Fewer than half of Republicans believe in evolution, and the number is shrinking

Fewer than half of Republicans (43%) believe in evolution, according to a new PEW poll.

Around two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and Independents (65%) believe in evolution, according to the same poll.

Overall, PEW found that 60% of Americans believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while 33% believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

The numbers, of course, break down along partisan lines.

From PEW.

Source: PEW.

What’s odd is that Republicans have actually devolved on evolution in the past several years, with growing numbers of Republicans rejecting the theory.  From PEW:

Dinosaur via Shutterstock

Dinosaur via Shutterstock

The size of the gap between partisan groups has grown since 2009. Republicans are less inclined today than they were in 2009 to say that humans have evolved over time (43% today vs. 54% in 2009), while opinion among both Democrats and independents has remained about the same.

PEW also found, not surprisingly, that younger people were more likely than older people to believe in evolution.  And people with more education were also more likely to believe in evolution.

Interestingly, men were more likely than women to believe ion evolution, by about ten points.

Source: PEW.

Source: PEW.

Of course, it’s an interesting question as to whether Republicans have become more anti-evolution over the past five years, or whether pro-evolution Republicans have left the party and become Democrats and Independents.  The GOP has been on an anti-evolution craze for a while now – claiming that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that dinosaurs lived alongside man – with much of the fervor being centered in southern or rural states like Texas or Kansas.

But even GOP “moderate” presidential hopeful Chris Christie got tongue-tied a few years back on the whole evolution question. Sadly for Christie, what’s crazy in America at large is downright mainstream in today’s Republican party.  And in order to win the GOP primary, you have to coddle the crazy.  Which makes it a lot harder to win the general election, as Mitt Romney, John McCain and a growing number of Republicans are finding out.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Whitewitch

    Excellent site.

  • cantake8

    You bring up a very good point: conservative “Independents” (throw in Blue Dog Dem’s, too). They realize the Republican brand is garbage and idiocy, but in the privacy of the voting booth cannot bring themselves to leave the intrinsic racism and classism of the GOP.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    I bet a majority of Americans can’t even identify America on a map of America.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “Information accessibility”? You forgot that the Internet also makes Kim Kardashian ass pics and YouTube videos of cats licking their own balls available with the click of a button.

    “Idiocracy,” anyone? Bueller?

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “Philosophy is the back of a cereal box. Religion is a smile on a dog.”

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Those must be the Democrats who voted for Obama because he’s “hot.” Or because Hollywood pretty boys like George Clooney and Rob Lowe voted for him, and they thought a vote for Obama was an entry into a contest to win a date with one of them. Hollywood isn’t exactly a bastion of intellect either.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “My Little Bagger: Uteruses Are Magic”

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    VHEMT.org for the win.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Obama will not be able to sign a law affirming that water is wet. There’s no way he’ll get anything past the teabooger racists in the Ku Klux Klangress. Johnny Boner has already said any bill about unemployment benefits will be auto-tabled. In other words, anything that might help “the unfit” in America is verboten by decree of the Power of the Purse. The lazy/sinful/promiscuous/black/gay/illegal/nonwhite/non-Christian (etc.) who aren’t “real” Americans anyway. Obama will go down as a failed president because America will never be ready for anyone who isn’t a straight male WASP. I actually think he’s given up already.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “But damn! They’ll sure love our music and cuisine!”

    Meh. Tim McGraw, Jay-Z, and Twinkies? I don’t think so.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

    Result: Holocaust.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Conservative racist “logic”:

    Food stamp recipients are lazy.
    Blacks are the majority of food stamp recipients.
    Therefore, blacks are lazy.

    #FundiesFailAgain

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “Law of gravity? Sounds unconstitutional. As president, I’d repeal it.”

    Rick Perry, in a “Doonesbury” strip

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Oddly enough, religious conservatives only believe(d) in evolution when it was used as justification for eugenics and “scientific racism.” Jim Crow racists hijacked Darwin’s science to justify racial hierarchy and eradication of the “lesser humans.” Darwin came from a long line of abolitionists, but leave it to ‘Murka to take religion and slap a label of scientific legitimacy on it to justify their hate. Contrary to popular understanding, eugenics actually developed first in the U.S. and was exported to Europe during the time of the immigration quotas. Scientific racists in the U.S. believed that if the rest of the world would just get rid of the pestilence of Polish, Roma (Gypsies), Italians, Africans, Jews, and “the feeble-minded unfit” in their neck of the woods, there’d be no chance of them immigrating here and messing things up for the nice white society.

    Result: Holocaust.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    I actually am (sadly) related to some of these Fox-watching conservatives. (Must be a recessive gene.) They actually don’t believe that other planets exist, because they are mentioned nowhere in the Bible and are only ever referred to with the names of Roman gods. Therefore, other planets must have been a pagan belief held by the ancient Romans, who worshiped them instead of the “true” God. They’re not real, and neither is the moon. It’s an optical illusion created by NASA and Russia.

    Yet somehow floating babies with wings on their backs are real. So is the story of a guy living for months at a time in the intestinal tract of an orca. #fundiefail

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    Not only that, but a good chunk of Americans actually take delight in the fact that it’s the “undesirables” who get the table scraps of the system. Defunding inner-city schools and letting these kids languish just allows them to reinforce their preexisting belief that minorities are dumb and illiterate. Charles Murray is practically a prophet in some circles.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/djzebbie Quick Brown Dog

    “Are we not men?”

    “We are DEVO!”

  • Monoceros Forth

    An excellent point. It’s akin to conspiracy-theory logic: somehow the orchestrators of a vast deception to (say) fake the Moon landings got everything right and yet they missed some obvious detail that a child could spot. They went to all that trouble and then forgot to put stars in the sky. Silly NASA scientists!

