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Evolution - Creationism

Majority of Republicans Doubt Theory of Evolution

More Americans accept theory of creationism than evolution <

Only 14% of those who said they didn't believe in evolution cited a lack of scientific evidence as the reason, and that's why they call it faith.

The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain. . .

Evolution Belief

The data in this analysis were measured in the context of questions about the origin and development of human beings. It is apparent that many Americans simply do not like the idea that humans evolved from lower forms of life. This appears to be substantially based on a belief in the story of creation as outlined in the Bible -- that God created humans in a process that, taking the Bible literally, occurred about 10,000 years ago.

Americans who say they do not believe in the theory of evolution are highly likely to justify this belief by reference to religion, Jesus Christ, or the Bible. Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between high levels of personal religiosity and doubts about evolution.

Being religious in America today is strongly related to partisanship, with more religious Americans in general much more likely to be Republicans than to be independents or Democrats. This relationship helps explain the finding that Republicans are significantly more likely than independents or Democrats to say they do not believe in evolution. When three Republican presidential candidates said in a May debate that they did not believe in evolution, the current analysis suggests that many Republicans across the country no doubt agreed.

 

Comments

Even the Democratic numbers are scary -- 40% don't believe in evolution??

The problem here is not so much that these people are ignorant, but that they are willfully so, and are eager to act upon their ignorance.

Make no mistake: while the quality of the general education of the US populace is troubling, the fact is that not everyone needs to understand evolution. But everyone needs to be able to distinguish good information from bad, scientists from crackpots, honest people from con artists.

The news media's tendency to conflate expertise and uninformed opinion is part of the problem. General lax educational standards are part of the problem. A population that is perpetually afraid of everything -- crime, terrorists, foreign trade, race relations, Canadian lumber workers -- is part of the problem. And a society that cannot rid itself of hocus pocus is also part of the problem.

Even when this is 'just' a confirmation of what I already knew, those figures still scare the shit out of me.

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wow! man, you really have problem up there! in the US i mean, im from argentina.

if those figures are accurate almost 50% of US citizens DONT believe in evolution. just cant undestand. you are a rich country, with access to education (al least more than in 3rd world countries), so how can this be? i know, i know, the church has a lot of power, but even here in a catholic country theres no discussion that evolution is right and its whats is taught in schools and universites, even catholic ones.

but to be honest, i dont have much hope in mankind. once i thought that if we could get rid of religion there would be less possibilities of war and death, but now i think that mankind will always find the way to kill and hurt each other.

after all we are terrified animals fighting for survival. but having lived in the US and other parts of the world, i can tell you than the US is the worst in those aspects, if you dont eat you get eaten, too competitive and individualistic.

excuse my english, now i dont use it so often.

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I dont buy those figures. I believe there are intelligent repukes among the rabble and they say they doubt evolution only because their bib-overalled John Deere baseball cap wearing don't. Its politics.

this debate is just mind boggling.

I am not religious but find it a fascinating subject to read about and ponder.

Here in Europe, at least from what I know and hear, this debate is impossible to understand. I agree that many interpretations can be given to genesis but to see this medieval literal meaning rear its ugly head again astounds me.

The strict interpretation is even considered blasphemous. As if God (if there was one) would have no more creative streak than to put two people on this planet and put only instruments for their enjoyment round them.

It does, however, give great dinner party converstations. Keep it up creationists.

Remember that these days fewer and fewer Americans identify themselves as Republicans.

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This is not a population that is capable of governing itself.

The alarming statistic is not how many republicans don't believe in evolution...That's pretty obvious. What is really sad is that 40% of democrats don't believe in it! Even independents have a large contingent of idiots. I love my country but that is just depressing.

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Is Tata sponsoring the republicans already? This really sounds like good news for indian economy.

