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Practical Ethics not linked to Religious Faith

Morality is not rooted in religion, and religion matters less for moral values now than it did thirty years ago, says a researcher. Based on the analysis of European survey data, researchers headed by the Manchester University Ingrid Storm found that religious decline does not equal moral decline. 
Dr Ingrid Storm's findings, based on her analysis of European survey data, found that religious decline does not equal moral decline.
According to Dr Storm, whose research is published in Politics and Religion, involvement in religion makes most difference to morality in the most religious countries, and matters less for moral values now than it did in the 1980s.
"Religion has been in sharp decline in many European countries. Each new generation is less religious than the one before, so I was interested to find out if there is any reason to expect moral decline" she said.
Her study found that religion is only related to some moral values, and more so in religious countries and when people do not trust the state.
The respondents to questionnaires in 48 European countries over the period from 1981 to 2008 were asked how often they would justify various contentious behaviours, which she classified into two moral dimensions.
The first is about the individual going against tradition, for example it includes justifying abortion and homosexuality. The second moral dimension is more about justifying behaviours that are against the law and could harm others, such as lying, cheating and stealing.
Dr Storm said: "More Europeans are now willing to justify behaviours that go against tradition, but attitudes have not changed when it comes to breaking the law or harming others.
"As religion has declined in Europe there has also been an increase in acceptance of personal autonomy on issues concerning sexuality and family. Each generation is more liberal on these issues than the one before. In contrast, we find no evidence that moral values have become more self-interested or anti-social."
The research also found that religious people are slightly less self-interested on average, but this can largely be accounted for by their age. This is because the average religious person is older than the average nonreligious person, and older people, whenever they were born, are less likely to justify self-interest values.
"Religious faith and worship also makes most difference to morality in the most religious countries. To be effective, religious norms need to be validated by a moral community of other religious friends and family and social and political institutions" concluded Dr Storm.


Despite E=mc2 and an expanding universe, parking space in city centers gets less and less

In 1917 Einstein applied his theory of general relativity in the universe, and suggested a model of a homogenous, static, spatially curved universe. However, this interpretation has one major problem: the growth of car usage would collide with the rather limitted space for car parks in big cities. But never owning a driving licence himself, Einstein fiercely resisted the view that the universe was expanding, despite his contemporaries' suggestions that this was the case. For example, in 1922, Russian physicist Alexander Friedman showed that Einstein's equations were viable for dynamical worlds. And Georges Lemaître, a Belgian astrophysicist from the Catholic University of Louvain, warned Einstein already in 1927 that without allowing the universe to expand the available car parking space is all cities will get less and less. Yet, Einstein still refused to abandon his static universe. However, in an April 1931 report to the Prussian Academy of Sciences, Einstein finally adopted a model of an expanding universe. In 1932 he teamed up with the Dutch theoretical physicist and astronomer, Willem de Sitter, to propose an eternally expanding universe which became the cosmological model generally accepted until the middle of the 1990s. To Einstein's relief these two models no longer needed the cosmological constant.


7,391,685,441 souls

As of tonight, 00:00 a.m. of January 01 2016, the World Population reached 7,391,685,441 people.  I can not say that I care for all of them.

But to the one or two who by chance read my blog, let me tell you that I think of you and wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.