"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Feb 16, 2009

US beliefs about evolution

I have seen this information quoted on a couple of other blogs. DB makes some good points about it. In a way the results are not surprising because we already knew that in the US there are sizable numbers of people who reject the evidence of evolution because they feel that it clashes with their religious beliefs.

DB makes the very telling point that it is strange that the vast majority of Jews, those who actually "own" the Genesis account, seem to accept the evidence for evolution while the later oddball offshoot christian fundamentalist sects in the US don't. Clearly these sects consider that they know something about the Hebrew old testament that the people who actually own the texts don't. Arrogant or what?

These sects also seem to be in company with Muslims, although to their credit there are just under half of Muslims who obviously are able to handle reality.

Given the influence of evangelical protestantism in parts of the US the picture is still a depressing one. Here we have the supposedly most developed country in the world with large parts of it's population still either so uneducated or so blinded by their religion that they are unable to accept one of the most strongly evidenced theories in science.

As an Atheist I can of course look at this another way. In my experience the hold of anti-science religionists over many of their young people is a tenuous one. Information is freely available now on the Internet and school is not the only source by which people can access education. There are bound to be those within these communities who decide to look at the evidence for themselves and with an open mind. What they will find is a mountain of evidence on the side of science. Many of them will rightly conclude that they have been lied to by their elders. In the long term their strong anti-science and anti-evolution stance may yet come back to haunt these sects.


Looney said...

Just a few observations:

Probably 90% of Buddhists and Hindus in that list are born overseas, so does that represent a US statistic?

Jews are well known to be atheists in terms of theology, but they still cling to traditions.

Mainliners are a curious component, because they are taught that evolution is true both at church and at school, but 49% of them still reject evolution. Informally, belief in evolution is necessary to get a mainline seminary degree.

From when I was a kid (40 years ago), the notion that "church leaders always lie, but scientists always tell the truth", was a major part of the curriculum in the government funded schools - even in the Bible belt south where I grew up.

DB said...

Thanks for the h/t. While this survey paints a bleak picture for science, I think it is showing that evolutionists are making head way. You are right too, that the internet is making research so much easier for the inquisitive mind. Hopefully, in our lifetimes, this will be a non-issue like the flat earth and ethnocentric views of our solar system theories. Religion usually ends up embracing science.

Ryan said...

I recently read Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth," trying to objectively weigh the evidence to see if it stands on its own (both sides of the evolution issue seem to be rather dogmatic.) And I was a little disappointed by his case. Most of his arguments were of the "forensic" type, and the facts he cited lend themselves equally well to either an atheistic or theistic explanation e.g. "look at a duck--its *obviously* a work of evolution." And some of his arguments worked against his intention, i.e. while we can see how selection certainly can shape a fox or dog population, those examples he cited all involved an active *agent* which works better for the theistic argument. And unfortunately for his case, most populations observed in the wild, when left to nature tend to drift back toward the median, rather than being selected toward more specific traits. So I come to my question ... where is the "devastating evidence"? Surely there's more out there?

Bunc said...

You cleARLY didn't read it very carefully. If you really want to understand the evidence for evolution both as a fact and a theory then you need to do a little more than read a popular polemical science for the masses book.
Try starting with darwins "on the origin of sepcies" - its actually a good read - if you are genuinely interested in science and biology. If your simply interested in propogating creationist beliefs then dont waste your or my time.

Ryan said...

I am genuinely interested in knowing the truth. Isn't that the objective of science after all?

As for Dawkins work, he is a leading evolutionary biologist, top of his field. And this work, in his own words, is his own compilation of the devastating evidence for evolution.

You've hinted that the two problems I pointed out have solutions in other works. But you didn't give any suggestion as to what those solutions are. Care to elaborate?

Bunc said...

Darwins work has been much refined and updated but the core arguments stand. I suggest that you read his seminal work then come back to me if you have specific questions about that. If you want peer referenced material that will be accessible to you then talk origins has some very good material and refernces peer reviewed literature. Its a long time since ive been on it but I think hey keep it updated.

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