View Single Post
Mar22-11, 11:25 PM
P: 500

A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of
religious non-affiliation

When groups compete for members, the resulting dynamics of human social activity may be un-
derstandable with simple mathematical models. Here, we apply techniques from dynamical systems
and perturbation theory to analyze a theoretical framework for the growth and decline of competing
social groups. We present a new treatment of the competition for adherents between religious and
irreligious segments of modern secular societies and compile a new international data set tracking
the growth of religious non-affiliation. Data suggest a particular case of our general growth law,
leading to clear predictions about possible future trends in society.
The model indicates that in these societies
the perceived utility of religious non-aliation is greater
than that of adhering to a religion, and therefore pre-
dicts continued growth of non-aliation, tending toward
the disappearance of religion. According to our calcu-
lations, the steady-state predictions should remain valid
under small perturbations to the all-to-all network struc-
ture that the model assumes, and, in fact, the all-to-
all analysis remains applicable to networks very di er-
ent from all-to-all. Even an idealized highly polarized
society with a two-clique network structure follows the
dynamics of our all-to-all model closely, albeit with the
introduction of a time delay.
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on
Experts defend operational earthquake forecasting, counter critiques
EU urged to convert TV frequencies to mobile broadband
Sierra Nevada freshwater runoff could drop 26 percent by 2100