Here’s some interesting news for the end of the year. At the website of the Pew Research Center they have this new poll result: Public’s Views on Human Evolution. They say, with bold font added by us:
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, six-in-ten Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third (33%) reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
That sounds good, but then it gets fuzzy:
About half of those who express a belief in human evolution take the view that evolution is “due to natural processes such as natural selection” (32% of the American public overall). But many Americans believe that God or a supreme being played a role in the process of evolution. Indeed, roughly a quarter of adults (24%) say that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”
So those who fully accept the theory of evolution are only about a third of the American population. The others who accept evolution believe in some kind of theistic evolution. Then they break it down by religious groups:
These beliefs differ strongly by religious group. White evangelical Protestants are particularly likely to believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Roughly two-thirds (64%) express this view, as do half of black Protestants (50%). By comparison, only 15% of white mainline Protestants share this opinion.
And here’s the political picture:
There also are sizable differences by party affiliation in beliefs about evolution, and the gap between Republicans and Democrats has grown. In 2009, 54% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats said humans have evolved over time, a difference of 10 percentage points. Today, 43% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats say humans have evolved, a 24-point gap.
Either the Republicans are getting stranger, or they’re attracting strange people from the Dems.
They also have a breakdown by education. No surprises. And they have a lot of bar charts. Go ahead, click over there and take a look.
Oops — just before posting we checked the National Center for Science Education. Sure enough, they already have a post on this: A new Pew poll on evolution. Scooped again.
See also: Why Republicans Are Increasingly Creationist.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.
The full article includes this observation:
I am trying to work out how the DI could possibly spin this fact into one of their Top Ten Triumphs of Oogity-Boogity in 2013…
Either the Republicans are getting stranger, or they’re attracting strange people from the Dems.
Or perhaps just increasingly more stupid, at least that’s what Chamber of Commerce Chamber strategist Scott Reed believes when he announced a new campaign by the establishment to reclaim the Republican Party from the Tea Party zealots: “Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates… That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”
These polls on evolution only amplify how scientifically illiterate, and yes, how intellectually lazy and dumb the average American is. Embarrassing, really.
You took the words right out of my mouth. I’d like to see a comparison study between other western nations (Australia, Canada, France, Finland…) just to see how bad this really is.
waldteufel and john zande both marvel at “how intellectually lazy and dumb the average American is.”
I suspect that most people, everywhere, know little about science. But by default they tend to accept what scientists say. That would probably be the case in the US also, but here there are religious denominations that mislead them. They’re just going along with what their authority figures tell them.
Our Curmudgeon: “They’re just going along with what their authority figures tell them.”
If that’s not the definition of intellectual laziness, it’s certainly a symptom.
Very few people have a good argument for the heliocentric model of the Solar System. Is it “laziness” to accept what the astronomers tell us?
“Either the Republicans are getting stranger, or they’re attracting strange people from the Dems.”
While responses on the Evolution issue have changed little between 2009 and 2013 among Democrats and Independents, the apparent shift towards creationism on the part of Republicans has been dramatic.
It is possible that the issue of climate change is playing a role here. Republicans see it as a “liberal” conspiracy being perpetrated by the scientific community. This may make Republicans more likely to reject other findings of the scientific community such as the Theory of Evolution.
It’s not that more Republicans are doubting evolution as it is evolution believing Republicans migrating away from identifying with the GOP. The Tea Party movement may well be the reason for this migration, as it provides a political home for economic conservatives regardless of their views on social issues or evolution, and it is there that many economic conservatives may feel more at home.
@Longshadow: Here in Indiana, the Tea Partiers are the more socially conservative ones, and it cost the Republicans a seat in the Senate.
The social conservatives didn’t like Sen. Richard Lugar — “too liberal.” “R.I.N.O.”, Etc., so they ran Richard Mourdock against him in the Republican primary. Mourdock won, but when he expressed his view that abortion should not be allowed, even in cases of rape (his words were that the rape was “God’s will” ), he couldn’t win the general election. (He’s also a creationist, but that didn’t bear on the election.) Lugar, on the other hand, almost certainly would have won the general election. In fact, he was so popular that he ran unopposed in 2006 — the Dems didn’t want to waste any money or resources on a race they were sure they would lose.
So, the Tea Party did something in Indiana the Dems couldn’t do — remove Lugar from office. It’s been noted that similar occurrences happened in other states as well, costing Republicans several senate seats, and thus paving the way for passage of ObamaCare — which of course is reviled by Tea Partiers. Talk about ironic unintended consequences!
(just for the record, Mourdock’s bachelor’s degree is from Ball State, for what it’s worth.)
Tom, an astronomer is not an authority figure in the sense that our Curmudgeon means. There is a huge difference between accepting provisionally the findings and converging lines of evidence offered by experts in a field and the rantings of a preacher who can offer only Iron Age mythology wrapped in Oogity-Boogity.
