15 years ago
barter256

Atheists versus Gods?

Why is it that whenever I read a poll or study, over 95% of people believe in some kind of god, but when I am exposed to large groups of people discussing religion, like here on YAHOO!ANSWERS, sometimes as much as half of them have doubts about gods existence? Could the people doing these polls and studies be biased in favor of god?
Top 10 Answers
15 years ago
Alucard
I don't think any statistical data is manipulated. You have to consider it is done with sampling and has a -+3 error. The fact that Y!A is crowded by Atheists is due in part to the fact that it is technology driven and because there are people from hundreds of other countries here. Some countries in Europe have about a 70% Atheist population. And most religious countries and counties within the United States tend to be amongst those with most impoverishment, thus inaccessibility to here. Think of the anomaly in terms of geography. Some places like San Francisco you'll find virtually no religious people, but in Utah you'll probably get near the 100%. Y!A for some reason (I suspect technology) is a kind of San Francisco.
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15 years ago
endrshadow
I hope not. But here's my take on the matter. I would easily say that if I answer a poll about believing in God (something that requires just a yes or no), I would answer yes 100% of the time. I try not to contradict myself when answering questions about beliefs and religion, but when i do answer a lot of questions on the matter, I tend to come out sounding a little less christian and more atheist. I find christians tend to shy away when logic and reason and science overwhelms them...when all they can offer themselves are passages from the bible that they have run raggedfrom misuse and abuse. Atheists (and unsure christians) tend to be more vocal because they can back their opinions with facts and evidence. I digress. I think it's not so much the poll or the pollers as much as it is the platform they have to show their beliefs in.
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15 years ago
©2009
There are few ways statistical data can be manipulated. Quite often publicized polls are trying to use data that fit their agenda and ignore data which does not. When you read survey results, take this into consideration. Raw data can also be manipulated by taking surveys in locations guaranteeing the results pollsters desire. Another point would be that someone can believe in a higher power(s) while still having some doubt as to their existence, relying on their faith to see them through this spiritual struggle.
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15 years ago
Mark M
You assume that people are being honest when they answer the question. Being atheist (or even non-religious) is still considered pretty radical (especially in America's Judeo-Christian society). How comfortable are you telling someone you don't know that you think religion is a sham? Most people aren't. Opinion polls are generally worthless because the takers want to tell the asker what they think they want to hear and/or don't want to seem deviant. How does one explain that the difference in vote counts between exit poll data and election returns is higher for minority and woman candidates than for white males? Most people who won't vote for a black candidate aren't comfortable just telling anyone who asks about it. You tell them what they want to hear...
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15 years ago
doyal797357
polls can be very biased. depending where you ask ( ie church or a college campus..), who you ask, and the phrasing of the question. on yahoo answers you have a large number of younger members and thats what tend to set it off. or people who just like to argue.
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15 years ago
Anonymous
No. Y!A is a self-selecting scenario that skews the ratio. Most of your moderate Christians show up in the surveys but pretty much only people at the ends of the spectrum show up here, and in roughly equal amounts.
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15 years ago
?
The polls are a sampling as well, they take only a certain amount of people, such as only 20% of a population, and base that on the entire 100%. But, yes, they also change it in their favor.
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15 years ago
Tim
That, or the people who are on Yahoo Answers tend to be more of the atheistic stripe.
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15 years ago
spareo1
Sounds like you're saying Christians obtain polling jobs in order to maneuver the results. That seems unlikely as that wouldn't go along with the true Christian walk, if it were the case.
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