Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Religion and Climate Change

Reader LF passed on this great post by statistics savant, Nate Silver. Silver translated a Gallup survey, reporting on the percentage of a country's citizens that have an awareness to global warming, into the chart of religions and the belief of global warming (see right).

Although Christianity rates fairly high overall, Catholics are the most likely to believe in human-made global warming, followed closely by Buddhists and Jews. Protestants and Muslims score very low in the belief that global warming is human-made, with the lowest score to the tribal/indigenous faith group. Silver is at a loss to explain this poll, and without controlling for other variables, he couldn't, with any integrity, say that "religion itself is the cause of these differences." He, however, does seem to insinuate that the Catholic social justice bent and papal sympathies on the issue lead to their predisposition.

Silver also highlighted a USA poll from late last year with religious views on global warming inside America. Here, stateside, Jews and athiests are most likely to believe we are on the verge of an environmental crisis, while Evangelicals were least likely to believe. Catholics were middle of the pack.


Matt F. said...

I think given the political climate of the last 20 years in this country that if you polled most political issues by religion, protestants would be on the farthest right. Not that global warming should be a political question, but it clearly is in this country. I think that in most cases you would find that the majortiy of evangelical protestants take the same positions of the right wing of the republican party, and vice versa. They have tied themselves too closely to a political party, and the political party has tied itself too closely to them. Not healthy for either, in my opinion.

brandn said...

Hi Drew,

I like your work on the blog. Here is the thing about these polls about religion and climate change. They do not reflect accurately what researchers are finding about American's views in general. Look up Jonathan Krosnick, who is a researcher at Stanford. Nearly 85% of the public believe in global warming. I think the blame being placed on Christians obfuscates the real issues with government innaction and business pressures.