“One in three American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution…”

More proof that too many Americans are becoming idiotic morons:

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Surveys by a Michigan State University researcher find that about one-third of the American population does not believe in evolution, a figure which is much higher than those found in similar surveys in European nations and Japan.

The research of Jon D. Miller, MSU Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies, is published in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Science.

“One in three American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution, a significantly higher proportion than found in any western European country,” Miller said.

For example, in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80 percent or more of adults accepted the concept of evolution, as did 78 percent of Japanese adults.

Only adults in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim nation, were less likely to accept the concept of evolution than American adults.

The primary reason the U.S. and Turkey are at the bottom of the list? You guessed it: Fundamentalist religious belief.

“The total effect of fundamentalist religious beliefs on attitude toward evolution was nearly twice as much in the United States,” he said, “which indicates that individuals who hold a strong belief in a personal God – and who pray frequently – were significantly less likely to view evolution as probably or definitely true than adults with less conservative religious views.”

In addition, the issue of evolution has become highly politicized in the United States, with the Republican Party in particular often using it as a litmus test for possible candidates for office, according to Miller.

“There is no major political party in Europe and Japan that uses opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform,” Miller said. “In the United States, there are people who think it is a political advantage to discount evolution.”

When faced with depressing news items like this it’s hard not to wonder if America just might be in a downward spiral headed toward its own undoing thanks to the rotting ignorance of its own citizens. Will history books someday in the future write of the “Great Failed Experiment that was The United States of America” and the efforts by the people who gained the most from its secular constitution to undermine it so that Fundamentalism could gain the upper hand?

I suppose I should take some comfort in the fact that it’s only a third of the population that is so fully committed to rejecting Evolution, but then it occurs to me that there’s still plenty of people who are too close to that same viewpoint for comfort and, really, a third is entirely too much of the population to begin with. For a nation that owes so much of it’s greatness to science and the application of it there’s no small amount of irony in a third of the population being ignorant about one of science’s greatest achievements.

25 thoughts on ““One in three American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution…”

  1. Even worse, that third tends to be the ones who don’t believe in birth control and in being fruitful and multiplying, thus giving them the opportunity to raise large families of ignorant bible-thumpers.

    I can’t help but think there will be some backlash in the younger generations.  Unfortunately, I also think it will be very Southern, in many ways, e.g. Saturday night sinner, Sunday morning saint.

  2. Bruce Chapman, the president of the Discovery Institute, the primary backer of ID, has a different view of the study.

    “A better explanation for the high percentage of doubters of Darwinism in America may be that this country’s citizens are famously independent and are not given to being rolled by an ideological elite in any field,” Chapman said.

    The famous “we’re a democracy so I can belive anything I like” argument. “all men are born equal, says the Declaration of Independance, so I am equal to the scientists.”  I wonder if we tried saying

    I am not given to being rolled by an ideological elite

    to him when rejecting all gods (other than FSM, Ramen) whether he would be so willing to accept it.

    The fact that

    this country’s citizens are famously independent

    caused problems for the Union during the Civil War.  The conscripts were fighting for democracy, so often (especially early on) rejected having men put in charge over them.  In some cases officers (especially Jews) were voted out if unpopular, so discipline could be lax.

  3. Check out the party over at P.Z.‘s place. I’m always so amused to see creationists get so defensive and threatened when they simultaneously try to deny that their opposition to evolution stems entirely (or even at all) from fundamentalist religious beliefs.

  4. It doesn’t just show morons, but also that ID is taking an effect on the morons.  Those ID fuckers might be morons but they sure do know how to advertise and get their message out to morons alike.

  5. ***Dave: More info on the survey, including the methodology, here.
    Deeply depressing.

    I thought it was funny. LOL
    You’re maybe looking at being over-run by Chinese and Indian science researchers as Americans sink into deeper fundamentalist slavery and back into similar to muslim ignorance.

    S-Sadie – your link won’t work for me.
    Is it this one? smile
    And from there I got to another list.

  6. Great Failed Experiment that was The United States of America

    Ah, Les, they won’t call it the failed experiment, even if it fails (which I am still far from certain, left-leaning tendencies for doom-mongering* aside).

