Caution needed in latest ARIS report

This past week the results of the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey was published and on first blush it seemed like believers have lost more ground since the last survey in 2001. But as Austin Cline points out in his blog, caution is needed in reading too much into the latest results.

It’s been discussed on a lot of different blogs by both atheists and theists as if it revealed important new information about American society. If you stop a take a closer look at it, though, you should notice that the “news” really isn’t news at all. The information is interesting and useful, but the report doesn’t reveal any significant changes from the last survey in 2001. That’s why people keep making comparisons with the 1990 numbers — it’s the only way to present the report as if it’s saying something very newsworthy.

2008 Religious Identification Survey: More Smoke than Heat

So at best it still shows that the 2001 results were not a fluke, there are more non-religious people than all other religions except Catholics and Baptists.


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