Author Topic: Religious and educated?  (Read 9665 times)

Hope

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Religious and educated?
« on: September 03, 2015, 03:04:18 PM »
For a number of months now, there has been a drip-feed of threads and posts suggesting that the more educated one is, the less likely one is to be religious.

Now I haven't read the whole of this paper, so am not sure of every ramification, but it does suggest that this is no longer the case - though it seems to have been, prior to about the 1970s.

http://bit.ly/1sEcZ74

It should be noted that it is American research carried out in an American context - but then, of course, American ideas and practices tend to travel across the Atlantic  ;)

Has anyone carried out any research as to the correlation between educational achievement and atheism, in the way so much has been claimed to have been done into that between educational achievement and religious belief?

By the way, for many years, one of the real issues around the make up of the church - both conformist and non-conformist (though perhaps less so) - was that it was seen very much as middle-class/professional/well-educated in make-up. 
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Leonard James

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 03:17:47 PM »
I think it is fairly obvious that less educated people are more likely to believe god stories than vice versa, but I don't know of any recent studies on the subject.

Hope

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 03:34:12 PM »
I think it is fairly obvious that less educated people are more likely to believe god stories than vice versa, but I don't know of any recent studies on the subject.
Are they?  This study suggests otherwise.
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Jack Knave

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 06:11:32 PM »
Common sense would suggest that less educated people are more gullible in practically all areas where they are uneducated but education itself would not necessarily infer that someone would be less prone to being religious. The religious phenomena is essentially a function of the psyche and is only partially influenced by the intellect.

However, the religious aspect of us does not necessarily attach itself to such things as monotheism and can manifest itself in more fluid forms. It can also attach itself to what ever we are subjected to in our early years.

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 07:10:24 PM »
I would say the collapse of mechanistic materialism makes certain atheisms look arbitrarily anti God and that may have an impact. The person not committing to or professing atheism must come to see certain atheists as weirdly,unhealthily and personally against God.
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Jack Knave

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 07:27:51 PM »
I would say the collapse of mechanistic materialism makes certain atheisms look arbitrarily anti God and that may have an impact. The person not committing to or professing atheism must come to see certain atheists as weirdly,unhealthily and personally against God.
So many assumptions and prepositions in there, Vlad, it would be too much to disentangle it.

Hope

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 08:04:36 PM »
Common sense would suggest that less educated people are more gullible in practically all areas where they are uneducated ...
Having lived and worked among so-called 'uneducated' people in India and Nepal, I was surprised by the fact that, on the whole, the most gullible of the people I had dealings with were the educated westerners (including myself).  The common sense factor seems to get educated out of us, leaving us reliant on technology, complicated and expensive reports, etc.
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jeremyp

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 09:17:42 PM »
Mystery soved

Quote
Schwadel thinks there may be several explanations for the shift. One is that the 20th century saw a significant expansion in the percentage of Americans who go to college, so many groups -- some with strong religious identities -- came to be represented in higher education in ways that were not previously the case.
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Leonard James

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 06:26:15 AM »

ProfessorDavey

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 08:52:16 AM »
It's only a matter of time.

http://theweek.com/articles/474624/3-reasons-young-americans-are-giving-god
Indeed, although the USA seems to be a little behind the curve in comparison to other developed countries we are now seem exactly the same trend of declining religiosity as younger generations are less religious than their parents' and grandparents' generations.

And this seems to be the case in every country which has the following key features. Firstly freedom of religion, such that people are able to chose their religion or chose not to be religious and the ability to change their religion. Secondly a requirement for children to be educated to a high level (e.g. standard 4-16 or 18, plus plenty going onto higher education. Thirdly a decent median income level.

So effectively if you provide freedom, education and prosperity people turn away from religion. The problem for religions is that there is innate desire amongst people to achieve these 'goods', freedom, education and prosperity and as more countries move into that category, I'd bet my bottom dollar that levels of religiosity will start to decline in those countries too - just as we are seeing, for example, in many Latin American countries as their levels of freedom, education and prosperity increase.

One caveat - you can only really assess this if freedom of religion it longstanding. So for example where there has been an oppressive regime that does not allow freedom of religion but has recently relaxed you cannot take sudden changes in claimed religion as 'real'. So if there is a shift toward christianity in china is this because more people are actually christian or because they always were but couldn't say so for fear of persecution. Likewise in Saudi - if they suddenly allowed complete freedom of religion, I suspect we'd see a massive rise in declared atheists, not because there were actually any more but because they could now declare their non belief without fear of persecution.

Hope

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2015, 09:37:12 AM »
So effectively if you provide freedom, education and prosperity people turn away from religion.
I would agree with the first point, PD - but would suggest, as I have already done, that if the West's experience is anything to go by increased levels of income may well have nothing to do with the drop-off in religiosity (after all, the big gripe about the church in the West is that it is largely middle-class, professional in make up).  I would also suggest that education has a 'benefit' on both sides of the argument, thus suggesting that improved education isn't as great an influence as some would like us to believe.

Quote
The problem for religions is that there is innate desire amongst people to achieve these 'goods', freedom, education and prosperity ...
And as pointed out above, these don't necessarily seem to correlate with the changes in religious affiliation.  If anything, the decline in the Christian church in the UK is more down to the fact that it is no longer a prerequisite to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen.  As a Christian, I applaud that development, as we then begin to get an honest idea of the numbers of believers in the country.  In the long run, we then get a more coherent group who can make more realistic impacts on British society.
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ProfessorDavey

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 09:56:35 AM »
So effectively if you provide freedom, education and prosperity people turn away from religion.
I would agree with the first point, PD - but would suggest, as I have already done, that if the West's experience is anything to go by increased levels of income may well have nothing to do with the drop-off in religiosity (after all, the big gripe about the church in the West is that it is largely middle-class, professional in make up).  I would also suggest that education has a 'benefit' on both sides of the argument, thus suggesting that improved education isn't as great an influence as some would like us to believe.
Firstly there is a very clear correlation between prosperity in countries and their levels of religiosity. That of course doesn't necessary imply causality but the relationship is clear. And secondly I'm talking about declines in religiosity rather than absolute levels. Sure the CofE is (even today) more middle class than average, but that isn't the only church available!! And the churches that have traditionally been 'establishment', more attractive to the middle classes and the elite are declining the most in the UK. The churches that are growing are those largely linked to less affluent communities and often supported in growth by immigration.

On education, sure if education is indoctrination it can support growth in religiosity (and don't the religions know this which is why they have always wanted to control schools and education). But the freedom and education parts need to be seen together, there is no real freedom of religion if kids are brought up to be of a particular religion. Freedom and education exist where the education is neutral in terms of religion, supporting therefore the freedom of the individual to make their own free choice in the matter.

The problem for religions is that there is innate desire amongst people to achieve these 'goods', freedom, education and prosperity ...
And as pointed out above, these don't necessarily seem to correlate with the changes in religious affiliation.  If anything, the decline in the Christian church in the UK is more down to the fact that it is no longer a prerequisite to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen.  As a Christian, I applaud that development, as we then begin to get an honest idea of the numbers of believers in the country.  In the long run, we then get a more coherent group who can make more realistic impacts on British society.
If your comment about it no longer being 'a prerequisite to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen' were true and the explanation for a decline in christianity in the UK then you'd expect to see a decline in 'nominal' christians (e.g. census christians with no meaningful involvement) but a much more robust maintenance of 'real' christians for whom their religion is important to them and who are active in that religion. But that isn't the case. Levels of religious activity (e.g. church attendance) and importance of religion to individuals are declining just as much as nominal affiliation.

Also of course it has to be said that there has never been an official requirement to to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen even if there has historically been am establishment view that people should describe themselves as religious. Indeed just today we see this 'religious is better' prejudice alive and well in the establishment with the comments of Alex Salmond.

Hope

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2015, 10:18:28 AM »
Firstly there is a very clear correlation between prosperity in countries and their levels of religiosity.
Is that claim uphel by the article I linked to i my OP?

