OKCupid: Astrology is Useless and It Pays to Not Take Religious Beliefs Seriously October 7, 2009

OKCupid: Astrology is Useless and It Pays to Not Take Religious Beliefs Seriously

The last time dating website OKCupid released data about its users, we discovered that saying you’re an atheist can help you get a date!

Recently, they released a few more charts that are revealing both for what they tell us and don’t tell us.

For example, a lot of people put their astrological sign on their dating profile. You would assume that some of them take it seriously enough to actively seek out people with whom they’re “compatible.”

So what happens when you take a random sampling of 500,000 users and check out the “match percentages” between users with different signs?

Just for some background:

A match percentage between two people is a condensed, yet statistically valid, expression of how well they might get along. 75% is very high, 45% is very low, and 60.2% is the site-wide average.

So people whose stars are “correctly” aligned should see a higher-than-average match percentage, right?

Let’s find out:

I know what you’re thinking: two Aquarians should never date.

But let’s be clear: there’s no statistical difference when it comes to compatibility regardless of your zodiac sign!

If people ask you for your sign, tell them you’re not interested in breeding and move on. You’ll be doing us all a favor.

Another interesting chart is the one below, regarding how adamantly you take your belief system. Are you very serious about whatever you believe? Or are you laughing about it because you don’t take it that seriously at all?

The summary explains it well:

As it turns out, people who hold their beliefs lightly are much better liked, even by people who are themselves serious. Weird huh? While it’s true that the most serious women believers slightly prefer their men to not be “laughing about it”, every other slice of this data indicates that the less serious (or more flexible?) you are about your religious beliefs, the better you get along.

This applies to atheism, too. The more serious you are about it, the less people are interested in you. You’re just not as fun to be around as someone who simply brushes religion aside like it’s a whim of the masses.

I was also amused by the stat that Jewish guys get along with people from all religious faiths — in fact, they have higher compatibility with Muslim woman than Muslim men! (There’s irony for you.)

Have these trends played out in your personal life at all?

Would you prefer dating someone who took their belief system super-seriously?

(via OKTrends)

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    I know what you’re thinking: two Aquarians should never date.

    Actually, i was thinking two Aquarian heterosexuals should never date.

  • JJR

    Hmm. Maybe I should downgrade my Atheism from “somewhat serious” to “laughing about it?”…I put “Somewhat serious” because, after all, I am the lead organizer of my town’s local Atheist Meetup on Meetup.com…

    “Very serious” = arguably someone like the late Madalyn Murray O’hare (I agree, yikes).

  • You’re just not as fun to be around as someone who simply brushes religion aside like it’s a whim of the masses.

    But I enjoy brushing religion aside. It makes me all warm and fuzzy. Can I still brush it aside if I add a smiley afterwards so people know that I’m laughing about it? 🙂 What about if I dismiss someone’s religion in a ridiculous pirate voice?

    Too far?

  • I’m on OKCupid (don’t ask) and I list myself as Atheist, Very Serious About It. I mean, I’m the president of a club, I’m outspoken, I have a blog about atheism…how is that not serious? I also joke about my atheism all the time.

    Flawed statistics, I tell you!!

  • Well, I am married to a Catholic woman, who does take the principles seriously, but that won’t play along every rule or mandate from Rome. Actually, she’s quite open-minded.

    And I’m an atheist who takes atheism seriously only among others, or online =P

  • Polly

    A clever commenter here at FA shared this thought which provides a pretty good synopsis of these findings: (very paraphrased)”If you’ve got more than 3 bumperstickers on your car, you’re probably annoying.”

    I think of that often on the freeway. 🙂

    Edit: And no, the clever person wasn’t me.

  • Siamang

    Lol, that’s my saying, Polly!

    Glad you like it. I think it’s true, EVEN if I agree with the stickers they display.

    I allow myself one bumpersticker. And it’s not even a political one. It says “Weasley is our King!”

  • Polly


    A-ha! I couldn’t remember for sure.

    Yup, it applies equally well to “fellow-travelers” as well as opponents.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Well, I am married to a Catholic woman, who does take the principles seriously, but that won’t play along every rule or mandate from Rome.

    Well then she doesn’t take the principles seriously. One of the basic principles of the Holy Roman Catholic Church is that the guy with the funny hat in Rome is God’s favourite BFF on Earth, and whatever he rules bound on Earth is buond in Heaven. I.e. it is a top-down authoritarian power structure.

  • Alec

    I recently lost my girlfriend and fiance of 6 years because she decided to hop back aboard the “devout christian” train whereas she has been off it since high school. We were a great couple, and everything goes to hell after she “got back with god”. And when I told her I was a atheist now (like she didn’t already know >_>) but would respect and encourage her in her faith no matter what, I suddenly became “not good enough” for her. Apparently, I am “unable” to love her because I don’t love god?! I blame that christian “school” of hers (Berea College) that forced her to take a christian class, well that and there’s a church around every corner there, and the church goers are always descending on the campus to “save lives” rather than turning they’re attention to the rest of the towns youths’ that makes the town of Berea known in Kentucky for it’s drugs and alcohol problems…
    IDK…I could live with a devout religious person I think, but I don’t think they could live with me.
    Sorry for this rant…sometimes people need to complain, you know?