Surely this poll is flawed in its language. Belief in Creationism is one thing. But, the so called "Theory of Creationism" does not exist. It has no scientific foundation. Thus, Creationism cannot be given status as a theory and would only be categorized under the ancient form of epistemology; which was born of belief. Creationism has only a priori knowledge to make its fundamental assumptions of the existence of a master ‘designer’. Ultimately, Creationism is justified ex cathedra and cannot be verified. On-the-other-hand, the Theory of Evolution should not be a matter of belief, but a matter of knowledge or thought. Thus, the Theory of Evolution can be categorized under the current form of epistemology; which is defined by empirical evidence. To have a debate between these two distinct branches of philosophy is absurd. Sure, the ultimate skeptic would say that we cannot know anything, but that is absolutely. When a scientific hypothesis is verified by orthogonally observed empirical evidence repeatedly over centuries of work, it cannot be challenged by even the most entrenched dogma.

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"This is not a population that is capable of governing itself."

Oh great. This is the kind of thinking that allows Colossus: The Forbin Project to step in. Do you really want that? Or maybe we'd be better off being run by a Planet of Apes or maybe Republicans could be sifted out in this Invasion of the Christian Right Body Snatchers and converted into Soylent Green.

Deeply depressing. I do wonder how the US compares with other nations on this. I'd also like to know what percentages of people can really give any detail at all as to what the evidence for evolution is - even among those who accept it. This is something that would be interesting to know for Americans and those from elsewhere. Unfortuately, that is not the kind of thing that is easy to poll. Do people in other countries really know a lot more (if indeed they would poll differently), or are they just more willing to accept scientific "authority"?

I know a few Republicans, and they'd laugh at the idea of "Creationism" or "Intelligent Design" -- but then again, these Republicans are Atheists...

So I think this isn't so much a matter of being a Republican, as much as it is a matter of being an uneducated, idiot crucifix-junkie...

To answer adrian garay's comment about the availability of education in the US -- no, education isn't really available to all Americans. The universities here are set up in a tier system, and the only type that is available to all US citizens, is the bottom-ranked "community colleges" that'll earn you a mostly useless "associate's degree" -- and unless you never show up for classes, and refuse to complete any assignments at all, you will pass.

There are great colleges in this country, but most people cannot afford it. That's why this country is such a high-tech success, yet an enormous part of the population remain completely ignorant.

@ Cory. I think that by calling evolution a theory is a misnomer. The general public's definition of a theory is similar to that of an estimate or an educated guess. This gives evolution a bad image. I am assuming that you are sufficiently informed and know the definition of a theory as a well supported hypothesis. When the media mentions the "theories" of creationism or evolution I cringe. Evolution is a theory, creationism is a hypothesis, simple as that.

I know that this is just semantics but that is what a lot of the debates in this country seem to boil down to.

For the 14% that cite a lack of evidence as a reason, I only have one question. What the hell how is there a lack of evidence?

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An earlier poster (Jim Royal) spoke of the willfulness of the American ignoranti. An accurate assessment judging by my own experience.

growing up in red neck southern Baptist land I was often struck by both the willfulness and the pride many Americans have in their ignorance. They simply do not want to know anything that might contradict their view of themselves and the world.

No one wants to be accused of being an egghead or a 'Poindexter'. Intellect is just plain unpopular. Part of the pathological hubris that has overwhelmed the American mind.

Regarding the remark about Americans being unable to govern themselves, it would appear to be blatantly true. A democracy REQUIRES the participation of an informed population. America does not have many informed active citizens. The powers that be have worked very hard to create that state.

It isn't a genetic problem, it can be fixed but it will require an effort of will. Presently the American will is actively working in the opposite direction.

What bothers me is the simple fact that they don't like the idea of having evolved from "lower" lifeforms, but are perfectly contented to have been created out of dirt.

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BTW, Dzwonka is absolutely correct regarding access to real education in the US. The class division is blatantly obvious.

A more detailed look at -

Some excerpts

In the spring of 2007, following an all-candidates meeting of ten Republicans seeking the presidency, three denied a personal belief in evolution.

This promoted the Gallup Organization to ask American adults between 2007-MAY-21-24: "Do you, personally, believe in evolution or not."

This is one of the poorest polling questions that we have ever seen, because people generally hold one of three beliefs concerning origins:

Naturalistic evolution: Evolution happened according to purely natural forces and processes without any divine guidance.

