Weekend Coffee: December 18

In top news this week, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And in other news:

• A paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that the HPV vaccine doesn’t change girls’ later sexual behavior.

• A new survey by the Pew Center finds that the percentage of Americans who consider religion “very important”, though still far greater than in Europe, has declined by 9% in the last 9 years.

• And on a related note, the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture releases a survey showing that Latinos are becoming nonreligious at the same rate as Americans in general, contradicting stereotypes about extreme religiosity among them.

• One last statistical piece – the number of U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low. Defenders of “traditional marriage” take note: the decline has nothing to do with the availability of same-sex marriage, but rather is due to economic stress. If you want to protect marriage, maybe you should work on strengthening the social safety net instead.

• A report released by a Dutch commission finds that as many as 20,000 children were sexually abused in Catholic institutions since 1945.

• After Christopher Hitchens’ death, the hashtag #GodIsNotGreat was trending on Twitter as people posted messages of sorrow and tribute. This provoked a flood of angry threats and vicious insanity from believers, which ironically would seem to confirm Hitchens’ argument.

• I found out recently that transhumanism advocate Ray Kurzweil has a website which sells “anti-aging” vitamins, presumably in the hopes of staying alive until the Singularity. Michael Shermer sounds an appropriate note of skepticism about mega-vitamin therapy, which in this case seems to be driven more by Kurzweil’s desire for immortality than by any actual scientific evidence of effectiveness.

• It made me happy to read this story about New York creating a new legal class of business, a “benefit corporation”, which unlike traditional corporations isn’t legally obligated to maximize profit regardless of the social or environmental costs.

How Low Will It Go? The Continuing Decline of American Christianity
Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan?
Upcoming Travel Plans for Summer 2015
No, Belief in Satan Doesn't Make Us Moral
About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Arc of Fire, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.


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