Pew Research finds Republicans more likely to reject theory of Evolution


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Message 1459509 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 8:21:36 UTC

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/12/us-acceptance-of-evolution-holds-steady-overall-drops-among-republicans/

"John Timmer@ArsTechnica" wrote:
Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the results of a poll of US residents that asked about their acceptance of the theory of evolution. In keeping with past surveys, this one found that a completely uncontroversial idea within the scientific community—modern organisms are the result of evolution—is rejected by a third of the US public. While that fraction has held steady over time, the survey found that the political divide over evolution has grown over the past four years, with Republicans now even more likely to reject the idea than they were before.

In the poll, people were asked whether they thought that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, or if we and other creatures had evolved over time. To make sure that mentioning humans didn't make things overly personal, Pew also asked a subset of questions just about other animals; this didn't make any difference in responses.

...

There are several potential explanations for this, most centered around the GOP's internal debate regarding ideological purity. That debate could either cause committed members to feel the need to reinforce their cultural ties with other Republicans or drive away those who already differ from the average party member in some regard. Without further study, it's difficult to determine what's causing this shift.


Nearly one third of Americans don't accept the theory of Evolution, while believing the theory is controversial and rejected by "some scientists". That figure is certainly alarming.

I wonder what our resident biologist thinks about this. Any thoughts Brandon?

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Message 1459510 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 8:27:37 UTC

I read that this morning on the local news network, but it certainly makes 1 wonder what's going on over there. :-O

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Message 1459511 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 8:34:22 UTC - in response to Message 1459509.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/12/us-acceptance-of-evolution-holds-steady-overall-drops-among-republicans/

"John Timmer@ArsTechnica" wrote:
Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the results of a poll of US residents that asked about their acceptance of the theory of evolution. In keeping with past surveys, this one found that a completely uncontroversial idea within the scientific community—modern organisms are the result of evolution—is rejected by a third of the US public. While that fraction has held steady over time, the survey found that the political divide over evolution has grown over the past four years, with Republicans now even more likely to reject the idea than they were before.

In the poll, people were asked whether they thought that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, or if we and other creatures had evolved over time. To make sure that mentioning humans didn't make things overly personal, Pew also asked a subset of questions just about other animals; this didn't make any difference in responses.

...

There are several potential explanations for this, most centered around the GOP's internal debate regarding ideological purity. That debate could either cause committed members to feel the need to reinforce their cultural ties with other Republicans or drive away those who already differ from the average party member in some regard. Without further study, it's difficult to determine what's causing this shift.


Nearly one third of Americans don't accept the theory of Evolution, while believing the theory is controversial and rejected by "some scientists". That figure is certainly alarming.

I wonder what our resident biologist thinks about this. Any thoughts Brandon?

It tells me one third of Americans are ignorant. And if the tea party gag baggers try and run on that, They deserve to loose.
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Message 1459513 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 8:56:22 UTC

It Tells Me, American People go about their Daily Grind, not with Evolution or GOD at Top of Mind.

Too Busy and Intent on Getting Through the Day and Night of Life.

All Should Be More Likely to REJECT any Research Cherry Picked to Denigrate A Group.

The Next Extinction Event will not Give A Hoot what Research has to say on Any Group of HuWoMans.

Until Then, The World Spins. Clouds and Oceans Roil. HuWoMan Toils.

' '
____________


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Message 1459514 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 9:06:33 UTC - in response to Message 1459513.

It Tells Me, American People go about their Daily Grind, not with Evolution or GOD at Top of Mind.

Too Busy and Intent on Getting Through the Day and Night of Life.

All Should Be More Likely to REJECT any Research Cherry Picked to Denigrate A Group.

The Next Extinction Event will not Give A Hoot what Research has to say on Any Group of HuWoMans.

Until Then, The World Spins. Clouds and Oceans Roil. HuWoMan Toils.

' '

And Im sure we will go exticnt. Because to many humans dont care what goes on. Just follow the party line and or relgious line and all will be well. What a load of DOGMA.
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Message 1459523 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 10:07:10 UTC

The actual headline here for this story is, "Are Americans evolving into stupid?".

A couple of people that troll around here certainly make that headline believable sadly.

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Message 1459576 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 14:02:26 UTC

DOGMA backwards = AM GOD

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Message 1459683 - Posted: 1 Jan 2014, 18:08:47 UTC

They didn't poll me. If there was a real Libertarian Party here in the USA I wouldn't have my name associated with either of the two "major" parties. But it is sad that so many people still want to put their heads in the sand and deny what is to me so obvious.
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Message 1459897 - Posted: 2 Jan 2014, 11:43:29 UTC - in response to Message 1459511.

It tells me one third of Americans are ignorant. And if the tea party gag baggers try and run on that, They deserve to loose.

Well, ignorant maybe. But can you blame them? I mean, the anti evolutionist camp has played it pretty smartly, being able to create the suggestion that evolution is not an accepted hard fact. They pulled the same trick with climate change, which they also managed to present as a very controversial topic within the scientific community when in fact mainstream science has long since accepted that climate change is a real thing.

