SocraticGadfly: 10/23/11 - 10/30/11

October 29, 2011

Is #MLB over-expanded?

As we had a great World Series, but one filled with miscues of various sorts, one baseball writer thinks that's indeed the case.
“There just aren’t great teams in baseball anymore,” the second scout said. “It all goes back to the expansion where the owners got so greedy and watered down the talent. What you have now is 50-60 ‘Four A’ players in the big leagues, many of them with starting jobs or in starting rotations. (Commissioner Bud) Selig talks about parity but what it is is inequity. I felt all year the Phillies were clearly the best team in baseball, but even they fell flat at the end of the year and between age and injuries they may have peaked.
“All you need to know is the Yankees, with a rotation that included (Bartolo) Colon, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett ran away with the AL East.”
Of course, Bud ain't listening. His second wild card, and more mediocrity in the postseason, are coming down the tracks like a locomotive, complete with year-round interleague play and other nonsense.

I'd like either the Bob Costas idea of no wild card and the best division winner gets a first-round bye, or two wild cards in two-division leagues, and both wild cards can come from the same division.

My #WorldSeries pick? #StlCards in 6

First, as David Freese showed in winning the NLCS MVP award, the Cards' batting order is deep. Overall, arguably, deeper than the Rangers' is. With four full-blown "boppers" in the order, including Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, even if one or even two go cold, there's depth there.

Speaking of, why were the TBS booth guys speculating Holliday would be the DH in the games in Arlington? This has been the first time since 2005 Berknan has played more than 100 games in the OF. And, for both this season and his career, he has a negative dWAR along with below average fielding percentage and range factor in the OF.

To me, TBS guys, it's a no-brainer to DH Berkman, with the added advantage of him being a switch-hitter. Allan Craig takes right and John Jay stays in center, for the outfield. (The Cardinal Nation blog suggests DHing one of them; why? Both are "positive" fielders. You put Berkman at DH, or Pujols, if he's banged up and then move Berkman to 1B. That's your best defensive moves.)

And, I've ragged on Tony La Russa a lot, but, overall, he did do a good job, even a great one, overall, in the LCS. That gives the Cards an advantage over the Rangers, where Ron Washington has been none too impressive as a strategist.

Speaking of, neither team looks great, overall, in pitching staffs, but, the Cards' underappreciated bullpen showed its worth to some degree against the Phillies and even more against the Brewers. Add Tony the Pony's long-term right-hand man Dave Duncan into the strategy mix, and it's another Cardinals advantage.

So, Cards in six. Home celebration at Busch Stadium.

UPDATE, Oct. 27: So I was off by a game, so sue me. WE WON! And ... Freese is MVP again.

October 28, 2011

A #Stlcards skeptic note 4 #JoshHamilton #TexasRangers

Given your inane comment after Game 6 Thursday night, did god tell the Texas Rangers to lose tonight?

If you're honest, now, and logical, you'd admit that. I think many people who aren't even agnostic or atheist are tired of athletes (and other celebrities of various stripes) claiming that god is on their side, wanted them to win, etc.


If there should be a god, your idea of him/her/it is wayyyy too small.

And if there isn't, well, your idea is just wrong.

In either case, your idea has zero real-world relevance.

If god does exist, and he's the architect of compassion and benevolence like you claim, he/she/it cares not a whit for one individual multimillionaire, or group thereof, beating out another individual or group that's similarly rich. And, if you tout some sort of success theology as claim he does, well, that's just social Darwinism in religious drag.

Lance Berkman, as noted here, says he doesn't pray for outcomes. Just to concentrate and do his best. If you are going to be a believer, that seems more nearly the "correct" belief stance.

Google ups ante on #infowars, #SteveJobs. #Apple, #Amazon

I've blogged more than once over the last couple of months about how Amazon, Apple and Google are the three big players, right now at least, in position to compete for "infowars," that is, vertical integration of information content with products, services or both.

Well, Google has just upped the ante with the announcement that it will run house-generated content on YouTube, with  as many as 100 channels. Big? Yes:
"This depth of content is something the Internet industry has lusted after for years," and it could attract the attention of many brand advertisers, said David Cohen, an executive vice president at Universal McCann, a media-buying agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos. "This is clearly the most audacious original programming initiative for the Internet, and it capitalizes on the trend of creating niche programming, thinking about people's passions and creating communities around them," he said.
Add in that it's Google TV software is being upgraded, with a likely "integration" factor there, and this is big indeed.

