In the previous post I wrote about how the link between religion and happiness, often thought to be rock-solid, doesn't seem to apply in England.
That suggests that the relationship between religion and happiness might vary from society to society. Now a new analysis, by Jan Eichhorn at the University of Edinburgh, finds that this indeed might be the case. He looked at 43 countries, mostly from Europe but also including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Same as everyone else Eichhorn found that, on average and after taking other factors into account, religious people (whether measured by belief or attendance) tend to be happier. However, countries with more religious people weren't happier on average.
But then he did something different. He looked at the interaction between personal belief and the the national average. And that revealed a subtley different picture.
Having strong religious beliefs isn't linked to happiness in countries where few others have strong beliefs, or where few people go to Church. Eichhorn explains:
People who place a higher importance in god, however, are happier when they live in a country
where others do as well. Furthermore, when many people in the country attend religious services regularly, their happiness also is found to be higher.
As the reverse is not the case?people who attend services more often are not happier when the average personal level of importance of god is higher?it appears to be that happiness through religiosity can mainly be derived through conforming to the standard in their country?in particular the visible standard.
Since my opposition is dragging in loads of riff-raff to try and raise money for Camp Quest, I've decided to bring in some firepower of my own. The beard is willing to make the great sacrifice if Team PZ wins this competition at the end of this month. Even better, at the request of my daughter Skatje, I will recreate the look of 1980s PZ:
In fact, since Skatje and I will both be at Convergence at the end of June, I will coerce her into helping me re-enact this very photo, and will post it to the web. It can't be a perfect replica — I've grown a little wider, and she's gotten a wee bit taller — but that'll be part of the challenge. Also, she usually wears black, not pink, and I don't think there's any way I'd ever be able to talk her into a frilly pink dress, but at least she's now got lots of pink inked onto her shoulder.
So donate. I expect the beard to destroy the competition (I think they are completely lacking in manly facial hair. How can you bear to support them?)Read the comments on this post...
As far back as the 1990s, long before anyone had actually isolated graphene ? a honeycomb lattice of carbon just one atom thick ? theorists were predicting extraordinary properties at the edges of graphene nanoribbons. Now physicists at the U.S.
In the wild, mammals survive because they can see and evade predators lurking in the shadowy bushes.
Almost all of your public school teachers have sex. Most of them enjoy it and do it repeatedly, even.
Many of your public school teachers vote for the Democratic party. Some are conservative Republicans. Some are Communists.
Some of your public school teachers are atheists. Or Episcopalians. Or Baptists. Or Scientologists.
All of your public school teachers go home at the end of the school day and have private lives, where they do things that really aren't at all relevant to your 8 year old daughter, your 15 year old son. That you pay taxes to cover their salaries for doing their jobs during work hours does not entitle you to control the entirety of their lives.
All of your public school teachers have a history. Almost all of them have masturbated. Many of them have smoked marijuana. Almost all of them have dated; most of them have danced. Some of them are gay. Some of them are heterosexual. Almost all of them have private kinks which you don't know about, because they don't practice them in public, let alone when they're doing their jobs. Some of them have been sex workers.
And you know what? All of them can be fired or blacklisted by local prudes on school boards or the school administration. Teachers: you don't get to be human. This outrages me.
When I was in eighth grade, one of the best teachers I ever had taught me geometry. Mr Anderson was fat; he sweated excessively. He always wore baggy slacks and a white short-sleeved shirt, and he had a crew cut. And he was ferocious. He would yell at bad students and tell them to work harder, and if he caught you being inattentive in class he'd throw an eraser at you. Those students mocked him mercilessly, behind his back. He was also passionate about the subject — I can still see him in my mind's eye excitedly making that chalk fly across the board, talking excitedly about a proof, giggling at how cool a result was.
Every year he rewarded the best of his students with an invitation to his house for a formal party, with snacks and Nehi soda. He was single and weird, but there was no worry about impropriety — there'd be a score of us there, who would all be treated politely as adults, which was mind-blowing right there. He'd play music for us: opera and show tunes.
Show tunes. He adored Ethel Merman, and sometimes even in class he'd start humming something from his beloved musicals.
He made the adults uncomfortable, and you can guess what kinds of rumors the school jocks spread about him. The people who didn't care that he was a fantastic, enthusiastic math teacher who taught students self-respect and to love math only saw a strange man who didn't fit in, who was odd, who fit certain stereotypes, and who obviously could not be trusted.
So one year, poof, he was gone. Dismissed. The best damned math teacher they had, sent away on the heels of a sordid campaign of bigoted whispers.
Even now, it stirs a little outrage in me, that teachers get judged not by the quality of their work and their positive effects on their students, but how well they fit the conventions of the most closed-minded members of the community, by people, even, who despise good educations that raise kids to think independently.
Melissa Petro, the teacher who was open and unashamed of her past as a sex worker, couldn't be more different, superficially, than a fat flamboyant math teacher. But they do share something in common: both were pilloried by an intolerant public and cowardly administrators over perfectly ordinary and human traits that just didn't match an unrealistic expectation of teachers as bloodless mannequins of perfect propriety.Read the comments on this post...
Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the University of Melbourne have used innovative new technologies to identify the gene responsible for a rare but fatal hereditary brain disorder.
A bold new design for thin film solar cells that requires significantly less silicon ? and may boost their efficiency ? is the result of an industry/academia collaboration between Oerlikon Solar in Switzerland and the Institute of Physics' photovoltaic group at the
They require no food, can last for decades, willingly perform mundane tasks, and can walk in space without a spacesuit. And they?re mostly expendable -- if you overlook the cost.
Over the years, some archconservatives voiced the opinion that people who don’t pay enough taxes or are not property owners probably shouldn’t vote because they have no skin in the game and are more likely to vote for government programs that[...]
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