Sunday, June 15, 2008

A champion comes forth!

Over at Campus Report Online, the have an interesting method of refuting scientific studies. Read on.

If getting rich is your goal, steer clear of a conservative Protestant church.

Okay, I was all set to devote my life to that church, but I want to eat, too, so thanks for the warning!

That's the absurd conclusion of a study by Duke University professor Lisa Keister, who authored "Conservative Protestants and Wealth: How Religion Perpetuates Asset Poverty" in this month's American Journal of Sociology.

Oh. So that’s what a scientific study on the matter says. And since you find that conclusion ‘absurd’ you’re going to spend lots of time analyzing why a study would come to this conclusion, refuting the data collected and will clearly show us the flaws in the study!

I can’t wait!

Keister suggests that wealth is "among the most fundamental indicators of well-being"

Fairly reasonable. It’s tough to get good medical care, housing, food, or clothing without money, so that seems like a reasonable connection.

and, according to her, the church is sorely lacking it.

But you’ll show us the Truth soon!

When comparing net worth in the year 2000, conservative Protestants (CPs) averaged $26,000 compared to $66,200 for the wider population.

Short 40 thousand dollars sounds like ‘lacking’ to me. So get cranking with the refutation already!

"[The findings] are consistent with the argument that long-term exposure to CP values, particularly during the critical childhood years when people learn to save, adversely influences asset ownership..."

Yeah, yeah, Professor Keister – if that really is your real name – we all hear your absurdities. But Tony’s about to set you straight!

Keister tries to validate the liberal stereotype of Protestants as poor, uneducated people who force their women to stay home barefoot and pregnant.

Um, Tony, she didn’t say anything about uneducated or forcing women to be barefoot and pregnant. Come on man, you’re teasing us! Start raining the brimstone on this study already!

She claims that biblical teachings are hostile to the accumulation of wealth and cites people who say that it "prevents one from knowing God."

Again…that sounds pretty reasonable. Telling people that they shouldn’t accumulate money leads to people not trying to accumulate money. And not trying to accumulate money leads to not having money.

Dude! We’re waiting here and you’re doing your Casey at the Bat impressions! Connect with that high hard one already!

Unfortunately, Keister ignores the obvious explanations,

Hold the phone!

You’re not disputing the facts found in this study?!? You’re not going after the methodology that The Keister used to base her study? You’re…agreeing with her?!?

What kind of a refutation is this?!?!?

which are that believers are more inclined to give sacrificially

Possibly true, my former champion. But you need to go demonstrate it now. Perhaps you could do a scientific study to show this like say…Professor Lisa Keister actually went and did.

and place less priority on material things.

Isn’t this exactly what Professor Keister said in her study? You know, directly agreeing with your opposition is not the way to refute her findings. I’m just saying.

In fact, as Arthur Brooks notes in his book Who Really Cares, one of the best things that could happen in the fight to reduce poverty would be for Americans to become more religiously conservative. Brooks writes, "Religious people are, inarguably, more charitable in every measurable way."

So are we talking about religious conservatism or Conservative Protestants? I’m confused here now.

In contrast to Keister's theory, most Protestants don't have an objection to riches but refuse to be defined by them.

This contrasts her theory?!?

As our Dr. Pat Fagan has pointed out, men and women of faith place a higher priority on producing human capital than financial capital.

Resulting in not having financial capital.

Keister's report seems to feed into society's notion that that success is determined by what you accumulate, rather than what people accomplish or how they serve. In the end, wealth is no more an indication of success than it is of happiness.

So in the end, you agree that they are poor, just like the professor says, but they don’t mind it.

Wow. F on the refuting, but I’ll give you a D- just for old times sake when you were once my champion. Sigh.

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