Look at this from PhysOrg: 32-year Australian study reveals steep decline in student belief that God created humans. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Australian university students give far more credit than the previous generation to the science of human evolution and far less to creationism or divine guidance, according to a landmark new study.
Wow! What happened? They say:
In an overview of the last 32 years of annually-assessed student opinions, it is clear that belief among students that a god is the ultimate or contributing cause of human origins has steeply declined from being a majority view in 1986 to being a small minority view in 2017. Conversely, conviction that humans evolved without divine involvement of any kind rose steeply over the same period to become the dominant view among students.
Something’s going on down there — but what? PhysOrg tells us:
Every year since 1986, the researchers polled first-year biology students at UNSW Sydney about their views on evolution and creationism. In 1986, 60% of students believed a god had something to do with the origin of humans, while only 29% held this view in 2017. In contrast, the percentage of students convinced that a god had nothing to do with the origin of humans increased from 25% in 1986 to 62% in 2017.
Here’s a link to the published paper on this research in Evolution: Education and Outreach: Thirty two years of continuous assessment reveal first year university biology students in Australia are rapidly abandoning beliefs in theistic involvement in human origins. You can read it online without a subscription.
The researchers’ first data is for 1986. For the next 31 years there was a precipitous decline in creationism. Aha! We’ve figured it out! According to the Wikipedia article on Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else:
Ham moved to the United States in January 1987 to engage in speaking tours with another young Earth creationist organization, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).
That’s it! Don’t you see it? Every year since Hambo left his native Australia, creationism declined. His departure could be the cause! But let’s not leap to unwarranted conclusions. Correlation doesn’t establish causation. We need more evidence. Wait! There is more evidence: PhysOrg says:
The extent and pace of decline in the Australian students’ commitment to religious views about divine creation, especially creationism, is in distinct contrast to the corresponding beliefs among American students and the American public. “In the USA, belief in creationism, while slowly declining, appears to have remained in the 40% range, four times that seen in our Australian survey,” Professor Archer says. [Michael Archer is the lead author of the study.]
So there it is. Hambo leaves Australia, and creationism declines there. He comes to America, and we’ve remained up to our ears in drooling creationists. The Hambo Hypothesis™ is confirmed!
It would be interesting to see what would happen if Hambo were to leave the US, but he’s got his museum and his ark here. He’s not going anywhere. Ah well, we’re happy for Australia.
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