What is that graphic doing here? It’s the famous graph by Charles Joseph Minard showing the numerical decline of Napoleon’s Grande Armée as a result of the French invasion of Russia. The wide line shows the numbers that embarked on the campaign, and the narrow black line shows the number of those who returned. Be patient. Its relevance will be explained in due course.
From time to time we see news of public opinion polls asking about belief in creationism. Here’s the latest (May 2012) Gallup poll on Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design. They’ve been asking the same question for 30 years — since 1982. It’s about time for a new poll. We wrote about this one last year, but it’s the best data we have at the moment.
Those who believe that God created humans in their present form are 46% of the US population. That figure has varied slightly over the years between 44% and 47% (although it dipped to 40% in 2010), so it’s essentially unchanged. Rock solid, one might say.
The number for those who believe humans evolved and God had no part in the process is now 15%. That figure has risen steadily since 1982, when it was 9%. And the number of those who believe that humans evolved with God assisting in the process (that’s theistic evolution) has bounced around between 45% and 40%, but this year it hit a new low of 32%.
If we ignore what may be one-year anomalies, the only figure that has shown a steady change is for those who fully accept the scientific view of evolution, and that’s been on a steady rise. So what do we make of this?
Well, we can’t ignore the large and stable number for the creationist portion of the population. There are a lot of invincibly ignorant people running around, and that is bad news indeed. But we shall once again quote from that scene in Braveheart where Longshanks (Edward I) is planing to send his son’s wife to speak to William Wallace, and he’s warned that she might be killed. Longshanks responds:
My son would be most distressed by that. But if she were to be killed, we would soon find the King of France a useful ally against the Scots. You see, as king, you must find the good in any situation.
And so it is that your Curmudgeon finds some good in the poll results It’s definitely worth noting that the ignorance isn’t getting worse. That’s in spite of all the propaganda efforts of all the creationist organizations. That segment of the population is holding firm, and it has political influence, but they aren’t making a dent in the rest of the population.
The really good news is the total failure of the Discovery Institute — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. You know about their manifesto — the Wedge Document. That’s a link to the Wikipedia article which describes it. You can read the actual document at the NCSE website: The Wedge Document.
The Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the intelligent design movement’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.” Also, among the intelligent design movement’s “Governing Goals” are to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies” and “to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” Listed among their “Twenty Year Goals” is: “To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.”
The Discoveroids have failed. Their grand crusade has gone absolutely nowhere. An interesting indicator can be seen in search engine statistics. Check out this history of Google searches on “intelligent design”. It peaked during the Kitzmiller trial in 2005, and it’s been steadily — precipitously — trending downward ever since.
The collapse of interest in the Discoveroids’ “theory” reminds us of the graphic which you see at the start of this post. Were we too dramatic in choosing to post that graphic? Maybe, but one could argue that the intelligent design graphic looks even worse than the one showing the obliteration of Napoleon’s Grande Armée. The Discoveroids have spent millions and they’ve accomplished nothing. Well, they’ve got Louisiana — how wonderful for them.
In contrast, here’s the result of a google trend search on “Sensuous Curmudgeon”. It’s not much, and it certainly looks bad for June, but that month has just begun. Anyway, the trend looks far healthier for us than it does for the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design.
Hey, Casey — if you’re planning on leaving that sinking ship in Seattle, don’t come to us. We don’t have any budget. You may as well stay where you are, as long as it lasts. After that — good luck! Besides, the Discoveroids are the only creationist outfit with political ambitions. When you guys shut down there won’t be much need for what we do here.
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