Friday, June 22, 2007

I wrote recently about the adoption of Environmental Religion by the elite and the need for religious belief. Most intellectuals in the West today would argue that religion will soon disappear as did Nietzsche. Looking at what is happening in Europe one could believe that Christianity will soon disappear. That is what makes this article about the potential cause and effect between religious beliefs and family size so fascinating.

Anyone who has taken statistics has been exposed to the story of the correlation of the stork population and the human population of Copenhagen after WWII. The myth of storks bringing baby's grew out of this misinterpretation of data. In fact, the increase in human population provided new places for storks to nest which increased their population.

Likewise, in the article noted above on religious belief and family size, Eberstadt argues that the decline in family size is the cause of decreased religious belief. I find this a very compelling argument. As a single person I had no interest in religion, but as I adopted children I re-examined my beliefs in this area and can correlate my religious belief as a consequence of having children.

Although the article is lengthy, I recommend a thorough read. Certainly we see the strongest religious beliefs in populations with large families. Why the US still has large religious beliefs compared to Europe also seems to make a lot of sense when viewed as the author suggests.

The implications for this are also fascinating. Will those without religious belief breed themselves out of existence? The replacement value to maintain population is 2.1 births per family. Europeans are well below 1.4 and Russia is even lower. The US is maintaining the 2.1 ratio but not in the Northeast or big cities, so the rural Midwest and South are probably much higher. While churches in cities or Europe may sit empty, mega-churches seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.

As a scientist, I accept Darwin's theory of evolution, but not the extrapolation that many people make from it. Just because we can prove that animals or plants evolve does not explain first cause. I cannot accept that consciousness sprung spontaneously from DNA and no one has explained the Big Bang. However, if the innate drive of our species is to survive, those that have children are passing on DNA that encourages religious belief. So, in the end religion will not only survive but become an essential part of that survival.

No comments: