The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity. Do dreams foretell the future? Did ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis exist? Can places be haunted? Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Will creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster someday be discovered by science?
The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.
Think about it. So, 69% of those who do never worship did not express strong belief in occult and the paranormal. But compare that to those who worship. I don't have exact figures, but I'd guess that number who believe don't believe in any such things as the "virgin birth" and the "resurrection of Christ" is low. After all, in the population-at-large, 68% do believe in the virgin birth (source: a 1994 Harris poll). The proportion who believe in that hypothesized event among those who attend services "more than once a week" is undoubtedly significantly higher.
Surely, the virgin birth should be classified as paranormal if you're not simply assuming that the Christian faith is true, don't you think? It sure isn't normal.
So, the correct way to read the data: among non-worshippers, we have 69% not having a strong belief in the paranormal; that proportion is significantly less than 32% for the worshippers mentioned in the quote.
Andrew links to Russ Douthat, who posts the quote I posted above, and sarcastically comments on the "bold, heroic rationalism of unbelievers." Perhaps he should try some rationality himself. It couldn't hurt; might help.
Here's a great video debunking some of the McCain campaigns recent distortions/lies.
I've always liked McCain for being a "straight talker." Now it looks like he's decided he'd rather lose his integrity than lose an election. And it's working.
As I've noted on this blog before, the Internet gives us the possibility of strengthening the power of a truth through viral dissemination of that truth. If people don't know something, it's not going to have an effect on their thinking.
So, if you agree that people who can't be elected honestly shouldn't be elected, please spread this video around.