    They don’t call ancient Greece a ‘failed experiment’ just because it didn’t stay on top forever. The US has a lot to be proud of – several centuries of (mostly) democratic rule, for example. Europe has a much more spotty past in that regard.

    *I just realized that the left always seems to feel that our eventual downfall will come from within, while the right seems to think that the babarians outside the gate will do it (though of course, Ann Coulter will accuse anyone of opening the gates for them, weaking my theory somewhat).

  7. Ing: Europe has a much more spotty past in that regard.

    Yebbit, they aren’t drifting backwards into superstition yet, are they? wink

  8. So, because a person doesn’t blindly believe an incomplete, unproven theory, they are an idiot?

    Can someone say “hypocrite?”

  9. Bob: So, because a person doesn’t blindly believe an incomplete, unproven theory, they are an idiot?

    Of course not. smile
    Please tell me (us) which incomplete, un-proven theory you do blindly, believe in … Bob.

  10. There’s nothing hypocritical about calling an idiot an idiot, Bob, but let us illustrate by example: Do you believe in gravity? I certainly hope not as it’s an incomplete and unproven theory, Bob.

    By your logic there isn’t a single theory that you should accept because none of them are “proven” and all are vulnerable to being abandoned if new data comes along that falsifies it. Germ theory, gravity, atomic theory, you name it and it’s not been proven. Sure there’s plenty of theories that have held up sufficiently well that they are accepted as being true—and Evolution is one of those theories—but all it takes is a new bit of data that contradicts any theory to throw it into doubt and possibly have it dropped in favor of a new theory.

    It appears Bob doesn’t understand what the word “theory” really means. Typical.

  11. Yebbit, they aren’t drifting backwards into superstition yet, are they?

    The usual warning signs, the normal level of crack-pottedness and some crooked frauds getting away with murder… but beyond that, no.

    Having the US as a ‘lets not be like that’-counterweight does help (a little?).

  12. Les, you define “theory” well. It is clear that you know what it means. But I don’t think you understand.

    You responded to the article title with “too many Americans are becoming idiotic morons”.

    You admitted that a theory is unproven, by definition. So why must someone either believe, or be labeled a moron?

    I think it is because you associate not believing in Evolution with believing in Creation. I think you subconsiously recognized the fact that most people, at least Americans, who don’t believe in Evolution, do believe in Creation, and you neglected to consider the remaining people who believe neither (Or both. Really, some people believe both). That’s my theory.

    And sorry for calling you a hypocrite, Les. I meant it at the time, but reflecting back, it was inaccurate and too harsh. My apologies.

    Please tell me (us) which incomplete, un-proven theory you do blindly, believe in … Bob

    I don’t blindly believe anything. As for the origins of life, I just don’t know.

  13. Bob asks…

    You admitted that a theory is unproven, by definition. So why must someone either believe, or be labeled a moron?

    Your question assumes that all theories are equal so there’s no reason to believe one over another, but that’s not the case. Theories with a great deal of evidence supporting them are more valid than theories with nothing backing them up. Some theories are so well supported that only a moron wouldn’t accept them. Evolution is one of those theories.

    I think it is because you associate not believing in Evolution with believing in Creation. I think you subconsiously recognized the fact that most people, at least Americans, who don’t believe in Evolution, do believe in Creation, and you neglected to consider the remaining people who believe neither (Or both. Really, some people believe both). That’s my theory.

    Your theory is incorrect. I’m unconcerned with whether or not a particular person believes in Creation and I have no problems with people who believe “Goddidit” who see Evolution as God’s means to an end. If that idea works for you then so be it.

    I am concerned with people who reject Evolution in spite of all the evidence that exists in support of it. That means people who reject Creation and Evolution are still morons because at least one of those two concepts has a great deal of support behind it. By the same token people who refuse to believe the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, in spite of the fact that the sun has risen in the east for every day since the earth first formed, are also morons. Sure, it’s possible it might rise in the west, or north, or south, or not at all tomorrow, but based on the available evidence the probability of it is so exceptionally remote as to be silly to consider.

    I don’t blindly believe anything. As for the origins of life, I just don’t know.

    Good for you. I always recommend people look into ideas for themselves instead of just blindly accepting them. That said, Evolution has nothing to say about the origins of life.

