Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wealth

First things first. Katie and I finally met up on Monday for a very nice water run. After she zoomed off I got a few laps in churning hard. HARD! I didn't notice what time it was when I got in the pool, or out really, but given the time getting out of the car, and back in, I think I was in the water about 40 minutes.

Monday night was a really good stretching session. My butt has been really tight, and I've been rolling it with the ball. Almost painful rolling.

Tonight I was musing about going for a run, but I was captured by the BBQ chicken. Later I went downstairs for a warmup spin, and another good stretch session. My thighs are feeling really tight, and I'm really grumbly about getting scheduled into a mandatory meeting at the same time as my massage session. They had ALL WEEK, and picked that time.

I had been thinking of a run, and maybe it would have turned out really well, or maybe not. I just wasn't feeling the run love. At the moment, the thought of a marathon in 74 days, 10 hours and 40 some minutes is beginning to get on my mind.

At lunchtime today I found this article on wealth and morality.
http://www.salon.com/2014/03/18/the_destructive_myth_about_religion_that_americans_disproportionately_believe_partner/
The article is interesting, but the graph the article really caught my attention. To save you flipping back and forth here's the graph.

In a general sense that as the GDP per capita goes up, the number of people that think a belief in god is necessary for morality goes down. It's really quite a nice graph, with only two outliers. I don't know the exact circumstances of the data gathering, but was surprised to see Italy and Spain so low.

One of the logical fallacies is cum hoc ergo propter hoc (correlation proves causation). This graph could be taken as a perfect example of this. Are countries wealthy because they don't believe in god as much? Or does becoming wealthy drive a decrease in the belief in god?

There is an amazing video by Hans Rosling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w It's about 20 minutes and if you haven't seen it, bookmark it and come back later. It's well worth your time.

I'm thinking about both the graph, and Rosling's presentation. Rosling makes it clear that you need to get people healthy first, then wealth will come. Healthy people drive economic activity. Part of the health comes from family planning. If you can choose when and how many children you have, you are much more likely to be able to devote the resources to get them through to adulthood.

And this is where religion comes in. In all too much of the world, family planning is inextricably linked with morality and religion. The priests make the rules, and they are working from ignorance and misogyny. They want to keep everything exactly the same, so they can stay in their cushy role of being the boss, being judge, jury, and executioner.

So why would anyone choose to believe in god, when the alternative clearly leads to a longer wealthier life for you, and even more so for your children?

Well, in the short term, not doing so could get you tortured and killed in some parts of the world. Europe went through that over much of the Middle Ages. Islam and the southern parts of the USA are going through it now. Islam leads towards beheadings and stoning, with the USA going for inadequate healthcare, some of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and poor working conditions. We see dogmatic assertion of faith as fact, based on dodgy texts, in the face of overwhelming evidence, along with an unwillingness to even consider opposing evidence.

As a world view, the last 500 years or so have proved that science works, and religion does not. If we could somehow remove religion from the world, things would get better. If we somehow removed science from the world, an experiment parts of the USA seems willing to try, you'll quickly see a much worse world. Life expectancy will fall, child mortality will go up, along with a host of other unpleasant changes. The data is there if you look. If you read. If you're willing to think.

This is one of the reasons the Republicans and Tea Parties are so scary. They believe stupid things that are contrary to fact and evidence. They are pandering to their economic class (the extremely wealthy) and are willing to throw everybody else under the bus. The really devilish part is that they've convinced the others to throw themselves under the bus.

Why would you vote for a party that actively works toward worsening health care? Refuses to raise minimum wages? Tries to change the tax system to increase taxes on the poorest, and decrease taxes on the wealthiest? And worst of all, tries to remove the rights of women to manage their reproductive health?

There's a joke I like to tell, but it assumes you know who Adlai Stevenson was. It goes like this. During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Mr. Stevenson "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Stevenson called back "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

It's only got worse since then.







6 comments:

  1. Interesting graph. Hey, where is N. Korea? Oh wait, they are poor AND not allowed to practice a religion.

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    1. I'm not sure of the methodology behind the data, if they looked at data for all countries and only graphed representative ones. I didn't see any of the Scandinavian countries graphed, and I'd expect them to be even lower and to the right of Canada and Australia.

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  2. Sorry, Keith, but I don't agree that all religion is bad. Some of the smartest, most compassionate, and most generous people I know are people of faith. I agree that religion has often been misused to mislead and oppress people. But of course the same can be said of economics. And psychology. And philosophy. Yes, even science. (Remember the nazi experiments?) The bottom line is that human beings are capable of some pretty wretched stuff and use whatever tools they have at their disposal to justify it. It's a gross oversimplification to say religion is bad, science is good, IMHO.

    Look forward to discussing this further in September>

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    1. I know a very few like that, but I think they would be that way even without the faith. And I do have to admit under the Harper Con's we are being subjected to voodoo economics. But last I looked, economists aren't stoning the people they disagree with. I totally agree with the wretched stuff comment.

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  3. Like the new blog design a lot!

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    1. Thanks Jackie! There are a few things I'm trying to fix, like the title of the blogroll section, and I want the labels right under the title. I think that helps people to decide to read or not. Burying down at the bottom of the post is kind of pointless.

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Looking forward to reading your comment!

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