Big for YouTube's heavier users. Big for A-list artists, if not for those lower down the landscape.

And, a big salvo in the infowars by Google. Here's the key to that:
The video content must remain exclusive to YouTube for 18 months, said people familiar with the matter. The creators can take their content off YouTube after three years.
Google wants to be your TV network AND cable company or satellite provider, all in one.

Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet with a propriety OS last month. Google's done this.

Post-Steve Jobs, Apple's kind of under the gun now. What's next from Cupertino?

October 27, 2011

#GOP, #Dems both love corporate tax cheats

And are also stupidly naive about what already tax-cheating big biz will do with this money:

From the AP:
The House voted in near lockstep Thursday to repeal a law aimed at compelling government contractors to pay all their taxes, sparking squabbling over which party was doing the most to create jobs but leaving economists underwhelmed that much of anything had been achieved.
By 405-16, lawmakers voted to annul a 5-year-old law requiring federal, state and many local governments to withhold 3 percent of their payments to contractors until their taxes are paid. That measure was enacted by a Republican Congress and President George W. Bush in response to investigations showing that thousands of government contractors owed billions in back taxes. It is to go into effect in 2013.
Today's politicians are more concerned about the stubbornly high unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, the fury over economic inequity voiced by Occupy Wall Street protestors and the approach of next year's presidential and congressional elections.
That has left people in both parties, including President Barack Obama, saying the withholding should be scrapped because it would erode the cash that contractors have to hire more workers. Republicans were eager to categorize the bill as part of their year-long effort to attack government regulations as millstones on corporate America.
These contractors will instead pocket this money, just like the back taxes they haven't paid. Anybody with brains knows that. That said, to riff on Ben Franklin, when you surrender guts for security, you'll have neither, and you'll lose your brains to boot.

Speaking of, politics got involved:
Democrats acknowledged that the withholding law would do more harm than good, but they insisted that Republicans could hardly stake claim to being job saviors.
You could still not vote for the measure.And the story notes that the Dem-majority Senate may approve the same bill.

It's things like this that lead Occupy Wall Street supporters to reject marching in lockstep with Democrats. Especially when this is being paid for by tightening some Medicare standards.

And, if the MSM's shill from Moody's love it, we really should be skeptical:
"We're just codifying what's being done anyway," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "It's not as though we're changing something that would mean more money flowing."
Kind of like Gramm-Leach-Bliley just codified too big to fail banks, eh?

October 26, 2011

A reality check for #iamthe53

UPDATE: A new blog, OccupyPhilosophy, has some great thoughts on the well-known Marine 53er in particular, and some 53er claims in general.
For the guy who created this hashtag, and others of you, on up to wingnutter Erick Erickson whining about his McMansion, first, the talk of "responsibility" is laughable.
"What the 99% is missing is the element of personal responsibility," said Trevino, who is also vice president at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. "The 53% want to bring that into the conversation."
Let's start with the responsibility of the rich: to provide American jobs to an America that gives them so much; to be part of proposing responsible solutions to the problem; to accepting that they are exploiting American labor; and more. (Some of you non-rich should start recognizing No. 3, the "exploitation," while you're at it.

Second, here's the reality of the 47 percent:

1. Many of the "47 percent" are long-term unemployed. If you're as Christian as some of you claim, and believe in Christian charity, you'll start with that fact.
2. Many others of them do work, but in jobs that simply don't pay that much, due to your rich friends, with whom you maintain fear-based solidarity for all the wrong reasons.
3. The 47 percent still pay FICA taxes for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
4. They also pay this whole laundry list of federal excise taxes.
5. They also pay state sales and excise taxes.

Throw out a "frill" like indoor tanning. Ignore airplane tickets Focus on a nonsmoker.

The 47 percent still pay gas taxes if they're driving anywhere. They pay phone surcharges. They pay vaccine excise taxes. And more.

Driver's license renewals, in many states, are a maze of hidden fees.

And, these are all regressive.

