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48% of Americans Reject Evolution

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-need-just-a-touch-stronger-educational-standards- dept.

Education 1856

MSNBC has up an article discussing the results of a Newsweek poll on faith and religion among members of the US populace. Given the straightforward question, 'Is evolution well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?', some 48% of Americans said 'No'. Furthermore, 34% of college graduates said they accept the Biblical story of creation as fact. An alarmingly high number of individuals responded that they believe the earth is only 10,000 years old, and that a deity created our species in its present form at the start of that period.

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1856 comments

In unrelated news... (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558441)

America continues to worry about losing its edge in the high-tech industry.

But that couldn't possibly be related to poor science education, could it?

Note: I'm referring specifically to the 48% who believe that evolution is not well-supported by scientific evidence and that it is not widely accepted within the scientific community. Well, and the people who think the universe is less than 10,000 years old, despite all the evidence to the contrary. You can believe in God and have an understanding of science, just like you can have morals without being religious. But thinking that evolution isn't supported by evidence, or isn't widely accepted by scientists, is just plain ignorance.

Re:In unrelated news... (4, Insightful)

808140 (808140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558531)

Frankly, even the rabidly fundamentalist anti-evolution junkies are aware that evolution is widely accepted in the scientific community. This doesn't stop them from trying their best to discredit the theory and convert people over to their way of thinking, but they'd have to be utterly daft to not realize that most scientists do not in fact agree with their point of view.

I agree; this has to be ignorance, not religious zealotry. It's one thing to say "Evolution is bunk, and there's a pervasive anti-religious conspiracy in academia promoting it" and quite another to say "No scientists really believe in evolution." As far as I know, none of the fundies are actually saying the latter and expecting to be believed. The former, however, is one of their standard talking points.

Re:In unrelated news... (5, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558609)

Most of them just use the tactic of saying things longer and louder than everyone else in the room and eventually people will believe you.

In America this has worked.

Re:In unrelated news... (1, Troll)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558547)

That 48% is composed mostly of people who have a firm Christian background, I'm certain.

I only have three more things to say:

All Hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Praise "Bob"!

Hail Eris!

Re:In unrelated news... (3, Interesting)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558659)

Actually, I've run into a lot of people who have problems with evolution even though they aren't Christian or religious.

Evolution is, to many, extremely unintuitive, aside from religion. I've noticed that people have a really hard time with lots of other concepts similar to evolution (market economics and such).

Re:In unrelated news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558561)

What evedence do they have?

Re:In unrelated news... (1, Insightful)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558581)

But that couldn't possibly be related to poor science education, could it?

Beacuase you can't possibly have faith (or religion, your choice) and be well educated in sciences, could you?

I'm willing to bet that the reason the US is losing its technological edge has little (if anything to do with religion). Look at how the teacher's unions are simply stifling any sort of competition in the education "market". They try vehemently to have vouchers outlawed. They prevent school districts or states from "grading" schools based on the performance of their students (which might give parents clues were to live/not live.

Re:In unrelated news... (4, Funny)

Phillup (317168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558631)

Beacuase you can't possibly have faith (or religion, your choice) and be well educated in sciences, could you?

Yes you can. But only 52 percent of the time...

Re:In unrelated news... (0)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558601)

America continues to worry about losing its edge in the high-tech industry.

Meh. The top 5% of minds in the country ALWAYS accounted for 99% of innovation.

I'm not alarmed by these figures. If we actually had a graph indicating that we're growing "dumber", that would be something. The last graph of that sort showed a flat but mildly positive slope in test scores over the last century. So, according to that, at least, we're getting 'smarter.' Try to keep an open mind when it comes to alarmist headlines :)

I doubt we'll lose our "edge" in technology. The industry will just grow, and it'll grow in other geographic locations faster than ours, simply because ours is too large to continue growing at their rate. As long as we still grow, we'll be fine. There's enough wealth in the world to go around, and we create more every day.

Re:In unrelated news... (1)

aquabat (724032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558829)

Can you please provide some references for that graph? I'm interested particularly in how questions from different tests are compared to determine how they are weighted for difficulty.

Re:In unrelated news... (0)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558719)

"But that couldn't possibly be related to poor science education, could it?"