Theistic evolution: Evolution happened and was/is guided by God.

Creationism: Species were created separately by God.

As expected, more highly educated adults believe in "evolution:"

74% of people with post-graduate degrees believe in "evolution," as do: 48% of college graduates 50% of adults with some college 41% of adults with high school or less.

But don't worry fellow internet surfers ... take a look at "Beliefs among Internet surfers"

50% believe in Naturalistic Evolution.

The semantic flaws inherrent in this poll have been well covered and I don't think I could contribute anything on that score but I have a question that I would be interested in putting to this forum. From my very youth I have been a believer in the theory of evolution. In fact I believed in it long before I knew much about it. The very first book I read on the subject was not even by Darwin, it was a paperback edition of Dobzhansky's Mankind Evolving. Now that was a revelation. Since then, of course, I've read Darwin and Gould and Dawkins and several others and learned to appreciate the subtle beauty of this Theory. The question derives from this: I believed in the Theory of Evolution even before I understood it because I was so conditioned by my family.(My mother gave me the Dobzhansky book when I was fifteen). Now Richard Dawkins strongly objects to giving children religious labels based on their parents religious beliefs and I believe there is a parallel here. Is not this poll largely a comment on inherited beliefs on both sides? I find it interesting that only the independents had a solid majority on the evolution side. There is promise in this.

It is a little difficult to deal with facts like these. The illogic of people's beliefs is staggering. Here are some more (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19390791/site/newsweek/)

53 percent of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than both Christianity and Islam (41 percent aren’t sure).

Qs: What percentage of Christians are unaware of this? If any (and, of course, there are many), what do their 'core beliefs' consist of - a kind of hazy, but deeply held, confusion?

45% of Americans know that South Korea is closer to Japan than Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia. 36% don't know that the Amazon River is in South America.

Despite Iraq’s ongoing relevance to current events, just 50% could select Libya as the only country out of a list of four that doesn't border it. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43% got it right—and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq. (These last points are, of course, testament to the Bush administration's efforts to create such impressions and the corporate media's laxity in correcting them.)

Apologies

A more detailed look at -

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm

Is it just possible that the Us government intentionally and deliberately dumbed down educational standards in science to the point that the average american is as ignorant as a 15th century peasant? Or am I spinning conspiracy theory here? it just amazes me that a country that prides itself as progressive and forward thinking can be so ignorant. of course it is true that you only need a small percentage of the population to do the actual thinking....at UCSD (univer. of Cal at San Diego) probably more than half the physics students are from abroad...we import scientists because our own kids are taught to hate and fear science.

Is it just possible that the Us government intentionally and deliberately dumbed down educational standards in science to the point that the average american is as ignorant as a 15th century peasant?

It's possible, and thanks to the human imagination, it is also quite conceivable. But as rational, scientific thinkers, we must ask: Is it probable?

Well, we don't really have any information at all to explore the probability of your hypothesis being correct. So what you have there is speculation.

Let's focus on the problem instead, about which we can discover much information: A majority of the citizens of the "most powerful" country on Earth are poorly educated (especially in the areas of Reasoning and the Scientific Method) and furthermore they are willfully ignorant, thanks in part to political and religious ideologies. They can be taken in completely by the simplest of propaganda and the most contrived of orthodox-sounding fairy-tales. In the mean time, those in power are virtually free to jerk them around and wreak whatever havoc they desire instead of someone else in their place using that power to spread peace and freedom in ways that don't require kilodeaths.

Now. How can we, as clear-thinking and pro-active citizens of this tiny planet, fix this?

I would consider creationism to be a fictional theory in that its supposed evidence is deeply rooted in biblical fiction. In that sense, when fiction-rooted "facts" are juxtaposed to actual facts from observation of nature, it is a theory. But it is a "theory" in much more of a mocking sense. In actuality, however, yes, it is nothing more than a hypothesis which fails, I think, in terms of both philosophical and scientific definitions of theory.

I grant creationism "fictional theory" status because it is very much a real threat. These fictions are perpetuated and masked in various flavours much to the disdain of philosophers and scientists. In the largest sense, creationism mimicks, obviously very well, the nature of a theory as we understand it, in all aspects except for being true.