Oh, and if you're Catholic and claim to be part of the 53 percent, your own hierarchy says that today's hypercapitalism has moral problems. Of course, conservative Catholics, while ready to tout the Vatican line on abortion, have studiously failed to do that with capital punishment and the Iraq War. I think the results will be the same here.

As E.J. Dionne notes:
Needless to say, Catholic conservatives were not happy with the document, and they did all they could to minimize its importance. George Weigel, the conservative Catholic writer, took to National Review’s blog to denigrate the Pontifical Council as “a rather small office in the Roman Curia” and to insist that its document “doesn’t speak for the pope, it doesn’t speak for ‘the Vatican,’ and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.”

And, as Charles Blow notes: We are the horrible, as a nation, among other developed nations, on social justice. You're being duped.

Stop being stooges of those who are putting you in the situation of having to work two jobs and go years without vacations.

October 25, 2011

#GreenParty gets a serious prez candidate - note to #OWS

Dr. Jill Stein, a Massachusetts physician and former gubernatorial candidate, has announced she's seeking the Green Party presidential nomination. This is definitely a real, serious presidential candidate. Someone who's not a neoliberal Democratic "echo" of the GOP. Someone whose platform includes a call for direct federal jobs creation. These are the types of demands, yes, demands, that Occupy Wall Street and its playacting-type Adbusters backers need to get its shit together and support. Period.

Read more about Dr. Stein at her website.

#StlCards: Would Pujols do a 1-year deal?

OK, the Cardinals' postseason is done, so we can refocus on the No. 1 Hot Stove League topic: Albert Pujols and whether or not he will stay in St. Louis.

A few days ago, the possibility of a one-year contract deal for The Machine crossed my mind.

That said, I don't think it's likely.

1. Albert's on the far side of 30. For him and Dan Lozano, the clock is ticking.
2. If "pressing" over a contract was part of the issue, why would he want that again?
3. If he is at all declining, if part of the increase in double-play balls and drop in walks was not a one-year aberration, he doesn't want that to show up again.

That said, he's 30 HRs away from tying Stan Musial's team record. If John Mozeliak made this a HUGE performance incentive, Pujols might do a one-year deal. But, so far, on long-term talks, Mo has said zip about such incentives, including for 500 and 600 HRs, 3,000 hits, etc.

So, not likely.

Odds on such a deal? 3-1 against, in my book.

And, Jon Paul Morosi says that the Cards' win may boost the likelihood the team keeps him, on a more realistic deal. His Fox baseball colleague Ken Rosenthal, writing with the hindsight of Pujols' 3-HR World Series night, partially agrees. He says Pujols either forced Mozeliak to open the Cardinal checkbook wider or else he finished the process of pricing himself out of the St. Louis market.

On the other hand, if Jeff Passan is right, and Prince Albert is a Tony La Russa-babied prima donna, and Tim Brown is right that Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman have finally gotten a bit tired of coddling him, do you want him back? At least, do you want him back for more than one year, assuming that Tony the Pony retires after 2012 and passing John McGraw? For that matter, if you're getting big enough clubhouse fractures over this, among star-level players, do you want Tony the Pony back beyond a 2012 record-setting farewell tour?

On the other hand, in another column, Monrosi kind of dismisses the Passan/Brown criticisms. (And opens up the can of worms as to whether some writers favor some ballplayers, etc.)

And, Howard Bryant weighs in, wondering, given his apparent self-effacing attitude, just how much marketing candlepower he would have in a city bigger than St. Louis.

Occupying the rest of the nation is real, more than #OWS

Salon has a great article about this, Occupy the Rust Belt. No Millennials with grad degrees and helicopter moms in the background here. No protests as performance art. Instead, real concerns by real people who had never hoped for Wall Street jobs in the first place.

This is what Occupy Wal Street should be about, itself, but probably won't be.

And, realistically? OWS has four weeks to actually start making statements and taking stands. If Thanksgiving comes, a lot of the Millennials will head back home to their parents rather than get that cold. And holiday shopping season, etc., will cut into the OWS airtime, attention, etc.

October 23, 2011

#JeffJarvis gets his teeth kicked in, and whines

Jeff Jarvis, new media hypnotist
Call this the latest installment in my "Dark Side of the Internet" series.

Evgeny Morozov has a deliciously over-the-top-crushing review of Jeff Jarvis' new book, "Public Parts." 