Could it possibly be that that American children have enormous populations with a strong christian heritage? Note that before modern science *everyone* was to some extent religious, in fact religion was the dominant explanation for why things were the way they were before darwin. Evolution seemed like a non-explanation before the tools were available to extrapolate the earth's great age which did a lot to upend most religions. It was the age of the universe and the earth that upended religion, not biological evolution.

Trauma theory explains religion as well: Slavery and exploitation has been a part of human history for a long time, Marx saw religion as a feature of capitalism, and to some extent it is a feature of the stress put on people in the economic system. But the reason why people believe is because the death instinct is so strong, the whole reason religion was invented was to counteract teh painfully depressing realization that: You are going to die. You can dress it up with feelings of being jewed before humanity invented life extension technology or what have you, but that sum's up a big reason why people believe. If "sacred text" X's god offered you a pat on the back and a bag of chips would anyone follow that god?

No matter how you slice it some people will never believe in something the can't see or witness for themselves (ironically) that goes against their genetically determined instincts. I wouldn't be surprised if it was found out genetically that they have strong psychological predisposition towards god belief and it just takes the form of Christianity since that is the geographic religion.

Re:In unrelated news... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558855)

It also explains the class of people who get elected to high office. Nothing but a bunch of snake-oil salesmen.

Heathens dying of scurvy in New York (3, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558457)

Ok, there's a mislabeling of vitamin C, and NY politicians are posturing about something, and a majority of Americans are christians.
THIS IS NEWS????
C'mon editors, what happened to news for nerds, etc?

Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558461)

We'd better start evangelizing science to these poor bastards.

Come on, who cares? Let people be ignorant. It's not like bringing people of below average intelligence or fundamentalist mindset into the scientific fold is going to make them valuable contributors. It'll just be a new type of ignorance to deal with. Let them be.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558669)

So, to paraphrase, you're saying:

Let ignorant people remain ignorant, because what harm could they possibly do to our society? ...incidentally, have you been off-planet for about six years?

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (3, Interesting)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558695)

Come on, who cares? Let people be ignorant. It's not like bringing people of below average intelligence or fundamentalist mindset into the scientific fold is going to make them valuable contributors. It'll just be a new type of ignorance to deal with. Let them be.

Hmm. Larry Wall is an evangelical Christian. According to his page [wall.org] , he attends this church [nlnc.org] .

Now, since his contributions are not valuable by your estimation, what is the name of the programming language which you have been developing for over 20 years and is the de facto language for development of dynamic web content and for automating system administration tasks on nearly every operating system?

I'm waiting.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558867)

Relax friend. Putting words into my mouth in an attempt to deflate my point won't get you far around here. Most of us see right through that technique.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558723)

Come on, who cares?

We care, because these people are also making our laws, electing our politicians and teaching our kids.

These people would be deciding that scientific research is bad (it's already begun, look at the funding cuts in science and technology and the government stance on stem cell research etc). These people will also be electing idiots into office, idiots who believe that a voice-in-the-sky talks to them. And these people will be teaching -- no proselytizing -- to our children.

Do you really want to live in such a society? I, for one, do not. If anything, it scares me to no end.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (5, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558733)

Come on, who cares? Let people be ignorant. It's not like bringing people of below average intelligence or fundamentalist mindset into the scientific fold is going to make them valuable contributors. It'll just be a new type of ignorance to deal with. Let them be.

That would be all fine and well except for one thing: they're reproducing....and at a higher rate than those of us who value science. And those people and their progeny will vote.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (2, Interesting)

ignoramus (544216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558759)

That's too dangerous. It's not that we'd like them to contribute to scientific advancement--it's that they'll stop it dead in its tracks if they're clueless/fearful/ignorant and some guru/politician/power-hungry-jerk abuses they irrationality for personal gain.

For many reasons, we--the scientist and scientifically minded--kind of gave up on trying to explain our understanding and objectives to the "layman" and now the rift between us just keeps growing... this is bad because sheeple they may be, but they elect those who set the rules and decide where funding goes (think stem cell research, etc.).

Just like with racism or other unacceptable behavior, I always speak up and try to get across my point of view when faced with the irrational. At a minimum, I'm showing them that there is an alternate point of view, that not everyone agrees--usually only the fanatics are heard because they tend to speak most and loudest... Time to be heard!

