28 April, 2009

Statistics, you two-faced lying sumb----!

Remember that story I cited on why people leave churches? Here are two different comments I found on it today.

From the Pew center's talking points, quoted at getreligion.org:

Catholicism has suffered the greatest net loss in the process of religious change.
From the bishops' website:
A Pew Forum poll on Americans and their religious affiliation finds Catholics have one of the highest retention rates, 68 percent, among Christian churches when it comes to carrying the Catholic faith into adulthood.
I refuse to make sense of this apparent contradiction. I just don't have the time.

Okay, I lied. I visited the Pew Center's website and took a gander at what they had to say. The fuller quote is interesting:
While the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown the most due to changes in religious affiliation, the Catholic Church has lost the most members in the same process; this is the case even though Catholicism's retention rate of childhood members (68%) is far greater than the retention rate of the unaffiliated and is comparable with or better than the retention rates of other religious groups. Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. Overall, one-in-ten American adults (10.1%) have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic, while only 2.6% of adults have become Catholic after having been raised something other than Catholic.
The apparent disparity in the word choice is, if I understand correctly, due to the statistic that although Catholics do tend to remain Catholic, more adults abandon Catholicism than embrace it.

Small logical disparities like this are what make computer programming and mathematics hard.

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