According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of Americans think science has had a mostly positive effect on society, and scientists are held in high regard – more so than any other professions apart from the military and teaching, and way ahead of the clergy (or journalists, for that matter).

But along with all this adulation comes a shaky grasp of science – fewer than half those surveyed knew that electrons are smaller than atoms, for example.

And there’s a widespread refusal to believe ideas that are generally accepted by the scientific community. While 84 percent of scientists agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, for example, more than half the general public thinks we’ve had no effect at all…

But if you want the prime example of the public’s fundamental disagreement with basic scientific tenets, then – you’ve guessed it – it’s the question of human and animal origins.

According to the survey, an extraordinary 68 percent of Americans don’t believe in evolution through natural selection – a state of affairs that is surely unparalleled elsewhere in the western world. Less surprisingly, the figure is just 13 percent for scientists, who understand that the word “theory” in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution doesn’t actually mean “random guess”.

As you might expect, this situation creates a touch of cognitive dissonance. Over a third of the public said that science sometimes conflicted with their religious beliefs. This doesn’t put them off, mind you, as a full 63 percent of these creationists reckoned that scientists contributed “a lot” to society’s wellbeing. So perhaps there’s hope…

We could try making the creationists breed fruit flies, and actually see evolution in action. But a better way might be to make them put their money where their mouth is. Presumably, if you don’t believe in evolution, you don’t believe in newly-emergent strains of flu or other diseases, either. Just deny the latest vaccines to the creationists, and they’ll weed themselves out in the next hundred years or so. By natural selection.

“Believing” in crap is always so much easier than studying.

  1. gooddebate says:

    Does anyone notice that on any subject like this where there are strong emotions on both sides, the arguments degrade into suspicion and agitation.

    On the one side the evolutionists believe that the opposition is insane, flawed, watch them die, etc. In other words they’re dangerous. They must be suppressed at all costs. On the other side is the smug religious. Ready to interpret the facts for you as if you can’t do it yourself. They don’t openly say the opposition must be suppressed but you know they’d vote for it.

    Ultimately, there’s only one place this conflict can go and it has nothing to do with science it has to do with revolution. It’s history repeating itself.

    I just read “The Reader”. In it there’s a guy who is going to visit a former concentration camp in Germany. His driver answers his unspoken question about why he’s going there… “How can people do this to each other? …” The answer is enlightening, find out for yourself.

  2. Patrick says:

    # 32 Awake said, “There is extensive archeological record on the evolution of flight in birds. ”

    Cool. Show the fossil record of the evolution of wings from useless (energy consuming nubs with no benefit for millions of years) to fully functioning wings. I’ll wait…

  3. Hugh Ripper says:

    Well done, America. Keep dumbing down the population with absurd creationism and other anti-intellectual initiatives, and soon you’ll have a population composed almost entirely of morons and perhaps have enough cheap labour for your corporations to graciously relocate jobs back to the mainland.

  4. tikichaos12 says:

    I think Americans should be proud that the majority of us still hold religious values and beliefs closer to our hearts and minds than what any scientist can ever tell us. Having faith is not being stupid. Part of faith is knowing that man cannot and will never know everything. Thinking that we can is completely absurd and self-absorbed.

  5. jccalhoun says:

    I think Americans should be proud that the majority of us still hold religious values and beliefs closer to our hearts and minds than what any scientist can ever tell us.
    and the majority of religious Americans have no issues with science at all because they don’t take the Bible literally.

  6. jccalhoun says:

    Here’s the details of the actual study:

    A majority of the public (61%) says that human and other living things have evolved over time, though when probed only about a third (32%) say this evolution is “due to natural processes such as natural selection” while 22% say “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.” Another 31% reject evolution and say that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

  7. Turion says:

    Eideard, I’ve had enough of your crap. Sod off and let us pay attention to more important things (like forced vaccinations, for example?).

  8. Thinker says:

    sigh…the title of the post says it all, and you prove your own point with the cartoon.

    Are you upset because you don’t understand why others hold different positions and you don’t understand exactly why?

    Or are you upset because someone is not holding the same view as you??


  9. Breetai says:

    This study smells fishy to me. They probobly worded funny to get the result they wanted to make some controversy.

  10. Cursor_ says:

    #32 you are just as bad as the nutballs that totally denounce science because they find a couple flies in their ointment.

    This all or nothing crap is insane.

    When you read the bible from front to back you can see glaring inaccuracies. Ones that obviously broke that rule at the end of the bible about add or removing from it. Men placed much more and pulled out a great deal to suit their needs.

    The NT alone is only 1/4 of what it could have been. That was determined by the leadership of a SINGLE MAN. A man I might add sounds as crazy as many fools do now in the christian faith.

    The best portion of the bible I can point out that is wholly man inspired are the food taboos.

    Beyond a shadow of doubt the book, like many other religious tomes, has been altered. But the fundamental ethics and morals are useful and are the basis of most of society. A society that embraced science and technology from the age of shamans to now.

