Evolution survey

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    This one from 2006, indicates the US has fewer

    adults who accept the basic premise of evolution than any country (of the 34 surveyed) except Turkey.

    Scarier stats can be found in the full article.


    A recent survey in Florida indicates that the number of Floridians who misunderstand or reject this fundamental of science, is increasing.


    I have not found a similar survey for WA yet so we cannot compare the consequences of the Wedge strategy (formulated by our home town creationist down at the Discovery Institute) on WA as it compares to FL.

    Wikipedia info in the Wedge document:


    Shall we do an informal WSB survey to see what kind of diversity of opinion we have here?

    I think you can guess where I stand.

    “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.”

    — Ray Mummert, creationist from Dover, Pennsylvania, 2005



    Interesting, because Turkey is another country full of religious people whose government is, ostensibly, secular.

    You can guess what I think as well, but I’ll say it: I’m proud to be one of the worst nightmares of the creationists. I believe in evolution (and most other branches of science.) I believe in math, which *is* a miracle. And I even believe kids should be taught critical thinking, no matter where it leads them.

    AND I don’t think the take over of schools by creationists is benign — I think they can take lots of credit for the fact that we’re so far behind in training scientists and mathematicians. I’ve actually met two high school kids in this area who are talented in science and who resist studying it because they’ve been taught it violates their religious beliefs. That’s just plain sad, verging on child abuse.

    c — the grouchy half of charlabob :-)



    charlabob… you stated my sentiments exactly,

    “I even believe kids should be taught critical thinking, no matter where it leads them”.

    I know my mom wasn’t so happy about where mine took me… but i think she got over it:)

    i am appalled by ken’s stats… that is truly frightening.

    I really don’t understand why so many of our nation’s religious are afraid of science and critical thinking. Is their faith in their fellow christians so weak that they don’t believe you can think critically and/or scientifically and still have faith? or do they simply think like the catholic church once did (and would like to now) that ignorant and uninformed people are easier to control?

    i don’t know. i do know it is possible to have a never ending curiosity about the world we live in and respect for scientific evidence without losing faith. the world is such a miraculous place.



    There is a book that touches on this subject, I believe. It’s called “God Is Not Great” written by Christopher Hitchens. I was curious if anyone has read it.

    Charla, I agree with your post. For those talented children to hold back their knowledge for the sake of their religion, I consider child abuse.



    I would agree that to shut out science becasue of one’s faith is very stupid indeed. I think that both can co-exsist wonderfully.

    I am also positive that I will be the overwhelming minority here as I do believe that God (that is the God of the Bible) has created everything.

    Before the barage of questions begin I have some myself.

    What is evolution?

    What proof is there of evolution?

    When did you realize that evolution was true and why?





    Wes, here are some interesting viewpoints. I hope this link carries over (first time I’ve attempted this).



    And this, Wes, may answer some of your questions concerning evolution:





    Thanks for the links, but I was looking more for your answers in these areas. I went to public schools for 20 years so these definitions I am aware of. The purpose of the questions were to get your opinion in your words and why.



    Oh. Okay, sorry about that. I’m gonna mull it over a little before I respond, if you don’t mind. Evolution is something that interests me greatly. I will get back to you, though.



    NewResident – I’m half way through God is not great. As an atheist, it provides real clear cut facts to support what has been a lifelong gut feeling for me, ie: there is no god(s). Then goes on to explain, again with specific examples, of how this belief system harms the world. I feel it is a good read for everyone. Not that it will change the mind of Christians any more than the bible can change my mind, but perhaps it could alter the way in which some people practice their faith.



    I just started that book. It was recommended from my Dad. I agree that it would be a great read for everyone. From what I understand, it sheds light on another way of perceiving things.

    My daughter’s father is extremely religious and, naturally, influencing our girl a great deal already in her young age. I am trying to educate myself thoroughly with knowledge other than what he believes in. Ideally, I would like my daughter to have insight to all possibilities when she is ready to decide what faith, if any, she will choose to follow. Do you have any other good read recommendations?



