes the general direction, and develops questions to ferret out the meaning behind the ticked box. But did anyone on the RDFRS vet the questions ? If not, that would help us all stamp on the crawly things underfoot.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 21:52:35 UTC | #921635

    Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 20 by Paula Kirby

    rod-the-farmer: Paula/Richard......one question I have for which I haven't seen an answer. "Who came up with the questions on the survey ?"

    In all such surveys, it is the client - RDFRS UK, in this case - who sets the theme for the survey as a whole and comes up with a list of questions they want to ask.

    At that point, Ipsos MORI scrutinise the questions very carefully, flag up any issues such as a question being too vague, or too leading, or too insensitive, or unclear, or ambiguous, etc etc etc, and it becomes a team effort between them and us to hone the questionnaire - both in terms of the questions asked and the possible answers provided for respondents to choose from - so that it is as robust and unbiased and unassailable as possible.

    I cannot emphasise strongly enough how carefully Ipsos MORI scrutinise the proposed questionnaire. If a question or its set of associated answers do not come up to their exacting professional standards, they simply don't allow it to go ahead.

    Not only does the questionnaire have to be approved by the specialist team assigned to the client (the Race, Faith and Cohesion Research team, in our case), but the final version has to be approved by their internal Scrutiny Panel too - senior staff who have had nothing to do with the discussions with the client, who can therefore bring fresh eyes to what is being proposed.

    The questionnaire went through multiple iterations, as did our Press Releases announcing the results (because they have to be scrutinised and approved by Ipsos MORI too).

    So in summary, of course it's the client who drives the questionnaire, since only we know what we want to find out; but Ipsos MORI are very active indeed in weeding out anything that should not be there, or that doesn't come up to the highest standards of impartiality, or that might result in the final data being able to be challenged on technical grounds. So we decide what we want to find out, and Ipsos MORI are very active in ensuring that the questionnaire is properly constructed to ensure that the data that it provides will be reliable in every way.

    For more information about Ipsos MORI quality procedures, you can click here.

    Fri, 24 Feb 2012 22:28:55 UTC | #921650

    rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 21 by rod-the-farmer

    Thanks, Paula. Good to know the details.

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 00:54:42 UTC | #921681

    Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 22 by Cook@Tahiti

    Question: Why is it, that country after country, Christian or Muslim, the leaders are more religious than the average of the population?

    As Michael Moore said about Republicans, do they simply have more energy to play the political game and rise to the top? Whereas we atheists bitch and moan about it on online forums (and vote them back in)?

    In the UK, Blair, Brown and Cameron are all religious, in a highly secular country.

    If atheism is correlated with intelligence and the intelligent are supposed to rise to the top, why aren't leaders more atheistic than the average of the population?

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 02:17:50 UTC | #921690

    RJMoore's Avatar Comment 23 by RJMoore

    Rtambree

    Question: Why is it, that country after country, Christian or Muslim, the leaders are more religious than the average of the population?

    I doubt thats true in 'christian countries'. I suspect politicians are often less religious than Eddie Punchclock is, but I think its far more likely that a politician who actually has little interest in religion will proclaim that he is quite devout than it is that a truly devout politician will downplay the role faith plays in his life. In other word, I think politicians have more to lose by ignoring faith than they do by exaggerating its importance in his/her life, particulary in decades gone by.

    If atheism is correlated with intelligence and the intelligent are supposed to rise to the top, why aren't leaders more atheistic than the average of the population?

    Politicians, especially those who sit in parliament, are in their positions of power because they have been put there by their constituents; therefore their 'duty' is to represent the interests of their constituents, first and foremost. I think those politicians who can best play the game, i.e. pandering to their constituents while trying to do what is sensible, are very often more likely to get into power than those who are 'intelligent'. For example, what chance would Milton Friedman have had of getting elected? None!

    In any case, if the results of this poll are accurate, I wouldnt have too much faith in the intelligence of politicians or voters. 3/4 approve of gay marriage, but half think that a woman's working in the home is necessary for the common good? Figure that one out....and thats not even getting started with the blasphemy debacle. :)

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 02:59:47 UTC | #921695

    johnhoman's Avatar Comment 24 by johnhoman

    It seems to me that a religion that needs blasphemy laws is not very sure of it'self.

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 09:09:40 UTC | #921740

    Wokkie's Avatar Comment 25 by Wokkie

    I think a lot of people vote for what is predictable. Sometimes they like change and sometimes they want it to stay the same. The Christian political party is of course always conservative.

    The Christian parties are always used to slow things down. We've seen it in Europe. I think it's one of the reasons why "the right" is in power in almost all European countries. The other reason is of course the uprise of nationalism because of the lost identity.

    As a liberal myself and therefor I find myself mostly in the right wing camp, I find it disturbing that people are voting right wing for the wrong reasons. :-)

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:09:01 UTC | #921775

    monkey's uncle's Avatar Comment 26 by monkey's uncle

    Comment 22 by Rtambree :

    In the UK, Blair, Brown and Cameron are all religious, in a highly secular country.

    I'm fairly sure that I've read somewhere (sorry but I can't remember the source) that the leaders of two of the three main parties (Nick Clegge & Ed Milliband) don't believe in god.

    I suspect that even as recently as 20 years ago, they could not have risen to the positions that they now occupy. I'm fairly sure that in the USA they still couldn't.

    We are making some progress although, particularly considering the recent outbursts regarding the opinion poll, it may not always seem to be the case.

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:39:44 UTC | #921800

    IDLERACER's Avatar Comment 27 by IDLERACER

    I'll bet the movies ANGELA's ASHES and THE MAGDALANE SISTERS were both very popular with the young, and unpopular with the elderly, in the land of Ire.

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 16:46:51 UTC | #921844

    Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 28 by Tyler Durden

    a comfortable majority of Irish people do not take their cues about morality from the Church at all. In fact, an article in Thursday’s Irish Examiner by June McEnroe shows that the Irish overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage, and also do not support Ireland’s ill-conceived new Blasphemy Law.

    Whatever next, pubs opening on Good Friday? :)

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 18:16:00 UTC | #921874

    Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 29 by Tyler Durden

    Grania Spingies, of Atheist Ireland, has contributed a short post about a European country that most of us see as religiously retrograde. It turns out that it’s far more secular than we thought.

    'Reflective silence’ replaces Seanad prayer

    "The Seanad is to hold a 30-second "reflective silence" every morning to represent members who do not want to take part in the daily prayer."

    Can we not just get rid of the prayer? If government ministers wish to pray, go do it in church.

    Sat, 25 Feb 2012 18:20:24 UTC | #921876

    hellosnackbar's Avatar Comment 30 by hellosnackbar

    As a former resident of the Irish Republic I can confirm that religion as undergone a surprising degree of atrophy. Educational standards have risen immensely so it's not surprising that belief in fairies has subsided.

    Sun, 26 Feb 2012 08:51:54 UTC | #922017