Sunday assorted links


So Catholics best represent all U.S. adults in terms of political affiliation?

No wonder a certain sort of Republican is trembling at all those ethnic Catholics making their influence felt.

And Trump feuding with the pope is unlikely to be a help in this regard, either - 'Donald Trump has called Pope Francis “disgraceful” over the pontiff’s suggestion the Republican presidential frontrunner was “not a Christian” for his plan to build a wall at the Mexican border.

Flying back to Rome from a trip to Mexico, the pope said: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Trump responded swiftly at a campaign event in South Carolina, saying: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

“No leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he told a packed room at a golf course resort. Trump then accused the Mexican government of “using the pope as a pawn”.

“They should be ashamed of themselves, especially when so many lives are involved and illegal immigration is rampant and bad for the United States.”

During his in-flight press conference, the pope insisted he did not mean to sway any Americans with his comments. “As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that,” he said.

“I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

In a press release timed to coincide with his rally, Trump suggested that the leader of the Catholic church would regret not supporting his candidacy. “If and when the Vatican is attacked by Isis, which as everyone knows is Isis’s ultimate trophy,” Trump said, “the pope can have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened.

“Isis would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.”

But the billionaire said he did not take the pope’s remarks personally. “The pope said negative things about me because the Mexican government convinced him Trump is not a good guy,” he said.

“The Mexican government has made many disparaging remarks about me to the pope because they want to continuing ripping us off,” he added.

He also dismissed the pope’s remarks in general: “Now it’s probably going to be all over the world. Who the hell cares? OK? I don’t care.”'

The "Trump" style candidate who just won the Philippine presidential election also made disparaging pope comments, and it didn't hurt his campaign in the heavily Catholic Philippines.

The biggest surprise is that Orthodox Christians are largely Democrats, but that could be because Greeks are largely aligned with the Democratic party.

They're a small segment so difficult to poll. Ethnic Greeks were not notably Democratic a generation ago (what polling done indicated that Michael Dukakis did not do any better among Greeks than among generic Americans). Again, they almost certainly are not polling those at the divine liturgy every week. They're polling self-identifiers (likely amply populated with 3d generation ethnics for whom politics and religion are treated like heirlooms).

I am the Liturgy regularly (every week unless ill or traveling). While I have no party affiliation you couldn't get me to vote for a Republican (with one possible exception) for major office if you waved a winning Lotto ticket under my noise. (The possible exception is Gov. Larry Hogan when/if he runs for reelection in 2018). I know other people of fairly liberal political persuasion at my church also. To be sure the converts from evangelical Protestant churches do tend to vote Republican, but Catholic converts like myself trend liberal (noted blogger Rod Dreher aside, and even Dreher is only conservative on social issues) and cradle Orthodox are all over the map.

Another factor as well: The GOP lost the Orthodox votes they used to have during the Cold War when they attacked Iraq under Bush. The Orthodox hierarchy, both in and out of the US, was unstinting in condemning the war, and since the long-term result has been persecution and ruin for Orthodox Christians in the Middle East those condemnations have been listened to by many people.

Iraqi Christians were largely Catholic and Nestorian. The Orthodoc were in the Levant, and were not injured by the Iraq war.

The “Trump” style candidate who just won the Philippine presidential election also made disparaging pope comments, and it didn’t hurt his campaign in the heavily Catholic Philippines.

Cannot say about the Philippines, but the conduct of the Pope and much of the episcopacy in North America has cost them the deference of committed Catholics. See Fr. Paul Mankowski's article "Tames in Clerical Culture" for an explanation of what committed Catholics are repelled by. Most bishops stink.

It's interesting that Catholics have opposed their own catechism in greater numbers than the general public, and it seems like the current pope oppose the churches own policy. He could change it but probably wants to wait for the approval of more cardinals. On the other hand, there have been various reversals in the past as it was unclear who would declared an anti-pope due to political change.

While they may affiliate a certain way, they seem unusually well organized and are probably much more successful than the public as a whole. On the other hand, if all seventh-day Adventists are in fact dentists, maybe they are the highest earning. Be worth publishing another chart.

No, committed Catholics do not 'oppose their own catechism'. They are fed up with bishops. There are a large mass of attending Catholics who are very fuzzy in their subscription to the catechism, but that's true of clergy as well (and quite unremarkable in protestant bodies). Those aren't 'committed Catholics' except in an organizational sense.

