Losing faith in The Age

This morning I wake to find one of the leading stories on www.theage.com.au is that ‘God is still tops’  with Australians. A Neilsen survey has apparently revealed that 68% of us believe in God or an omniscient spirit being, and also gives stats on things like belief in psychics, astrology, UFOs and witches.

While I suspect the poll is pretty bogus (show me a newpaper poll that isn’t), I guess Jacqueline Maley does deserve some snaps for pointing out that the high percentage of believers is ‘surprising’, given Australia’s reputation as a secular and generally atheistic nation. This sentence as well, is particularly good, given the subject matter and time of year

Some beliefs seem contradictory. While 56 per cent of people believe in heaven, only 38 per cent believe in hell, and belief in God is more popular than faith in the Devil, with only 37 per cent believing in Satan.

Contradictory you say? Well, duh.

I love this part too

And although 91 per cent believed he (Jesus) was the son of God, only 72 per cent think the mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin.

ONLY 72%! Reminded me of this picture PZ Myers posted the other day. It’s actually a poster put up by a church, but that’s a whole other story.

The article ends with a quote from Philip Hughes, from the Christian Research Association and I would not be surprised if this group commissioned the study and selected the 1000 person people sample group. I don’t know why newspapers insist on reporting findings of surveys like this, they probably don’t even realise the methodolgies are inevitably flawed and the outcomes decided before the poll is even counted. That’s why the special interest groups rely on the newspaper to publish their results. This kind of shit would not even be granted acknowledgement of receipt in a peer-reviewed publication.

Hey Fairfax, when the next census comes around, go for your lives. Now there’s a poll you can really sink your teeth into.

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