Archive for November, 2008

Does IQ affect how we vote?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

How do voter trends correlate with IQ?  To answer this question, I used the published average IQ per state from Social Quotient web site and the 2008 presidential election results from CNN.  The results are shown below.  (For details about the plot, see the website on Faith and Science.)

Voting VS IQ

What does this all mean?  You tell me!

Is the media biased?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Claims of media bias increase during presidential elections, and the 2008 election is no exception.  The stories that a news organization choose to cover is one form of bias.  The difficulty with assessing such bias is having knowledge of what stories were not covered.  Tim Groeling designed a simple study whose results are published in the December issue of the Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Groeling determined the percentage of in-house presidential approval polls that were aired by network news programs relative to the number of polls that were conducted by the major networks.  The study spanned an 11 year period ending in February 2008.   ABC, CBS, and NBC were found to have a democratic bias while Fox News was found to have a significant pro-Republican bias.

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Given the frailty of memory, how can we trust in the accuracy of the Gospels?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

In her book “The Myth of Repressed Memory,” Elizabeth Loftus describes Ulric Neisser’s experiences with what are called flash-bub memories.  The morning after the shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off,  Neisser asked students at Emory University to write about how they learned about the disaster.  Two and a half years later, he asked the 44 students to recall that same experience.

While most of the students described their memories of the event as vivid, not one of the students gave an account that was completely in accord with their description that was recorded the morning after the Challenger disaster.  And a third of the accounts were widely inaccurate.

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The beauty of the Electoral College

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

In a recent book by Michael Moore, he describes the Electoral College as a ploy by the founding fathers to safeguard our nation from the ignorant masses who might elect the “wrong” president.  While this accusation may be true, I argue that the system has benefits.  (The history of the Electoral College can be found at the US Elections web site.  More information can be found on the Federal Register archives.)

The Electoral College emphasizes the role of the states in selecting the president.  On the surface, this smells of disenfranchisement; but, not if we view the real source of power as residing in the state and local governments.  The United States is too large and diverse for a top-down government.  Political compromises often lead to ineffective and wasteful legislation.  It is most practical to deal with local problems at the local level and let the federal government deal with the big issues such as civil rights, regulating interstate commerce, and providing national defense.

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God fares poorly in 2008 elections

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The election is over and the votes are in.  Despite all the prayers from the religious right, Obama has prevailed.  As a consolation, California’s Proposition 8 passed, making gay marriage illegal.  However, the new law is being challenged by opponents who charge that it is unconstitutional.  Although about $70 million was spent on P8 (according to the San Francisco Chronicle), in the end, the issue may be decided by the courts.

God did not do so well in other state initiatives.  South Dakota voters turned down Measure 11, which would outlaw abortions but included exceptions for rape, incest and pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman.   Colorado’s Amendment 48 was defeated by a 73% to 27% margin.  It would have amended the Colorado constitution to define the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization” and would have applied that definition to laws providing protection for natural and essential rights.

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How will God vote?

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Pam Olsen, co-pastor with her husband of the International House of Prayer in Tallahassee, Fla. is praying to God to influence the election.  On MSNBC, she is quoted as saying, “We have just days to pray that someone who upholds the sanctity of life and marriage between one man and one woman will win.” Olsen supports Republican John McCain.  She is organizing a marathon of prayer, fasting and Bible reading at the Capitol starting Saturday until the state’s polls close. “The outcome is up to God,” she said.

In California, voters will be considering Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that would make same sex marriage illegal by defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Religious groups from around the nation have been mobilized in support of Proposition 8; and some religious leaders have been asking the faithful to pray for its passage.

If Proposition 8 fails, it’s clearly a sign from God that He endorses same sex marriage, or maybe that God does not have the power or the will to sway the election.

Can’t wait until November 4th to find out how God’s will will be done…

MGK