Today's New York Times carries the story of a book by a professor of gerontology and sociology at the University of Southern California who has studied, that is, interviewed 350 families over decades and reached the amazing conclusion that children tend to follow their parents' religious beliefs, if not their precise church denomination.

The book is $29.95, but I think I'll wait for the professor's next work based on these interviews in which he shows that children are—for the most part—the product of sexual congress between their parents.

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Allan, thank you for informing us of this provocative, insightful study!

Need some help writing a grant proposal for that 2nd one?  Maybe we could beat him to it!

I suppose it's not cricket to make fun of a book I haven't read and I probably would do well to keep in mind that it probably contains deeper insights than the story reveals, but it did strike me as silly.

Not to mention the quality of press reports about almost anything. Although NY Times is better than most.

Meh, I love the Times, but even they are not immune to the occasional article written by Captain Obvious.

Just read the comments section of any story about, say, how exercise is good for you, or how eating too much butter leads to weight gain. It can be pretty hilarious!

it probably contains deeper insights than the story reveals

He also suggests that warm, loving parents incline their children to follow their religion.
Also not surprising, that good associations with a religion would tend to keep people following it.
Also it suggests that people's negative associations with atheism are a problem. 

I would think the prof's thesis is rather obvious and hardly needs a book costing $29.95. Of course, there are plenty of us who rejected our parent's religion, but probably most just follow blindly because of brainwashing from infancy.

Some people do end up choosing adopting a significantly different religion, and quite a few (much of present company included) leave religion altogether. It's valid to ask what the proportions are, and what factors are related.

The 2011 study Sex and Secularism* had some 12,000 atheist respondents from the U.S.  By far their most common former religions were non-denominational Christian (far out of proportion to their representation in the population) and Catholic.

* Sex and Secularism by Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown, described in the Alternet article "Atheists Do It Better: Why Leaving Religion Leads to Better Sex" and downloadable for free from IPC Press (registration required) -- worth reading! Even though the authors concede some demographic problems with the survey, their observations and conclusions are based on a lot more evidence than "of course it would be this way!"

That's funny. Especially your idea for the professiors next work!

This is yet another book previewed on Atheist Nexus which I won't be reading. It sounds like a load of crap to me, written by a choir boy with archaic qualifications. So he knows a lot about 350 families, it doesn't say but probably living in the same broad geographical area, belonging to the same social class and being amenable to him ! The rest is his guesswork.

A lot of people in the United States are going to eventually have to face reality and accept that books are often full of shit.




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