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19.4.07 1958
The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Rep. vs. Dem. beliefs about the supernatural Register and log in to post!
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DMC
Liverwurst
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#1 Posted on 14.10.03 1237.04
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1237.04
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,99945,00.html


Most interesting to me is that Democrats are more likely to believe in the reality of things such as UFOs and ghosts than Republicans. The more mainstream religion questions don't surprise me.

DMC
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Grimis
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#2 Posted on 14.10.03 1325.36
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1325.44
It's amzazing that so many people believe in God but so few people believe in other things considering that there is as much realistic, concrete proof of one as there is of the other.
Nag
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#3 Posted on 14.10.03 1342.16
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1343.58
Well, when a large portion of a particular group formulates their arguments on a simple phrase "It's all a conspiracy dude" I don't really find it groundbreaking information that they are more inclined to believe in UFO's. Like yeah, if I were an Alien, my destination on earth would be near an airforce base of the most advanced airforce on earth.

What I did find surprising that a quarter of the population believe in witches and over a quarter in astrology. That may be in part to growth of the wiccan/goth movement that was so popular with "Disenfranchised" teens of the late 90's. But shit, this 2003 not 1603; and while I can understand and respect societies inherent need to believe in many of the mentioned institutions and concepts, astrology and witches is a bit stretching it.
spf
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#4 Posted on 14.10.03 1401.05
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1408.52
Of course Democrats profess to more belief in UFO's...we gotta find *some* reason to explain where the hell Dubya and his people came from.

Okay, that sucked. I'm sorry. Let me try to redeem this post by saying my flaw with the questioning on witches is that many people do self-proclaim themselves to be witches these days, and perform "magick" (when you hang around the Tori Amos fan boards long enough, you learn WAY too much about these people). So I believe in "witches", but not in people who can fly broomsticks and give the evil eye to cause death or anything.
ThreepMe
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#5 Posted on 14.10.03 1414.02
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1415.11
    Originally posted by spf2119
    Of course Democrats profess to more belief in UFO's...we gotta find *some* reason to explain where the hell Dubya and his people came from.

    Okay, that sucked. I'm sorry. Let me try to redeem this post by saying my flaw with the questioning on witches is that many people do self-proclaim themselves to be witches these days, and perform "magick" (when you hang around the Tori Amos fan boards long enough, you learn WAY too much about these people). So I believe in "witches", but not in people who can fly broomsticks and give the evil eye to cause death or anything.


I just ask if they weigh the same as a duck.
DMC
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#6 Posted on 14.10.03 1508.07
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1511.36
I think spf is hitting on a possible key problem with this survey, if those really are the only questions people were asked. There should probably be more detailed questions, such as "Do you believe in the existence of 'witches,' defined as a person who has or is endowed with an ability to *actually* manipulate natural/supernatural forces?" That may give you a more accurate answer, although you may be able to assume that when someone hears the question "Do you believe in witches?" they are assuming you are referring to that type of definition, and *not* the question of whether or not there actually are people who claim to be witches today (which everyone knows, or should know, to be true).

Also, more detailed questions may violate some type of rule about keeping survey questions short and simple. ::Sigh:: No wonder I hate quantitative research.

DMC

vsp
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#7 Posted on 14.10.03 1538.06
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1538.23
The poll is one thing, but the linked page describing its results is a typical example of misleading writing.

"Fully 92% of Americans say they believe in God, 85% in heaven and 82% in miracles, according to the latest FOX News poll."

No, 92%, 85% and 82% of Americans WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS POLL (as in, were there to take the call, didn't screen the call, picked up the phone, gave presumably honest answers and didn't hang up when they found out it was a pollster asking about religion) said that.

92% of Americans is in the hundreds of millions of people. This poll has a sample size of 900. There's just a _wee_ difference between those numbers -- the latter being small enough and skewable enough that I wouldn't exactly call it a meaningful representative sample with which to discuss how "the country thinks."

(edited by vsp on 14.10.03 1339)
JayJayDean
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#8 Posted on 14.10.03 1609.12
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1609.59
I feel compelled to try to work in a snide "Do you believe Bill O'Reilly thinks HE's God?" comment, but I can't figure out a witty way to work it in.
Leroy
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#9 Posted on 14.10.03 1609.14
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1610.11
    Originally posted by vsp
    The poll is one thing, but the linked page describing its results is a typical example of misleading writing.

    "Fully 92% of Americans say they believe in God, 85% in heaven and 82% in miracles, according to the latest FOX News poll."