  • cantake8

    And yet it is so often conservatives and “Christians” that I leave drinking, because I need to be bright and NOT hung over in the morning for WORK.

    I don’t let that “goodies” bullshit get to me anymore. They heard that on Limbaugh and swing it all the time. I just stand up and announce, “Well, you’ve killed this conversation. Let’s not do this again.” Then they wonder why I won’t come around. I’m the liberal gay guy who brings the smokin’ hot straight girls. Someday they’ll figure out who really brings the bread AND butter.

  • DGT

    They think that way because they cannot imagine that anyone would want to provide any type of assistance if they didn’t get something out of it. If you think like a conservative, the only reason to support anything is if you benefit personally from it.

    Conservatives are constitutionally unable to understand supporting the idea of food stamps, for example, when you’re not receiving them. Thus, they assume everyone who votes Democratic is doing so because they are lazy and want “goodies.”

  • DGT

    Great explanation. Even among non-scientists who understand that a theory is not a hypothesis, there still seems to be the misconception that a law is a theory that has been promoted from theory to law.

    As you explain, gravity is a fact, a theory AND a law.

    While we’re talking about things that irritate us, here’s my peeve. A non-scientist denier of global warming, for example, will try to disprove scientific theory (though not knowing the definition of theory) with some junior-high level of arguing. “They didn’t consider sunspots!” or “They didn’t take temperature readings at the same time of day.” As if someone who spends decades earning a PhD and studying phenomena doesn’t consider confounding variables. I just picture them thinking of a bumbling scientist in a lab coat doing a facepalm and saying “Of course! Why didn’t anyone think of that?”

    The years of anti-intellectualism has led people to believe that they are smarter than “pointy-headed intellectuals” (i.e. actual experts in a field) and that they are just as qualified to analyze evidence as people who actually study it, despite having neither expertise in the field, nor even the ability to understand statistics or interpret data.

  • riannonqas321

    My Uncle Levi recently got
    a stunning blue Toyota Matrix only from working off a macbook… try this
    B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • cinorjer

    There are no more people now brainwashed into disbelieving evolution than before. What you have is a shrinking pool of self-proclaimed Republicans as the ones who finally can’t take the stupid anymore leave.

  • eggroll_jr

    Wow.

  • slideguy

    A Finnish educator explained to a friend of mine why the US educational system can’t be fixed so as to be as good as the Finnish system. The reason he gave is that the Finnish system begins with social equality. All schools are treated equally and get equal resources and equal financing. Here we have kids that go to substandard schools with substandard financing, with no wealthy surrounding community to ante up for the necessary supplies that the schools themselves can’t afford. And a lot of those kids go to school hungry and have no support at home for studying.

    Our school systems are failing because the powers that be have decided that it’s more important to cut taxes for millionaires and to allow them offshore tax shelters.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Thank you. I do appreciate when you folks act so promptly and with the wisdom in which you do act.

    I hope you’re having a Happy New Year!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    Our patience is at an end, The_Fixer. Tunes59 is banned.

  • lynchie

    No that’s ejaculate

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Yes, and a Republican will not pass one, even then…
    ;-)

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    My, we sure are provocative, aren’t we?

    Humans are not bass. “Religious Morality” does not dictate that we don’t eat each other, Human morality (which came before religious morality and upon which it was based) dictates that we don’t eat each other.

    Obviously, we humans understand that other humans suffer and we have empathy for them. They suffer before and while we would try to eat them. True humanity dictates that we try to alleviate human suffering, not increase it. If you really, seriously don’t understand that, then you’re in need of some remedial education.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Is it true that Republican fetuses take 365 days to gestate?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    next

  • Bookbinder

    I think the answer is that the GOP is shrinking and collapsing around its most ignorant and irrational base.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Good little conservatives are forbidden to believe in evolution, climate change, and most other sciences, because of… well, just because this is what good little conservatives are supposed to do.

    Yeah, I think that’s a lot of it. Pure tribalism: evolution is something those dirty pinko liberals like so it must be evil. Actually I suspect that the religious justification for this and other right-wing “principles” isn’t nearly so profoundly felt as is often supposed. Rather it’s a pretext covering up deeper hatreds. It’s a bit like that filioque business back in the 11th century: the East-West divide that would eventually split Christendom ran a lot deeper than just a squabble over filioque but that one word became a kind of symbol for everything else.

  • lynchie

    I agree. We totally lack curiosity and the thirst for exploration. For the most part we have been trained to believe what we are told. If those facts require thought they are dismissed out of hand.

  • lynchie

    Everything new is wrapped in the almighty dollar. If there is no huge upside in profit to be made the development of new ideas/technology is thrown on the scrap heap. We are however #1 in building new and better prisons and privatizing them and #1 in having a federal government which totally ignores the wishes of the majority of people and licks the balls of the 1%

  • lynchie

    I believe the Pope is a Zombie.

  • eggroll_jr

    I cannot understand these numbers. The US is ostensibly a modern country like Finland, but you would have to look hard even to find a Finnish person who does not accept Darwinian evolution theory per se, and even then the likelihood is that the doubter wants to confront you on propagation of alleles or coding errors. Probably the main reason for the lack of an evolution “debate” in Finland is education. And perhaps the main reason there is incentive in the US to keep up an attack on generally accepted scientific theory and science teaching in school is the simple fact that the tax code hugely favors the establishment of religion. Americans have a surprisingly low scientific literacy rate given their general embrace of modernity and technology. Only 3-4% compared to the normal 15-20% in typical advanced countries.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    And vampire-ism…
    :-D

  • HolyMoly

    Someday you’ll hear of some other country talk about erecting barriers to keep the American-born immigrants out, because of course we’ll be taking all of their low-wage jobs, having anchor babies, smuggling drugs, cutting people’s heads off, somehow drawing from their social safety net, and somehow voting without citizenship. All the typical claptrap you hear from righties in the U.S. today.