Now if you are someone who only did high school or when science is just not something you really care about, you might be mistakenly led to believe that evolution, like climate change, is something that science is absolutely sure on.

I think if anything this tells me that some very dangerous people have a significant amount of control over the spread of information in the US. That is something to worry about.

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Message 1460419 - Posted: 3 Jan 2014, 22:38:05 UTC - in response to Message 1459509.

I can't really explain why people just reject evolutionary theory. I have pitched the evidence to dozens of intelligent design/creationist believers, but have only ever convinced one. The only common element is that they feel evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs. Perhaps that explains why republicans are more likely to reject evolution. Its a mystery to me that people believe all the other biology stuff I tell them but reject evolution.

"Resident biologist"
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Message 1460424 - Posted: 3 Jan 2014, 23:21:52 UTC - in response to Message 1460419.

I can't really explain why people just reject evolutionary theory. I have pitched the evidence to dozens of intelligent design/creationist believers, but have only ever convinced one. The only common element is that they feel evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs. Perhaps that explains why republicans are more likely to reject evolution. Its a mystery to me that people believe all the other biology stuff I tell them but reject evolution.

"Resident biologist"

If I may, I think its because for those people ID and creationism have become part of their identity. And one does not easily give up part of their identity, even if there is scientific evidence that clearly shows them that part of their identity is based on nothing. In fact, its all the more likely to cause them to dig in and not even really listen to what you say because they need to protect their identity.

It would explain why a discussion about evolution or creationism tend to end up in flame wars, because one side consistently perceives it as an attack on their being, on their person. That tends to bring out hostility. I believe that to that end, this endless raging against people who are creationists is pointless. Its almost impossible to talk someone into giving up a part of their identity, they can only do that themselves. For the people who are still rejecting evolution as hard science, we need different methods to help them let go of that part of their identity.

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Message 1460428 - Posted: 3 Jan 2014, 23:52:13 UTC - in response to Message 1460424.

If I may, I think its because for those people ID and creationism have become part of their identity. And one does not easily give up part of their identity, even if there is scientific evidence that clearly shows them that part of their identity is based on nothing. In fact, its all the more likely to cause them to dig in and not even really listen to what you say because they need to protect their identity.

It would explain why a discussion about evolution or creationism tend to end up in flame wars, because one side consistently perceives it as an attack on their being, on their person. That tends to bring out hostility. I believe that to that end, this endless raging against people who are creationists is pointless. Its almost impossible to talk someone into giving up a part of their identity, they can only do that themselves. For the people who are still rejecting evolution as hard science, we need different methods to help them let go of that part of their identity.


That's a very interesting perspective Michiel. I tend to agree that it is pointless in having a discussion with them, though I admit to a certain level of fear that these 1/3 of Americans wish to influence science classrooms with their "science", or how they keep insisting evolution is an unproven fact.

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Message 1460430 - Posted: 3 Jan 2014, 23:53:33 UTC - in response to Message 1460419.

I can't really explain why people just reject evolutionary theory. I have pitched the evidence to dozens of intelligent design/creationist believers, but have only ever convinced one. The only common element is that they feel evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs. Perhaps that explains why republicans are more likely to reject evolution. Its a mystery to me that people believe all the other biology stuff I tell them but reject evolution.


If I may ask, what did it take to convince that one?

"Resident biologist"


Hehe, do you not like that label? :-D

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Message 1460432 - Posted: 3 Jan 2014, 23:59:18 UTC - in response to Message 1460428.
Last modified: 4 Jan 2014, 0:01:22 UTC

That's a very interesting perspective Michiel. I tend to agree that it is pointless in having a discussion with them, though I admit to a certain level of fear that these 1/3 of Americans wish to influence science classrooms with their "science", or how they keep insisting evolution is an unproven fact.

Indeed, such a thing is worrying. Science class should teach science only. Its even more worrying that these people have their own political party. What happens to a country where one dominant political party continuously rejects reality in favor of their own fantasy? Nothing good I can imagine. Which is why I think its important we find ways in which we can coax those people to let go of creationism or ID as part of their identity. But how to do such a thing?

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Message 1460464 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 3:09:19 UTC - in response to Message 1460432.

What happens to a country where one dominant political party continuously rejects reality in favor of their own fantasy?


That is a pretty good description of Iran today. And, if they are not careful, the US in the near future.
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Message 1460466 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 3:33:13 UTC - in response to Message 1460424.

If I may, I think its because for those people ID and creationism have become part of their identity. And one does not easily give up part of their identity, even if there is scientific evidence that clearly shows them that part of their identity is based on nothing. In fact, its all the more likely to cause them to dig in and not even really listen to what you say because they need to protect their identity.