A fair number of Orthodox Christians are either immigrants or have recent immigrant family roots. GOP nativism is hardly attractive to such people.

You'd be surprised.

And Trump feuding with the pope is unlikely to be a help in this regard

I doubt it. The Left hated the Catholic Church and especially JP II for his uncompromising resistance to Communism. They have consistently demeaned and undermined the authority of the Pope. I doubt many American Catholics now care. You can't, after all, pick and choose which Pope to listen to.

Those that are inclined to still listen to the Pope are unlikely to be impressed by this Liberation Theologist. Even if they were, they can recognize rank hypocrisy when they see it. So a Latin American Catholic wants America to become more Latin American and Catholic? You don't say. Who could have guessed?

On top of which Frankie lives behind a big wall guarded by his own private mercenary Army. He can strike specious poses on immigration because he does not bear the costs. Not having any 12 year old daughters I know of. As the late and mostly unlamented Earl Butz said in a similar context - and apologies for the insensitivity another generation felt appropriate - He No Playa The Game He No Maka The Rules.

Well that's the thing about being Catholic isn't it? You don't really have a say in church doctrine or how its leader interprets it. Papal supremacy and all.

12 year old daughters?

As I said. However theologically this is true, sociologically it is not. The Left has been telling Catholics they should ignore the Pope on a whole range of issues - at least they did when the Pope hated Communism. And it works. Catholics no longer avoid birth control in significant numbers in the First World. Catholics can and do ignore the Pope when it suits them. This Pope is likely to make a lot of Catholics ignore him. He seems to think his core audience is former Catholics who work for NPR.

Again, as I said, a man who literally lives behind walls guarded by his own private Army - just one acid spill away from being a Bond villain - really has no business telling other people what to do with refugees. Frankie ought to think about why the last time there were a lot of Muslims in Italy, the Popes lived in Castel Sant'Angelo

This phenomenon is true for any religion. On the one hand religion is fantasy and childish. On the other hand, real life happens.

Just to clarify matters, there is a huge mass of settled teaching on doctrine, morals, and ecclesiology. Some requires assent and some requires mere obedience. There are also the missives of ecclesiastics.. These require respectful attention but not submission. Then you have the press releases of standing episcopal conferences, which are of no account. An oecumenical council has teaching authority. The standing bishops' conferences do not. Very little of what Francis says binds the conscience. The teachings on human sexuality and family life which get prog-trash in such a lather were not initiatives of the Popes occupying the Chair of Peter between 1963 and 2013. They were antique teachings restated by these Popes.

I think you're confusing the continental left with the Anglo-American left. The issue with the left in this country has always been the Church's teaching on human sexuality and family life. John Paul II offered some new modes of discussion (Theology of the Body), but did not alter those teachings at all. It was the refusal of the Church to alter those teachings that has bourgeois twits in such a snit about them.

It's important to divide the Catholic vote by ethnic. You've got a pretty big difference between Northeast White Catholics and Southeast Hispanic Catholics. Even within the democratic party, many of the Catholics there are Old Left New Dealers, and can often be won over as Reagan democrats if you make the right appeal. Many don't like New Left progressivism, though you won't find a lot of libertarians either.

Another interesting fact is that the famous 40% Hispanic number that GWB hit in 2004. It was actually 33%, unchanged from 2000 (56% of white catholics voted for GWB). Bush made all his gains amongst evangelical Hispanics, racking up 56% of them (compared to 44% in 2000). So Bush's outreach to Hispanics was very much a part of his evangelical turnout strategy and the big megachurches. However, evangelicals are dead as a political force these days, much to the delight of many of the people on this board.

You’ve got a pretty big difference between Northeast White Catholics and Southeast Hispanic Catholics

Yeah. The liturgy is more respectfully conducted in Texas.

Anyone can practice their religion however they want, but from the POV of the Jehovah Witness official organization, aren't those GOP and Democratic supporting followers quite obviously breaking from JW dogma? I'm curious if there is any institutional penalty for doing so (like how Catholicism has ex-communication for certain trespasses), or if you can just do whatever you want and remain in good standing.

Off with their heads! The margin of error is so high that it is meaningless. For groups whose count within the sample is higher, there may be some insight to be gained.

