Friday, September 27, 2013

The Will to Believe.

After reading another of the perennial cites for the claim that 46% of Americans, I dug into the "silly" (according to Dawkins and Krauss) question of "why?"

After all, the American education system has been enthusiastically teaching evolution and nothing but evolution for the last 50 years. If 100s of billions of dollars can't get the factual foundation for evolution into the minds of a population, maybe it's time to wrap up the experiment with public education.

In addition, I find the numbers weird in the sense that more Americans believe in Creation - according to these polls - than belong to churches that teach creationism.

I haven't found any answers, but I'm linking to an interesting research paper that confirms my second intuition:

We have presented a detailed survey of how di erent US faith communities view origins science, particularly evolution and Big Bang cosmology. We found a striking gap between people's personal beliefs and the so cial views of the faiths to which they belong. Whereas Gallup reports that 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago, we nd that only 11% belong to religions openly rejecting evolution.

Why is this \belief gap" so large? Interestingly, this is not the only belief gap surrounding a science-religion controversy: whereas Gallup reports that 18% of Americans believe that the Sun revolves around Earth [12], 0% belong to religions supporting this view. The fact that the geocentric belief gap remains large even though the controversy was settled hundreds of years ago suggests that it has more to do with education than with intellectual disputes, and the same may be true for the origins science belief gap as well. A signi cant part of the controversy might therefore be defused by people learning more about their own religious doctrine and the science that it endorses, thereby bridging the belief gap.//

Jeez...18% believe in geo-centrism but absolutely no one belongs to a geo-centrist church???

My tax dollars are being wated...but you know I've never met a geo-centrist.

I think there is something wrong with the polling.

Does anyone have any serious thoughts, by which I mean supported by something like social science research or a plausible, non-risible insight?

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