Jarvis, whose obsession for linking puts him in the same class of Internet myopics as Robert Scoble, with whom I fortunately have had less interaction, makes a tepid defense of the need for maximum publicness on the Internet, sounding like an older, but no less self-infatuated, Mark Zuckerberg. 

Yes, I think that's just about the right description.

Here's a few outtakes:
Why are we so obsessed with privacy? Jarvis blames rapacious privacy advocates—“there is money to be made in privacy”—who are paid to mislead the “netizens,” that amorphous elite of cosmopolitan Internet users whom Jarvis regularly volunteers to represent in Davos. ...

In one respect—his unrivaled ability to attract attention to his diva-like self—Jarvis has outdone even the fictional Dr. Kirk. Jarvis’s public parts are truly public: his recent battle with prostate cancer has become something of an online Super Bowl, with Jarvis tweeting from the operating table and blogging about the diaper problems that followed.  ...

Had Jarvis written his book as self-parody—as a cunning attack on the narrow-mindedness of new media academics who trade in pronouncements so pompous, ahistorical, and vacuous that even the nastiest of post-modernists appear lucid and sensible in comparison—it would have been a remarkable accomplishment. But alas, he is serious. This is a book that should have stayed a tweet.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

My takeaway from this, since Morozov mentions Hannah Arendt early in his review, is YES ... Jarvis epitomizes the "banality of Internet publicness."

Fortunately, though, Morozov doesn't fire a single bullet at just Jarvis.

Instead, he rightfully gets out the blunderbuss and targets new media fluffers in general:
It is not surprising that the two books feature almost identical casts. The list of fellow Internet gurus and believers who make appearances in both books, repeating what they say in every other Internet book, is too long to give in full, but here are Clay Shirky, Chris Anderson, Don Tapscott, Jay Rosen, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, Nick Denton, Umair Haque, Arianna Huffington, Doc Searls, John Perry Barlow, Steven Johnson.
I don't waste time following all of those, but I feel about Shirky, Rosen, Huffington, and the degree I have followed Scoble, him, the same way Morozov does.

Morozov then goes on to list specific reasons why these people are part of the banal dark side, but, banality aside, need our watchful attention:
Our Internet intellectuals lack the intellectual ambition, and the basic erudition, to connect their thinking with earlier traditions of social and technological criticism. They desperately need to believe that their every thought is unprecedented. ...

As Chuck Klosterman has observed, “the degree to which anyone values the Internet is proportional to how valuable the Internet makes that person.” Internet intellectuals like to tell companies and governments what they like to hear-including the kind of bad news that is really good news in disguise (you are in terrible shape, but if you only embrace the Internet, all your problems will be gone forever!). Occasionally their gigs are embarrassing—Clay Shirky’s name turned up on the despicable roster of consultants to Qaddafi’s government—but they will take that risk. And the technology companies return the favor: the opening pages of Macrowikinomics—another recent best-seller in the sprawling library of techno-punditry—is peppered with laudatory quotes from the CEOs of Dell, Best Buy, Accenture, Dupont, Nike, Google, and a dozen other companies.
It would be easy to ignore people like Jarvis, but, as Morozov points out, Jarvis (and his ilk) regularly attend the playgrounds of the rich, famous and world leaders like Davos -- and pretend to know what's "right" for the future of the Internet.

And, as that second paragraph notes, the likes of Jarvis are sellouts to rich CEOs on issues like "branding." In short, the Jeff Jarvises of the world are bad in part because they give a pseudo-intellectual cover to the Steve Jobs of the world.

Finally, although addressed at Jarvis, this riff hits most the new media fluffers:
Most Internet intellectuals simply choose a random point in the distant past—the honor almost invariably goes to the invention of the printing press—and proceed to draw a straight line from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, as if the Counter-Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, the Reign of Terror, two world wars—and everything else—never happened.
The ubiquitous references to Gutenberg are designed to lend some historical gravitas to wildly ahistorical notions. The failure of Internet intellectuals actually to grapple with the intervening centuries of momentous technological, social, and cultural development is glaring.
Many technological advances have gone almost nowhere, such as the printing press and paper money in China. Others literally get forgotten, such as the Romans inventing portland cement for underwater construction, only to see its knowledge later forgotten for more than a millennium,

And, you want fun? Here's Jarvis boo-hooing about the review.
I wish Morozov had tackled issues and ideas to show how it’s done. He wants an intellectual examination of the topic — accusing me of not providing it — but then he doesn’t offer one himself.
Uhh, you HAVE no ideas; that's the whole point of the mocking tone of the review. Either Jarvis is being even more of a diva than normal, or he's that dense. Of course, they're not mutually exclusive; it could be both.

