In surveys conducted in 2005, people in the United States and 32 European countries were asked to respond … to this statement: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” The United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true, researchers reported in the current issue of Science. Only adults in Turkey expressed more doubts on evolution. In Iceland, 85 percent agreed with the statement. (Graph)
via Slashdot, Science Magazine is pointed about the reasons:
The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States.
6 Replies to “Did Humans Evolve?”
I am not sure I entirely agree with the reasoning as to the “why.” The numbers are unchanged from 25 years ago and yet fundamentalism and the politicization of science has grown since that time. The real problem is education. We do such a poor job of teaching science and in particular the scientific method in K – 12 in this country that people don’t even appreciate the process at all and therefore its results. Evolution is just one possibility to their minds. After all, doesn’t science change its mind constantly about what is healthy (for example) and what is not? Newton’s laws turned out to be wrong didn’t they? Scientists forever tell you what we used to think just recently is wrong. Of course the fact that fundamentalism is so widespread in this country (thanks to Europe kicking them out) means that people are of course dangerously likely to accept creationism as an alternative. On a somewhat related topic, the authority on such matters inevitably turns out to be the Onion:
Sean, I’m curious about your statement that “The numbers are unchanged from 25 years ago.” I’m very surprised to hear that, since it goes against common perceptions of the fundementalist drift we’re going through. Say more please?
Onion right on, as always.
Scary. Whether from a perspective of the negative impact of religion on our society, or as an effect of poor science education (but FWIW, local school boards are often notorious for caving in to religious pressure groups – so these could very well be an ‘and’ instead of an ‘or’ relationship).
But hey! One of the great things about being an Episcopalian is that you can believe in dinosaurs! ;)
Of course, probably the best reason to be an Anglican is because you actually believe the teachings of their church, rather than, “… our priest can dress up in fancy outfits.”
It’s all about the Flying Spaghetti Monster for me.
/me has a FSM poster stuck up on his wall at work, and a FSM t-shirt from boingboing, too ;)
Oh, and mnep ? There’s not really much which can be commonly labeled “the teachings of their church.” with us, it’s much more about common prayer/liturgy than a common confession of the faith. We pretty much stick with the Nicene creed and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886, 1888). See the Basics @ Anglicans Online for details.
Or as the joke goes: I don’t belong to an organized religion – I’m an Episcopalian :D