Yup, this Pew chart on Religion/politics is meaningless -- unscientific and bogus.

Should be obvious that NOBODY can accurately measure the political affiliation of the nation's huge population, neatly categorized by 30 religions... with a 1% precision. It's absurd on it's face, but most here readily accept it at face value.

This Pew "preliminary" (never scrubbed/finalized) data comes from exit poll interviews in the 2012 U.S. general election. It's a non-random convenience sample, totally reliant upon assumed 'honest' answers from people who volunteered to be interviewed. And since almost half of eligible American
citizens did not vote in 2012 -- Pew has absolutely no measure of their religion or politics.
Do you think that people who go to vote and volunteer for personal interviews there... might think differently from those that do NOT ??

Who cares about those that didn't vote? It's the voters that count.

Where does it show what the margins of error are? Pew does pretty good polling and from my past research on the topic, their methodology is generally very solid.

That no margin of error is specified -- is unprofessional and a huge red flag on the data.

Even a very basic knowledge of Survey Research principles would prompt deep skepticism of Pew's assertions here; the methodology is VERY weak, with an error margin at least +/- 25%.

Big public opinion polling firms routinely issue garbage survey results.

Where is the methodology specified? If the MoE is 25% then the 95% confidence interval is 50%, right? Doesn't that imply a sample size of 16? If that's correct then it's nonsense, but I doubt that's right.

Pew did not publish its detailed methodology (very unprofessional), just the circumstances of the data collection (if you dig through their website). Very understandable why PEW would conceal the details of this questionable survey report.

You are merely referring to "sampling error" in margin of error calculation, which is just one of many possible error sources forming the "Total" margin of error, to which I was referring. Sampling-Error is easily calculated and normally a non-issue in professional surveys. The big error sources here are Selection-Bias, Non-Response Rate, Non-Random Sample, and Self-Reporting Bias.

Probability sampling denote very specific and rigorous procedures for gathering and analyzing data to achieve results accurately representative of a whole population under study. Shortcuts yield results with high margins of error and uncertainty. Anybody can publish non-scientific estimates about any aspect of any population.

What the heck is the difference between the 'Anglican' church and Episcopalians?

Even though the Episcoplians are in the Anglican Communion, there is a separate Anglican Church in America body that is not (confusingly) in the Anglican Communion, but rather in the Anglican Continuum (a more traditional body of churches).

To make matters more confusing, there is also a Anglican Catholic Church.

1. Charlie "they are coming for your guns" Cooke. I suppose it's fitting that Cooke, an owner of an AR15, would be named editor after signaling his worst instincts.

6. Of course, this list could be described as the intelligence of U.S. religious groups (the top being most ignorant and becoming progressively more intelligent as one goes down the list).

They are coming for everyone's guns. As much as the Democrats may deny it they clearly are. Cooke is not wrong to point this out. Nor is it his worst instinct to point out the contempt the Left has for those parts of the Constitution they do not like - including, these days, the First as well as the Second amendment.

It could be described as the intelligence. But only if someone was cruising for a fight. It is interesting that the Left-Right divide has become a cognitive one. The university-educated vote more money for themselves and their pet causes, calling it socialism, while displaying incredible contempt for everyone else - especially if they do not have a lot of education. The old Right patronized the poorly educated and dim, but they did not hate them. The new Left does.

I put it down to a ethnic division. The old Anglo-American elite is being replaced by an Ellis-island elite. So basically people of British origin were bred to deal politely with the person who held his horse. But the son of generations of rabbis has nothing but contempt for peasants.

So groups that vote Republican are not stupid as such - that assume data that is not in evidence - but that groups that vote Republican are demonized. Both by the well educated assuming they are stupid but also by being given rude name like "evangelical" while groups that vote Democrat are called "mainstream". If the largest Christian groups are not mainline, what does that term even mean?

SMFS, I'm not noticing this contempt is notably worse among Jewish elites than among gentile elites. See Robert Bork's critique of John Paul Stevens. Also, the Jewish population is < 2% of the total and suffering a demographic implosion as low fertility and inter-marriage take their toll. Endogamous Jews who have a mess of kids tend to be orthodox and have quite ordinary employments.