Beyond that, my last quote from Morozov alone shows that he's talking about ideas all the way down.

From my own blogging and reading, some about Jarvis in particular and some about new media fluffers in general, I can say the following.

1. On new vs. old media, they simply ignore financial constraints, and other ones, on much serious journalism, as this book notes.

2. As an exchange from that book notes, they ignore the capitalism, even hypercapitalism, that drives much of the Net's dark side:
Thomas Frank, among other things, eviscerates New Media fluffer Jay Rosen with an anecdote from when Rosen interviewed Roger Rosenblatt, CEO of New Media writing serf farm Demand Media (eHow and other sites).

And the hardest-hitting interrogation Rosen could do was ask, "If you love the Web, then why are you doing this, running these content farms?" And, Frank indirectly lets us understand that that attitude toward the financial side of how most New Media can't be financially supported well, unless run on a hypercapitalist model, and the refusal of Rosen, Clay Shirky, Jeff Jarvis and others to address this, is the problem with most New Media fluffers.
3. As I've blogged elsewhere, they miss that this hypercapitalism is ultimately driven by "infowars" which people like Jarvis unwittingly, or half-wittingly, abet.

4. And, speaking of ideas, they also ignore (or in Huffington's case, welcome) the fact that the Net has led to the hollowing out of the creative class.

So, Morozov is right, right, right. Despite, or rather, perhaps, because of their banality (a banality that fits well with modern America), Jarvis and people like him are dangerous indeed.

They encourage a modern bread-and-circuses attitude, if you will; let's say, to riff on Jobs, an iGeneration. They encourage the same breathless wonder at their own thoughts to spread to other people and their own thoughts.

Oh, I can be in love with my own thoughts, too. But, I don't think they're earthshaking, even though I do believe they're usually less banal, shallow and trite than the likes of Jarvis.

Of course, this is a guy who wrote for TV Guide and People. What else would we expect but "look at me" writing? I'm sure that he will next raise the jealousy card; others who have gotten lucky via the Internet often do, precisely because it's yet another easy way to avoid the real issues. But, the criticism is true. Again, going beyond Morozov, he's trying to tell everybody that you, too, can have your 15 minutes of cyberfame.

Well, if the worldwide content of "information" from 2003-2008 was as much as in the entire previous history of the world ... no you can't. Not in the U.S., you can't.

#OccupyWallStreet: #OWS mythmaking

One of the biggest myths surrounding this movement is that of "leaderlessness." In more than one post, I've already tackled the fact that there appears to be some clear signs of leadership of some sort, and of leadership that had some "standing" before the "occupation" started.

Now I see that this myth of leaderlessness has spread to revising past American movements. Specifically, we now have the claim that the 1960s civil rights movement was "leaderless." Twould be news indeed to the NAACP, SCLC, SNCC and others. The same story includes a claim that civil rights leaders didn't come out with a "laundry list" early on. Again, simply not true.
When the civil rights movement started, people didn't come out right out with a big list of demands — they came out in the streets and just said, 'We're not going to accept society the way it is,'" said Ed Needham, 43, a public relations manager from Cambridge, Mass. "That's the stage we're in right now."
There's so many different ironies involved with a public relations manager making such a claim, besides it simply not being true.

This Ed Needham, per his LinkedIn profile, among other things, has a background in branding. Isn't that the essence of modern PR? He also appears wedded to the Democratic Party. That said, he apparently is upset enough with Dear Leader to have started a Draft Feingold movement.

That said, the reality? Integration of restaurants, restrooms and other public facilities were "list of demands" items early on. And strategy was targeted to that end.

Meanwhile, beyond the AP story, "leaderlessness" claims can backfire. Someone suggests $20/hr minimum wage, then the mainstream media gets blamed for reporting it. You can't have it both ways.

