Voices of Reason - John Shook: Who are the “Nones”?
Do demographers and the media agree on what Atheists, Agnostics, and the Nonreligious really think?
We will examine the latest data about people who tell pollsters that they have no religious affiliation - referred to as "Nones", to get past the religious spin and figure out how nonreligion is growing in America. We can't trust the religious commentators, but we also have to critically understand what the polls say, and how they reach their figures about the country's fastest growing religious category. Why won't demographers define 'atheism' the same way that secular people do? How do polls give numbers for 'agnostics' when those doubters are pretty much atheists too? And how do demographers -and media commentators- often confuse the "Nones" with the nonreligious? This talk will helpfully clarify all the issues involved with sorting people's opinions about God and religion into demographic categories.
John Shook is Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y. He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Science Education, and Research Associate in Philosophy, at the University at Buffalo, since 2006. He received his PhD in philosophy at Buffalo, and was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University from 2000 to 2006. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books, is a co-editor of three philosophy journals, and travels for lectures and debates across the United States and around the world.