I think that the Ellis Island groups are more than just Jews - although what they all tend to have in common is a lack of a feudal past where upper class people would be expected to command lower class people. The Italians for instance. However I think the success of Jewish America is largely through their dominance of institutions like academia and the media. So they have a much larger influence than people think.

I do think there is a general contempt of ordinary Americans among many Jewish American writers that you do not find in Anglo-Americans. Look at writing on America's Wars. Jewish writers are almost uniformly hostile. Even when they support the war effort, as in World War Two for instance, they are often not happy. Take Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead which would be called a racist hate-screed if it talked about any of the Ellis Island groups the way it talked about Anglo-Americans - all of whom are Nazis, anti-semites, bigots or mentally retarded.

It does not matter how unhappy an Anglo-American author was in the Army, he usually liked the people he served with. Paul Fussell did not have a happy war but I don't recall him hating the people he messed with.

Thomas Jefferson was an elitist, but he thought the small towns and farming communities the backbone of a healthy Republic. New York values now means utter contempt for the bitter clingers who have been left behind by the cognitive elites. That is modern American politics in a nut shell. New York hates Peoria and wants to destroy it.

Come again? Land tenures varied from one section of Europe to another, but only in mountain districts did you see an absence of feudal relations. Italy was no exception. The nobility and gentry were likely not among those immigrating to the U.S. after 1880, but these social strata were not well represented among the colonial era immigrants, either.

Paul Fussell made no bones about his contempt for the military and his superior officers. I've known a few WWII and Korea-era veterans in my time, and none of them talked like that. Among my friends was a man who had once been an aide to Vito Marcantonio. Nor did Fussell's contemporaries among public intellectuals talk like that (consider Irving Howe or Arthur Schlesinger or Irving Kristol). One speculative assessment of Fussell I've seen in print (by a man transmitting his father's opinions) was that Fussell must have been a terrible soldier and a hazard to his platoon mates, and spent decades justifying himself by imputing incompetence to his superiors. Just a thought.

I do agree with you that certain Jewish public intellectuals (Leon Wieseltier and Robert Wistrich most notably, but also Martin Peretz) arrogate to themselves a franchise no one else claims, and no one ever calls them on it bar people like Joseph Sobran (a man who was for passable reasons beyond the pale). And Matthew Yglesias has admitted that his grandmother told him that WASPs 'do not love their children'. I've never encountered any of this personally.

Jews are niched in occupations which require verbal agility (the law, the media), so can cause more trouble than their numbers would suggest. At the same time, their influence has been declining. AFAIK, CBS is the only major media company which retains Jewish leadership. The entertainment media were dominated by Jewish companies in 1940 (CBS and NBC were founded by Jews, as were 4 of the 6 major film studios) - an issued product much more likely to incorporate patriotic assumptions than is the case today.

Art Deco June 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm

In most of Italy, especially southern Italy, you had share croppers not a genuine feudal tenure. Soldiering too was professional rather than hereditary.

Fussell had problems in the Army. We agree. I am sure he was not a particularly good soldier. But I can't recall him ever expressing such complete contempt for his fellow soldiers and the society that created them in the way that Norman Mailer or even Joseph Heller did.

I am happy to consider Irving Howe or Arthur Schlesinger or Irving Kristol. Kristol is famous for claiming that the "war for the world" was one that took place in the cafeteria of City College - between the Trots and Stalinists. Ignoring the actual war going on in Europe. I don't think that shows a great deal of sympathy for the ordinary man. What was Kristol's view on Korea? Vietnam?

"And Matthew Yglesias has admitted that his grandmother told him that WASPs ‘do not love their children’. I’ve never encountered any of this personally."

It is a mainstream media position that WASPs do not love their children. It is pretty much the only ethnic stereotype that is allowed on TV these days. It would be hard to avoid noticing it.

I think that American Jews have grown in confidence. The World War Two generation probably was grateful. And they had reasonable grounds to fear a backlash if they were openly hostile. But the 68 generation did not feel this.

"So basically people of British origin were bred to deal politely with the person who held his horse. But the son of generations of rabbis has nothing but contempt for peasants."
Also, they keep poisoning my wells and poking holes on Matthew 1:23.

Re. "They are coming for everyone's guns."

The sad thing is not the paranoia, but that the paranoia is accepted as a rational position.