When you are sick, do you go to a properly credentialed doctor, or do you have a shaman pour blood over the carcass of a dead horse to cure you?
Sadly more people are opting for the shaman with the blood and the dead horse. Figuratively speaking of course. I see it all the time with the rise of homeopathy and the antivax movement still growing.
@john zande Your in luck someone has already done a comparison of evolution acceptance in other countries.
You can find the US at the bottom of the graph next to Cyprus and Turkey.
As to why American’s are more prone to this. I have seen many reasons but there are a couple that stuck with me.
1. Media awareness. Most other countries started teaching various forms of media awareness since the 1960. they learned what bias is, how to spot it, what are the tricks that are used. The US didn’t start doing this till the early 1990’s creating an entire generation in the internet age that has a harder time judging truth and accuracy from there news/internet sources.
In the face of conflicting information people go with what they “feel” is true.
This also leads to a tilted view of fairness. It becomes right and left as opposed to right and wrong.
2. America’s Bipolar political system. Most other countries have multiple parties, a political spectrum. There crazies and zealots end up voting for fringe parties of no political consequence. In the US the vote for the main parties and with such close elections the party needs every vote it can get.
Also other countries political parties have to grow and change. With multiple choices it means that there are multiple conservative or liberal parties that are more than happy to take there votes.
The conservative party that dislikes gun control. isn’t the same conservative party that dislikes evolution.
I was honestly hoping the Tea Party would actually become it’s own party leading the way for a change in the American political spectrum.
I think a lot of the Rep skepticism growth is due to the Global Warming fiasco and the undercutting of mainstream science authority through alarmism and the politicizing of science by the press, Gore and those with their hands out for the $$. This allows REAL science to be disparaged and things like ID, anti-vaccine, anti gen-mod food, homeopathy et al to be more generally acceptable in certain circles.
I said in 2006 that the biggest danger of blind acceptance of AGW was the damage it would do to ALL of science. It seems as if we are seeing at least some of that. It doesn’t help that the press lumps AGW skeptics and Evolution “Skeptics” as the SAME anti-science crowd. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There does appear to be a significant overlap; anyone got any data (I don’t), e.g., percentages of AGW skeptics who are also Evo skeptics? Or similar? Would be interesting.
A trip to the Discoveroids’ website or to Answers in Genesis, the American Family Institute website, the Institute for Creation Research’s website, or any of a number of other creationist and evangelical Christian websites would suggest that creationists and global warming deniers are, at least to some extent, kissing cousins.
That’s certainly my impression, though I’ve never really particularly looked in to the matter. A little basic googling turns up a few items of interest, the first being a sad little squeak from our dear friends at the Disco’Tute: Denying the “Denier” Label.
Second is a scholarly article for which I can only access the abstract (I don’t have Project MUSE credentials) at Manufactured Scientific Controversy: Science, Rhetoric, and Public Debate:
Oops, forgot to add to previous post: Olivia and I wish our Curmudgeon and all his splendid readers a very Happy New Year!
Megalonyx dares to say: “Olivia and I wish our Curmudgeon and all his splendid readers a very Happy New Year!”
Olivia asked me to bring this to your attention: Lawsuit filed against city over sea lion poop.
cam: “It doesn’t help that the press lumps AGW skeptics and Evolution “Skeptics” as the SAME anti-science crowd. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
BS. Maybe not all AGW deniers are creationists, but ALL creationists and ID proponents are AGW deniers. No one in ID or YEC believes in AGW. Moreover, all AGW deniers and evolution deniers employ the same BS arguments and BS techniques.
“I think a lot of the Rep skepticism growth is due to the Global Warming fiasco and the undercutting of mainstream science authority through alarmism and the politicizing of science by the press, Gore and those with their hands out for the $$.”
While cam complains about “the politicizing of science by the press”, of course it was corporations and their patrons who devised a deliberate and detailed plans to politicize science– ALL denial of AGW is politicized, and employs exactly the same arguments as are used by creationists. “There’s a controversy!” No, there isn’t and wasn’t.
The real fiasco, of course, is that people in authority say GW doesn’t happen, it happens but not because of humans, it happens because of humans but it’ll be great for my property values in Boca Raton.
It’s bizarre that cam complains about “the undercutting of mainstream science authority” when AGW deniers are at least as guilty as creationists.
I said in 2006 that the biggest danger of blind acceptance of AGW was the damage it would do to ALL of science.
How absurd! It’s AGW denial and its calculated, idiotic “there’s a controversy” BS and “Climategate” libel that damaged science.
Methinks that cam is/was a drive-by troll unable or unwilling to defend his/her absurd anti-science drivel.
Wouldn’t ole’ Hambo be considered an evolutionist if answering this: “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
Since Foxes didn’t exist, only some proto-dog according to him, he’d have to answer false, that living things AREN’T in the same form as they were at the beginning.