Skeptic magazine had a recent issue detailing the current trends these types of beliefs - I would consider them I much more reliable source than Fox News. I'd have to dig up the issue to see if they break it down politically or not, but they are much more based in general demographic, and less interested in ripping on Democrats (who do deserve it for better reasons than a belief in ESP and UFOs).

As a side note - I highly recommend Michel Shermer's book, "Why People Believe Weird Things". It's a great description of some of these new-agey types of beliefs, and where the logic breaks down. And, unless you are an Ayn Rand fan, it's pretty apolitical. James Randi's books are good as well

(edited by Leroy on 14.10.03 1410)
DMC
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#10 Posted on 14.10.03 1628.51
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1629.02
The stat guys will have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe a sample of 900 is of sufficient size to accurately represent the American population. (How feasible would a survey be if you set 100,000 respondents as your goal?)

Also, survey researchers have various ways of dealing with people who did not respond, and checking it see if their answers were significantly different from the main population which took part in the survey.

DMC
DrDirt
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#11 Posted on 14.10.03 1729.28
Reposted on: 14.10.10 1729.46
    Originally posted by Nag
    Well, when a large portion of a particular group formulates their arguments on a simple phrase "It's all a conspiracy dude" I don't really find it groundbreaking information that they are more inclined to believe in UFO's. Like yeah, if I were an Alien, my destination on earth would be near an airforce base of the most advanced airforce on earth.

    What I did find surprising that a quarter of the population believe in witches and over a quarter in astrology. That may be in part to growth of the wiccan/goth movement that was so popular with "Disenfranchised" teens of the late 90's. But shit, this 2003 not 1603; and while I can understand and respect societies inherent need to believe in many of the mentioned institutions and concepts, astrology and witches is a bit stretching it.


Actually, I'm surprised it isn't higher. As Girnis and others have pointed out more than a few times, we as a society don't wnat to take responsibilty for our lives and choices. Believing in the stars or witches or whatever is a way of saying "Look it wasn't my fault. It was "X". Scientific truths are not very comforting to most people. Neither is having to say that you are responsible for your own life and decisions.

edit typo

(edited by DrDirt on 14.10.03 1730)
MoeGates
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#12 Posted on 14.10.03 2214.38
Reposted on: 14.10.10 2214.38
900 gives a +/- error rate of 4% for the nation I think. Meaning, essentially, that there is a 95% certainty that the actual number lies somewhere between 4% higher and 4% lower than the polled number.

The thing is, this assumes a perfect representation of the larger group. If Fox News called, for instance, only called Manhattan and Cobb County, GA for this poll, you'd probably see a lower instance of Democrats believing in angles and a higher instance of Republicans believing in angels than in actuality. If, on the other hand, Fox news called only Greenwich, CA and Birmingham, you'd probably get a much higher instance of Democrats believing in angels and Republicans not believing in angels. In skill to polling - why any idiot can't just call people, jot down the answers, and type a formula into a computer - lies in trying to get this representative sample. Or, of course, to skew this representative sample to make the poll come out how the client wants it to.

For more info about margin of error

Click Here (amstat.org)

It's a .pdf. How I got this great info? Typed "margin of error" into google!
Nate The Snake
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#13 Posted on 15.10.03 0101.26
Reposted on: 15.10.10 0104.14
The big problem I have with polls like this is the inability to cover grey areas. Like DMC touched on, "witch" can mean a whole truckload of things to a lot of different people, as can God, magic, extra-terrestrial life, ghosts, and damn near anything that gets lumped into the category of "the unknown".

The idea that a poll like that lumps a person who believes that Casper is living in his underwear drawer together with people who believe in an afterlife and that souls can get "lost" or whatever makes it very difficult to take it seriously.
DrDirt
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#14 Posted on 15.10.03 0928.26
Reposted on: 15.10.10 0929.01
The numbers they got are accurate. Statistically they are valid. The problem may be with the questions, if there is a problem. If we are honest, how many of us believe in superstitions, jinxes, curses, or whatever.

If you want to take the time to understand this issue, read Carl Sagan's "Demon Haunted World." It's only a couple of hundred pages, easy to read and explains the dangers inherent in refusing to accept reality in favor of things that go bump in the night and the stars guiding your destiny.
Big Bad
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#15 Posted on 16.10.03 0000.04
Reposted on: 16.10.10 0000.26
Given how much we've heard in the last month about two professional sports teams having their success determined by a goat and an 85-year-old player transaction, this poll doesn't exactly surprise me.
Grimis
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#16 Posted on 16.10.03 0616.08
Reposted on: 16.10.10 0616.44
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    Given how much we've heard in the last month about two professional sports teams having their success determined by a goat and an 85-year-old player transaction, this poll doesn't exactly surprise me.

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