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (1)

weorthe (666189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558781)

It matters when they decide what to teach your children. It matters when they vote for politicians believing God wants us to defend God's official borders for Israel, God wants us to oppress homosexuals, God wants us to keep whatever they think is immoral out of libraries and stores and off the Internet, God wants us to go to war against Godless Muslim countries, God wants us to stop stem cell research, etc. Or how about God made the white race the world's natural rulers, or God wants us to wipe out infidels, or fly airplanes into buildings or blow up cities? When people choose to believe things based on mysticism instead of reason, every prejudice can be magically validated and every base impulse indulged.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558841)

Uh, when half the population thinks this way and they influence one of the most powerful governments in the world... it's not something you should just say "let it be" to.

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (1, Troll)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558859)

Won't somebody think of the children?

Specifically, their children are going to grow up to be as ignorant as their parents; even if they're much smarter than mom and dad, their ignorance will interfere with them becoming valuable contributors to the scientific community. Those smart kids would end up as so much wasted resources, like having Stephen Hawking mopping floors.

And if we don't get enough of them thinking critically, we'll end up in aHarrison Bergeron [westvalley.edu] future.

Pot, kettle, black (5, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558869)

Let people be ignorant. It's not like bringing people of below average intelligence or fundamentalist mindset into the scientific fold is going to make them valuable contributors. It'll just be a new type of ignorance to deal with.

First you call them ignorant (which is true). Then you call them stupid. Then you call them religious fundamentalists. Then back to ignorant. These are all very separate categories, which you would understand if you had the above-average intelligence that you probably believe you possess. Given the large percentage of the population that is being cited, I think it's unlikely they are all below-average in intelligence. I didn't RTFA so I don't know about their religious beliefs. I submit to you that these are probably people of average intelligence who are ignorant. That means that we as scientists are not getting the word out in a manner that most people find compelling. The problem is not with them, it is with us.

Perhaps you should check out the film Flock of Dodos [flockofdodos.com] before you start pointing fingers at who is to blame. (Hint: the dodos are not the intelligent design folks, it's the scientists who are in danger of becoming extinct because they can't communicate simple facts to the mainstream audience.) Elitist attitudes like yours ("hey, if they can't keep up, fuck 'em!") is partially what drives the mainstream to give ID folks a listen.

GMD

Our president is one of those people (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558877)

That's what is scary. People making life changing decisions for you believe things with little/no scientific backing. That's why the country is the way it is. That's why we lost the edge we once had. There's a rebirth of celebrating ignorance and we are in the middle of it. Hell, we are basically as a culture in a dark age right now. Once knowledge is acquired it's like our culture as a whole has to check the bible to see if it's credible. Would you want people with the ability to kill you at any moment completely impermeable to reason?

Re:Quick, call in the Hippie Power Squad (4, Interesting)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558881)

Come on, who cares? Let people be ignorant. It's not like bringing people of below average intelligence or fundamentalist mindset into the scientific fold is going to make them valuable contributors. It'll just be a new type of ignorance to deal with. Let them be.
I am afraid this is not so easy. Being stupid like that isn't an evolutionary disadvantage today. On the contrary, it seems to be an advantage. To learn todays science you have to invest time and hard work. Time where you are severely restricted in things you can do otherwise. The stupids don't bother with such efforts, believing is so much easier. So instead of hard work over books or in lecture halls, they have plenty of free time they can use to build their power base. What fundamentalists lack in brain power they easily compensate with aggressiveness and and falsehood.

The braindead cry loudly evolution does not happen. Scientist silently go to work. Maybe to find a way to prove facts, which will convince even those, which of course is impossible. But more likely because they don't care, thinking truth will always win.

The braindead cry more and louder, because there is nobody who really opposes them, they win more and more often. Without dedicated opponents they win at schools, they win in the public media. They are fare more visible than they deserve. The final result is, that two legged protein lumps, which would be better suited as emergency food rations in hard times govern you and tell you what is right and what is wrong.

