Quantifying growth in atheism

Tomcat
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Quantifying growth in atheism

A post I found interesting on iidb this morning:

Quote:
Out of curiosity, I started tracking the membership stats in Atheist Meetups at meetup.com. With about two months worth of numbers I thought I'd post some results. The growth in the total number of members will be a little iffy, because the site deletes inactive members every so often, and there is one mass deletion that happened ~7/16 - membership dropped from 18,286 to 17,267.

6/27/2007 - 155 groups in 128 cities consisting of 17,915 total members
8/25/2007 - 171 groups in 139 cities consisting of 18,667 total members

Growth in number of groups: 10 %
Growth in number of cities: 8.6 %
Growth in total membership: 4.2 %

Pretty impressive growth rates in atheist / freethinker / humanist groups over only two months. I suspect the actual growth in total membership is much closer to the groups and cities rates but I won't know until they do another mass deletion and I can compare apples to apples.

Impressive growth in 2 months

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


wavefreak
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Prepare to be

Prepare to be depressed.

Growth in the Assemblies of God: 

 

 

Looks like they're adding about 40,000 per year. You atheists better get to work. 


Tomcat
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Um, should I say, bitter

Um, should I say, bitter much?  You're blatantly threadjacking.  Pretty rude, but I shouldn't expect any less from people on the internet.

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Thanks for the bad news

Thanks for the bad news Wavefreak.  lol. 

 It's good to see that atheists are becoming a little more group oriented and hopefully our numbers will go up as we all start to network and communicate together.

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Quote: Um, should I say,

Quote:
Um, should I say, bitter much?  You're blatantly threadjacking.  Pretty rude, but I shouldn't expect any less from people on the internet.

Threadjacking?

In tracking growth of any movement, there are three factors:

1) Actual growth of movement in raw numbers

2)  Growth of overall population

3) Growth of counter-movements.

If there are more Christians being converted than atheists, then atheists are losing ground.  Knowing the growth rates of theists is directly related, I'd say, unless you weren't hoping to see how atheists were faring vs. theists.

No, we can't do a direct comparison between waves stats and yours, but isn't it relevant to talk about theist growth in relation to atheist growth?

Just my two cents.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Sorry, but am I missing

Sorry, but am I missing something?  I don't understand the threadjacking comment - I thought wavefreak was offering a comparison for the numbers and I agree with him - did I miss the point?   (Just trying to understand where you are both coming from - thanks!)

 


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Are theists considered

Are theists considered converted as soon as they are born?


Cpt_pineapple
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I can't see how

I can't see how 'Freethinking' groups can possibly attract memebers

'Non-conformists unite!'

 


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Quote: Are theists

Quote:
Are theists considered converted as soon as they are born?

To be precise, we should say that theists are converted and atheists are either born or deconverted.

Statistically, then, atheists have it bad.  In America, 85%(ish) of babies convert to some form of theism.  Only 15%ish stay atheist.  Of the 85% that convert, I have no idea how many deconvert back to atheism.  It would be an interesting number to know, but I doubt many on either side are anxious to know the answers.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote: I can't see how

Quote:

I can't see how 'Freethinking' groups can possibly attract memebers

'Non-conformists unite!'

I've always found it very similar to herding cats.

It takes a cause bigger than the non-conformity.  Perhaps something like a budding theocracy and the dumbing down of education would do it...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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The theist stats are

The theist stats are deceiving.

I've been atheist all my life but was told to go to church and am still considered a member of each of the many different churches I had to go to when living with my parents. But I haven't been to any church in many many years since my teen years.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Tomcat wrote: Um, should I

Tomcat wrote:
Um, should I say, bitter much?  You're blatantly threadjacking.  Pretty rude, but I shouldn't expect any less from people on the internet.

 Also cocks

 

 

 

 

...now that's thread jacking.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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Hambydammit wrote: I've

Hambydammit wrote:

I've always found it very similar to herding cats. 

 

Is that the idea behind your avatar? 


aiia
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BTW Tomcat

BTW

Tomcat wrote:
6/27/2007 - 155 groups in 128 cities consisting of 17,915 total members
8/25/2007 - 171 groups in 139 cities consisting of 18,667 total members

Growth in number of groups: 10 %
Growth in number of cities: 8.6 %
Growth in total membership: 4.2 %

It is good news 

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Quote: The theist stats

Quote:

The theist stats are deceiving.

I've been atheist all my life but was told to go to church and am still considered a member of each of the many different churches I had to go to when living with my parents. But I haven't been to any church in many many years since my teen years.

You're right.  To get a more accurate number, it would probably make sense to only consider active members -- perhaps those who had attended within the last 5 years, and cross reference to eliminate double memberships.  I am probably on the rolls for at least ten churches.

