Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is it the future of Religion? /

Το μέλλον της Θρησκείας;

BBC News:
"Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says"

Η Καθημερινή:
"Η θρησκεία οδεύει προς εξαφάνιση σε εννέα χώρες
Σύμφωνα με στατιστικό μοντέλο επιστημόνων
που βασίστηκε στις απογραφές πληθυσμού

The tools of statistical mechanics and nonlinear dynamics have been used successfully in the past to analyze models of social phenomena ranging from language choice to political party affiliation to war and peace. In this work, we focus on social systems comprised of two mutually exclusive groups in competition for members. We compile and analyze a new dataset quantifying the declining rates of religious affiliation in a variety of regions worldwide and present a theory to explain this trend.

People claiming no religious affiliation constitute the fastest growing religious minority in many countries throughout the world. Americans without religious affiliation comprise the only religious group growing in all 50 states; in 2008 those claiming no religion rose to 15 percent nationwide, with a maximum in Vermont at 34 percent. In the Netherlands nearly half the population is religiously unaffiliated. Here we use a minimal model of competition for members between social groups to explain historical census data on the growth of religious non-affiliation in 85 regions around the world. According to the model, a single parameter quantifying the perceived utility of adhering to a religion determines whether the unaffiliated group will grow in a society. The model predicts that for societies in which the perceived utility of not adhering is greater than the utility of adhering, religion will be driven toward extinction.

* Daniel M. Abrams & Haley A. Yaple, Richard J. Wiener,
A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of religious non-affiliation *
[Μαθηματικό μοντέλο του ανταγωνισμού κοινωνικών ομάδων με εφαρμογή στην αύξηση της θρησκευτικής μη ένταξης],
Research Corporation for Science Advancement, University of Arizona,
January/Ιανουάριος 2011.
[Εnglish/Αγγλικά, PDF]

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