I wish there were a way to measure the extent to which they "choose to believe" in creationism. By that I mean their level of denial.

Assuming they even knew how deep the rabbit hole goes, it would be a simple matter of asking them what off shoot hypothesis of creationism they support. Be it Omphalos, Gap creationism, Intelligent Design, or any of the other ridiculous 'theories'.

Just to add it in, I think one of the first things that we should start teaching the younger generation as early as possible is Occam's Razor. We have got to start teaching people some heuristics damn it.

Bertrand Russell was one of the 20th century philosophers who influenced subsequent schools of thought on the philosophy of science. One of his major contributions was regarding the idea of succession of theories. Particularly influenced by Russell’s work were the logical positivists (Carnap) who maintained that the distinguishing feature of scientific theories was their verifiability. In accordance with the verifiability of scientific theories is the crux of the evolution of scientific thought as we know it; that these theories are potentially falsifiable (Popper). Thus, when one theory has become more capable of modeling the universe than the current theory, it will succeed that theory as the predominantly useful model. However, this process is based in the scientific method. No weird assumptions of some invisible omnipotent entity can be used to ignore the real interpretations of a current scientific theory. Thanks, w00b, for the Occam's Razor reference. That is why Creationism has no place in a science class. So, I will remind you of a quote that often shows up at the start of the onegoodmove.org home page.

“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.” – Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays, 1928

Ignorance is bliss.

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It's sad that so many people have been duped into believing in evolution.

Many people, when they can't provide evidence for their theory, adopt the strategy of falsehood. Such is the case with many of those who have fallen victim to the propaganda of renowned evolutionists.

If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a 'simple' living cell. This should be possible, since they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the 'simple' cell.

After all, shouldn't all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists, having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely then the evolutionists scientists today should be able to make us a 'simple' cell.

If it weren't so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence 'FOR' evolution for THEMSELVES.

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the 'raw' stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth's recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and abracadabra, LIFE!

Oh, you don't believe the 'original' Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

James Collins-

Talk about laughable. I went to your answersingenesis.org site. First, there is a large advertisement for the Creation Museum at the top. Excellent entertainment! Place some dinosaurs in with Adam and Eve for a spectacular fictional exhibit based on odd interpretations of monsters from biblical text. It’s like watching “100,000,000 years BC” again, except the curators want us to believe that it’s just a few thousand years ago! All the content I see is just like the drivel you just submitted on onegoodmove.

All the nit-picking about still unknown or unexpected results from scientific investigation is trite and misses the point. It is an easy distraction for those who do not think for themselves. I see a link where the author proposes that if the scientific community could produce a living cell from raw materials that it would support ID - a classically circular form of illogic. That same author also proposes that new nucleic acids must be added to a genome in order to have a change in that information. Well there are many ways by which genetic information can be altered to form a different set of genetic code. Yes, just the altering of the sequence can make profound changes in gene expression. Also, genomes are not closed systems and have been added to and stripped of genetic information. That is how bacteria mutate and they do it quite often as shown by easily tagging a gene with a fluorophore so one can track its translation. Viruses are some of the most prolific mutators. They actually need our nucleic acids to propagate, and in taking typically inconsequential pieces our cells, they change their own code.

Do you actually think the Creationist nonsense is science, or are you kidding? All the statements I see on that page and it’s links are explained ex cathedra – by biblical scripture. As if the Holy Bible is a handbook to life the universe and everything!

Did you read and understand the comments I have made? Creationism is based on faith and belief. The ontological argument which ID is based upon is neither verifiable nor falsifiable. Therefore, ID does not fit the criteria necessary for scientific endeavor. The Theory of Evolution, on-the-other-hand, has been shown through highly robust and rugged scientific method, to be the most sound and simple explanation for the reality of speciation and the diversity of life. Whether or not an intelligent designer is behind the production of the first living cell or the continuance of life in more complex forms is not in the domain of science. ID is in a branch of philosophy dealing with existential and metaphysical thought, but can only be given credence by belief. It is apparent that your strong belief dominates your world view. That is your prerogative. It is not, however, your place to force the teaching of such speculation in the context of science

Religion has kept us from realizing our potential as a species. As an animal with the capacity to discuss these ideas and explore, we have in so many cases not been allowed to by edict of one church or another. It’s not like scientist want to attack your weird sensibilities. We just have a way of thinking about and exploring the universe which works better than quoting scripture and praying that we will make it through the next day - the very reason we have evolved beyond simple survival in many ways and why we need to make sure all humanity is given that opportunity.