No, in a rational world you negotiate a deal, as Mr. Trump tried. The guy is all over the map, but poor guy, when he does extrapolate the rational answer, he trips on taboos. Like the time he thought that anti-abortion must need penalty.

Negotiating a deal just means losing your rights through a death by a thousand cuts. Why would anyone in their right mind negotiate a deal with people who want to confiscate all the guns?

This is not paranoia. It is like Obama's position on Gay marriage. We all knew he was lying. His supporters did. His enemies did. The former did not hold it against him that he was lying. As they do not hold it against Clinton that she was. They expect it. We all know they are lying now.

If abortion was a crime, why would it be anything but sensible to punish people who break the law?

That is just boilerplate against democracy. Cancel your citizenship.

As an aside though, Mr Trump seems more likely to go for something as crazy and non-democratic as "ban all guns," and yet he has the "guns" crowd. A dark comedy.

It seems like a somewhat rational position given the following argument:

1. All proposed gun control laws won't stop mass shootings, much less the much larger number of handgun related gun deaths.
2. Gun control enthusiasts (especially the "serious ones") aren't stupid and know (1).
3. The ultimate goal of gun control enthusiasts is to repeal the second amendment and ban guns, which may be the only way to actually reduce gun deaths.

Now it is probably the case that 2 is false. I think lots of gun control enthusiasts don't have any clue about guns, the statistics of gun violence, etc. They really are just ignorant, and think that laws banning scary looking guns or laws abridging due process for certain types of individuals (Muslims, but let's not say that out loud) will have some significant impact on mass shootings and gun violenc more broadly.

I believe we have discussed, and Tyler has linked to, polls which say that a majority of gun owners support things like improved background checks. That's where democracy should lead.

There is nothing like a majority for "ban all guns," thus I call worrying about it "paranoia."

You may use some opposing minority to justify that paranoia, but that's not rational. They are no more a threat than Libertarians in November.

Maybe we should stop voting because by voting we give the Libertarians a chance to win?

Yeah, that is a good parallel for how silly it all is. We should not allow a vote in November because Libertarians are such a great threat to our public safety.

They want to ban drivers licenses, don't ya know.

Looking it up, Pew says "Now 50% say it is more important to control gun ownership, just slightly more than the 47% who say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns."

The poll is framed for rational people. Should we tilt toward more control, or tilt toward protecting existing rights.

Gallup similarly says "more strict rules, same, less strict" it splits
55%, 33%, 11%

Banning is not realistically on the radar.

Now, do you geniuses have data to show a real political movement to do so? Hard numbers? Or is it all Pavlovian training by the gun lobby?

Right, so you're agreeing with me that (2) is false and that most people don't have a clue about guns or the actual efficacy of proposed gun control laws?

You can lead a commenter to reason, but you can't make him drink.

I even bolded for you that most gun owners support better background checks, which do qualify as "more control" when you ask it that way.

You bob and weave and talk about the non-ownership again. Building a self-justifying fantasy for yourself.

Yes, they support improved background checks, but what evidence is there that improved background checks will decrease gun violence?

And, of course, that has nothing to do with my original point: what are we to make of support for gun control measures that are obviously ineffectual? Either supporter is ignorant, or they are trying to use it as a wedge. Cooke seems to think the latter, I think the former.

I enjoy the intellectual freedom that comes from being raised in a church that doesn't exist anymore. The American Lutheran Church was in addition to those listed above.

I also heard a Danish Lutheran minister in America divide immigrant Lutherans between "Happy Danes and .. the others."

Not really sure what that meant, but if there is a division, I'll choose the happy side.

"Does filling in some actual numbers resolve the Fermi paradox?"

Not the way they do it. They say that our communications haven't reached enough stars for the Fermi paradox to be a bid deal. But it works both ways--there haven't been any communications that we've seen either nor have we seen any evidence.

The most significant numbers in the Fermi paradox are the distances between stars with habitable planets-- and the speed of light. It's simply too far and too difficult to travel those distances unless one assumes that Star Trek warp speed or some maybe wormholes a la "Interstellar" are a reality not a scifi plot device.

oops, evidence of any star faring civilizations.

What is the difference between "Anglican Church" and "Episcopal Church"?