This is Exciting News (5, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558469)

I'm keeping a close eye on my neighbor's 911 Turbo with the I Love Jesus bumber sticker. The minute The Rapture hits, that baby is mine!

which farm animal represents 48% of america? (0, Troll)

CapsLock343 (1046372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558473)

sheep...

I was going to say.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558715)

chickens..

Re:which farm animal represents 48% of america? (1)

salparadyse (723684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558769)

Unfortunately for that argument, scripture says a lot about sheep, most of it positive and encouraging - My sheep hear My voice, I am the good shepherd, and He separates the sheep from the goats etc

To accuse a Christian of being a sheep is not an insult.

Re:which farm animal represents 48% of america? (1)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558903)

To accuse a Christian of being a sheep is not an insult.

However, to accuse a sheep of being a Christian....

This is interesting, but... (5, Interesting)

Raindance (680694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558487)

This is interesting, but not for the obvious reasons.

The poll looks fairly well-constructed, but the problem is that evolution has become extremely politicized. For many, this question wasn't asking about science-- it was a political question (are you with the conservative-christians or the liberal-atheist-scientists?).

I think the real story here is the process by which scientific issues get politicized. It's a process that we really need to understand. John Timmer over at Ars Technica often writes about this.

The mindset (2)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558553)

The mindset is simply this: Any agenda, promoted by anyone, that contradicts something said in the bible, is an attack on its literal truth and thus, an attack on fundamentalist Christianity.

That's all you really need to know.

Re:The mindset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558871)

>The mindset is simply this: Any agenda, promoted by anyone, that contradicts something said in the bible, is an attack on its literal truth and thus, an attack on fundamentalist Christianity.

It is this, how can I get support to be elected. I can pretend to care about this evolution thing and make it to be a big deal and then do whatever else I want on other issues. I'll have free reign in everything in most areas except for say evolution and abortion. As long as I support these issues I'll have a mob of people who think I am a fantastic person to be elected. Me and my other friends, we try to make it so the only ideals that are important in a candidate are stuff we really don't care about.

Re:This is interesting, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558557)

Actually that's not a well constructed poll. It's asking 2 things at once in a single yes/no question (Is evolution well supported, is evolution well accepted). So of the people who said no are they saying no to one of the questions or both?

Re:This is interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558823)

Or it could be that by definition, 50% of Americans have an IQ below 100.

Not even about evolution as a concept (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558489)

It's about whether it's accepted by the scientific community. It's like disagreeing with gambling and denying that you add up the opposite faces on a die and end up with 7.

Re:Not even about evolution as a concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558543)

I am not surprised. In general, americans are just so stupid.
10% of this country is super-brilliant and they run and represent the country well.
The rest 90% are just what I call 'dumb slaves', eating,drinking,believing and thinking exactly what this 10% wants you to believe.

Re:Not even about evolution as a concept (3, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558549)

Exactly. Let's look at the question again: Is evolution well-supported by evidence AND widely accepted within the scientific community?

Note the logical construct "and". They're asking for A and B to be true. This rules out:

People who think A is false (any religious zealot)
People who think B is false (anyone who believes in evolution but is disallusioned by its acceptance)

haha (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558491)

Religious people are funny.

The Prostate (3, Funny)

mark0 (750639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558503)

Anyone who believes in Intelligent Design has never considered the prostate, let alone actually had prostate trouble. Even a human engineer wouldn't design a component like that. They want me to believe omnipotent, omniscient being did that?

Re:The Prostate (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558655)

Devil's advocate: Why would we evolve something like that?

Re:The Prostate (1)

mark0 (750639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558753)

Because the chance mutation didn't kill us or disadvantage us before we had the opportunity to pass it on.

Re:The Prostate (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558853)

I'm not a good enough devil's advocate on this topic to keep going, so instead I'll resort to my tired geek outrage devil's advocate:

why in hell haven't we evolved past needing sleep yet?!

(or, why did the Intelligent Designer make us need sleep?! if you want to annoy IDers.)

Re:The Prostate (1)

lenski (96498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558831)

Because prostate problems do not affect reproduction, and do not even affect a male's ability to support his progeny until they are essentially ready for breeding themselves.

Re:The Prostate (1)

umbra_dweller (797279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558839)

Because it doesn't interfere with our ability to survive long enough to reproduce and raise a couple of kids. Any design flaws in an organism may remain for a long time provided they don't interfere with the essenials.

