A study was published a few months ago in Evolutionary & Developmental Biology — see The relative importance of religion and education on university students’ views of evolution in the Deep South and state science standards across the United States — confirming what most of us already suspected. The abstract says:
We found that the degree of religiosity mattered significantly more than education when predicting students’ understanding of evolution. When we focused on acceptance of evolution only, students taught evolution or neither evolution nor creationism in high school had significantly higher acceptance than those taught both evolution and creationism or just creationism. Science majors always outscored non-science majors, and not religious students significantly outperformed religious students. Highly religious students were more likely to reject evolution even though they understood that the scientific community accepted the theory of evolution.
Religiosity, rather than education, best explains views on evolution. In areas of the country where the vast majority of residents believe in God and the literal truth of the Bible, students may be hampered as they enter and progress through college. These same states tend to have lower state science standards and lower levels of educational attainment.
Nothing there is likely to surprise anyone, and ordinarily it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. However, that paper came to the attention of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
As you might expect, ol’ Hambo is furious. Here’s his response: It’s a Battle Between Worldviews! We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us and Hambo’s bible references omitted. He actually links to the published paper and then he says:
A study conducted by a group of University of Alabama researchers has been making its way around the Internet, so I wanted to comment on it. This study highlights that the creation/evolution controversy is really a worldview-based battle.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve heard that before. Yes, it’s the worldview of people who wrote down some Babylonian folk legends 3,000 years ago, contrasted to what we’ve learned about the world since the development of science.
The ancients weren’t stupid — indeed, their spiritual insights still fascinate us — but their knowledge of the world was limited to what they could see of their own region with their unaided eyes. They knew nothing of the Earth’s history and the universe beyond it. They were geo-centrics who believed the Earth was flat and stationary (see The Earth Is Flat! and The Earth Does Not Move!), and that a ladder (see Jacob’s Ladder) or a tower (see Tower of Babel) could reach up to heaven.
Like everyone else at the time, they did the best they could with the limited information available to them, and of course they got a lot of things wrong. But Hambo doesn’t think so. Let’s read on:
It’s really a matter of observational science vs. historical science. … Historical science deals with the past and therefore cannot be directly observed, repeated, or tested. What you believe about the past is going to influence how you interpret the evidence and what conclusions you reach about historical science.
[*Groan*] The false dichotomy between observational science vs. historical science. We’ve heard that before too. There’s a section on it in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Hambo continues:
This study actually highlights that the battle is simply not a matter of helping people understand evolution or teaching people the supposed evidence for evolution. It’s a battle between two different worldviews. Students who are committed to the starting point that there is a Creator are going to interpret the evidence in a different manner than their evolutionary or atheistic professors. It’s not religion vs. science—it’s a battle between two different interpretations of the same evidence!
Right. If one begins with the unshakable opinion that the 3,000 year old misconceptions of the Babylonians are true, it will definitely cripple his ability to think about all the verifiable evidence that has been accumulated since then. Hambo describes this very clearly:
As Christians, our thinking on evolution and its counterpart, billions of years, needs to start with God’s Word. It’s God’s Word — not man’s ideas — that contains a true history of the universe.
He concludes by confirming that his faith in 3,000 year old scrolls is unshakable:
God was an eyewitness to creation and He told us how and when He did it in Genesis. Since God was there and He never lies, we can trust the account of history found in the Bible.
So there you are. It is indeed a battle of worldviews — verifiable reality vs. ancient guesswork and fantasy. The choice is yours, dear reader.
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