True enough, but it really is not that new. The famous Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 was an obvious example. (It was actually stage managed by the Tennessee town where it was held to garner publicity, and they hold an annual reenactment for the tourists.) In most cases, your belief in that point of evolution does not matter in the slightest, unless you want to be an archeologist or geologist, etc.

The problem now of course is that with Global Warming, scientific understanding has to be better than that if you want to keep our civilization going much beyond the end of the century. The curious fact is that the most negative climate effect at the moment, drought, is occurring first in the agricultural states of the Great Plains and Southwest, which are predominantly Republican. The fruit and vegetable growing area of Southern California is also under considerable threat, and that is the more conservative (i.e., Republican) part of that otherwise liberal (Democratic) state.

I think the realistic answer is that nothing will change attitudes until people start going hungry and having to move from their homes, much as happened during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Except that now the damage is permanent (for 1000 years anyway, until the CO2 levels come down), and there is no easy fix. There is a lot of technology that can be developed in the next few decades that could change that, but you need the political will to adopt it, since it doesn't come for free. Once people start seeing the costs of not adopting it attitudes will change, but don't expect a quick fix on this one.

And there are decided benefits to some countries; Canada has back-peddled on its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, presumably because their agriculture would benefit from warming, and also their Alberta oil sands are an increasingly important part of their economy; they probably like the idea of an ice-free Arctic ocean too. Similar statements can probably be made about Russia and various other northern countries. The various comments I see in the British press shows that even the land of Darwin is not immune to such skepticism of science when they think it is in their economic interest.

Just think of it as an opportunity to witness the Fall of the Roman Empire from a front-row seat, and it will make more sense.
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Message 1460477 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 7:33:23 UTC - in response to Message 1459897.

It tells me one third of Americans are ignorant. And if the tea party gag baggers try and run on that, They deserve to loose.

Well, ignorant maybe. But can you blame them? I mean, the anti evolutionist camp has played it pretty smartly, being able to create the suggestion that evolution is not an accepted hard fact. They pulled the same trick with climate change, which they also managed to present as a very controversial topic within the scientific community when in fact mainstream science has long since accepted that climate change is a real thing.

Now if you are someone who only did high school or when science is just not something you really care about, you might be mistakenly led to believe that evolution, like climate change, is something that science is absolutely sure on.

I think if anything this tells me that some very dangerous people have a significant amount of control over the spread of information in the US. That is something to worry about.

I dont know what they teach in high school today. I only went to high school back back in 1971 my senoir year they had taught evolution for the 4 years I was there. We were never even taught about creationism as it was called then.
In history class we did learn about the Scopes monkey trial though.

We had sex education back then also. You should have heard some of the wailing going on about that. The big reason some parents didnt want it was beacuse it should be taught at home. Yeah right. Didnt happen in my house and I doubt it happend in a lot of others to. To this day I still encounter people who think its the female who determines the sex of the baby.

This country used to have a good education system untill the politicians got a hold of it.
I saw the beginning of the end back in grade school when they introduced new math. I want to know what the hell was wrong with the old math?

For the most part I blame the media in all its present forms. You get a headline and a small blurb. That seems like all the new generation of kids and young adults want.

The sooner the tea party goes away the better.
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Message 1460496 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 9:14:55 UTC

For the benefit of other people across the pond who hadn't heard of it either

The Pew Research Center is an American think tank based in Washington, D.C., that provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world.

We also have these so-called think tanks, usually of like minded radicals, that pontificate from time to time.

We had sex education back then also. You should have heard some of the wailing going on about that. The big reason some parents didnt want it was beacuse it should be taught at home. Yeah right. Didnt happen in my house and I doubt it happend in a lot of others to. To this day I still encounter people who think its the female who determines the sex of the baby.

Some think that sex education too early will encourage young people to experiment with it. Others think it will help to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The truth is that it works differently in different countries, and it should be horses for courses, not an across the board policy.

This country used to have a good education system untill the politicians got a hold of it. I saw the beginning of the end back in grade school when they introduced new math. I want to know what the hell was wrong with the old math?

A true statement and a good question.

New Mathematics or New Math was a brief, dramatic change in the way mathematics was taught in American grade schools, and to a lesser extent in European countries, during the 1960s. The name is commonly given to a set of teaching practices introduced in the U.S. shortly after the Sputnik crisis in order to boost science education and mathematical skill in the population so that the perceived intellectual threat of Soviet engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.

Politicians getting worried .....

Professor George F. Simmons wrote that the New Math produced students who had "heard of the commutative law, but did not know the multiplication table."

In the old maths you had Pure Maths which taught you the basics, then Applied Maths where you used what you had learned in real life problems. It worked.

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Message 1460497 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 9:21:17 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jan 2014, 9:21:42 UTC

The thing that I 1st notice with the The Pew Research Center is that it reminds me a lot of the Discovery.org sites even though no link between them has been established yet.

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Message 1460498 - Posted: 4 Jan 2014, 9:28:24 UTC

Seems to be a collection of straw polls and their own opinions.

Pew Research

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