Bogus Atheist Social Sciences



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Are Christians more likely to Go to Prison?
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One attempt at this bogus atheist social sciences is a site by Boyd Swift. Swift, thought he would be a wrote the bureaus of prisons for stats, but unfortunately he doesn't know how to read a table.

Response Number %
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%
---------------------------- -------- Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this) Unknown/No Answer 18381 What's really intereting is what Adherents.com has to say about these stats and Swifts website. Here is a letter by researcher on Adherents.com who checked out Swift's data: Adherents.com

David Rice has written to us (23 October 2002) concerning the origin of the data in the table below: The data came from Denise Golumbaski, who was a Research Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The data was compiled from up-to-the-day figures on March 5th, 1997. (Note that as of the year 1999, Analyst Golumbaski is no longer working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons; I had telephoned Analyst Golumbaski to request the latest figures, and was told by another analyst that Golumbaski was no longer employed there.) The data was requested by Mr. Rod Swift, who passed it on to me for my web site. I later called the Federal Bureau of Prisons and confirmed that the data did in fact come from their database.


This is the actual data Swift had to work wtih and Rice documents that fact, here it is:

19.908%
Response Number %
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
None/Atheist/Unknown 18,537
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%

I have represented both talbes exactly as they appear on the adherents.com website.

Several interesting points. The original says "National of Islam," Swift's Version says "Nation" only. The Original puts Muslims at 5.837% While Swift's version puts them at 7.273%. Swift's has Mormons as seventh from bottom. The original doesn't have Mormons on it.

What's really interesting is the major difference for our puposes, the original includes "none/ahteist/unknown as third from the top. Swift puts them much further down. The Originals give the atheist category almost 20% while Swist tives it 0.2% or less.

Examine this table with the one above.


Swift's Table


On Swift's table there is no mention of atheist in the first five and atheist is listed fifth from the bottom. In that table atheist is 0.209%. Now here is the table sent by the Bureau of prisons to Rice, first five:,br>

In this table Atheist/unknown/none is third form top and has 19%! Fifth from the bottom on this version is not atheist but "Hindu." So the version sent by the Bureau of Prisons is significantly different than the version put up by Swift.

It seems Swift misrepresented the data.


So in other words, the actual number of atheists is about a quarter as high as the Christians. It's not this tiny 0.something percent, it's actually pretty high.
It's pretty clear he fabricated the data. These mistakes are too far off to be merely mistakes in recording.

Swist goes on to expalin how the disproportionate number of atheists in prison from the general population means they are so far better behaved than Christians.

Now, let's just deal with the nasty Christian types, no? "Judeo-Christian Total 62594 83.761% (of the 74731 total responses) Total Known Responses 74731 Not unexpected as a result. Note that atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%)."


Of course he's distorting these figures too because it's not 8% certianly not 16%. He's including people who believe in God but don't like organized religion as well as agnostics as atheists. He's also dealing with his flase figures. The actual figure is 20% atheists in prison and 3% in society. So what does this tell us? Atheist are a lot less well behaved.

adherents.com
answers Swift's page directly:
One atheist web page (http://holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm) presented statistics stating that 0.209% of federal prisoners (in 1997) stated "atheist" as their religious preference. This site said that this is far less than the 8 to 16% of the American population that are atheists.

The atheist site, however, provided no source for the notion that "8 to 16%" of Americans are atheists. This statistic is completely without support from the available data. Gallup polls which include questions about religion have consistently shown that between 93 and 96% of Americans say that they believe in God. Presumably atheist writers would not suggest that up to half of their claimed "atheists" believe in God. The actual proportion of atheists in the United States is about 0.5% (half of one percent). This is the figure obtained from the largest survey of religious preference ever conducted: the National Survey of Religious Identification (Kosmin, 1990), which polled 113,000 people. The religious preference questions were part of questioning completely unrelated to religious preference (consumer preferences, entertainment, etc.), so the frequent retort of atheists that their numbers don't like to admit to atheism, and hence are undercounted, is unlikely.




Page 2 of argument





The Religious A priori