Of course, you're talking about a statistical nightmare with a margin of error almost as large as the pool!

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote: Is that the idea

Quote:
Is that the idea behind your avatar?

Rambo Kitty is a multi-faceted joke.  It's a caricature of how theists describe atheists.  It's a subtle jab at theists -- curiosity killed the cat? --well, this is the curious cat destroying the delusions of those content to live without questioning.

I hadn't really thought about herding freethinkers at gunpoint.  It's a fun idea, though.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:

I can't see how 'Freethinking' groups can possibly attract memebers

'Non-conformists unite!'

I've always found it very similar to herding cats.

It takes a cause bigger than the non-conformity. Perhaps something like a budding theocracy and the dumbing down of education would do it...

 

Exactly!  I have been discussing this issue with a friend and we both agree that "organizing atheists" is a contradiction of terms, however, bringing freethinkers together for a common goal could generate much more interest and response.  Both of the issues you listed are excellent examples. 

I am aware that these issues may be discussed at the upcoming event in South Carolina, but I personally feel there are many freethinkers out there that are likely to shy away from such an event because of the term 'atheist'.  If I had better connections, I would love to pull together an event that appeals to freethinkers specifically to discuss these types of issues - particularly in light of the upcoming election.  In doing so, we would be able to reach a larger audience and begin to remove the stigma associated with the word 'atheist'.  <shrug> Just my thoughts...


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Tomcat wrote: Um, should I

Tomcat wrote:
Um, should I say, bitter much?

The irony here is devestating. 

Quote:
You're blatantly threadjacking.

No, he's blatantly providing comparitive figures. 

Quote:
Pretty rude, but I shouldn't expect any less from people on the internet.

Such as yourself it would seem. 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


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For a little context, I was

For a little context, I was at one point attending an AG church. One of the formative experiences for me was when one of their "salvation" campaigns so strongly resembled the marketing of a product that I just couldn't "feel" god in it. But I did remember they were good at counting souls so it was pretty easy to dig that up.

While I was not displaying bitterness, I was taking a bit of a jab at the statistic. Religion is still growing, just not in Europe. Atheists DO have a tough row to hoe. Religions have had a great deal more practice at attracting new members. And athiesm requires one thing that many people don't care to do - asking good questions.


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Quote: For a little

Quote:

For a little context, I was at one point attending an AG church. One of the formative experiences for me was when one of their "salvation" campaigns so strongly resembled the marketing of a product that I just couldn't "feel" god in it. But I did remember they were good at counting souls so it was pretty easy to dig that up.

While I was not displaying bitterness, I was taking a bit of a jab at the statistic. Religion is still growing, just not in Europe. Atheists DO have a tough row to hoe. Religions have had a great deal more practice at attracting new members. And athiesm requires one thing that many people don't care to do - asking good questions.

When I was de-programming my brain from theism (yes, I did actively de-program myself.  It helped that I studied psychology.) one of the exercises I did was to watch late night infomercials for pyramid programs, get rich quick schemes, and male enhancement products.  The trick was that I ignored the language as much as I could.  I only watched the speakers, listened to the inflections in their voice, and noticed the surroundings, clothing, etc...   It helped that I had a few Spanish channels.  When I was done with that, I watched church services the same way, only adding religious symbols to my list of things to ignore.   Again, foriegn languages were my friend.

The thing that most atheists realize is that there's no significant difference at all.

Atheists have more than one image problem.  It's a difficult sell because it asks people to believe things they really, really don't want to believe.  Furthermore, atheists are loathe to resort to the kind of hard sell tactics used on late night tv, Amway meetings, and revival meetings.  They accurately point out that these methods appeal to emotions, and do not have anything to do with the truth value of what they're selling, or even whether or not the potential buyer needs or wants the product.

Nevertheless, TV spots aren't cheap, and I notice that there's never a shortage of quackery to buy on late night TV.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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No matter what the number

No matter what the number are, I think we have a reason to be optimistic. When I walk into Borders Bookstore, right in front of me on the best sellers shelf are books by atheist authors; "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, "God is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens, "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, "Breaking the Spell" by Daniel Dennett. And chances are this is only the begining of what's to come on the subject.

The current scandals among evangelicals and conservative Christian lawmakers are causing some to doubt the sincerity of those who say they stand for Biblical truth in America. Americans may begin to look elsewhere for answers.

The internet is a powerful tool for logic and rational thinking. As Tomcat pointed out, atheist websites are on the rise and people are speaking out like never before. The discussions in favor of atheism in the forums on this website are many times very convincing and hard to argue against.

As I type these words there are 292 guests visiting the Rational Response Squad website. If only 5 percent of those people start to question their irrational religious beliefs as a result of this site, that's almost 15 people in one night. That ends up being 5,475 people a year. And in five years that's 27,375 people. And my guess is that the number is probably much higher than that.