    JT and NewResident, can i suggest Ravi Zacharias’ book, Can Man Live Without God? He answers and goes into depth some of what atheist thinkers have asked and said. Bertand Russel, Nietzche (sp?) and also What’s So Great about Christianity? by Dinesh D’Souza, who has debated Hitchens a lot and not just on religious topics either.

    I have also been meaning to read god is not great, and hope to this year.

    Also, I appreciate your honesty in saying that the book perhaps wouldn’t change a Christians mind anymore than the Bible would change yours. Great honesty there.



    Here is a link to the Hitchens v. D’Souza debate. I thought it was very lively and both were well spoken.

    You will have to cut and paste I do not know how to add the link.


    edit: Or do i?



    Wes – I will get to some of your suggestions eventually, or at the very least check into them. Not to be dismissive, but one of my medications really affects my eyesight so my reading has become limited. And just for a little background, I was raised from birth in a very fundamentalist baptist family. We had a lovely painting of hell above our fireplace, lest we forget what might await us. Wasn’t allowed any contact with any one who might be considered “secular”. I was punished for doubting or asking any questions. So I read just about anything and everything I could get my hands on from “god is a woman” to “understanding Islam” , to “the origins of satan”. And yes, even the Bible more than once.

    Nothing ever “spoke” to me, for lack of a better word. I’m curious. I like to understand people and how they think and believe and act. All sides of the coin, if you will. But for myself, I genuinely don’t get it. It just does not make sense to me to believe in anything mythical. In fact I find it kind of silly. I would however, defend anyone’s right to have those beliefs if only they would stop using them to try and control my life.



    I too believe god created the earth.. and i believe in evolution.. have since i was 12 and figured out how they could co-exist.

    Why faith? I suggest everyone read Anne Lamott.. she has a series of three books that approach the questions of faith and grace. And they aren’t preachy… in fact they are quite irreverent. I loved the lst one.

    Although i don’t choose to embrace my faith quite the way she does, they made me think about how i want it to impact my life for the better.

    I also really like Kristin Tippett.. speaking of faith.

    faith doesn’t have to come packaged in one church and it’s unique interpretation. Nor does it preclude science and critical thinking. The more i read of history, the more i understand that even religions evolve.

    My current nightstand reading is The Silk Road.. the story of a man who traveled the silk road within the last decade in search of it’s forgotten history. fascinating!



    Ahhh, one of my favorite discussions!

    You’d be foolish to dismiss evolution as a basic force on any group of organisms. Any organism, including humans, typically adapt to their surroundings for survival. If you examine human beings over generations, you can see signs of evolution (height, visual characteristics, etc). Sometimes organisms evolve subtlety over thousands of years and sometimes due to genetic mutations they can occur very quickly.

    Creationism and Evolution cannot fairly be compared. People can believe in both, although I personally accept evolution, but have a hard time committing to Creationism.

    An interesting point to bring up is that the very thing that proves Evolution will over time be its greatest oppressor….SCIENCE.

    Science and technology actually work to thwart evolution. If left in our natural state, many of us would have our wisdom teeth growing into our skulls essentially killing us. Many of us would die from basic diseases at young ages. Many of would not be able to reproduce without the little blue pill. Many of us could not conceive children without in vitro treatments. These are all examples of “Natural Selection” that are thwarted b/c of modern medicine and technology and those people now live and reproduce carrying those genetic traits on to the next generation. This essentially makes it difficult for us to become a genetically stronger population in many aspects.

    Now that I have that off my chest, I will answer Wes’s questions:

    1) Evolution is defined by be as the changes (both positive and negative) in an organism from one generation to the next…like I stated above, sometimes they might be subtle and take time to see, sometimes they happen in one generation.

    2) There is proof all around the world of evolution. The easiest example of evolution appears in bacteria. Everyday there are dozens of antibiotics that are rendered useless because the drug resistant strains of the bacteria are the ones that get to multiply and therefore become the dominant strain. This is the Cliffs Note version of course. I could explain in detail if you need me to.

    3) I didn’t realize evolution at one point in time. Instead, it was something that adopted over time by observing animals and nature (spending time in the woods). I don’t claim that my method is scientific, but it I understand it because it is something I can observe and is rational to me. I also studied religion (Judaism & Catholicism) and found it to be based on faith. Faith cannot be observed and to me is not rational. I believe that we’ve discussed this in the past…many people believe that religion adds value to their lives and is positive, while many believe that it is a great oppressor.