The Episcopal church will be the extremely heterodox if not heretical incumbent US portion of the Anglican communion. The Anglican Church will be the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the dioceses of the Episcopal church that have split off whole (like SC) and a few independent Anglican Churches that have aligned themselves with African Anglican Bishops. The splits are not just over homosexuality. These splits go back to the ordination of women a generation ago.

The Anglican Church in NA split from the Episcopal church due to various differences in 2009:

The Anglican Church is simply the Church of the English, and continued to be so in the American colonies. After the American Revolution, the US branch of the Church called itself "Episcopal," descriptive of its ecclesiology of bishops.

Here's a video of interviews with Israelis of Moroccan descent about their heritage:

6) I wonder what share of Mormons outside of Utah/Arizona/Idaho are Republicans.

Jews and Muslims, together again! Don't they know that if they ganged up against the goyim and infidels they could run this country? (Steve S, insert comment here)

Yeah it could be that this poll is simply showing geographical preferences in voting. South, Central = Red, Coasts = Blue.

Most of them. I've lived in almost every region of the country, and Mormons were solidly Republican everywhere. You might get a few more Mormon dems in NY/DC/Chicago, but that's it. Even L.A. Mormons are Republican.

Back when there was such a thing as a "conservative Democrat," it wasn't nearly so monolithic. But those are about as rare as "Rockefeller Republicans" these days.

I've always been fascinated by the Fermi paradox. The article posted here seems to make the assumption that distant civilizations are waiting to receive extraterrestrial communication before responding, therefore we shouldn't expect to receive a response for over 1,500 years. (I imagine this means that the authors think there is a low probability of advanced civilizations within 750 lights years of our solar system. A quick google search says that the edge of the milky way galaxy is 100,000 light years away.)

The authors then conclude that our planet's loneliness should be expected. Unless the authors address the main questions raised by the Fermi paradox, their conclusion is not justified. The article does not address at least two important questions raised by the Fermi paradox: 1) why haven't we physically interacted with (or been colonized by) extraterrestrial life? and 2) why haven't we received communication from extraterrestrial life? (i.e. shouldn't other civilizations also be sending out similar messages looking for responses?)

Unless there are significant barriers to space travel and communication, or we live in one of the most advanced civilizations in the visible universe (or at least the milky way galaxy), the Fermi paradox is still an open question.

If sublight travel is all there is, that is a big impediment.

It is a big assumption to say we have not been contacted...

One visited once. He was crucified.

I know that story! Beborn Beton - New Born King.

A weak form of the Fermi Paradox suggests only that intelligent life capable of interstellar travel does not exist. There might be intelligent life confined to particular planets or planetary systems.

Agreed. I've never seen the Fermi paradox expressed in such narrow terms (i.e., 'why haven't we had a 2-way conversation with another species?'). Despite the attention this paper has gotten, there's not much to it. It's only about 12 pages, is very shallow, and looks like it was written by a high school senior playing with his calculator.

In my view, rather than electromagnetic communication our first evidence of somebody else out there would be physical. A civilization only a little more advanced than ours could develop self-replicating probes, and if they had a billion years head start on us, the galaxy would be littered with these things by now. Yet it isn't. We are apparently alone, and this slim little paper doesn't shed any more light on why.

It is not obvious why anyone would want to develop self-replicating probes. I mean there are a billion possible social arrangements - many of which could throw off groups that *wanted* to leave. But generally I would assume as societies get richer, they get more comfortable and so less likely to colonize anywhere.

Either that or all civilizations evolve to produce Girls. At which point everyone slits their wrists in existential despair.

Why do you think self-replicating interstellar probes are so easy to build, and why do you think a civilization would cover the galaxy in them?

For that matter, would we even recognize them? When it comes to space travel, "small" and "light" are things you aim for - the best interstellar probes are the smallest possible that can be built.

The problem with your two questions is that they reverse the burden of proof, unfairly. It should be "How do you know that interstellar travel is possible?" and "How can you contact extraterrestrial life?".

There's a lot of handwaving on the engineering challenge. "Oh, we just need to build self-replicating interstellar space probes!"

Yup, Occam's razor would seem to suggest that interstellar communications, probes, and travel are difficult/expensive/impossible.

Before you draw too many fast conclusions, you also want to see where the person identifying themselves by religion lives.

A Baptist in the South may be different than one in the North.