    But, damn! They’ll sure love our music and cuisine!

  • HolyMoly

    You are correct. Gravity and evolution are both facts. Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation (a law, not a theory) describes the attraction between two objects. The THEORY is why they attract each other (such as Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity). Same with evolution, though I don’t know that it has been deemed to be a scientific law just yet. No biggie, because scientific theories are considered to be the most reliable forms of scientific knowledge, having undergone years, even decades and centuries, of rigorous testing. Theories often change (evolve!) to take into account new discoveries, but are rarely ever thrown out entirely. With that in mind, both evolution and the “why” of gravity are pretty close to the truth, though there will likely be new discoveries that help clear up the picture more and more over time.

    Right wingers seem to know only the common usage of the word: A wild guess. A stab in the dark. A wild notion. The inevitable result of years of anti-intellectualism, the notion that ignorance is bliss. It’s not bliss for me, I’ll tell you — their ignorance very much annoys and frustrates me!

  • BillFromDover

    Good little conservatives are forbidden to believe in evolution, climate change, and most other sciences, because of… well, just because this is what good little conservatives are supposed to do.

    I believe it is as simple as that.

    With Rush, Sean, Glenn, Fox and the rest of the right wing noise machine, they, pathetically, can’t (or refuse to) think for themselves anymore.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I seem to recall Jesus tasting a lot like cardboard.

  • cantake8

    Castro also expelled intellectuals, Hitler destroyed libraries and outlawed public assemblies, Mussolini jailed and “disappeared” professors and anyone who didn’t clamp down on expression. Idi Amin took great joy in publicly torturing highly educated people. There is a trend among powerful idiots to eliminate those who question and oppose them, lest they lead an uprising.

  • cantake8

    I would never go that far, but there are plenty of rightwingers who think that of liberals, until someone asks them if they seriously believe that entire traffic jam this morning was only conservatives going to jobs while lazy liberals stood by the mailbox waiting for a welfare check.

  • cantake8

    I also can’t think of any familiar who disbelieves evolution, but I know a Walmart located in the suburbs where it’s probably close to 100% believing in creationism… there is almost no evidence of human or social evolution near that place.

  • bkmn

    If “information” doesn’t come from Faux Nuus, the Koch brothers or lard butt Limbaugh they will never believe it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well, you do have an oblique point. After all cannibalism has been sanctified by the Catholic Church.

  • NMRon

    Republicans are devolving. There tagline fixed . . .

  • Monoceros Forth

    There is a similarity, isn’t there? Especially in the insistence that the 80% of the population who live in urban areas aren’t really Americans and only hicks in the sticks–sorry, the “heartland”–are the true voice of the people.

  • woodroad34

    I can see the conservative’s side to this…they like to believe that the Neanderthal never went away and we have John Boehner/Ted Cruz/Bobby Jindal et al as proof.

  • woodroad34

    it’s always been a matter of emotions over thinking–one is easier than the other. I’m supposing the natural next line of thinking would be that Republicans are just plain lazy, good for nothing scofflaws.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    And all of the Mods wish you a Happy New Year as well, Whitewitch.

  • Whitewitch

    That is exactly what I think BeccaM…that they all really believe the end times are here and so there is not to do but wait. Sort of sad…but then I find I am sort of with them…that the end times are coming (though because of global warming and that sort of thing) and that the loss of humans for Mother Earth would really be no loss at all.

  • Whitewitch

    I want to assimliated!!!!

    Happy New Year Moderator….

  • Whitewitch

    They are sort of eating each other – at least politically.

  • Whitewitch

    I simply do not believe this. Everyone I know or talk to believes in Evolution. I am an old woman and I believe in evolution….always have – they taugh in school back in the dark ages (50’s). I think this poll is totally wrong and that they must have only called people without an education or the polling group was so small that it is not valid.

    Sorry – don’t believe it – and since I don’t believe it – it simply can not be so.

  • KingCranky

    Also hating the intellectuals, educational elites and government bureaucrats, the Khmer Rouge.

    With their hatred of those individuals, its insistence on conformity and a genocide in the guise of pursuing an agrarian paradise, the Khmer Rouge are the spiritual predecessors of our US teabaggers.

  • KingCranky

    “Powered by Stupid” AKA the Republicans perpetual-motion machine.

  • KingCranky

    You bring up a very good point the evolution-deniers refuse to contemplate or answer, that God brought about evolution the way we understand it.

    The answers from the “evolution is junk science” crowd, as to why God couldn’t operate through evolution, would be pure gold.

    Even better, that crowd might play the “it’s not that God can’t work through evolution, that would mean God’s not all-powerful, but God won’t work through evolution” response, which would bring about even more entertaining, increasingly desperate spin in reply.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    Of course it is. ;)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    We are the Borg. Prepare to be assimilated. ;)

  • Monoceros Forth

    Hell, they don’t just believe the house will burn down, they’re thirsting for the eventuality and they’d pour out the metaphorical kerosene if they knew how. “Death cult” isn’t too far off the mark…yet it’s an oddly death-averse death cult, I daresay. You don’t believe in the Rapture because you think that when you die you’re going to Heaven. You believe in the Rapture because you’re hoping you’ll be taken to Heaven without the inconvenient and troubling necessity of dying at all.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Whatevs. I’m not interested in relieving your trollish boredom. Go find someone else to pester, kid.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Incidentally, I have to wonder how much of this observed rise in Republican denial of evolution stems from an actual shift in opinions. Maybe it’s because the sort of Republican who doesn’t buy into the usual “Darwinism makes the saints cry” line is also likely to identify himself as “independent” in a poll even if he actually votes straight GOP without fail.

  • cambridgemac

    Evolution is a fact, not a theory. From 1940 to 1980, for example, a species of moth in Britain evolved from grey to white as the use of coal plummeted and the skies cleared. There are a number of THEORIES to explain the long observed facts of evolution. Darwin’s theory was natural selection.
    Similarly, gravity is a fact. Not a theory. Things fall towards the earth – at the same speed. Common sense tells us that heavier objects should fall faster, but they don’t. That’s a fact. Theory explains how gravity works.

  • cantake8

    “Knowledge” is a huge problem for fundamentalists.

    Conservative NYT editor Sam Tannenhaus points out in his book “The Death of Conservatism”
    how conservatives systematically marginalized and ejected intellectuals. They wanted conversations and discussion, which conservatives didn’t want because it slows things down and often leads to compromise. Think tanks were dismantled and reactionaries were elevated. Ann Coulter was promoted as an intellectual, as were Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

    Intellectuals ask questions and want proof. This doesn’t excite (or incite) conservatives, but Fox Noise and screaming heads do.

  • cantake8

    “Knowledge” is a huge problem for fundamentalists.

  • cambridgemac

    One of the top 20 cultural/political economy books of all time, in my view.

  • Indigo

    I like her answer.

  • cantake8

    I was infuriated to see sciences defunded under Bush while “faith based initiatives” received money. It hasn’t all be rectified, either, under President Obama.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Where’s the application for that job? ;)

  • Moderator3

    Of course, his comment history is available to moderators.

  • Zorba

    Interesting, too, that his “user activity” is “private,” so we cannot see his comment history. What is he afraid of?
    Notice to Tunes59: if you cannot share your commenting history with others, why should we take any fucking thing that you post seriously?
    Coward.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Do they also not “believe” in the law of gravity”? In grade school I asked sister, regarding the Ascension of the Holy Mother into heaven, about the effect of gravitational pull on her Ascension and if she might be captured by a planet, say, like Jupiter. Her reply was that some things are just taken on faith.—-Some things never change.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    bingo!

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Hey, if Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck can’t teach it to me in its entirety, it’s obviously not worth knowing.

  • FLL

    Thank your for reminding me that I was being too generous. If modern fundamentalists insisted on a literal interpretation of Christian scripture (rather than a conveniently selective interpretation), they would also proclaim that God hates Red Lobster restaurants. They want to stop same-sex marriage, but they don’t want to shut down the Red Lobster chain of restaurants. What’s going on with that?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, babbles like a duck it’s Phil Robertson.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ‘Society of the Spectacle’ by Guy Debord

  • Monoceros Forth

    A funny little thing about autocorrection, “Tunes”: if you know what you’re on about in the first place, you don’t actually need it.

  • Tunes59

    BeccaM! It would depend on the availability of other food sources. If they are scarce enough then cannibalism is a viable short-term option. If there is enough food available for a smaller population then culling the weak and disposing of the bodies would of course be a better solution.

    It is only the individual organisms fight to survive which dictates right. Beyond the individual it is only the will of the majority which dictates acceptable norms to advance the species. If a larger more powerful group needs food and a smaller weaker group has food the stronger group is “right” to take it from the weaker group. Right is only what the majority holds to be true at any point in time.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What ever

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, a lot of ‘em nowadays think we should just mark time until Jeebus comes back, Raptures the faithful, and then destroys the entire known Universe.

    That’s at the core of their notion we should simply use up the entire planet, because that’ll supposedly make the end come sooner rather than later.

    At that point, I came to realize in many cases we’re actually dealing with a cult of death-worship here.

    I mean, what’s the point of taking care of the house and keeping it nice if one honestly believe it’ll burn down at any moment.

  • Zorba

    Yes, and it’s interesting that the vast majority of those “3% of scientists” are not, in fact, trained in climate science, or anything related to it.
    Just because somebody is a scientist does not mean that he or she is an expert in every single field of science. Mr. Zorba is a molecular biologist, but he would not begin to pretend to be an expert in, say, astrophysics.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Science has already proven that cannibalism is not a useful survival trait because it tends to spread diseases among the remaining population. It’s even worse for animals higher on the food chain because it concentrates environmental toxins.

    Smart choices, ethics, and morality don’t require an invisible angry sky god to enforce arbitrary rules through the utterly disproportionate threat of eternal punishment for the choices made during a single human lifetime.

    Many of us don’t need a deity to tell us it’s usually a very bad idea to eat our fellow humans, because we have these things called brains and the inclination to use them, rather than depending on the self-pronounced inerrant commandments from other humans — with their own agendas of self-interest — who constantly use ‘appeal to irrefutable authority’ as their standard rhetorical scam.

  • Zorba

    Oh, hell, even Francis Crick speculated about “directed panspermia.” Which involved even more than deposits by random comets and asteroids. Crick postulated a deliberate delivery of micro-organisms by other intelligences.
    It certainly didn’t mean that he was correct about that, even though he was a Nobel-Prize-winning scientist. Even scientific geniuses can have their weird moments. ;-)

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Except bass are opportunistic feeders, and will feed on their own kind whether they’re overpopulated or not. They’re not restoring some kind of balance, they’re just eating what’s readily available.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Mostly I blame the cult of American Exceptionalism, which quickly became an excuse never to do anything new or innovative, never again to adapt to changing circumstances, and most of all to be forever after limited by what we can’t do, which most often derived from what we didn’t feel like doing anymore.

    You said it. What’s increasingly bizarre about this notion is that it’s become completely dissociated from any idea that, in order to maintain this supposed world-shaking ascendancy in all things, you need to work at it and nurture it. Great miracles of technology don’t just happen; they need a hospitable soil in which to germinate and grow. Yet those people who would bristle and attack you if you dared suggest to them that America isn’t the font of all scientific and technological advancement are also in too many cases the same people who demand that all education conform to the Bible.

    You’d think that Christian rightists, who proclaim loudly and frequently that they and only they are in touch with the omnipotent and omniscient Divine who exists outside and above all earthly space and time, would have a better grasp than anyone of the temporary nature of any human institution. You’d think they have a longer view–but they don’t!

  • Monoceros Forth

    A pallet is something you ship bricks with. You do know that, right?

  • Tunes59

    If your pallet is too delicate for such things then you would die and the strong would survive.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I imagine you’re rather fatty and bland-tasting, for one thing.

  • Tunes59

    It isn’t nonsense. What is wrong with human as a source of protein?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Now you’re just being a troll. You will not find fertile ground here for your nonsense.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Yeah, I remember polls showing that people supported Bush over Gore because they thought Bush would be more fun to go out drinking with.

    Oh, yeah. He was “the guy you’d want to have a beer with.” Actually I imagine he’d be a colossal bore to have a beer with, and I don’t just mean that he’s not the sort of guy you could engage in deep and intellectual conversations. I imagine Bush Lite wouldn’t do anything but brag about himself all night and then stick you with the bill.

  • Zorba

    Hurray, Buddy! This is exactly what I was thinking. It is not a “belief.”

  • jomicur

    Yeah, I remember polls showing that people supported Bush over Gore because they thought Bush would be more fun to go out drinking with. But I also remember the large numbers of people who voted against Adlai Stevenson because he was too smart for their taste (“pointy-headed intellectual” was the usual phrase). And a lot of Democrats refused to support Eugene McCarthy in ’68 for the same reason; I remember reading screeds against him that even slammed him for writing poetry, for Christ’s sake.

    There’s a quote from Mencken I’ve always loved: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” That strain of the American character was evident to dispassionate observers nearly a century ago. Bush was its fulfillment, that’s all. :)

  • Tunes59

    Evolution is settled science. So many problems would be solved if people would just accept what evolution teaches and stop forcing the morals of some invisible man in the sky upon the world.

    For example just look at world hunger and overpopulation. When you have a pond that becomes overpopulated with bass the stronger larger bass just eat the smaller weaker ones until the balance is restored. If those countries with overpopulation and hunger would shuck off the antiquated idea of religious morality and start eating each other both problems would be solved. Maybe instead of sending food to those nations we should send them recipes on how to cook humans.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Me too. Mostly I blame the cult of American Exceptionalism, which quickly became an excuse never to do anything new or innovative, never again to adapt to changing circumstances, and most of all to be forever after limited by what we can’t do, which most often derived from what we didn’t feel like doing anymore.

    I mean, if you’re the best at everything and the best there ever will be, what need is there to strive to be better? The prime example of that, of course, was the constant — and utterly unsupported — assertion that the U.S. has the best healthcare system in the world. A belief only possible if one dismisses facts and data.

    That’s why we have a declining standard of living. Why our children are increasingly ill-educated, and why increasing numbers of Americans choose myth and make-believe over science and verifiable fact. Too many Americans no longer care to try for a better future.

  • cole3244

    file this under something other than news.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Those nations and cultures which embrace science are already surpassing this tottering old American empire.

    True. It does sadden me that the scientific and exploratory initiative seems to have passed out of the hands of the United States but, so long as someone carries on the work, I’m content enough.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I don’t. I’ve already accepted that a culture which rejects education, reason, science and rational thought is already destined for the rubbish tip of human history.

    Those nations and cultures which embrace science are already surpassing this tottering old American empire.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The commenter up there doesn’t even correctly cite the reason for that quote attributed to Hoyle! A habit which the myth-supporters constantly indulge in.

    Hoyle never said he didn’t believe in evolution. His dispute — which is one that actually does remain open to some debate and speculation — was whether or not life itself originated on the Earth, in the old ‘primordial soup,’ or if the earliest cells were deposited here by comets and asteroids.

    And yes, as it happens, I don’t agree with Hoyle because time and again, he showed his bias sparked by his education and predilection for astronomy, not Earth sciences or biology.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You grossly misrepresent Sir Fred’s position, which was not that evolution didn’t exist, but that is originated in space first, then individual cells were deposited on a more condign Earth, at which point they then evolved into higher life forms.

    I guess it comes down to what kind of details you selectively choose, carefully ignoring the context and everything else, to support your lifestyle choice of a particular religious faith.

    p.s. Hoyle was an atheist and anti-theist. He did not believe in any kind of deity-caused origin of the universe or life itself. But that’s what you folks tend always to do — to pick and choose what you want to believe over what is, and discard everything else.

    p.p.s. Hoyle wasn’t an evolutionary biologist either, and thus many of his theories have been dismissed as unrealistic and unsupported by experimentation. So you couldn’t find any actual biologists to cite? Just one scholar with no formal training in evolutionary biology?

  • Tor

    I fear for the future of this country.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It’s not even a ‘literal interpretation’ of Biblical scriptures.

    It’s a modern-day highly selective interpretation which selects certain details therein for elevation as irrefutable — if highly illogical and nonsensical — fact, while omitting everything else that doesn’t comport with their fairy-tale myth.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Math is a language; science is a discipline that often uses the language of math…

  • Reasor

    It looks like the party is suffering a small-scale version of the “brain drain” that nations suffer when fundamentalists of any stripe take over. The smart ones realize that there’s no future for them in an idiocracy.

  • Monoceros Forth

    As entertaining as it is to loathe Bush, Rove, et al (and believe me, I do) they are guilty of exploiting America’s inbred stupidity, not creating it.

    I do think you’re right–at least, I think that the strange career of Bush Jr. was more of an expression of anti-intellectualism and less the cause of it. Nevertheless I do conjecture that the advent of Lil’ Bush was more than just the personification of a national trend of thought. I think he played an important role in shaping that trend. There was still a bit of defensiveness about his stupidity, yes, but there was also an open embrace of it that I don’t remember ever encountering before. The fact that he majored in Michelob during college was proof that he was just a regular and ordinary guy, not an unpleasant nerd like that cold fish Al Gore.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Oh, I share your romanticism. I’ve long adored mathematics and one of my greatest regrets is that I’ve not mastered nearly enough of it. (I’m OK with single-variable calculus and I’m not entirely hopeless with multivariable calculus and differential equations but even there I need the help of a textbook.) But it is not science. It is a different discipline altogether, with a different set of rules. Physical properties may be treated as mathematical quantities and related to one another by mathematical formulae, in the way that abstract concepts may be described with words and related to one another by the tools of language and rhetoric. Mathematics is the language of science. But it is not itself science.

    I detect in the ignorant right-wing view of science an insidious conflation of mathematics and science in the following way: faith-based morons like our Tunes59 up above vaguely remember–probably from geometry class or more likely from speaking to someone with a vague remembrance of geometry class–that a mathematical theorem (not theory) must be entirely self-consistent and that a single contradiction brings down the whole structure. This is not entirely untrue of a scientific model: if the model makes a key prediction that one crucial experiment disproved, then the model must be either modified or rejected. However, one ambiguous observation or experiment does not automatically refute the entire theory. Removing one stone from an arch does not cause it to collapse, unless it should be the keystone. But the creationists fixate on things like the Paluxy tracks, choosing as always the most tendentious interpretation of a single ambiguous find (“ambiguous” only if you’re deliberately seeking ambiguity) and then treating that prejudiced interpretation as if it disproved everything else. But that’s not how science works.

  • jomicur

    As entertaining as it is to loathe Bush, Rove, et al (and believe me, I do) they are guilty of exploiting America’s inbred stupidity, not creating it. The Dumb is an inextricable part of America’s DNA. Keep in mind, it’s nearly a century since H.L. Mencken used to describe the average American as Boobus Americanus. If you want a really sobering read on the subject, try Richard Hofstadter’s
    Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, a book that was written half a century ago but is more relevant now than it was when it was written.

  • jomicur

    Thus saith the Lord: Verily, thou shalt reject any concept that can’t be explained fully in a quick soundbite on Fox News!

  • Monoceros Forth

    (Bad form to respond twice, I know, but I feel as though this response deserves to be set apart from my earlier one.)

    It must be a sad, scared, sheltered mind to continually live with such cognitive dissonance.

    I suspect that your conjecture is a worrisome reality for a lot of people. Why else would apocalypticism have such a strong hold on so many Americans? I’ve heaped plenty of derision on those who proclaim themselves ready for the Rapture and who predict its imminence daily but maybe it’s not so funny. The men and women who hope and pray and long for the day when Jesus will return and whisk them up into the heavens cannot possibly be entirely happy persons. It goes far beyond wishing that some day you’ll win the lottery and be delivered instantly from your financial burdens because, in wishing for the Rapture, you’re wishing not merely for your own deliverance but also wishing for the end of the entire world. No one who’s devoted to such a monstrous idea can possibly be very happy with life.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    John, don’t dignify the willfully ignorant by calling evolution a belief. Evolution is not a religion. Furthermore, the Catholic hierarchy, for all its charm for the Middle Ages, does not dispute evolution. In fact, evolution proves its contention that the Bible cannot be taken literally nor interpreted by the uneducated.
    As I’ve stated before, a nun taught me biology under BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study), which is heavy on evolution and emphasizes Darwin as much as Mendel. BSCS began as a reaction toward Sputnik and the effort to catch up to the Russians in science. Oh, and to get into BSCS as a sophomore, one had to have done well in Earth Space Science as a freshman.

  • Indigo

    You’re right! It was on MSNBC. It does make sense to take those factors into account. As things stand, I’m reminded of the old saying that statistics is the art of proving your point by using figures and that while figures often lie, liars always figure.

  • timncguy

    i heard the same explanation on one of the news shows on MSNBC. I’m just not sure which one it was. It does make sense though. They also pointed out that the statistics from China only include the data for the students in the large cities and not those from the poor rural areas which would bring their numbers down considerably.

  • 2patricius2

    Maybe 33% of Americans don’t “believe” in evolution, because those individuals haven’t evolved.

  • Monoceros Forth

    ” Instead they seem to think it’s a list of rules handed down by some authority.” -Quite the projection, innit? (Wow, I’m snarky this morning. I apologize)

    Oh, no need to apologize for that! And you’re absolutely correct. I wouldn’t call it “projection” though, not exactly, because at least to me the word “projection” in the psychological sense implies defensiveness. It’s something you do with negative aspects of your personality that you’re semiconsciously aware are negative and therefore must be got rid of by projecting them onto someone else.

    What’s going on here, I suspect, is something more general, the fundamental assumption that all knowledge and all truths are handed down by authority. The idea that there might exist a body of knowledge that does not depend on any one man for its existence, that might exist on its own apart from any single source of authority, is I suspect quite beyond their grasp. Evolutionary theory exists only because Darwin said it did; global warming exists only because Al Gore said it did. It’s not “projection” so much as an intrinsic and flawed grasp of the very nature of truth.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    I don’t put faith in science. Science is not a faith-based pursuit – it wouldn’t be science if it was.

    Sir Fred Hoyle may have been right about some things, but he was dead wrong about this one. Anyone who dismisses evolution hasn’t properly considered it, and seems to think that it is something that happened over a few years. That’s one reason why some people don’t quite get it. It’s not something that’s readily observable during their lifetimes.

    In reality, what we call the evolutionary development of life took millions of years. What Hoyle was talking about was a short-term dramatic event. It’s a false comparison. Evolution is more akin to a stream of water etching out a deep canyon in rock over thousands of years. You don’t see it happen immediately, or even see it happen in one’s lifetime. But it does happen.

    I would not dismiss evolution as being “junk science”. It’s provable and that’s all there is to it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ill-informed and fooling themselves.

  • Indigo

    Sadly, I have no links to support this hypothesis but I recently heard a sociological analysis of those very alarming statistics that illustrates a likely circumstance, that the poor and underfunded school districts account for the low performance rates. However, by setting asidethe underfunded districts to reviewi the statistics only from the middle and upper-middle income districts, it seems the American (well-to-do) students far out perform the rest of the world. In other words, the Class War against the Poor is making measureable progress. Maybe someone more clever than I at research in cyberspace can help me out here?

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Well, all evangelicals know that gravity is nonexistent. It’s really God pushing us down so as to keep us from floating up to heaven before the rapture.

    They know this because they “red it in a buk onse.”

  • gratuitous

    “Believe” in evolution? Is that like “believing” that water is wet or that the earth revolves around the sun? No, the process we call evolution is a fact, and “belief” isn’t necessary for it to be true. There is a cure for this widespread ignorance in our society, but we’re too cheap to pay for it. We’d rather buy a bunch of weapons we don’t need, and shovel great big gobs of money at people who can’t spend what they have now.

  • Indigo

    Conflating math with science is evidence of ignorance of both. Math and Science are distinct disciplines that can sometimes shed light on each other but are not identical.

  • Indigo

    “Amor Dei gravitas est.” That actually shows up in medieval European cosmology.

  • Indigo

    The Will to be Ignorant is a long-standing one in American history. Maybe we could run a social experiment to pretend to revive the Know-Nothing Party and toss it in their faces. “Oh!” quoth we, “you’re with the Know-Nothing Party now. I’m glad you explained that to me.” Then we can watch to see how that devolves . . . if nothing else, it’d be entertaining.

  • fletcher

    The problem with fundamentalists is that they can’t accept that maybe God set evolution in motion to achieve the current world. They want God to be a Las Vegas magician conjuring things out of thin air. That’s what you get when you base things on a book written back when almost nobody had the slightest knowledge of biology and wouldn’t understand what you were talking about if you tried to explain it to them.

  • KingCranky

    I can’t even begin to imagine the cognitive dissonance required to bash evolution while using things only evolution could have brought about, like computers, with which you posted your willfully-ignorant tripe.

    Of course evolution is a reality, unless you actually claim you’re the exact same being today as you were when born.

    So the only way to bear out your anti-evolution mindset is to try and survive by putting that denial in practice, without man-made objects of any kind, since all products are made by humans, themselves a product of evolution.

    I’m guessing you’ll find some reason not to try and prove your “evolution is junk science” blather by accepting the above challenge, which will just prove you know you can’t, not “won’t” but “can’t” back up your science bashing.

  • fletcher

    Actually they agree with Bugs Bunny who in one cartoon said, “I know this defies the law of gravity but then I never studied law.”

  • milli2

    Law of Gravity? I thought that was just God gluing us to the earth?

  • milli2

    I agree. In the past, people had good reasons to be ignorant – isolation, lack of available information, etc. In this day of information accessibility, there is no excuse. People are simply refusing to to learn.

  • milli2

    I guess they haven’t checked out their vestigial tails lately. Or maybe they think that appendices are just a myth.

  • Drew2u

    If the public isn’t swayed by Fox News creating people dumber than ignorance, then it’s kind of a long hill to climb. Are there enough people on our side to slog through the stupidity and not give in to it?
    Anecdotally, I have a relative I try to talk/educate about issues, but she seems to be happy brushing off a topic with whatever the latest talking-point excuse is (such as, “but it’s Freedom of Speech”)

  • Indigo

    Yeah . . . sigh . . .

  • Indigo

    Yes, even though it isn’t all of us. It’s the ignorant among us whom public education has failed. I agree that the ignorant among us work to keep the educational system (viz, Texas) from educating the public, but we can reverse that. First, we must shine the bright light of transparency on the educational system. Admittedly, that will take some doing, but we can make it happen. For example, statistical evidence is thin on this topic but it appears that Republicans are less well educated than the general public. That alone should startle more than one deer caught standing in the headlights of progress.

  • dcinsider

    I am not comparing Americans to anyone else. We have a very high number of imbeciles on any scale, and by any comparison.

    That, my friend, is what is meant by the term American exceptionalism!

  • timncguy

    I’m just as concerned that it appears that 6% of democrats are confused enough by the question that they couldn’t express an opinion.

  • S1AMER

    This country is so damned depressing. If Ted Cruz is forsaking his Canadian citizenship, I wonder if I can get it?

  • stephenreal

    Perhaps the GOP should change their catch phrase to: “Powered by Stupid” on their web site.

  • Drew2u

    3% of scientists don’t believe in global warming, IT’S A HOAX!

    Polls are putting Obama ahead? UNSKEW THE POLLS!

    It must be a sad, scared, sheltered mind to continually live with such cognitive dissonance. (and are you suggesting those folks are refusing to recognize the evolution of enlightenment? ;) )

    ” Instead they seem to think it’s a list of rules handed down by some authority.” -Quite the projection, innit? (Wow, I’m snarky this morning. I apologize)

  • Drew2u

    Ooh, do the math, please!
    Recent(-ish?) studies that show the U.S. population is lagging behind other countries in math and science. Extrapolating from that, what’s the 50% mark in U.S. education versus other countries? Does it match up with 25% of another country? (as in: “50% of the US is as educated as 25% of Country-X”?)
    Not to bash the U.S., but describing proportions may put things in perspective. With that said, I’ve heard discrepancies in how the data was gathered from other countries, so that’d have to be mitigated, firstly.

  • FLL

    It’s all bluff. The only way that sexually repressed idiots think they can run other people’s sex lives is to insist on a literal interpretation of Xtian scriptures, which in turn entails a belief that the earth is 6,000 years old. These anti-evolutionists are lying, of course. They believe in evolution just the same as everyone else does, but they claim that they don’t so that they can continue to criticize what other people do in bed. Can you spell BS, gentle reader? Their “devolution” is nothing more than sexual resentment.

    Q: Are we not men?

    A: No, Xtianist fool, you are DEVO:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRguZr0xCOc

  • dcinsider

    Remember, half of the US population graduated in the bottom half of their class (the ones who actually graduated, of course).

    Americans are basically imbeciles. Most do not read newspapers, books, or anything other than the back of a cereal box. Their “opinions” are fed to them through television and their neighbors. I would say roughly 60% are incapable of independent thought.

    Accordingly, any story that shows that Americans are imbeciles is hardly shocking.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Religious ideas of any sort are expressions of the ignorance and superstition of humankind’s past. They’re a form of madness.

    As for the rest, there are other examples of political superstition that will have big ramifications in the next few years. For instance, both Democrats and Republicans refuse to accept the fact that they’re dinosaurs, looking up at the pretty light in the night sky.

  • Drew2u

    I always thought the universe was beautiful by the simplicity of: 1+1=2. Of that simple truth, of mathematics, we are able to derive and understand almost everything of existence.
    And it’s because of that initial simple understanding that we all have it within ourselves to understand the cosmos.
    But I’m a romantic like that. :p

  • dcinsider

    That’s priceless.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Heh. I’m honored. When you drink your New Year’s champagne, drink an extra glass for me, if you like :D

  • Monoceros Forth

    Note also how he imagines he’s “refuted” the theory: he cites one scientist–one who, despite his real achievements, was also a habitual crank with wild ideas about everything. Scientists can also be idiots and just because they’re right about one thing doesn’t mean they’re right about everything. Linus Pauling was a brilliant chemist but he was still dead wrong about Vitamin C.

    The folks who refuse to accept evolutionary theory tend to have, I’ve noticed, a persistent misunderstanding about how science works: they fail to grasp that a scientific theory is a system, built from the mutually interconnecting discoveries of thousands of men and women over decades of work. Instead they seem to think it’s a list of rules handed down by some authority. In this spirit do the creationists imagine that the fake story of Darwin’s deathbed recantation somehow disproves evolutionary theory.

  • Drew2u

    I want to buy you a drink, kind sir. Do you take Amazon credit?

  • Monoceros Forth

    Mathematics is science the way that the English language is itself literature. Do try to get these things correct before preaching to us, eh?

    By the way, Fred Hoyle also “believed” that the solar cycle causes the flu and that the original Archaeopteryx fossil was a fake, Unfortunately for Hoyle’s crackpottery there have been hundreds of fossil finds since then showing feathered reptiles. If you’re going to argue from authority at least find an authority who’s not soft in the head.

  • Drew2u

    The dumbing down of ‘Murca, “Fer our freedomz!!”
    Fuck George Bush Jr., Cheney, Rove, all with the same sharp implement, for raping the intelligence of the country over a decade.
    (Not to blame the victim, but if the American populace is that gullible, maybe they [us?] deserve it)

  • Drew2u

    Cute, but science doesn’t rely on faith. The best part about science is if you think you can refute something, then by all means – refute it with evidence!
    One of its hallmarks, what makes it different than religion/faith/superstition, is its testability. You don’t agree certain results can create a certain outcome, then do it yourself and see what happens! With sufficient resources, anyone can repeat and verify (or refute) any and all scientific claims and the scientific community would welcome the results.
    On the other hand, refuting religion usually ends up with you being burned at the stake or beheaded.

    Edit: Evolution is math on a biological level.

  • Indigo

    “Intelligent falling?” Oh, that’s funny! I missed that one when it came around.

  • Tunes59

    The English mathematician and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has made statements on the massive complexity of cells with regards to evolution. He said “the chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”

    Evolution is junk science, math is real science.

    I guess it comes down to what kind of science in which you want to put your faith.

  • Monoceros Forth

    What if we ask them about the law of gravity? Do they also not “believe” in the law of gravity? I suspect they’d resort to biblical jabberwocky to state their “beliefs” and that has nothing to do with the field of science.

    You just reminded me of this old chestnut from The Onion: http://www.theonion.com/articles/evangelical-scientists-refute-gravity-with-new-int,1778/

  • Indigo

    What if we ask them about the law of gravity? Do they also not “believe” in the law of gravity? I suspect they’d resort to biblical jabberwocky to state their “beliefs” and that has nothing to do with the field of science.

    I’m bothered by the use of the word “believe” when talking about science. “Understand” would be a more accurate word to use. Do they “understand” evolution? Apparently not, probably because of a defective education. But they don’t know that, poor things.

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