    I understand that some get the impression, when they do not know their history well, that the middle ages through people backwards. But it didn’t.

    You have to understand that all the bestiaries, dragons and other fictional stuff was based on people being afraid and being removed from one another. The plagues and battles that pulled men apart couples with clashing religions left Europe a wasteland.

    There were so few people at one point that you could literally walk for days and see no other human. NONE. When you are that isolated you dream and think of so many really acid-trip like shit. Isolation fucks you up. It makes you believe shit that is no way true.

    Add to that the drinking and intermarriage as most people never went far from their village. And you get some really screwed up anomalies.

    But if you went to Asia or even to the middle east, they were rife with tech and science. And the tech of Europe wasn’t much behind it. As the crusades brought back bits and pieces of moorish stuff, europeans fabricated many new tools, weapons, techniques of farming, building and manufacturing.

    The monks kept alive all the works of Greece and Rome that was used in the Renaissance, coupling with new inventions from other lands. The compass and the lateen sail allowed people to circumnavigate the globe. The arabs could have done that before, but it never happened until there was a need for it. That need was spices that meant money.

    Advances in medicine and triage was first done by the Knights of Malta during the crusades. Not even the romans had triage tents that graded people by what the wound was if they could be saved. No they just laid wherever they could and if they were beyond a roman physician’s skill given a quick death.

    Medicine advanced during that time to where some in roman legions would be killed to spare them, were now being treated and recovered.

    Middle ages were not as dark as some might have you believe. The surfs worked less that we do in a year. That is mainly due to tech and avarice of course; but they did not have it as hard manually as we think.

    Advances in that time like double-book accounting, better systems of trade, crop-rotation, more advances in tools; led to people having more free time and cash. That led to a higher instance of the traders that led to the middle class and furthered them to spur on the renaissance.

    This euro-centric thought about the middles ages, and all of it not well researched by most, is exactly the same problem as we see people moaning about religionists not wanting to research evolution.

    People need to stop thinking like computers. Where everything is on or off or nothing at all. There are NO absolutes. So to say they are all wrong because one part is wrong and them saying you are wrong because one thing is amiss is idiotic.


  11. Awake says:

    #42 Cursor

    I think that you are missing my basic point, and that is that the very thought that ANY part of the bible can be wrong is anathema for a large segment of the population of the USA. These people will never accept science over religious belief, regardless of how powerful and compelling the science may be.
    So you can show proof after proof that the earth is over 6500 years old, and they will just smile and dismiss all of the science behind that because of their belief in their particular version of biblical interpretation. Their beliefs are absolute.

    But let us ignore the religious factor for a moment.
    Why is it that over 50% of the US population doesn’t know that an electron is smaller than an atom? How is that possible? Why is is it that a huge percentage of the population can not locate Iraq on a world map. Almost nobody can give an example of a marsupial. This type of basic ignorance in our general population is shocking, and makes me wonder about humanity overall.

    Add basic ignorance to religious absolutism and you end up with a group of people that are both unthinking and dangerous… the Taliban comes to mind. Do we really want a Christian version of the Taliban making decisions for all Americans? Because that is the danger that we face as religious fundamentalism penetrates the government.

  12. soundwash says:

    (to get to the truth of the matter, i would love to see a Mel Brooks screenplay on this endless debate)

    Of course Americans don’t understand [modern] science.

    modern science is just as corrupt as religion, relying on invisible boogie men in the form of unproven mathematical models and theories (sold as fact, mind you) to hawk their warez. It has become even more faith based than religion. (which of course pisses of religion as they had monopoly on the invisible boogie men for what seems like eons)

    Whenever [modern] scientists can’t explain something, they create new words and theories out of thin air along with mathematical models to support them – all unprovable by “classical science’s observe, test, repeat observational method.

    come to think of it, they are like “Modern Creationists” ha!

    (and we wonder why religious types cry foul at modern science)

    (coincidentally, this modern theoretical/model science is the PERFECT ally to politics.

    Politicians need only ask their government funded research stooges to create a science model to support some political agenda (like global warming) and the next thing you know, a model is created that almost perfectly fits the desired outcome. voila! the science is settled and now we can move forward with the new tax plan! (sound familiar?)

    If you can’t sell them the steak, sell them the “sizzle” -and, if all else fails, baffle’em with bullshit.

    Such is the state of my beloved science today.


  13. soundwash says:

    ps..maybe with the increase in “magnetic anomalies” that will increase as we approach and cross galactic center’s magnetic ribbon, the fraud that much of modern science is will be exposed.

    for a look at the new (old) physics that will usher in this new era, one need only to study The Electric Universe theory:

    (anyone can understand it, and if you have basic knowledge of electricity, it will knock you over)

    you have to wonder, since *everything* has an electrical nucleus at its core, why the hell do the science people not simply apply electrical (and plasma) theory to the universe as well?