Well, duh. The American Baptist Church is northern in contrast with the Southern Baptists, and, gosh, they are more Dem than the Southern Baptists, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the US, and proud of that fact. The Presbyterians are also split, although like the Anglican/Episcopal one, that is more over social issues and theology rather than location.

There are a very large number of denominations not shown here that are in the US, but offhand, this looks not too far off from what one would expect, with indeed the Orthodox Christian outcome probably being driven by the Greeks, who are the largest in numbers, with some of the other branches of Orthodox Christianity probably more GOP than the Greeks.

To pick on another one that does not appear, the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans are probably even more GOP than the Missouri Synod ones, although probably not by very much.

I'm trying to imagine a U.U. Republican. Must be as lonely as a Republican academic!

Re #5: I'm still with Fermi. If ET exists, he's probably galaxies away.

The summary focuses on human electromagnetic noise / communication. It concludes that that we (humans) haven't been broadcasting long enough for ET to hear. I think that's a poor metric to use.

The "earth" has been broadcasting it's almost unique atmospheric composition for hundreds of millions of years. Earth is a very rare planet with oxygen and water vapor. Any alien SETI telescope array would find us very interesting. And probably send us a probe or 10. And a few strong pings...

How has the Earth been "broadcasting" its atmospheric composition? So far we haven't been able to do anything but guess at the details of exoplanet atmospheres.

Spectroscopy is rather more than "guessing". The gasses interact with light is specific known ways so the absorption lines are a direct measurement of the atmospheric composition. Earth has an atmospheric composition very different to what an abiotic planet would have. Earth has had an unnatural atmospheric composition, (as gaseous oxygen is present in non-trivial quantities) for the last 2.3 billion years since the Great Oxygenation Event.

As I noted above it's not feasible to do that analysis unless you are in the planet's near neighborhood already.

Who's a conservative anymore? I remember when 'liberal' was mildly pejorative (about 30 years ago).

Most everyone who talks about politics in the office is progressive. It's so boring.

If they didn't ask those identifying themselves as being in weekly attendance, the survey is not worth much. This is especially so for liturgical denominations for which missing Mass is a mortal sin.

Why? What religion people self-identify with is just as or even more important than whether they frequently attend services. In fact, this data is from a big survey that included questions on whether and how often they attend services, so it seems they decided it was more meaningful to publish this than only including the results for those who say they attend weekly. They were right.

What religion people self-identify with is just as or even more important than whether they frequently attend services

Only between your two ears.

I'd like to meet a Republican Unitarian.

Hey, 14% of UUs are Republicans, not all that much scarcer than Dem Mormons, although Harry Reid is one of the latter. I know GOP UUs. Probably the most prominent public example recently has been William Cohen, who was a Republican senator from Maine, but then served as SecDef in the Clinton admin. A lot of them are old liberal Republicans in New England.

A NE Republican makes sense (although I wonder if those are Unitarian Universalists or more old-school Unitarians that still have some sort of positive religious doctrine). All of the Unitarian Universalists I know fall into the "goddamned hippie" category.

Where is the Religious Society of Friends (aka, Quakers)?
(my bet would be, mirroring the Universalist crowd)

If you take a close look at those chocolates being served to the Venezuelan "rich socialists" they do not look like any luxury chocolates I've ever seen - they look quite cheap. Not that I'm an expert. Just because you put M&Ms into a fancy looking vase doesn't mean you're rich.

I'd put money down that the chart conflates religious jews with ethnic jews.

Aye. A generation ago, public opinion surveys indicated that 55% of self-identified Jews were professed non-believers and only about 30% maintained a synagogue membership.

I'm an atheist, but not a very good one. I only skip Mass on Christmas and Easter.

I'd like to what happens if you flip the chart and anchor the axis to dems. Does it frame a different first impression?

Also. Anecdotally most mormons i know are pretty much center right economic and center left socially. Just your average northern suburbanites. Not at all like the stereotype

The Fermi Paradox wasn't about the statistical probabilities of aliens seeing us. it was based on why don't we observe them.

Yet there is no contradiction between the meaning of the Fermi paradox and the use of probability theory to explain the paradox (as the authors of the paper at link #5 do), especially if we are uncertain not only about the possibility of intelligent life but also about the possibility of such life receiving signals from us (and us receiving signals from them).

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