Depressing

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Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN

Apparently, Belief in Evolution Makes You a Minority Figure:
[Via Genome Technology Online Current Issue]

What a day for creation theory. John Lynch at Stranger Fruit blogs about the latest results of a Gallup poll on political leaning and belief in creation, intelligent design, or evolution. Republicans emerged with 60 percent believing in creationism, 32 percent believing in ID, and just 4 percent believing in no-strings-attached evolution. Democrats were an even split on creationism and ID (38 and 39 percent, respectively), with 17 percent opting for evolution. Independents had the highest rate of belief in evolution — 19 percent — but still had 40 percent opting for creationism and 36 percent for ID.

While we’re on the subject, members of the American Society of Plant Biologists are urging Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to veto the creation-in-the-classroom bill that’s on his desk. Pamela Ronald includes the full text of the letter at her Tomorrow’s Table blog.

I was really depressed by this until I actually looked at the data, something worth doing. It is even more depressing. They asked “which comes closest to your views:

  1. Humans developed over millions of years, God guided
  2. Humans developed over millions of years, God had no part
  3. God created humans as is within the last 10,000 years.

So we are not just talking creationism, where God did it. We are talking God did it within the last 10,000 years! 60% of the Republicans feel that mankind was created as is within the last 10,000 years. That is a really horrifying number. An overwhelming number of Republicans believe in a total fantasy for which there is not only no proof but actually a huge amount of information showing it is false. There is absolutely NO evidence at all for proposition 3.

The people who founded Jericho left behind tools and pottery that have been dated to 14,500-11,000 years ago. There is evidence of farming from 11,000 ago. But these Republicans just ignore that evidence. I wonder how they place Neanderthal in their histories. Probably just make stuff up.

But 40% for independents and 38% for the Democrats is not something to cheer about either. Why is this? Why are so many americans ignorant of such basic facts about our natural world. The data answers that question. It is going to church that produces this error.

Gallup Evolution

Those that attend church weekly are the most likely to believe this myth, probably because they hear it all the time. Most never got any education regarding evolution in school at all. This drops to 24% for those that seldom attend church (I’d be worried more about that high number except something like 20% of those surveyed believe the Sun goes around the Earth.)

I guess the one hopeful thing is that those that believe proposition 2, that mankind evolved over millions of years without God, has risen since 2000 from 9% to 14% in 2008. This is higher than the sapling error. Maybe there is hope.

But then again, these questions have been asked since 1982 and essentially 44% of Americans have always believed in something that is demonstrably false. This unchanging level of ignorance

So, while religion may be useful for many things, it is substantially responsible for perpetuating a fable that can be shown to be false by a plethora of methods. Well, at least there are a small percentage of us who can actually deal with the world as it really is. I guess this is how Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho gets elected in 500 years.

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