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The Sciences

The godless North

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollFebruary 25, 2006 11:39 PM

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Greetings from chilly Vancouver, where I've been visiting the University of British Columbia for the last few days. Besides breathtaking topography and amazing Pacific cuisine, a big advantage of the region is that you can't swing a cat without hitting an atheist around here. That's right: no religion was the largest reported "denomination" among B.C. residents, with more than twice the number of Roman Catholics, the second-biggest group. Thanks to Scott Oser for pointing this out. (There don't seem to be many Jewish people in B.C. I suspect that Moshe is the only one, and he was traveling during my visit.) I have to admit, though, that I'm confused. People here seem relatively friendly, and there is quite an effective social safety net, including universal health care. Where did all this niceness and compassion come from, without God to tell them how to behave? I'm pretty sure that I've heard that godlessness leads to a selfish, cutthroat, me-first attitude, so much unlike the selfless regard for the less fortunate that characterizes our religious culture in the States. These Canadians are probably a bunch of backstabbing Enlightenment hedonists under their smiling facades.

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