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Updated 28 April 2010

The bad news is that the polarization really has grown multiples worse over the last six years and is now in extreme territory.

The good news is that we seem to have a president who is trying to reverse this dire trend. This page extends an early study of Monotheism and Violence.

Like our earlier study, monotheism correlates strongly with the number of search-engine returns when the larger religions are paired with terms of violence, e.g. "Islam and war." Judaism continues to lead all religions in terms of violence frequency of word-pairings on the Internet. The big three monotheisms far outdistance all other religions combined. That situation is worse now than it was in 2003, and surely reflects hostilities in Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan.

Since we first researched the correlation between Monotheism and Violence, both the world and our means of measuring it have changed. Iraq has some of the trappings of the Vietnam quagmire to add to those in Afghanistan. These wars and the attending "War On Terror," have dominated the news. Our earlier search of the the Internet used Google, Altavista and Teoma. Since those days, Google has achieved a virtual monopoly. Only Yahoo still has a double-digit share of the business. No other engine has even five percent of the traffic. Of the small engines only number four AOL returned the information we need, so we used AOL for primarily verification. Each engine returned similar, but hardly identical results.

The most striking feature is not so much their detail differences, but on what all three agreed upon. It is not new news, but the fact is the cold numbers quantify just how dangerous our world has become. As in our first survey of this area, religion is raising its ugly head.

Before we go on to that, some comments on the protocol are in order. Only Google is common to both this and our earlier studies. And it is an engine far different from what it was six years ago. In looking at our raw data, if was self-evident that the engines used very different algorithms for acquiring data. In our 2003 study, we simply pooled the total returns from all three engines. Since Google is now so dominant, we had to ask, how can we get the best data out of the tools we do have? It boiled down to what constitutes the best sample? To be representative, samples must be random, valid and large enough so that their standard error is as small as possible. Neither condition is met very well. Each engine only returns a sample. On the assumption that large returns are more representative than small ones, we used the maximum returns regardless of origin. The most serious technical defect is that coverage is not uniform for all nations or people. There are other defects also, like bias in the search algorithms, and bias in the origianal reporting as well. That the two engines differed significantly in detail attests to that. Nevertheless, these results, while not meeting all scientific criteria, are still the best we have on thiese questions. The fact that many other anecdotal reports agree in general adds some amount of power, but not certainty, to our findings. The fact that they are "explainable" by recent history also adds some measure of power.

Since news, and Internet reporting of it, are dynamic things, we took a look at day-to-day variations and found most returns were sufficiently repeatable day on day to be useful. Since we are generating a snapshot, we elected to proceed, basically using only Google and Yahoo data. There was overlap which led to each engine contributing some of the largest numbers. Since larger samples are likely to be the more representative of the phrases posed, we reported the trends using a largest-return composite of the leading engines. In all other respects, the protocol used this time is the same used in 2003.

Table 1 Compares the three monotheisms. Note the bottom line which compares frequency of reported events with atheism.

Table 1 Monotheism results. Bottom Line Compares Results with Atheism

Search Word Christianity Christianity Islam Islam Judaism Judaism
Genocide 70 101 1,090 109 6490 106
Murder 5100 72 119 405 1 7
Terror 7550 39 44,300 27,100 2 8
Terrorism 62 321 82,400 253,000 2280 104
Violence 58600 4,030 21,300 116,000 1680 249
War 209000 27,600 172,000 13,600 8690 361
Sub Total 280382 32163 321209 410214 19143 835
Adherents Mil. 2100 2100 1,500 1,500 14 14
Event/million 134 15 214 273 1370 60
Multiples of atheism 75.99 11.03 122 197 778 43

Table 2 Summarizes the current survey to emphasize the huge ascendance of the religious issue as it impacts the information online. While Table 2 does not reach scientific validity, it correlates well with increased violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. And the increased violence is a direct result of the challenge issued in 2002: "You are either with us or against us." The most notable feature is that Christianity jumped some 12 multiples in reported violent word pairings. This may be a direct result of the Bush Administration over-playing its hand on the torture front as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Table 2 Religious Violence Ranking Normalized to Atheism.
Maximum Samples Returned: Events/Million Population.

Religion Google Yahoo Nov '03 May '09 '09/'03: Multiples
Judaism 778 43 114 681 6.0
Islam 122 197 80.0 195 2.4
Christianity 76 11 6.38 76.0 11.9
Buddhism 0.95 5.5 5.56 3.78 -1.5
Sikhism 0.54 0.47 2.69 0.54 -5.0
Atheism 1.0 1.0 1.00 1.00 1.0
Hinduism 0.2 0.7 0.38 0.53 1.4
Confucianism 0.4 0.1 0.33 0.06 -5.5

Table 3 summarizes yet another aspect. Atheism and the Eastern Religions set the "Internet standard" for non-violence. The monotheisms as a collective group are over 30 multiples more violent than the avowed atheists. Yet most people we know believe that religion and morality go together. There is something very wrong in this paradise called earth when otherwise very good and decent people can be so easily led astray. Of course that feature is nothing more than a confluence of aggressive and hierarchical genes on the one hand (the carnivores) and parenting and altruistic genes (the herbivores) on the other. Our herding instincts aid both sides in this struggle.

Table 3 - Multiples of Atheism = 1.

Monotheism Eastern Atheism
Genocide 6591 13 676
Murder 5512 17 74
Terror 51858 466 15
Terrorism 255601 152 160
Violence 176280 1414 985
War 389690 1822 100
Sub Total 886622 3884 2010
Adherents: Mil. 3614 1693 1000
2010 Events/million 245 2.29 2.01
2010 Rank 122 1.14 1.00
2003 Rank 35.6 1.6 1.00

Of course, herding is one of the most protective of our instincts--except when we choose up sides behind charismatic Sociopaths, Psychopaths, or Narcissists as the case may be.


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