Essay: Conservapedia's effect on the atheist population

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Questions:

1. How much influence does Conservapedia atheism articles have on atheists?

2. Are there any specific instances of Conservapedia affecting atheists?

3. Is there any data supporting Conservapedia affecting atheists?

Traffic volume to Conservapedia's atheism articles

Conservapedia's atheism content continues to rack up hundreds of thousands of page views. And it's flagship atheism article has easily surpassed 1,000,000 page views and may well have received millions of page views. And an agnostic member of an atheist/agnostic wiki admitted that an editor of the User: Conservative account sometimes makes good points (See: Essay: British agnostic acknowledges the reasonableness of a User: Conservative editor).

Endorsements Conservapedia's atheism articles have received

The PNN News and Ministry Network produced a video entitled Viral article deals major blow to atheism. The Freedom From Atheism Foundation has featured several Conservapedia atheism articles on their Facebook page. Vox Day, author of the the book The Irrational Atheist, features a link to the Conservapedia atheism article on his main blog in its blog roll.[1]

Key instances of Conservapedia affecting the atheist population

The majority of atheists are left of center politically (see: Atheism and politics). Conservapedia's referral traffic from other websites which can be seen at Conservapedia Alexa, indicates Conservapedia's traffic from websites other than Google is often from politically far/center left websites.

Before Richard Dawkins was essentially stripped of his public influence by feminists (see: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence and Elevatorgate), Ms. Magazine quoted Conservapedia indicating that most of Richard Dawkins' website traffic was from males.[2] In addition, Conservapedia's articles demonstrating that women are often treated badly by male atheists received a notable amount of traffic (for example, see the article Atheism and women). So perhaps, Conservapedia helped stoke anti-Dawkins feminist animus prior to him making his Elevatorgate gaffes that greatly inflamed feminists against him. Elevatorgate played a huge role in causing the death/decline of the atheist movement (see: Decline of the atheist movement).

In addition, a lot of Conservapedia's web traffic comes from the USA according to Alexa. When you look at this excerpt from the speech of the 2018 American Atheists convention and see that survey data from the last 10 years or so indicates that American's negative view of atheists have sharpened (See: Views on atheists), it could be argued that Conservapedia has had a deleterious/negative effect on American atheism (and perhaps other geographic areas as well given that Conservapedia's collection of atheism articles is getting hundreds of thousands of page views. See data on American Atheism, British/UK atheism and global atheism below). Of course, it could also be argued that Donald Trump's election, the obnoxiousness of new atheists and the amount of annoying internet atheists before the New Atheism movement died, mainly caused negative changes in relation to American atheism and a loss of morale among many American atheists (internet atheism has waned. See: Internet atheism web traffic volume).

Next, in reaction to Conservapedia's evolution/atheism content, an atheist/agnostic wiki was launched which morphed into a feminist, social justice warrior (SJW), progressive, atheist/agnostic wiki (see: Essay: Conservapedia triumphs over atheist/agnostic wiki and Essay: The atheism killing atheist wiki that Conservapedia spawned). SJW atheists have been very divisive among the Western atheists population and many blame them for the deep schisms that have developed within the Western atheist population (see: Atheist factions) which lead to the death/decline of the atheist movement (see: Decline of the atheist movement). The atheist PZ Myers said about the current rifts in the atheist movement: "So deep and wide we’ve separated into two continents."[3]

In 2017, atheist David Smalley has indicated that leftist/progressive atheists were "killing the atheist movement" through being contentious and divisive (see also: Atheist factions).[4] Smalley indicated that the atheist movement was disintegrating.[5]

Numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead" or that it is dying.[6] See also: Morale of the atheist movement

The website Atheism and the City wrote about the 2018 cancellation of the first major atheist conference to be held in New York City:

But none of this is going to happen now because the event has just been canceled. The reasons why are complicated, but it started out difficult enough. The atheist community has splintered into a million shards in recent years. There are the atheist feminists and the atheist anti-feminists, the social justice warrior atheists and the anti-social justice warrior atheists. The pro-PC atheists and the anti-PC atheists. There are pro-Trump atheists and anti pro-Trump atheists. Atheists are split over gamergate, elevatorgate, whether we should organize, or whether we should even call ourselves atheists at all. The divisions go on and on.[7]

The Journal of Contemporary Religion says about schisms within atheism: "The persistence of internal schisms and regular outbreaks of in-fighting within the atheist movement also ensure that much energy is effectively wasted on parochial concerns and further undermine attempts to establish a genuine sense of group cohesion."[8]

Christian influence on atheists

As much as Western atheists are loathe to admit it, Christians continue to have more influence on atheists than atheists have influence on Christians. And this Christian influence is expected to grow in time (see: Desecularization and Future of Christianity).

