Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Apocalypse how (and when) - The end-of-the-world in the 2016 Chapman Survey of American Fears
Today might be National Face Your Fears Day, and one that could be faced is the apocalypse. Or, perhaps that day might have been last week.
The 2016 Chapman Survey of American Fears included five questions about Fear of the End-of-the-world, which are shown on pages 83 and 84 of their detailed results.
The general question was: “Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements” and those five statements were:
The world will end within my lifetime.
The world will end as outlined in the Bible.
The world will end due to a world war.
The world will end due to a man-made environmental disaster.
The world will end due to a natural disaster (such as a comet strike, massive volcano explosion, etc.).
For each question people were to answer with one of the following four levels:
A] Strongly Disagree
D] Strongly Agree
There also was a category of Refused for those who did not reply to a question.
First let’s look at results for when, that is The world will end within my lifetime. The sum of Agree and Strongly Agree was only 9.7% (just 1 out of 10), while the other 87% said they Disagree or Strongly Disagree. The vast majority of people still expect to die before the world ends.
Next let’s look at results for how - the sum of Agree and Strongly Agree for four statements, which were:
The world will end as outlined in the Bible. 46.1% [47.8%]
The world will end due to a natural disaster. 32.1% [33.5%]
The world will end due to a man-made environmental disaster. 29.1% [30.1%]
The world will end due to a world war. 21.3% [22.0%]
I also listed the Rescaled Percents [shown in square brackets], which were calculated via multiplying by a factor of 100/[100 - Percent Refused]. As outlined in the Bible was the most popular answer, but still fell slightly below a majority.
In a October 23, 2015 blog post titled A Somewhat Haunted World - Paranormal Beliefs in the 2015 Chapman Survey on American Fears, I discussed how just reporting the sum for Agree and Strongly Agree was insufficient and misleading - the sum for Disagree and Strongly Disagree also was highly relevant.
A bar chart shows the sums for how, with Agree (blue) and Disagree (pink). Click on it to see a larger, clearer view. For all four the sum for disagree is larger than that for agree. Percentages range from 50.45 (1 in 2) for as outlined in the Bible to 75.2% (3 out of 4) for due to a world war.
In the October 11th Chapman blog post What Aren’t They Telling Us? in a section titled The Consequences of Conspiracy they discussed how:
“Belief in conspiracies is significantly related to agreement with the statement ‘The world will end in my lifetime.’ Belief in the impending end of the world increases steadily with belief in conspiracy theories.”
They didn’t mention that only 1 in 10 Americans agreed with that statement.
The image of a nuclear blast was adapted from one found at Openclipart.