  • Jeff

    I would be interested to see statistics that don’t focus exclusively on heterosexual relationships. I’ve never been on okCupid, do they have sections for men seeking men and women seeking women? I wonder if any of this would change if they took those relationships into account.

  • Well, my wife and I are both Tauruses (Tauri?)… probably not what you were looking for.

    We were both atheists coming into the relationship, though I don’t know that we discussed it beforehand. We’ve both become more serious about our stance, luckily to a similar and compatible degree, mostly in regards to parenting and the way religion affects the LGBT community.

  • agent0014

    I wish that this was a matrix showing successful relationships, rather than OKCupid’s “match percentage” formula… as I think it’d hold more water when I release it on my unsuspecting friends who, despite being otherwise wonderfully rational people, think that there’s something valid to astrology. Almost makes me want to do my own study… maybe I’ll have to get on the googles later and type up a survey, see if I can get enough people to take it to make the results even marginally successful in portraying accurate numbers… hmm.

  • Peregrine

    I fell for a fellow Aquarius in university. And some astrology books at the time warned that it was bad mo-jo, but I knew better. I knew astrology was bunk, and threw caution to the wind, and attempted to win her affections anyway.

    …Aaaaand, I was wrong. She shot me down, and a couple years later turned elusive, and told all her friends and most of her family to screw off. So looks like I dodged that bullet.

    Meh. Law of averages.

  • stoat100

    I take my atheism very seriously and spend an absurd amount of time following atheist blogs.

    However, I spend much of the above time LOL-ing – often literally – at the amusing posts therein! I want my own category, and I suspect I’m not alone.

    Re: compatibility – my girlfriend is a Christian, and the entire extent of our discussion of religion has consisted of:

    Her: ‘is that your copy of The God Delusion’
    Me: ‘yes, that would be mine…’ [we were at my mother’s house, who’s a devout Catholic!]
    Jointly: /stoned giggles…/

    Things are much more chilled in Europe. 🙂

  • Maybe atheists are successful on website dating agencies simply because that’s where all the other atheists are?

  • AnonyMouse

    I know I would prefer someone who isn’t too serious about his atheism (too serious, for instance, to consider my hypothesis of polytheism). On the other hand, I’d rather he not be the casual or “apatheist” sort who feels that religion is harmless (or even mostly beneficial), so I guess I’d prefer somewhere in the middle.

  • beckster

    I lost a friend over astrological signs and dating. When I started dating my husband, I asked her what she thought of him and she told me not to date him because I am a Sag. and he is a Gemini. I told her that was stupid and I was pretty sure I was gonna marry him. She stopped hanging out with me when we got engaged after telling me she couldn’t be friends with someone who was throwing their life away with someone they weren’t astrologically compatible with! Six years and two kids later, I made the right decision, astrological signs be damned.

  • ChrisZ

    I’m not sure that I’m understanding that second chart correctly, but if I am I think you’ve seriously misinterpreted it, Hemant.

    My understanding of it is that they haven’t separated people by which religion they believe in that second chart, only how seriously they take it. That is, we aren’t seeing a chart that says that “very serious” atheists prefer “laughing about it” atheists, we’re seeing a chart that says “very serious” everybody prefers “laughing about it” everybody. This isn’t at all surprising.

    As an example, a “very serious” atheist would be expected to be a good match with another “very serious” atheist, but a really bad match with a “very serious” christian, muslim etc.. A “very serious” atheist though might be fine with a “laughing about it” Christian or Muslim. If my understanding of what the data in the chart is is correct, then I think that is all it shows. “Laughing about it” people are more likely to get along with people with different beliefs than are “very serious” people. Hardly a surprising or interesting observation.

  • Baconsbud

    Beckster I am always amazed and dumbfounded when I read something like your comment. I can’t understand how someone like your ex friend could do something so childish. I guess I am projecting the way I view things on others but it is really hard for me to believe people do stuff like this.

  • Arctic Ape

    There is an official astronomical standard for dividing the sky into different constellations. The zodiac goes into thirteen “signs”: the twelve famous ones plus Serpentifer. I happened to be born during those few weeks when the sun actually is in Serpentifer.

    So I’m a male Snake-bearer… something to mention at dating sites, eh?

  • There’s a difference between taking your atheism too seriously and taking yourself too seriously. I think it’s ok to take your atheism seriously, but if you’re intent on pushing it on others or being argumentative, that’s taking yourself too seriously. I don’t think it’s limited to religion and non-religion, either. No one wants to be friends with anyone who gets all wound up about something all the time, whether it’s religion, sports, politics or anything else.

  • llewelly

    One day, you will learn that there is something to Astrology, to your regret. On that day, when the stars are right, Cthulhu will awaken …

  • Ryan W.

    I was actually a little surprised that there was no fluctuation whatsoever by zodiac sign. Birth month correlates with socioeconomic status. SES correlates with people’s values, sexual behavior, sexual identity, and so forth. I’m actually on OKCupid, and at one point I answered enough questions on my profile (all of them in existence at that time) that I was allowed to write my own. So I’m well aware of the types of questions the site asks.


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