Consider:

1. Atheists with social contacts with Christians give more to charity than other atheists (see: Atheism and charity).

Dr. William Lane Craig points out that the social science research indicates that atheists who have family/social contacts with religious people give more to charity than atheists who do not have such an influence.[9]

Craig, citing research published by author Arthur C. Brooks, points out that atheists raised in religious households are twice as likely to give to charity than those raised in nonreligious households.[9]

2. Protestant cultural legacies

3. Atheists adopting theistic morality

An unborn child in the womb. Liberals believe that the unborn child has no right to life.

4. Abortion has many restrictions in many states of the United States and many American Christians are pro-life activists.

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufmann wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[10]

Future Christian influence on atheists

Christian influence is expected to grow in time as can be seen via reading the articles below:

David Silverman's speech at the 2018 American Atheists convention

At the 2018 American Atheists convention, the ex-president of the American Atheist organization David Silverman declared:

It is a hard time to be an atheist activist. This has affected us. And it has affected our community...

...it has really affected us. We are suffering a level of defeatism that I have never seen before...

We feel the loss. And we feel like we have lost. We feel like we lost the election... We see this cascade of attack coming down at us over and over from all different directions and we feel like it's over. I have heard so many times it makes me sick. It makes me sad. It feels like we lost.

The apathy that follows. It doesn't matter. We can't win anyways. It's useless to fight. This apathy is infecting us. It's hurting us.

And people are reacting to each other now. And so that is causing a division. Lots and lots of division in our movement. Hard, bad division... And that has resulted in a splintering and factioning of the movement that I have never seen before and none of us have.

In other words, we're in a bad situation and it's getting worse.[11]

University of Minnesota indicates that American dislike of atheists grew

A 2016 press release of a University of Minnesota study on atheists reported:

Survey data collected in 2014 shows that, compared to data collected in 2003, Americans have sharpened their negative views of atheists...

The findings of this most recent survey support the argument that atheists are persistent cultural outsiders in the United States because they are perceived to have rejected cultural values and practices understood as essential to private morality, civic virtue, and national identity. Moreover, any refusal to embrace a religious identity of any type is troubling for a large portion of Americans.[12]

The atheist Dan Arel reported:

In 2014, Pew Research found that atheists ranked down at the bottom of the list, only 1 point above Muslims as the least trusted religious demographic in the United States...

Now, according to a new study released by University of Minnesota sociologists shows that today, atheists are the most disliked.

The study compared a previous 2003 study with the new study, originally conducted in 2014, and found that Americans have only sharpened their dislike for atheists and religious nones.[13]

According the American atheist author Kevin Davis, atheism has an "unshakeable stigma".[14]

Survey data on American atheism

See also: American atheism

In June 2016, American Interest reported:

First of all, religious belief is still very powerful and widespread, and there is nothing inevitable about its decline. In fact, the proportion of people who say they believe in God actually ticked modestly upward, from 86 percent to 89 percent, since Gallup last asked the question in 2014.[15]

According to the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS), the number of atheists and agnostics in the United States has remained relatively stable in the past 23 years. In 2014, 3% of Americans identified as atheists, and 5% identified as agnostics.[16] In 1991, 2% of Americans identified as atheist, and 4% identified as agnostic.[17]

British/UK atheism

See also: British atheism

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[18]

On December 2018, The Times indicated: "The number of atheists in Britain has fallen in the past year, according to a survey suggesting that more people are attending church, albeit irregularly."[19]

The Guardian published an article in 2017 entitled Nearly 50% are of no religion – but has UK hit ‘peak secular’? which declared:

But, Bullivant told the Observer that the “growth of no religion may have stalled”. After consistent decline, in the past few years the proportion of nones appears to have stabilised. “Younger people tend to be more non-religious, so you’d expect it to keep going – but it hasn’t. The steady growth of non-Christian religions is a contributing factor, but I wonder if everyone who is going to give up their Anglican affiliation has done so by now? We’ve seen a vast shedding of nominal Christianity, and perhaps it’s now down to its hardcore.[20]

In the United States, the vast majority of individuals who are "Nones"/"no religion" (people who are not part of organized religion) believe in the existence of God. Fewer than 15% of the "nones" consider themselves atheists.[21]

Conatus News reported in 2017:

Church of England worshippers increase 0.8 per cent since 2009. The number of non-religious people falls from 50.65% to 48.6%

Rise in Church of England worshippers likely due to resurgence in patriotism and pride in Christianity, a report has found

According to a new report, for every person brought up in a non-religious household who becomes a churchgoer, 26 people raised as Christians now identify as non-believers.