Re:The Prostate (4, Funny)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558681)

Dude, it's even worse than that. Consider the entire region of genetalia. What kind of "intelligent" designer puts a recreational facility next to a waste disposal site?

:-),
Schwab

Re:The Prostate (1)

taskforce (866056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558809)

God must be a Civil Engineer.

Re:The Prostate (5, Funny)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558891)

You've obviously never been to New Jersey.

Re:The Prostate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558787)

God is clearly a civil engineer, because only a civil engineer would run a sewer through a playground.

Re:The Prostate (1)

Ivecowarrior (1082429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558815)

Forget the prostate, what about the appendix?

Proof of evolution (very useful in rabbits for example), while at the same time proving that the Intelligent Creator of this ticking timebomb of infection wasn't that intelligent.

Re:The Prostate (1)

j h woodyatt (13108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558837)

You think that was a bad design? I have two words for you: Cephalopelvic Disproportion [essortment.com] .

Re:The Prostate (2, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558907)

Anyone who believes in Intelligent Design has never considered the prostate, let alone actually had prostate trouble. Even a human engineer wouldn't design a component like that. They want me to believe omnipotent, omniscient being did that?

An omnipotent, omniscient being always gets what it wants, by definition.

All that pain and suffering in the world? All the bad things that simply happen on their own without human intervention? If an omnipotent, omniscient being exists, those things are there intentionally.

The bottom line is that if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient creator, then you believe in an evil, sadistic being, by definition, and one need only look at the world to see it. No being that cared about what it creates would intentionally set up the universe such that pain and suffering were possible, much less undeserved pain and suffering, and certainly not one in which pain and suffering were necessary for survival (i.e., hunters and prey).

And no, "free will" doesn't help you here, because the universe constrains your free will, sometimes to the point where all your available choices are bad. No being that truly cared about you would set up the universe to make that possible unless said being had no other choice (so much for omnipotence).

Call this a troll if you will, but before you do, work through the logic. You'll find that an omnipotent (can do absolutely anything), omniscient (knows everything) being that cares about its creation and allows undeserved suffering in the world is a logical contradiction.

And? (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558511)

99.9% of humans have more than the average number of arms.
So why does this statistic matter?

So long as the people in charge are smarter than that, we should be okay.

*ulp*

Re:And? (1)

lurker412 (706164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558637)

Unfortunately, many of the people in charge are elected by these morons. It matters.

Glass half full? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558523)

It wasn't that long ago that we were having evolution trials, witch burning and with most of the world's states controlled by various churches.

Even with the rise of the evangelistic movement and the ties many have to the anti-evolution movement, they still pull only 48%.

Sounds not half bad to me.

Re:Glass half full? (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558571)

Um, I think we are still having evolution trials.

Fact vs. Faith, so sad that it's a conflict. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558529)

Thank goodness that most of those surveyed are not in the scientific community!

A: 'We need a new therapy to help people with Disease X.'

B: 'Here try this.'

A: 'Did you test it? Is there any reason to think it works?

B: 'None of that matters! I believe it works.'

Re:Fact vs. Faith, so sad that it's a conflict. (2, Insightful)

lavid (1020121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558641)

Yeah, they're just in charge of the executive branch....

I'm pretty sure that this is just as bad since we see these people putting words in the mouths of and censoring federally funded scientists.

Boolean AND in a poll.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558541)

I haven't RTFA, but it seems putting boolean logic in a poll question is a bad move.
I mean, can we be sure the 48% actually think evolution isn't accepted in the scientific community, or were they responding mostly to the first condition?

I suspect most people took the AND to be an OR so to speak.

How many non-religious don't believe in evolution (1)

NonViviDaSola (1010423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558559)

I am curious as to how many non-religious individuals do not believe in evolution. That might indicate how many people are not familiar with the theory.

Re:How many non-religious don't believe in evoluti (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558825)

An interesting approach.

But probably flawed as the non-believers do not 'suffer' peer pressure to discard the theory of Evolution
At the same time the educated among them are exposed to peer pressure against Creationism...

Loaded Post (1)

Jalwin (1082419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558569)

This post is so loaded it's laughable.