Quote
Sure the CofE is (even today) more middle class than average, but that isn't the only church available!!
Which is why I referred to the Church, not the Church of England, PD.  If you look at figures collected by people like Peter Brierley for the Christian Research group, you will find that the the church in the UK is largely made up of middle-class, professional folk.  I'm not saying exclusively, nor am I saying that the CoE is actually any more so than other church bodies.

Quote
And the churches that have traditionally been 'establishment', more attractive to the middle classes and the elite are declining the most in the UK. The churches that are growing are those largely linked to less affluent communities and often supported in growth by immigration.
Actually, figures suggest that the churches that are growing most are those which are evangelical in outlook and those that are working to combat social inequalities, whether they are 'traditional'/established or not.

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But the freedom and education parts need to be seen together, there is no real freedom of religion if kids are brought up to be of a particular religion.
A comment that applies equally to being brought up within a context totally devoid of religion.   

Quote
Freedom and education exist where the education is neutral in terms of religion, supporting therefore the freedom of the individual to make their own free choice in the matter.
I'd agree fully, which is why some well-educated peoiple opt to choose the 'non-religious' route and some the 'religious' route.

Quote
If your comment about it no longer being 'a prerequisite to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen' were true and the explanation for a decline in christianity in the UK then you'd expect to see a decline in 'nominal' christians (e.g. census christians with no meaningful involvement) but a much more robust maintenance of 'real' christians for whom their religion is important to them and who are active in that religion. But that isn't the case. Levels of religious activity (e.g. church attendance) and importance of religion to individuals are declining just as much as nominal affiliation.
Except that the figures for the two are sourced in very different ways.  Can't remember the exact Census wording, but iirc it asks whether you attend church at certain times of year, such as Christmas or Easter - and therefore takes church attendance 2 or 3 times a year as the prime measure.  Peter Brierley uses 'regular - at least once a month' - as his base measure, which is why his figures are far closer to the figures reported in the British Attitudes Survey.

Quote
Also of course it has to be said that there has never been an official requirement to to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen even if there has historically been am establishment view that people should describe themselves as religious. Indeed just today we see this 'religious is better' prejudice alive and well in the establishment with the comments of Alex Salmond.
And the context of these comments? 
Quote
The clergyman (Rev Stuart MacQuarrie) had been at Holyrood to deliver the first "time for reflection" of the new parliamentary year.
Mr Salm recalled that he was a champion for the chamber event, which features religious and humanist speakers.
Speaking during the three-minute video, he said: "I am biased, of course, because I am a Church of Scotland adherent and I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith.
"All denominations have a key role to play in society and we are very fortunate in Scotland because we have a tremendous ability, among religions and denominations, to come together and support good causes."
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ProfessorDavey

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2015, 10:49:53 AM »
Firstly there is a very clear correlation between prosperity in countries and their levels of religiosity.
Is that claim uphel by the article I linked to i my OP?
Check out the Gallup global index of religion and atheism which is just about the most definitive research on the subject as it is longitudinal (surveying in the same manner over years) and covers countries across the globe. There is a very clear inverse correlation between prosperity (measured in annual income per capita using PPP which takes account of differences in cost of living so is purchasing power parity) and religiosity.

Sure the CofE is (even today) more middle class than average, but that isn't the only church available!!
Which is why I referred to the Church, not the Church of England, PD.  If you look at figures collected by people like Peter Brierley for the Christian Research group, you will find that the the church in the UK is largely made up of middle-class, professional folk.  I'm not saying exclusively, nor am I saying that the CoE is actually any more so than other church bodies.
But I am talking about changes not absolute. So it may be the case that historically christianity in the UK was a middle class pursuit, but the changes are making it less so, as the more middle class churches decline more than the ones that are focussed more on lower income demographics.

And the churches that have traditionally been 'establishment', more attractive to the middle classes and the elite are declining the most in the UK. The churches that are growing are those largely linked to less affluent communities and often supported in growth by immigration.
Actually, figures suggest that the churches that are growing most are those which are evangelical in outlook and those that are working to combat social inequalities, whether they are 'traditional'/established or not.
If you salami slice perhaps you can get that view. But in demoninational terms the biggest declines are in the most established and traditionally middle class demoninations (CofE, RCC, Methodist etc), while 'black community' churches (for want of a better term) bucks the trend. And indeed deprived area of inner London also buck the trend, showing maintenance (or even slight growth) in religiosity while leafy middle class, middle England shows strong declining trends.

