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July 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

OECD Better Life Study–My critique of the assumption that it says atheists are happier

Free rider problem:
1) Military
2) Health care innovation
US more individualistic culture, economy, and government created a government subsidy to those country which they don’t pay. We let them free ride on our innovation and military might. Otherwise, we might be able to afford such poverty reduction policies.

Drug problem & hyper-individualism in US has more to do with hollywood & mass media than church.

Materialism of media makes us unhappy. Marx called it relative depravation. Its why CEO pay transparency caused a race to the bottom (or the top depending on how you look at it).

I would suggest that cultural variables make these comparisons challenging. For instance, in culture comparisons go the other way (i.e. the social science says faith makes you happy). What is their metric for happiness?

The type of happiness this measured looks laughable–notice that California and Colorado rate very highly. This suggest that picturesque backdrops, outdoor, and affluence may be more at play than any fundamental notion of happiness thats really enduring (i.e. a more Aristotelean definition).

Well…all those nations presumably have a notion of human rights….versus the alternative. They are still leveraging the human rights paradigm.
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The nature of their definition of happiness is pretty important–are they defining it intrinsically and long term or short term and pleasure oriented. Moreover, the best of the peer reviewed study (100 or more studies) goes the other way on the religiosity question.

The OECD also may not be the best organization. I’m not sure what their agenda is exactly beyond industry, economic growth, and trade and tourism.

And even though we got outranked…it may be the difference between #12 and #1 isn’t all that much.

Here’s a critique of the study from the CATO institute…although this is one of the early versions to be fair:
Page on cato.org
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I think the scale and massification of US cities makes it difficult to achieve the kinds of results that these European ones do.

My guess is most social scientists would point to the correlation/causation problem with this data.

Unfortunately, you can’t factor our the effect that FOX News scaring the heebeegeebess out of its viewers.

I wonder what you would get if you compared just religion US people vs. atheists in these countries. That seems like a more direct comparison.

It would seem that the 2008 recession may have massively effected the data over time (given its US epicenter_….not sure how much it effected the data in 2014. Moreover, those countries are going to be able to deal with shocks like that probably easier.

My guess is that economic inequality is the root cause of this data…which your data can’t fully factor in.

Also, what about atheist countries that aren’t included in this ranking?

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I think the scale and massification of US cities makes it difficult to achieve the kinds of results that these European ones do.

My guess is most social scientists would point to the correlation/causation problem with this data.

Unfortunately, you can’t factor our the effect that FOX News scaring the heebeegeebess out of its viewers.

I wonder what you would get if you compared just religion US people vs. atheists in these countries. That seems like a more direct comparison.

It would seem that the 2008 recession may have massively effected the data over time (given its US epicenter_….not sure how much it effected the data in 2014. Moreover, those countries are going to be able to deal with shocks like that probably easier and their people are going to feel more secure.

Moreover, its probably more correlated to economic insecurity and/or employment and/or poverty level than it is to religiosity. That has more to do with capitalism and the way our welfare state works. It also pointed out that public-sector people were happier–which suggests just having welfare state policies gives these country an advantage. My guess is that economic inequality is the root cause of this data…which your data can’t fully factor in.

Also, what about atheist countries that aren’t included in this ranking?

Not sure if this has anything relevant (link)

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