The belief in an afterlife might attract many to theism, but I think there's a lot of folks out there that crave logic and reason in a world of lies and make-believe.

I think in the not-to-distant future atheists, free thinkers, and skeptics will together become a group that America will be forced to contend with. And maybe someday soon, one of the questions asked of US presidential candidates will be, "What's your stand on the belief in talking donkeys?"

 

 

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


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RickRebel wrote: The

RickRebel wrote:

The belief in an afterlife might attract many to theism, but I think there's a lot of folks out there that crave logic and reason in a world of lies and make-believe.

 Call me a cynic, but I think most people crave pleasure and entertainment. Logic and reason be hanged if it ain't fun. Then there's people like me. I actually find some pleasure in logic and reason. But I'm still a theist. 


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Quote: Call me a cynic, but

Quote:
Call me a cynic, but I think most people crave pleasure and entertainment. Logic and reason be hanged if it ain't fun. Then there's people like me. I actually find some pleasure in logic and reason. But I'm still a theist.

Seriously, I have a little bit of beer in my nose after reading that. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice it to say you crack me up from time to time.

As for your observation, I'd say that I've seen four basic types of people.

1) Young pleasure and entertainment, old logic and reason

2) Young logic and reason, old pleasure and entertainment

3) All logic and reason

4) All pleasure and entertainment.

For my money, the only ones who are any fun at all are the ones in group 2. They've figured out the best way to have pleasure and entertainment, since they were logical to start out with.

In all sincerity, I think most people seek a balance between logic and reason and pleasure and entertainment. I don't know how old you are, wave, but if most of your friends are group 4, I'd suggest you try to make older friends. Or, maybe just wiser ones.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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What I hope is that it's

What I hope is that it's getting harder to misrepresent atheism. Theism has already discredited itself as a bastion of morality in some ways. Now that there are more vocal atheists, it'll be harder for nimrods like Star Jones or George Bush to go unchallenged when they make stupid comments about atheists. People need to get excited about the prospects new information and science promises. Dawkins made a good point in his new series, "Enemies of Reason," that the west is so jaded to the benefits of modern science and secular culture, while not really knowing or caring how any of it works, that it takes them for granted while looking for answers in superstition. Once you start asking questions and getting interested in knowledge, hanging on to religion is impossible.


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Quote: Once you start

Quote:
Once you start asking questions and getting interested in knowledge, hanging on to religion is impossible.

History isn't very reassuring in one sense.  I can't think of too many wealthy and technologically advanced world (regional) powers who had a good track record of keeping the populace interested in the nuts and bolts of things.

I mean, for Jake's sake, not too many years ago, a food company had pretty good success with a prepackaged peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Read that again.  Prepackaged PB&J.  Bread.  Knife.  Peanut Butter.  Jelly.  Thirty seconds.

This is the same populace that you're hoping will read about evolution?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Tomcat wrote: A post I

Tomcat wrote:

A post I found interesting on iidb this morning:

Quote:
Out of curiosity, I started tracking the membership stats in Atheist Meetups at meetup.com. With about two months worth of numbers I thought I'd post some results. The growth in the total number of members will be a little iffy, because the site deletes inactive members every so often, and there is one mass deletion that happened ~7/16 - membership dropped from 18,286 to 17,267.

6/27/2007 - 155 groups in 128 cities consisting of 17,915 total members
8/25/2007 - 171 groups in 139 cities consisting of 18,667 total members

Growth in number of groups: 10 %
Growth in number of cities: 8.6 %
Growth in total membership: 4.2 %

Pretty impressive growth rates in atheist / freethinker / humanist groups over only two months. I suspect the actual growth in total membership is much closer to the groups and cities rates but I won't know until they do another mass deletion and I can compare apples to apples.

Impressive growth in 2 months

 Can we somehow compare the atheists meetup stats to the statistics of total members at meetup? It could be that meetup is becoming more popular, so more people are signing up, and "more people" includes the usual smattering of atheists. 

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Well I know in the UK more

Well I know in the UK more people go to football matches each Sunday than go to church (thats proper football not the american version of rugby)

 As a political force in the Western world is religion is dead , America is just playing catch up


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Atheists are the growth leaders in the USA

According to Wikipedia:"Religion in the United States", Atheist are the only group to show significant growth between the years 1990 and 2001. Atheist/Agnostics had 6.6% growth. The second most growth went to "Christian - no denomination reported", with 2.5% growth. Most other groups actually had a loss of adherents. The proportion of the adult population who do not subscribe to any religious identification has increased from 8% in 1990 to over 14% in 2001.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States

 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca