Friday, August 11, 2006

Where's a Scopes Monkey when you need one?

Because there isn't enough in the news to depress me, the Globe and Mail has this "fun" tidbit in their online edition today. Apparently, 39% of Americans believe that the theory of evolution is "absolutely false", and only 40% firmly believe in it. This compares to over 80% of people in France, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark who believe in evolution, and 78% of Japanese people.

Unfortunately, Canada was not included in the survey, conducted for the journal Science.

I don't understand how the scientific community in the United States can have so little influence. I suppose it makes the deference of wide swaths of the population to political leaders who wilfully ignore facts easier to comprehend, if scientists aren't even believed.

Honestly, 39%?! The mind boggles.

But then again, as Antonia Zerbisias recently pointed out, 30% of a sample of 1000 Americans polled by the Washington Post couldn't remember in what year the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre had taken place.

Someone please explain to me why education funding isn't at the top of every political agenda (especially in the United States) right now?

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At 10:51 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Sigh. I wish I could say I was surprised.

At 3:56 am, Anonymous macadavy said...

It would not surprise me if that percentage tallied closely with the percentage of, say, fundamentalist Christians in the US. I'd hope the Canadian stats are closer to the European.

At 11:50 am, Blogger Nicole said...

Hey discussed this on another blog I frequent, which then led to discussions on religion and which came first, the chicken or the egg. The host jokingly said something about Chicken Little being a snazzy deity, and then I left him my comment at my own blog because it was a little racy.
Nice to see others debating this as well.
Cheers, Nicole

At 9:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well....I am not sure what to say about the not knowing the date of the September 11th, but I do have a comment about the evolution thing.

I do think for the evolution thing though that there is a bit of an explanation. About 12% of the total population of the US is of Hispanic origin. Generally, Hispanics are devotely Catholic. The Catholic church does not approve of the idea of evolution. Another large portion of the population (although not 12%) are Muslims. Muslims are much more strictly against the idea of evolution than Catholics. I am thinking it is not an intelligence thing. It is a religion thing.

At 9:50 pm, Blogger Matt said...

In response to a number of comments here, the original article did suggest a connection to religious belief, and that the correlation was that those who did not believe in evolution were likely fundamentalist Christians. In the countries that had a higher proportion of the population believing in evolution, there was a greater proportion of the population that was nominally religious (i.e. Catholics, mainstream Protestants in Western Europe), but not fundamentalist.


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