Thursday, December 21, 2006

Secularism and Criminality in Males

Joel Schwarz says than men are less religious than women because men tend to partake in more risk-taking behavior. He quotes Rodney Stark:

Stark said lower rates of male religiousness is a form of risk-taking behavior just as criminality is, and men are far more likely to commit crimes than women.

"Any phenomenon that occurs in many and very different social and cultural settings necessitates explanations that are equally general, which tends to rule out most social and cultural factors," he wrote in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

"Recent studies of biochemistry imply that both male irreligiousness and male lawlessness are rooted in the fact that far more males than females have an underdeveloped ability to inhibit their impulses, especially those involving immediate gratification and thrills."

The upshot is that some men are shortsighted and don't think ahead, and so "going to prison or going to hell just doesn't matter to these men," Stark said.

So in response, I wrote an email to Mr. Schwarz (His email address is listed at the header above the article):

"Mr. Schwarz,

Your article on men being more impulsive and less religious than women was interesting. You pointed out that men are less religious, while simultaneously being more criminal-minded and risk-taking, than women.

So I am interested in your take on a few questions that popped into my head:

If irreligiosity correlates with -or is somehow related to- higher crime, then why does post-religious Europe have less murder, less rape, less petty crime, less substance abuse, less infant mortality, higher life expectancy, higher education ratings, and generally higher quality of life ratings than much-more-religious America?

And if secularism relates to the higher risk-taking behavior of men, then is it safe to say that higher religiosity in women relates to their tendency to be more submissive?

And finally, why is Europe less dangerous, and healthier, than America if it is also less religious?


Aaron Kinney"


Anonymous said...

When I realized that I didn't believe what I thought I had, I realized I was taking a risk. Religion is so comforting. Being without it makes a person feel exposed and naked to the world. Getting rid of religion is definitely a risk.

Aaron Kinney said...

Getting rid of religion is definitely a risk.

Quite possibly true (I never denied it my letter to Schwarz), but isnt betting on a religion also a risk?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Some very good points raised.

I like what Bill Maher said once, and I'm paraphrasing: The US is not healthiest, is not most educated, is not most civilized and is not longest-lived. So what, exactly, are we "the best" based on?

It's a very pertinent open question.

Aaron Kinney said...

We arent even the best at per capita income!

I suppose we are the best at thinking we are the best, thats for sure.

We are the best at pissing off the world too. Oh, and we are the best at perpetuating that worthless belief system known as Christianity.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Good post, Aaron. I ask theists the same query when they start stumping the 'higher moral ground' they think they are on.
I have something of interest here, as it addresses your favorite topic, and I value your input.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me women are more likely to be religious because it appeals to the emotions. Men get into the leadership positions in religious organizations b/c it's POWER, baby!

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