Although you can certainly try! The "General Assembly" of OWS says that it's the only "official" site to speak for the general assembly, claiming that other websites have no right to speak for it. From a Facebook friend:
Posting and reposting such sites is furthering someone else's agenda, not the movement.
To which, I responded:
So, the "movement" is subject to the advice of the General Assembly? Sounds like ... uh, leadership to me!
I have the feeling that, at some point before the end of the month, at least parts of Occupy Wall Street going to devolve into some sort of Trotskyist or Randian farce.

UPDATE: Per the New York Review of Books, here's yet more reason to be skeptical, even cynical, about at least a certain swath of the "movement," along with claims of leaderlessness and at least some of the actual leaders:

Adbusters, in a word, a magazine I found pretentious when I first looked at it 15 years ago. From the story author's "welcome to Adbusters" email:

Thank you for joining our network. You are now part of a 90,000+ strong global network of activists, cultural creative’s [sic] and meme insurgents—a revolutionary force that, with your active involvement, just might reshape how power and meaning flow in the 21st century. Together lets live a little more on the wild side, launch a few telling cultural interventions and pull off some surprising pranks, jams and other essential mental resuscitations.
And, even without receiving such a "welcome" email, the "antic, Dadaist tone" is exactly what I saw 15 years ago, too. So, yes, I'm hard on OWS. To riff on Rahm Emanuel, protest as street art is wasting a good crisis, as are the degree of pampered Millennials. Union members who have shown up at Zucotti Park should take over, especially left-liberalish ones like longshoremen.

#GnuAtheism vs. psychology and sociology

The "vs." in the title is deliberate. My explanation of that is the theme of this post.

Gnu Atheists, more than many Old Atheists, in my opinion, focus their attention and attack on, and scorn for, all shades of Christianity and other religions, on doctrinal belief and practice issues. They ignore other elements of religious belief in general that any thumbnail-sized introduction to philosophy of religion or psychology of religion would teach them about.

This may be somewhat of a dividing line between Old and Gnu atheism, or maybe not.

It's a bright line, though, I think, between Gnu Atheism and secular humanism. No doubt about it. The Ethical Culture movement, the popularity of non-metaphysical congregations within Unitarianism, and the existence of independent "churches" of freethought all attest to this. There are many people of a naturalistic approach to life, whether or not they use the word "atheist" as a self-identifier very often or not, who are looking for ... "fellowship."

But, Gnu Atheists, while not, in general, politically libertarian, are often socio-culturally libertarian, or anti-communitarian in some ways. (Except when it comes to conventions, perhaps.) There's nothing wrong with that. But, to not see that as a backbone of many people's religious belief, or non-religious humanism, even , is a big blind spot. A HUGE blind spot.

An unemployed southern Baptist isn't so much looking for a miracle job from Jesus as he or she is a job-hunting support group at the local Baptist church.

Now, since atheists of any stripe, or even atheists plus agnostics, are about as uncommon in American society as Macs in a PC world, it's harder for atheists to create this type of organization.

BUT! If Gnu Atheists really want to be "evangelistic" to the non-atheist and non-agnostic "irreligious" or "nones" who are actually growing indeed (self-identified atheist and agnostic numbers are NOT) they'd be well served with taking a page out of the secular humanist playbook, whether via Ethical Culture, select Unitarian churches, or some other vehicle, and finding out how to be more sociable and more sociological-minded.

That said, I don't really see that happening.

Now, is this to say that theology and dogma don't matter to believers, even when sociological and psychological concerns weigh heavy? No, of course not.

If nothing else, belief systems, matters of belief, doctrines, creeds and confessions have major sociological utility for dividing the in-group from the out-group.

An aside: The fact that just 1.6 percent of Americans self-identify on the ARIS survey linked above as atheist or agnostic, while 12 percent, in response to a different question, show an atheist or agnostic "metaphysical stance," says several things.

1. Contra ARIS researchers, many people do still see a stigma in calling themselves agnostic or atheist.
2. Many people still don't know what the two words mean. (I can attest to that.)
3. The growth of Buddhism, where Theravada practitioners, for sure, and many others, are metaphysically atheist but still quite religious, is a confounding factor.

For more on the first two points, see this essay on ARIS research.