But the freedom and education parts need to be seen together, there is no real freedom of religion if kids are brought up to be of a particular religion.
A comment that applies equally to being brought up within a context totally devoid of religion.
In part I agree. But there is a difference between failing to cover something in education and covering it in a biased manner. If I fail to cover party politics in schools am I somehow biasing the kids in a particular political manner - I don't think I am although the educational offering might be less rich than I'd like. But that is entirely different to a situation where politics is covered and children are taught to be Tories (as an example) - they might be taught that other political parties exist, but the goal of that part of their education if for them to understands 'their' political parties, i.e. the Conservatives - that would clearly be biased (in the manner that RE in RCC schools is biased for example) and is far less supportive of religious freedom than failing to cover religion at all.

Freedom and education exist where the education is neutral in terms of religion, supporting therefore the freedom of the individual to make their own free choice in the matter.
I'd agree fully, which is why some well-educated peoiple opt to choose the 'non-religious' route and some the 'religious' route.
With, of course more people in the UK moving in the direction of the non religious than the religious.

ProfessorDavey

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2015, 11:01:13 AM »
If your comment about it no longer being 'a prerequisite to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen' were true and the explanation for a decline in christianity in the UK then you'd expect to see a decline in 'nominal' christians (e.g. census christians with no meaningful involvement) but a much more robust maintenance of 'real' christians for whom their religion is important to them and who are active in that religion. But that isn't the case. Levels of religious activity (e.g. church attendance) and importance of religion to individuals are declining just as much as nominal affiliation.
Except that the figures for the two are sourced in very different ways.  Can't remember the exact Census wording, but iirc it asks whether you attend church at certain times of year, such as Christmas or Easter - and therefore takes church attendance 2 or 3 times a year as the prime measure.  Peter Brierley uses 'regular - at least once a month' - as his base measure, which is why his figures are far closer to the figures reported in the British Attitudes Survey.
The census doesn't ask anything other that 'What is your religion?' - which is, of course a totally leading question implying non equivalence between having a religion and not having a religion. Hence it has been criticised strongly as leading and probably the reason why the proportion that claim to have a religion in the census is higher than in other surveys that ask less leading questions, e.g. a yes/no on that basis of 'do you have a religious belief' (or other equivalent question) plus a supplementary on which religion if you answer yes to the first question. So the upshot is that different surveying methods may produce different absolute levels of religiosity, but if you use the same approach over a number of years you can see the trends. And the trends are clear whichever method you use - all aspects of religiosity (nominal affiliation, importance, activity, e.g. churchgoing) are declining int eh UK and declining at similar rates.

Also of course it has to be said that there has never been an official requirement to to call oneself a Christian to be a British citizen even if there has historically been am establishment view that people should describe themselves as religious. Indeed just today we see this 'religious is better' prejudice alive and well in the establishment with the comments of Alex Salmond.
And the context of these comments? 
Quote
The clergyman (Rev Stuart MacQuarrie) had been at Holyrood to deliver the first "time for reflection" of the new parliamentary year.
Mr Salm recalled that he was a champion for the chamber event, which features religious and humanist speakers.
Speaking during the three-minute video, he said: "I am biased, of course, because I am a Church of Scotland adherent and I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith.
"All denominations have a key role to play in society and we are very fortunate in Scotland because we have a tremendous ability, among religions and denominations, to come together and support good causes."
Yup that's the one - uber-establishment figure (current and former MP, party leader, first minister in Scotland) saying:

'I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith'

- an astonishing thing to say, which is a clear insult to about half the people in the UK. Can you image the outcry if the target of his 'non preference' was black people, or gay people, or even people of a different religion to his own, e.g. muslims, jews or even catholics. I'd think it would be a resigning matter, but it remains the case that casual and generalising insult toward non religious people remains acceptable in our establishment in a manner that any of the other examples wouldn't be.