Hooray, the loonies have arrived!

//cheers and applauds enthusiastically//

Please sir, tell us more!

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James Collins, you present a very compelling argument. I'm almost with you. Just one more thing, though. Any chance you could produce a talking snake?

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Mr. Collins, thank you for providing an excellent example of the willfull ignorance I commented on earlier.

You don't have a clue and you are very proud of it.

Do you actually believe that you gain some sort of moral superiority by being so damned ignorant? Does your deity have some kind of hate on for the brain that you believe it designed and created?

And what do you gain by pretending that you are the centre of all things, that your god created the universe just to put pretty lights in the sky for you?

Do you think you win points in the "book of judgement" for lying your face off, for your version of god?

What kind of god would that be? Not a very impressive one. Your god seems pretty human, doesn't he? Almost as if he himself was created, by humans. Who after all, believe they are the centre of the universe.

Why would god be challenged by the truth or rather, why are believers challenged by the truth?

So does that mean, James Collins, that any scientific inquiry using the same scientific method as evolution science is also "wrong"?

My goodness! How do all them there fancy electronic gadgets and thingies we use in our daily life work then? After all, we can't "create" an electron or neutron or proton from "scratch" either (that pesky first law of thermodynamics that Moses wrote about in Exodus!), so is the science of eletromagnetism "wrong" too because it uses the same scientific method to "prove" its theories as evolution? Because if the science used in evolution is invalid, all science is invalid because all science, epistemologically, uses the same methods of inquiry.

Man, you're on to something. Using your brilliant logic, this entire "high tech" world in which we live is based on LIES and EVIL. OMG, the ramifications are mind-boggling! Better hide those television sets and clock radios and video game consoles before God finds out. 'Cos electromagnetism ain't in the Bible, nor is the microbiology that produced the antibiotics that cure your infections. Or the chemistry that produced all the synthetic materials used to make your kitchen appliances. Oh wow, so many products and machines and devices, built upon so many lies.

I get it. How brilliant you are to point this out.

Always more room on the short bus.

Republicans are dumber than I thought.

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To any doubters (of the figures): Don't. That the rich business party is also the obsequious servant party, is Symbionese* . That the Germans, who were no dummies, most advanced in the World (chemistry, Physics, etc.), could vote in Hitler with his Neo-Medieval Gotterdammerung should be a warning loud and clear. Generalize. Generalize. Generalize. (Or if you want your head up your Grand Wazoo, Privatize.) The Red Staters voted verbally challenged Bush in to get back at every teacher who ever humiliated them. Creationism too is a thumb in the eye of the superior "intellectual" individual, and class. The parallels to Nazi Sociology are unignorable. Nazism and American jingoism are at the core revenge movements, against inequality, but in an easily doable form: not the powerful (who by definition have the power), but the intelligent, will pay the price. Because they are reachable. See the analogy, feel it. Turn it over and flip it inside-out. Your so-called Life depends.

Ignorance (ours, not theirs) is not an option anymore (!).

Be depressed. Be very depressed.

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.

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*Slavery, not Liberation, Theology. (And Slave Army, S.S.A..)

Yes, very depressed. Channel after channel on cable t.v. now has these cop shows where the police are dressing and behaving more and more like the military.

Scary.

Cable television = pacifier

I'm surprised you have it Jo Ann.

I'm full of surprises Syngas.

I like Zecharia Sitchens version that is based off ancient texts from civilizations like the Sumerian. It marries the potential of evolution and creationism in my opinion. Check out his books if you want a different, but similar perspective.

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