How Many Atheists and Agnostics Are Graduating from Harvard…?

Atheists and Agnostics.

We’re just under 6% of the U.S. population.

And we’re 38% of the graduating class at Harvard, according to survey results posted on The Crimson‘s website:



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This is What Happens When Headline Writers Don’t Know Their Statistics

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a survey showing that being an atheist was the most negative trait a presidential candidate could posses:

You can see from the list that being an atheist was a worse quality than having never held office, having an affair, being in your 70s, being gay or lesbian, etc.

But then I started seeing headlines like this one from the Daily Caller:

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Breaking Down the “Nones,” the Most Unhelpful Term in Religion Research

Whenever we see research about religion in America, atheists and agnostics tend to be lumps into a broader category called “Nones” or “Unaffiliated”… which sounds fine, until you realize that the group also includes people who believe in God but just don’t claim a religious label.

Tobin Grant at Religion News Service has been analyzing the non-religious segment of the Nones and gives us some very useful insights:



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New Survey Says Being an Atheist is the Most Negative Trait for a Presidential Candidate

For decades now, Gallup has been asking voters about their dealbreakers when it comes to electing a President:

If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be ________, would you vote for that person?

And every time, “atheist” has been at the bottom of the list. In 2012, there was cause for celebration simply because more than half of those surveyed said they wouldn’t hold atheism against a politician.

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released the results of their own version of this question. They wanted to know which qualities would help and hurt potential 2016 presidential candidates.

They asked voters whether certain characteristics would make it more or less likely that a politician would get their votes. For example, if the candidate were a woman, 19% of those surveyed said they would be more inclined to vote for her while 9% said less, for a net positive of 10%.

So Pew ranked the characteristics from highest net positive traits (served in the military, was/is a governor) to the highest net negative (take a guess):

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New Study Shows That Americans Lie About How Often They Really Go to Church

In a study to be unveiled just hours from now, brilliantly titled “I Know What You Did Last Sunday,” the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Americans are lying their asses off when it comes to admitting how often they go to church.

How do they know? Researchers conducted two types of surveys — one over the phone and one online — in which they asked the same questions about going to church and belief in God. When participants had to provide answers to a human being over the phone, they were much more likely to inflate their church attendance numbers. And when they’re in front of a computer, they’re more likely to admit that they rarely, if ever, go to church.



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