The study, which is based on an analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey and the European Social Survey, reported that the proportion of non-religious in the UK hit a high of 50.6 per cent in 2009. However, it has been decreasing ever since and hit 48.6 per cent in 2015.

However, the proportion of those who identify as Church of England worshippers has seen a slight increased from 16.3 per cent in 2009 to 17.1 per cent in 2015.[22]

Global atheism

See also: Global atheism and Global atheism statistics

Post 1970 global atheism

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:

Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) in South Hamilton, Mass."[23]

Eric Kaufman on global atheism as a percentage of the world's population

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London whose work focuses on how demographic changes affects religion/politics, points out that that the atheist population has a sub-replacement fertility rate while religious fundamentalists have high rates of birth (See: Atheism and fertility rates). .[24]

On December 23, 2012, Professor Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London and whose academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics, wrote:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. [25]

Encyclopedia Britannica statistics on global atheism

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, 2% of the world's population self-identifies as atheist and the average annual global change for atheism from 2000 to 2010 was −0.17%.[26] See also: Desecularization

A survey published in the 2005 Encyclopedia Britannica stated that 2.3% of the world's population consists of individuals who profess "atheism, skepticism, disbelief, or irreligion, including the militantly antireligious."[27] In regards to the 2.3% figure just mentioned, the 2005 survey cited by Encyclopedia Britannica survey did not include Buddhist in regards to the 2.3% figure and Buddhism can be theistic or atheistic.[28][29]

Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary statistics

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:

Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) in South Hamilton, Mass."[30]

GCTS Tables on the decline/growth of atheism/Christianity/other religions, by year

Data compiled by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS):

Notes

  1. Vox Popoli
  2. Will “New Atheism” Make Room For Women? by MONICA SHORES. Ms. Magazine
  3. Get Out! A message for the atheist movement by PZ Myers
  4. Reasonably Controversial: How the Regressive Left Is Killing the Atheist Movement by David Smalley
  5. Reasonably Controversial: How the Regressive Left Is Killing the Atheist Movement by David Smalley
  6. The Atheist Conference is Dead
  7. Divided We Stand: The Politics of the Atheist Movement in the United States by Steven KettellJournal of Contemporary Religion, Volume 29, Issue 3, 2014
  8. 9.0 9.1 Christians Give more to Charity than Atheists (YouTube video featuring an audio clip of Dr. William Lane Craig)
  9. Why is the year 2020 a key year for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  10. David Silverman - How the Mighty Get Back Up
  11. Atheists Remain Most Disliked Religious Minority in the US
  12. Study: Atheists remain the most disliked religious minority in the U.S.
  13. An Atheist Walks into a Christian Meeting about Atheism by Kevin Davis
  14. Atheism is Rising, But…, American Interest
  15. Hout, Michael; Smith, Tom (March 2015). "Fewer Americans Affiliate with Organized Religions, Belief and Practice Unchanged: Key Findings from the 2014 General Social Survey" (PDF). General Social Survey. NORC
  16. Hout, Michael; Smith, Tom (March 2015). "Fewer Americans Affiliate with Organized Religions, Belief and Practice Unchanged: Key Findings from the 2014 General Social Survey" (PDF). General Social Survey. NORC
  17. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  18. Atheism is down as UK gets spiritual, The Times, December 2018
  19. Nearly 50% are of no religion – but has UK hit ‘peak secular’?, The Guardian, 2017
  20. Meet the 'Nones:' Spiritual but not religious
  21. British Patriotism Sees Number of Anglicans Rise and the Non-Religious Fall, Conatus News , 2017
  22. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  23. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  24. Religion: Year in Review 2010: Worldwide Adherents of All Religions. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.. Retrieved on 2013-11-21.
  25. http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9432620
  26. http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/beliefs/atheism.htm
  27. http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9432620
  28. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020