Re:Loaded Post (1)

drapeau06 (1010311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558615)

I'll laugh harder when (if?) this widespread popular ignorance ceases to be a barrier to progress.

Re:Loaded Post (1)

Jalwin (1082419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558657)

Just because someone doesn't believe in evolution or big bang doesn't mean they are an idiot. Growing up, I was taught tolerance and understanding of other beliefs, not arrogance and talking down to others. BTW I believe in both God (but don't subscribe to any Christian denomination) and evolution/big bang.

Re:Loaded Post (1)

drapeau06 (1010311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558773)

Quite right, ignorance is different from idiocy. I'm sure you noticed that I didn't call anyone an idiot.

Re:Loaded Post (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558833)

It might not make somebody an idiot, but it is two strikes out of three.

Redundant flamebait (1)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558583)

Is there a decline in the belief in Evolution? Isn't 48% on par [wikipedia.org] with the rest of the world? Should this be discussed every time large poll is conducted? Do we really need a 600-post discussion criticizing the US education system and society?

Re:Redundant flamebait (1)

drapeau06 (1010311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558667)

Do we need to frequently re-hash debate? Well, if it helps at all to drag the US away from ignorance and toward an enlightened future, I say 'yes'.

Re:Redundant flamebait (1)

erkokite (862532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558737)

No, not really, especially among western nations. We have a higher percentage of belief in creationism than pretty much everyone but Turkey.

Re:Redundant flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558755)

"The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the United States was Turkey (25%)."

Re:Redundant flamebait (2, Informative)

Freexe (717562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558771)

According to your own source - no

International


A study published in Science, compared attitudes about evolution from the United States, 32 European countries (including Turkey) and Japan. The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the United States was Turkey (25%). Public acceptance of evolution is most prevalent in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden at 80% of the population.

http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedis play/img_display.php?pic=060810_evo_rank_02.jpg&ca p=A+chart+showing+public+acceptance+of+evolution+i n+34+countries.+The+United+States+ranked+near+the+ bottom%2C+beat+only+by+Turkey.+Credit%3A+Science [livescience.com]

April Fools (2, Insightful)

pseudosero (1037784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558591)

That's clever, April fools joke the day before April. It has to be. Please.

Thank God!! (2)

spmallick (711060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558595)

Science is not done by consensus. If it were, the world would be flat with the sun revolving around it.

We should prove it! (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558611)

We should kill these people, so they don't reproduce.

Qaeda (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558613)

Why do you fight OBL and his Qaeda comrades anyway? After all you almost share the same belief...

Oh, marketshare competition I guess :)

So much for the claim of unchecked liberalism (1)

Pyrrhic Diarrhea (1061530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558617)

one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact.

If that is true then what happened to all of those God-hating effete liberal carpet-munching college profs? Surely this 34% would have never made it through four or more years of constant haranguing by the Godless elites.

In a related note, perhaps this is an indictment against some diploma mill universities not stressing analytical thinking, much less science?

I know why (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558623)

Most Americans (people over the age of 35ish) were never taught evolution in school and those who were have been taught poorly. I didn't realize the piss poor job my teachers did in junior high and high school until I took an anthropology class in college. People still like to quip that we evolved from monkeys but don't realize we evolved seperate from monkeys and share a common ancestor.

The ignorance to evolution is amazing in this country. It's no surprise at all people haven't embraced it here like they have overseas in Europe.

The Thirty-Percenters (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558627)

...And 33% of people polled still think Bush is doing a good job in Iraq.

People wonder why this country lost its lead in manufacturing and, most recently, technological development. Why is a fairy tale -- and an expurgated, badly translated fairy tale at that -- so much more compelling than the tools and concepts that allow you to take control of your own life and environment?

Schwab

Even Jesus talked in parables (1, Insightful)

sycomonkey (666153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558633)

If God had physically come down to earth, found a man living in one of the first civilizations, and tried to explain to him the Big Bang, stellar evolution, how the Solar System developed, and biological evolution, the man would be totally confused. It takes years in a modern school system to even parse these concepts. If other Christians can take Revelations and half of Jesus's stories figuratively, if they can understand that it didn't actually (or won't actually) happen exactly like that, WHY can't they understand this about Genesis? Is it so hard? I'm confused. It seems obvious to me. It actually follows the scientific evidence vaguely well, ex. "The earth was without form and void" meaning Earth hadn't coalesced from the nebulous cloud of material orbiting the new Sun.

