Exclusive: Bad poll reveals little

Moral decline?A poll of 1,000 adults for the BBC finds that four our of five people say UK is in ‘moral decline’ and only 9% disagreed that moral standards were falling.

62% said religion was important in guiding the nation’s morals, while 29% disagreed that faith had a role to play.

People aged 16 to 24 were more likely than those in older age groups to agree that religion had a key role to play in guiding the nation’s morals.

Another stupid, badly conceived poll for a TV programme (at least for a change it’s not trying to ask how loyal Muslims are or similar).

Best view I’ve seen was in resposne to Simon Barrow’s commentary in Comment is Free from someone called Margin:

“Can you name five moral standards that have declined? five that you have evidence of both change and of decline? I can’t….[M]y argument is not that nothing changes, but that the verifiable changes are not conclusively decline or incline, while changes percieved as moral decline are often not verifiably changed. eg.I can conclude that the unwillingness to tackle homosexuality, with fewer prosecutions and many more openly gay people in society as evidence of change, is a form of moral decline. I can likewise conclude that tolerance towards homosexuality, with fewer prosecutions and many more openly gay people in society as evidence of change, is a form of moral incline.

What I can’t do is decide that some one spitting in the street is a form of moral incline or decline because I don’t know if he spat in the street before, or how many other people did. “

“as such I will ignore this poll that considers one instant in history (now) and compares to to all past instances without looking at them.”

And it’s not really controversial for most people to think religion plays a part of guiding our morals (we do have a religious heritage after all) – it’s not the same as saying religion is necessary for morality (although many people do think that as we all know).

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