U.S. Behind in Acceptance of Evolution

For many people, this will come as no surprise, as it’s almost taken for granted that evolution is a controversial subject.  Thankfully, that’s really not the case in most of the world. In U.S. Lags World in Grasp of Genetics and Acceptance of Evolution

The researchers combined data from public surveys on evolution collected from 32 European countries, the United States and Japan between 1985 and 2005. Adults in each country were asked whether they thought the statement ?Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals,? was true, false, or if they were unsure.

 

The study found that over the past 20 years:

  • The percentage of U.S. adults who accept evolution declined from 45 to 40 percent.
  • The percentage overtly rejecting evolution declined from 48 to 39 percent, however.
  • And the percentage of adults who were unsure increased, from 7 to 21 percent.

Of the other countries surveyed, only Turkey ranked lower, with about 25 percent of the population accepting evolution and 75 percent rejecting it. In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80 percent or more of adults accepted evolution; in Japan, 78 percent of adults did.

I have encountered or directly experience this type of thinking (or lack thereof) numerous times with friends and acquaintances.  Not only are these people ignorant of science (even though most of them have college educations), but they seem to be offended by the suggestion that they even investigate science and their their beliefs.  There have even been religion vs. atheism “debates” where the religious leaders have asked that, if evolution is correct, why no human has ever given birth to a monkey.  These people just “feel” that their beliefs are correct, and that seems to be enough.  Perhaps it’s natural to fear what one doesn’t understand.  Americans seemed to be up in arms about the whole stem cell research issue (which isn’t an issue in most parts of the world).  But how many Americans could tell you what a cell really is? 

Also from the article:

Paul Meyers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota who was not involved in the study, says that what politicians should be doing is saying, ‘We ought to defer these questions to qualified authorities and we should have committees of scientists and engineers who we will approach for the right answers.”

Hopefully, this is a passing fad that cannot possibly continue.  This stuff does matter – it affects education, our economy, and our society.  Reason, logic, and science are clearly important, and the U.S. is lagging far behind in modern thought about life and our role in it.

Reference

The series of articles continues at LiveScience.com:

PART 1
An Ambiguous Assault on Evolution
This Trojan Horse for Creationism has become very popular. But who is being duped? And what does it all mean for morality?

PART 2
The Death of Science’
Intelligent design is presented as a legitimate scientific theory and an alternative to Darwinism, but a close look at the arguments shows they don’t pass scientific muster. So why are scientists worried?

PART 3
Belief Posing as Theory
As evolution takes a beating, scientists remind us of the difference between fact, theory and belief.

PART 4:
Anti-evolution Attacks on the Rise
Each time the effort to introduce creationism into classrooms starts up again, so does legislation aimed against evolution. Learn about the rash of recent cases, plus a look at historically pertinent court cases.

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