  14. My question is, why is evolution usually disregarded by christians in the first place? I mean, most christians I know accept the fact that Genisis is a book of stories and not literal fact(excluding the fundies). But, for some reason, these same folks that accept that the world is not flat, and that the Earth does the revolving and not the Sun, will still not even consider Evolution. Not even to research it in a rudementary way.
    To me, this says they don’t really want to know who or what the god is that they worship. They want to be told stories and sleep without dreams. I mean, they constantly declair that their main goal in life is to worship and find god. But, when given evidence of how their god might actually work, they refuse to even look. If you love, worship, and adore a certain artist (creator if you will) you research his work. You pour over every brush stroke and attend every showing. You study the history of their work and discuss at length how the artist’s work effects your life. Is this not worship? If they truly worship god, they would spend all their free time examining his work, ie. creation, in order to understand their god better. This is exactly what evolution is. A study of how life got here and the mechanisims that perpetuate it. If they believe god created it, then why aren’t they breaking new ground on how ingenious god was to make all this happen from one great force that broke into four? Why do they turn from the truth about how god works and prefer old fairy tales rather than hard research to base their understanding on.
    Again, this leads me to the same conclusion that every other fascet of Christianity does. They don’t really want to find, meet, or understand god. They aren’t worshipping god in any meaningful way, and they are much more about themselves.
    If there is a creator, he, she, it has been pushed back to “first cause” and thats that for me. From that point out, all is pretty much known save a few holes here and there. The newest theories coming out of quantum mechanics is the best stuff yet and seems to be unveiling a universe that is truly amazing.
    To be honest, I’m not sure what this makes me. I hold open the possibility that some big sky fairy could have lit the fuse to the big bang, or could have been itself transfered into energy that became a new type of matter distribution and I doubt seriously that anyone will ever be able to tell me how or why the big bang started. But, I don’t see a god intervening after that in any way.
    If there was a big beardy guy lighting that fuse, then the telling doesn’t come on this plain of existance. And this is where quantum theory seems to be finding that here is not only plural, but may not really be here anyways. This seems to be a meeting of science and philosophy that justifies both. It seems to say that we, as well as everything else, are much more than the sum of our parts. Does this make me an agnostic, or just a twisted believer?

  15. To be honest, I’m not sure what this makes me.

    Based on this one comment I’d hazard to guess you’d qualify as an Agnostic or, if you’re inclined to believe there was a God as first cause, a Deist. The latter would put you in good company with a good portion of the Founding Fathers.

  16. Actually, I am an agnostic. I like to think there is something going on behind the curtain, but I know there is no real answer to the question. My wife and I are in our mid forties, so she is going through the reike, crystals, meditation, yoga, and self enrichment section of the library like a whirling dervish. I’m not into all that stuff, but it is fun to watch her lie with a bunch of rocks carefully perched on her chakkras.
    I think the whole dealeo is much more complex yet ingeniously simple than we can imagine at present.
    Oh, and kudos to you and your efforts. I’ve lurked around for awhile, but just registered recently. Great information here and it’s refreshing to see some people with real brains in their skulls. So many people here in Georgia have heads filled with grits and can barely muster the brain power to hang their rebel flags in the front yard.

  17. Azimov: I know there is no real answer to the question.

    Of course there’s an answer – we just aren’t quite ready for the simplicity of the KISS principle yet.
    I think it’s somewhere amongst E=MC2,  here and here … but I’ve been wrong before.
    Last Hassar would refer to your wife as a crystal-powered being, similar to my sister-in-law and red face me during my 40s.
    Hey, it’s harmless and it kept me off the streets. wink
    I’ve experienced enough, albeit small, stuff to know, in the words of The Bard:
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    Shit, I nearly went into crystal-powered mode … smile

    Gotta tell ya. When I see your robotic avatar it reminds me of the gold robot in Star Wars and I read your words with his voice in my head which makes your

    So many people here in Georgia have heads filled with grits and can barely muster the brain power to hang their rebel flags in the front yard.

    even more amusing.  LOL

  18. Of course there’s an answer – we just aren’t quite ready for the simplicity of the KISS principle yet.
    I think it’s somewhere amongst E=MC2, here and here …

    I agree with that. If the answer isn’t in there, a lot of clues surely are.

