Dark side down under

by | August 4, 2016

Stats very serious, a true Jedi knows.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia is asking people not to list Jedi as their religion in the country’s upcoming census.

I’m sure there are good reasons… But maybe the fact people don’t take religion seriously is a good thing too?

5 thoughts on “Dark side down under

  1. Indi

    There are *several* good reasons for telling people not to identify as “Jedi” on the census.

    The primary reason for choosing “Jedi” as a religion on censuses and surveys is to make a mockery of the collection of religious data. While there’s some value in that, it has turned out to cause real problems.

    In the case of the Australian census, if you choose “Jedi”, you don’t get filed under “No Religion”, you get filed under “Not Defined” and counted as religious. That means the total count of “Nones” is tens of thousands of people lower than it should be, making the non-religious look like a smaller and weaker demographic.

    A similar thing happens in Canada: “Jedi” gets counted as “Other” under the religions category, inflating the number of religious people. But choosing “Jedi” on the census actually had another, more insidious blowback here.

    Back in 2010, when the Harper government was trying to justify scrapping the long-form census, the PMO’s director of communications – in a widely memed press release at the time (http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/politics/inside-politics-blog/2010/07/dimitriwatch-but-do-jedi-knights-support-the-mandatory-census-long-form-or-not.html) – explicitly pointed to people choosing “Jedi” as a reason why the long-form census should be scrapped. And as we all know, it was, which caused enormous data collection problems (http://blog.indi.frih.net/2015/08/the-aftermath-of-scrapping-the-long-form-census/), and pretty much made the 2011 census a pointless, though expensive, exercise… which we won’t even be able to correct until 2021. To put it bluntly, people who put “Jedi” as their religion on the 2006 ended up costing Canada 22 million dollars and 10 years’ worth of useful demographic data.

    Generally speaking, the reason the government asks for your religion on the census is so they can properly allocate social resources. If you put a joke religion as your answer, you’re literally screwing yourself out of resources. Even worse, Jedi is *NOT* a joke religion for some people – they take it *very* seriously – so you’re basically giving resources to nuts (or at least you would be, if the government actually took the Jedi religion seriously, and the fact that it doesn’t is another problem entirely). And of course, all that notwithstanding, you’re screwing yourself out of political leverage by making non-religion look like a smaller, weaker demographic.

    If you don’t take religion seriously, fine… but you really should take the census seriously.

    1. Bubba Kincaid

      You mean the real Jedis fooled a bunch of people into allocating them resources?

      Where do I sign up to be padawan?

      1. Bubba Kincaid

        Even better, the gov doesn’t recognize Jedi. Theft moral quandary negated.

        I’d like to start my training with how to have a droid make me coffee.

  2. Indi

    … correction: “people who put “Jedi” as their religion on the ***2001 census*** ended up costing Canada…”

  3. AtheistsMeow

    I want to make sure I am never associated with any religion, fake or otherwise.


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