Rhiannon

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 01:44:41 PM »
Am I following this right? Salmand is saying he prefers 'people of faith' to those without, and that 'people of faith' are what keep 'good causes' in Scotland going?

Floo

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 01:53:01 PM »
I suspect whilst some intelligent people may have a faith, I doubt too many are fundies!
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ProfessorDavey

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2015, 01:58:50 PM »
Am I following this right? Salmand is saying he prefers 'people of faith' to those without, and that 'people of faith' are what keep 'good causes' in Scotland going?
Yup - spot on.

Not only has he made a generalised statement about preferring a group of people based on nothing more than their religion, without having any personal knowledge of them as individuals, he goes further by implying in a derogatory (and all to common manner) that somehow it is religious people who are involved in good work, and that non religious people aren't.

Clearly no one has shown him the research that demonstrates no difference whatsoever in the likelihood of religious and non religious people to be involved in good causes, specifically volunteering in a formal or informal manner.

Again, can you imagine the outcry if he made a similar comment about preferring white people and indicating them to be responsible for good work. He'd be out of a job before you could say 'independence referendum'.

But in a manner I'm kind of not surpassed. He is a nationalist, and the nationalist mind set is all about making sweeping generalisations about groups of people who are 'good'/'bad' purely based on their nationality, which is, lets face it, an accident of birth in most cases. With that kind of mindset it isn't surprising that he can turn that generalisation toward others based on arbitrary grouping.

What I'd like to know is how he squares the circle - is an English active christian preferable to a Scottish atheist - surely that kind of dilemma will make his head explode.

Rhiannon

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2015, 04:33:19 PM »
Bloody hell. And I thought we were good at voting in wankers.

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2015, 07:38:27 AM »
I think it is fairly obvious that less educated people are more likely to believe god stories than vice versa, but I don't know of any recent studies on the subject.

So LJ all educated people are atheist and all duffers are Christians.

 Another theory,of coarse we wait for you to explain with your great brain,Why people with greater brains then you have become Christians.

 I will look in later for your answer.

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jeremyp

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2015, 08:31:23 AM »
I think it is fairly obvious that less educated people are more likely to believe god stories than vice versa, but I don't know of any recent studies on the subject.

So LJ all educated people are atheist and all duffers are Christians.


You are the first person on this thread to make that claim.  From the way you have totally misunderstood the words that Leonard wrote, I'd say you are a data point that confirms them.

Either that or a lying arsehole.
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Maeght

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2015, 10:41:03 AM »
I don't think education levels are related to fundamental belief but I do think it is a factor when it comes to some of the arguments used to support and beliefs or equally the lack of belief.

ippy

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2015, 10:44:21 AM »
I can't be saying quit while you're ahead, more like you're on another looser Hope.

Proff D's references to the church/religions always using education to their advantage and his reference to gallup polls with their world view, when put together these two alone bury your OP on their own.

ippy

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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2015, 10:53:38 AM »
I confess to be being just a little worried at the fact that most posters are not young and yet display what I consider to be a failure of the rounded and liberal education I believed I received.

Teachers I know continually express frustration at what little seems to be assimilated of the amount of education provided.

Given the level of ignorance concerning religion, history, the role of mythology, psychology demonstrated  here and in the wider context of New atheism is worryingly high, I think it is the antitheists, new atheists and those atheists who see a bigger impact of atheism than the plain old ''atheism is the lack etc.'' who come across as the ones who should have paid more attention in class.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 11:20:53 AM by Methodology for philosophical naturalism,please »
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Re: Religious and educated?
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2015, 11:51:42 AM »
I think it is fairly obvious that less educated people are more likely to believe god stories than vice versa, but I don't know of any recent studies on the subject.

So LJ all educated people are atheist and all duffers are Christians.


You are the first person on this thread to make that claim.  From the way you have totally misunderstood the words that Leonard wrote, I'd say you are a data point that confirms them.

Either that or a lying arsehole.

 Say what you like,all I get from you brain dead clowns is evolution is a fact and proven.When I ask for the evidence,nothing is produced,

 you all seem to be desperate to disprove scripture,as each day  you pass out drivel non stop.

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