    -when you do, almost everything is easily answered with verifiable results. (i say almost because i am still absorbing much of the concept. but what i have studied, quite readily, “pencils out”

    to briefly study this theory in an action you may relate to, here is how it see’s global warming. (something almost everyone has an opinion on)


  14. JimR says:

    Re #34 Patrick: “Cool. Show the fossil record of the evolution of wings from useless (energy consuming nubs with no benefit for millions of years) to fully functioning wings. I’ll wait…”

    Patrick, Creationists giddily proclaim that fossil records going back 50 million years show that animals such as bats, look very similar to those of today. So they claim gleefully… there is no evidence! The stupidity of that statement shows a complete lack of understanding of evolution.

    First, wings didn’t necessarily evolve from nubs like the branch of a tree. They are not plants and the belief that you think they would evolve like plants emphasizes your lack of evolution knowledge. Again you choose to ignore all the facts supporting evolution, and zero in on an area are where scientists are still looking. It’s not like they can go to a fossil store and order up the pieces they haven’t found yet.

    Secondly,fossil records show that billions of animals have gone extinct. In other words, they were unable to survive due to design flaws. How does that fit into Intelligent design? God sucks at creating viable life? He tries and tries and somehow manages to flub his way through with a lot of luck?

    Bats have been lucky by comparison. despite an extreme failure rate in your so called “intelligent” design, they have managed to be lucky enough to inherit quality tools for survival that have lasted 50 million years. Their series of branches of evolution hasn’t come to a dead end…yet.

    Seems like a long time? 50 million years is only about 1.4% of the time of the the earliest known fossil records of life. Fossils of stromatolites are over 3.4 billion years old. So, what did bats look like 100 million years ago? 200 million years ago? The retarded answer that infuriates anyone without a mind of mush, is to claim that fossils are an illusion… a trick of God (to show how bad he is at design?) … and that the earth is only 6000 years old… An answer that is regressive, ignorant, and destructive.

  15. natefrog says:

    Alfred, Patrick:

    Debating science with those who show a woefully inadequate understanding of it is utterly pointless, but here goes.

    Perhaps some of the information here will help you, but I doubt it.

    I am rather amused that the religious types are always changing their arguments. It used to be popular to say “Where are the transitional fossils between water and land?” Recent discoveries have put that argument to rest, but every time evolution says “But wait, there’s more!”, the creationists are too ignorant to understand it, let alone actually learn and change their beliefs.

    I guess they feel it’s their goddamn right to be ignorant living south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

  16. jccalhoun says:

    Whenever [modern] scientists can’t explain something, they create new words and theories out of thin air along with mathematical models to support them

    ummm yeah. that’s what science does. what is it supposed to do? come up with a theory that is proven wrong and just give up and say “god did it?”

  17. Alex says:

    To those of you arguing the evolution of flight: don’t forget that even plants have evolved methods of primitive flight. (Well, gliding, but they gotta start somewhere.) Seeds that float upon the wind (those little helicopter ones… have no idea what they’re called) and those that fly off with a stiff breeze (Dandelions).

    As to the original post/cartoon – I can’t wait to use the Maleus Maleficarum as precedent on a case.

  18. Timuchin says:

    Eideard actually believes in interspecies evolution! Against all efforts to artificially create a new species! People have irradiated animals to accelerate the process with no results. People for centuries have genetically manipulated our domesticated animals with no results. It frankly doesn’t happen. But his Humanist religion blinds him to the truth.

    Reminds me of Alfred Wegener who proposed the theory that the continents drifted. He was renounced by the whole scientific and philosophical establishments. Not that it confuted their faiths; it just didn’t fit into their world views. Forty years after he died his theory was finally accepted.

  19. qb says:

    #50 Alfred1

    Just stare at pond scum for a very, very, very long time. Whatever you do, don’t blink. If you blink, you’ll miss it.

  20. Patrick says:

    # 52 Alex said, “To those of you arguing the evolution of flight: don’t forget that even plants have evolved methods of primitive flight. ”

    Irrelevant. Using current data on energy requirements, map out evolution of flight and competent aeronautical program in in animals. Can’t be done.

  21. JimR says:

    qb, that was priceless! LOL. Nearly choked on my coffee.

  22. smartalix says:

    Children, please. There is now a definite trail in the fossil record showing flight developing from dinosaur plumage for warmth and decoration evolving into wings. There are early fossils of dinosaurs with patches of feathers who were incapable of flight, then ornithominids (birdlike feathered dinosaurs), and finally flying dinosaurs.

    Here’s a good synopsis of the theory from a recent museum show.

  23. Patrick says:

    # 58 smartalix said, “Children, please. There is now a definite trail in the fossil record showing flight developing from…”

    Actually, there is NO fossil record of any single species developing wings from non-wings through to fully functioning wings… Fail

  24. Alex says:

    Patrick said, “competent aeronautical program in in animals”

    What… you want us to look to animals to find a competent aeronautical program when we can’t even find it in humans?


Bad Behavior has blocked 4527 access attempts in the last 7 days.