Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another major flaw found in a survey which claimed global atheism is rising

The data from the most carefully done research supports the claim that global atheism is falling in adherents (see: Global atheism is shrinking).

I previously did two stories on a badly done survey which claimed global atheism recently rose.

The 2 stories were:

1. Is global atheism really on the rise or is it declining? Plus, our agenda for future articles

2. Is global atheism really on the rise or is it declining? - Part II

The survey was NOT done by the prominent American polling organization Gallup Inc., but was done by WiN/Gallup International. Gallup Inc. is presently involved in a legal dispute with Gallup International Association (GIA) over the use of the Gallup name.

Here is another indication the survey was done very badly cited from a Jewish website:
According to Gallup, only 38 percent of Jews describe themselves as religious, while 54 percent are nonreligious and two percent atheist. When compared to the figures for other religions - the various brands of Christianity, as well as Hinduism and Islam, all have double the religious proportion - Jews seem almost irredeemably secular.

This flies in the face of all we have heard for years about the Orthodox Jewish demographic ascendancy and rising levels of religious Jewish belief and practice. That is, until you have a closer look at the data.

The Global Index was conducted as a nation-by-nation survey, based on representative samples of each country's population. Thus the number of Jews in the poll was at best incidental: Nearly 52,000 people worldwide participated, among whom 106 identified themselves as Jewish. That's roughly one in 500, which is more or less the proportion of Jews in the global population.

But no statistician would argue that 106 Jews is a representative sample of a far-flung tribe with some 14 million members. Added to that is the fact that Israel, where 43 percent of the world's Jews live, was not one of the countries included in the survey.

My educated guess says that Israel has a higher proportion of Ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews among their Jewish population than other countries. European Jews are probably more secular than the Israeli Jewish population for example.

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