    When I see your robotic avatar it reminds me of the gold robot in Star Wars

    lol, it would be hilarious to hear C3PO saying stuff like that.
    I’ve always been into robotics. I’ve built many of them myself and through studying them, I’ve come to a real appreciation for life. The avatar is from a kinetic sculpture I made some time ago. Not a real robot per say.
    The problems involved in AI are just astounding at the moment. We can’t build a thinking machine yet because no two people can agree on what intellegence is let alone show a way to reproduce it with inert matter. Little hints are coming forward all the time, but the big picture completely baffles us. Simulations abound, but they are rudamentary dog and pony shows that are as far from intelligence as we are from a virus. Lately, bodies have been made that are truely amazing, but they pretty much still have empty heads.
    This is one of the things that makes me see that life is a very special kind of matter. It produces intelligence, and even breaks the laws of thermo dynamics for a time. And all this is possible due to the frequencies of atoms. Amazing stuff!

  19. even breaks the laws of thermo dynamics for a time.

    You can’t.  I may appear that we do, but there is still an external power source- the sun.  The laws of TD don’t deny organisation on a localised level, but they do predict a final disorganisation.  The best analogy is a steam train.  The loss of mass in the coal becomes heat- the entropy- this is utilised to a ‘organised’ purpose- energy driving the train.  However when the coal in the tender runs out, then the engine slowly comes to a halt.  The engine is an open system.  the engine plus tender is a closed system (unless we ‘open’ it by adding more coal).

  20. (unless we ‘open’ it by adding more coal).

    I guess that’s what I meant. Life is able to open that system and add more coal at will. No other matter is organized in such a way as to do that. The “coal” in this example being other life. It’s a very short time and TD wins out anyways, but growth and reproduction seem to thumb their noses at TD for a time.
    Then there’s that myth of immortality. Life dreaming of beating the system completely. You’re never gonna find a rock that can imagine that.

  21. Azimov- If we have apparently beaten TD in the short term it is nothing to do with us adding more coal.  The sun is our ‘tender’, allowing the addition of energy into the planet, even though we use it. All bio based fuels on Earth- coal oil gas, bio diesel, all derive from plants grown by use of solar energy. ‘Renewables’- usually taken as wind and wave- derive from gravatic action by sun and moon.  Although gravity will not be ‘used up’ as such, the effects of it causes a loss of energy to the earth, it is spinning slower each year, plus the moon in receeding.  Nuclear, though not reliant on solar energy, is also a one shot wonder.  Hydro-electricity relies on the sun to raise the water up, and so is finite.

    The energy added by the sun allowed evolution, but the sun will eventually die, killing what is left on the planet- if not in the death, then in the loss of energy to the planet.  This is the mistake that Creationists make when the quote the 2nd law, ommiting the vital clause “In a closed system”.

  22. The energy added by the sun allowed evolution, but the sun will eventually die,

    Very true. This was my falling out with Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was a teenager.
    I would pose the question as to the laws of TD and what that meant for their belief that all the chosen that don’t go to Heaven will live on the Earth forever immortal, without pesky bugs (gotta love that one), and everything would simply go on forever. Of course, the only reply one can get when presenting scientific fact to debate myth is, “God can do whatever he wants.” 
    I am the free thinkler that I am because I heard that bullshit so many times. I know alot of witnesses are witneses because they think it a more logical type of dogma. But their belief system breaks down easily under hard scientific scrutiny just like all the rest.

  23. “Americans who have no training in critical thinking and will believe anything” I saw this quote on the link provided to American Athiests. I’ve thought for some time that creation science is being used, among other things, to swell the ranks of believers by those that own control everything.  After all, if you believe anything, then it’s very easy to get you to believe anything. Iraq destroyed the world trade center. Iraq has WMDs. Bush is a Christian. Haliburton is doing a bang up job. Faux News is truth. It’s no wonder these monsters are pushing Creationisim into the public schools. They have never really educated us to begin with. Now, they can destroy anything that was a force of good in the schools. Science, arts and music, and free thinking. We collectively become dumber and dumber with an insatiable desire to be told what to think.
    Orwell must have been a time traveler. He just got the decades mixed up.

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