Last year, when I was writing about the 2013 Freedom of Thought report, my plan was to do a thorough analysis of the data in the report. That didn’t happen, mostly because Canadian Atheist was shut down by hackers at the time. It got better, but for various reasons I never did get around to finishing the in-depth analysis, and ended up posting a half-assed job. This year I wanted to make up for that.
I have dug into the data in the 2014 Freedom of Thought report, and analyzed it a bunch of different ways. All of my results are available online, and a write-up of my findings will be available on Canadian Atheist shortly.
In analyzing the data, I did discover one error that I had to correct. On page 248 n the report, Tajikistan was given a rating of “Systemic Discrimination”. However, the actual criteria table for Tajikstan suggests that it should be given a rating of “Severe Discrimination”, because it satisfied the criterion “Expression of core humanist principles on democracy, freedom or human rights is severely restricted”. Either the final rating is incorrect, or that criterion should not be there. I concluded that the criterion seems to have been appropriately applied, which means the final rating is incorrect – it should be “Severe Discrimination”. All of my analysis was done after correcting this error.
One thing that I was unable to do that I really wish I could is use information about the number of atheists in each country. In theory, even if a country has “Grave Violations” with respect to discrimination against atheists and humanists, it’s not really a problem if there are no atheists or humanists in the country. (Well, it’s a problem for non-atheists, sure, but my scope is limited to what this all means for atheists specifically.) It is more interesting, I think, to determine the number of atheists and humanists forced to live under conditions of discrimination against atheists and humanists, than merely just the number of people in general under those conditions. Unfortunately, there are no reliable sources for the demographics of atheists or humanists in most of the world.
If you have any other suggestions of things I should look for in the report data, feel free to leave a comment.