Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dawkins in Decline (from Google Trends)

An interesting news report about a paper which uses Google Trends to suggest the eventual demise of Facebook prompts me to look at this service. Is there similar evidence that Richard Dawkins is losing his influence?

Looking at the Google Trends graph there seems to be a slow but fairly steady decline since The God Delusion. The graph is scaled to peak at 100 and he is now at 29, so on this measure he as lost over 70% of his influence since his peak.

If we download the weekly data and then take a 20 week Weighted Moving Average we get the graph shown from the start of 2012 onwards. There is no material difference between the exponential and linear fits: we can reasonably expect Dawkins to be down below 20% of his peak influence (on this measure) in about 30-50 months.

Google Trends graph for Richard Dawkins
To put Dawkins' influence in context it's off-the-scale insignificant compared to that of Jesus, whose influence shows no signs of decline whatsoever.

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