Re:Even Jesus talked in parables (5, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558739)

There are actually two versions of Genesis, the old Hebrew one where God is not a single being but Ilohim (which is plural and I may have spelled it wrong). Then there is the Christian version which has God as singular and omnipotent, all knowing and all seeing. The problem comes from Calvinism and it's strong (to this very day) influence on Christianity. If Genesis isn't literal to these people the foundation of Christianity falls apart. Evolution directly contradicts the Bible. You can not logically combine the two and have the same religion. Hell the Bible contradicts itself enough as it is, bu when you add evolution, all the theology goes right out the window.

Check out Calvinism and Arminianism on Wikipedia sometime. Use it as background for reading Miltons paradise lost and you'll begin to understand the history of the debate that still rages on today.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558663)

In other news, 90% of people who are willing to answer polls are found to be idiots. "Induhviduals" as Scott Adams would say. The smart people don't spend time on stupid polls.

The good news (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558671)

Well, at least the people in this 48% lack the intelligence to reach positions of power and influence. Oh, wait a minute....

Yeah (1)

aquabat (724032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558679)

Yes, and with each generation, it becomes more and more apparent.

Alarming? Consider this... (0, Flamebait)

dvdrsmth (1082425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558691)

"An alarmingly high number of individuals responded that they believe the earth is only 10,000 years old, and that a deity created our species in its present form at the start of that period." What's ironic is if you step back from the micro and consider life (and all that surrounds us) at a more macro level, it takes far more faith to believe that a "deity" did not create human life. Reminds me of a quote from a philosophy class in college, "To believe that God does not exist, is to believe that a stiff wind could blow through a junk yard a create a 747."

This makes sense (1)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558699)

"Everyone that needs to believe in evolution already does." Penn Jillete

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558785)

A good point. People can believe two things at once; I do it all the time. I doubt that 48% put down "because God said so" on their highschool bio tests. Even our educational system doesn't allow you to graduate without at least a cursory understanding of evolution; you can't really understand taxonomy without it. I can use metric at school, and standard when renovating my house; they're both fine, depending on the context.

Off Topic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558717)

This has been bothering me for years.

This story does not belong on Slashdot. This is not "news for nerds", and never will be. Why can't ./'s idiot savant editors get over the fact that people will believe whatever they want about the origins of the universe? If someone wants to believe in a flying spaghetti monster as a deity, then fine. If they want to believe that we spontaneously came from nothing, then fine. And, for goodness sake, if someone wants to believe the expressions in a collection of books and letters thousands of years old, then so be it. It's not news.

This thread, and others like it, are just editorializing.

Stick to what you know, Perl and CGI hacking. (Oh wait a sec...slashcode. NOW I get it. You can't do that very well either! *ducks*)

There. I feel better now.

Re:Off Topic (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558901)

I sort of agree with you. This story should be labeled as politics and the discussion should be about separation of church and state. The only link that has to news for nerds is how it might affect the scientific community at large.

Thankfully, no fundamentalist has declared MP3s the work of the devil!... yet

another statistic (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558741)

100% of the people sitting in this chair reject that 48%.

Fortunately, It Doesn't Matter What You "Believe" (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558749)

Facts -- like gravity, and the sphereoid shape of the planet -- exist whether or not people "believe" in them. A leaf doesn't have to believe in photosynthesis to turn green.

Schwab

A challenge for science and tech in our society (4, Insightful)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558757)

My take on this issue is that people who do not have extensive scientific educations are being asked to 'believe' in science in a manner similar to how they 'believe' in religion. Science is fundamentally based on observations and the progression of the scientific method. That said, for most of us, we never see the evidence, nor do we see the details of each hypothesis test. This is further complicated because the body of scientific literature is massive and for every scientific field you can find crap science. Peer review is fallible.

I think we are requiring people to 'believe' in science, simply because science has become too complicated to cover adequately with a standard, non technical education. This creates a conundrum. These people are being required to choose religion -- remember they have been in church since birth -- or science. For them, this must be very difficult. When we listen to a scientist, we hope we are hearing testimony based on evidence, when we hear a preacher we hope we are hearing testimony based on belief.

That said, as a scientist familiar with evolutionary theory, I am troubled by the level with which we understand the mechanisms of evolution and that 48% of people don't even understand the most basic of concepts within it. Should we require people to swallow science without evidence? Should we follow *anything* without evidence? I know I don't, ironically, science doesn't allow me to.

Re:A challenge for science and tech in our society (1)

geek (5680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558857)

I see your point but disagree. People's beliefs are actually arbitrary most of the time, based on parentage and schooling. There is no singular "belief" in Christianity, there are Protestants, Catholics, Mormons and so on. All very different and requiring a whole different set of arbitrary characteristics.

Understanding science is similar, there are different categories, subcategories, fields of study and so on. It's not that people refuse to accept them, they may very well do exactly that when exposed to them. The problem is they are rarely exposed, often by choice. Why would the average joe research physics? It probably has nothing to do with his day to day life and his current religious beliefs probably work just fine.

I could go on but I think that's the gist of it. Until you break the cycle of "hand me down" belief systems, this will be the end result.

48% of Americans (1)

iviagnus (854023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558789)

It's saddening to find that 48% of Americans are ignorant, and refuse to accept the truth in logic and science. This is a failure we all share for letting them grow up this way.

Don't assume it's all about religion (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558793)

Much as everybody assumes this is all about fundamentalist Christianity, I have talked to many non-Christians around the world, even non-deists, and many find evolution hard to swallow.

I believe in Evolution, but for some it is a very disquieting concept. Many people generally want to believe in the transcendence of man and distance from animals. Christians just have more dogma to lean on to support this prejudice. People don't disbelieve out of ignorance, they disbelieve because they don't want to believe. Similarly many people believe in many strange and incredulous things because the do want to believe.

This said, just teaching people to set aside there natural biases when evaluating evidence in general would do a world of good in both science and politics. Evolution would take care of itself if we were successful in this.

Obviously... (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558813)

I am not surprised.

Half of the US population has IQ's below 100.

48 percent of people are stupid and believe that Genesis is the literal Word Of Gawd and that science is some sort of mental buggery? This is not news.

The fact is that we're *this* close (holding thumb and forefinger a millimeter apart) to burning (well, hanging and pressing, actually) witches again in this country. The code words for "witches" these days are "terrorist," "paedophile," and "science teacher."

--
BMO

Constructing Polls on Hot Topics is Hard (3, Insightful)

igb (28052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558835)

Constructing a poll on a topic as politicised as this is incredibly hard. As another /.er points out, it's a proxy for `are you a godless liberal or a True American', and unless the poll is taken in secret any area in which morons with a belief in creationism are prevalent will over report a belief in creationism. Once the opinion is taken in secret, the game changes, as those anti-abortion politicians in whichever state it was with the proposed law found out: people may support you when their neighbours can hear, but not when they're in private. Moreover, knowledge of how accepted an idea is in scientific discourse is hard to judge for anyone who doesn't follow the topic reasonably closely: as I suspect the vast majority of the world goes about their daily business without worrying about the current status of punctuated equilibrium versus gradualism, why would they care?

Anyway, enough of this. I want someone to help me evolve the long, thin, incredibly strong fingers I'm going to need to open up ther case of the Mac Mini to my right and slot in the replacement disk drive.

New Doctor Who was great tonight, by the way. Rose was great, but you're all going to love Martha Jones. Except for the creationists, of course, who are going to hate The Doctor kissing (whisper it) a black woman.

Numbers game? (1)

Rank_Tyro (721935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558845)

How big of a sample was used? Where was the study held?

Were the people being polled from a small isolated town in the bible belt or were they from one of the coastal areas?

In a country with 300 million people in it, if you ask 2000 people in an isolated area a question, that wouldn't really reflect the majority of the population, but I bet it would make great headlines......

Evo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558883)

48% of all americans have never been part of the evolution.

In other news, I am looking for work... (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558887)

...I come with a BS in Chemical Engineering, and I would have voted yes on that poll.

More stupid Americans means less competition for me.
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