    One thing that evolution does not answer is who or what created the universe…..that is how every debate ends and neither side can answer with 100% certainty….that’s because we cannot comprehend it!



    Ken, thank you for the link to to the Wikipedia segment on the wedge. I finally had time in the wee hours to go back and read it. And thank you Wes for your thoughtful questions. And thank you House… what thoughtful post.

    I got distracted by questions of faith.. which i don’t think belong in the evolution/creationism debate as it is currently framed but which i can never resist as they are of the heart.

    Who knows if Darwin got it “right”. We can’t refute what he observed… but as science learns more about the world we live in and discovers more.. we find that most early science got it mostly right.

    What he got dead on was that in different micro-environments (for want of a better word), similar creatures turned out differently…

    What is evolution? To me this is simply every living creature and anything created by them adapting to the changes in their world.

    What proof is there of evolution? Well, House nailed that one if there is proof… we can actually watch microorganisms “evolve” when we introduce new stimuli into their environment. It is certainly logical to assume that if we do it on a micro level.. it also occurs on a macro level.

    When did you realize evolution was true and why? Like House, i grew up in the woods with a family that was heavily tied to a home farm. I listened to breeding discussions in the kitchen and saw evidence that selected breeding worked. I saw the wild creatures that tried to coexist with that farm.. and watched as “pests” became “resistant” to the attempts to destroy them. It simply made sense to me. We use evolution to our own benefit and call it breeding. Why wouldn’t the rest of the creatures on earth have similar mechanisms for survival? I was 12 when i first confronted the question on an intellectual basis.

    If any creature is to survive it would have to be able to adapt to the changing reality of our world.

    What i find curious, is that we always assume that man is at his highest level of intelligence and awareness right now. We (our modern civilization) is not alone in this. I am certain that Michelangelo could conceive of nothing more glorious than the world he lived in.

    Yet, archaeological evidence is destroying the idea of some sort of time line of civilization daily. What they find in current excavations in the desserts of Asia is that there have been many civilizations and they all had contact with one another long before we thought was possible.

    We are arrogant to impose our standards on the skeletons we find… arrogant enough at one time to destroy anything which didn’t agree with our concept of civilizaton… what the Taliban did to far more than just “graven images” or what the English did to artifacts in Africa. We can only wonder at how much evidence was destroyed by those who didn’t want their interpretation challenged.

    What is.. is as real as anything gets for us… how we look at those realities changes drastically depending upon the information available to us.

    What i find frightening about the current debate… if it can be seen to be one.. is how far those who don’t want their interpretation challenged will go to deny the rest of us the information to make our own decisions about those interpretations.



    I just finished

    Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron

    It was an incredible read, floating back and forth between historical sites and current reality. it was published in 2006 in England and written some time after 2004 as he references The World trade Center and Iraq invasion several places in the book during local conversations.

    You may wonder what it has to do with evolution… and i can only say it spoke to me of the evolution of religion and society in a way i hadn’t heard before.



    Dinesh D’Souza is a professional and profligate liar. Hitchens is a drunk who could use a good editor who can lock him out of his PC when he is on a bender.

    Atheism or religion should have no effect on the observable and provable building blocks the theory of evolution is based on.

    The Theory of Evolution, the Theory of Gravity and Nuclear Theory are all equally supported by science, observation and experimentation.

    None of these theories are set in stone and it is unlikely any of them can be. Certainly not in our lifetimes. That does not mean they are on the par with the kind of nonsense most of us have come up with after too many shots of tequila. In science, a Theory is a framework which divides what we know from what we do not yet know and allows each sub segment of a complex problem to be subject to intense study and experimentation. It is called a theory because at any moment, a single reproducible experiment could change any one branch of the framework and require an entirely new set of experiments, if we find an anomaly that does not fit. Multiple holes in what we know, however, does not automatically reverse or negate the parts of the theory which we do know.

    Yet that does not mean that the research and engineering that are based on these theories can be rejected out of hand whether that rejection is based on religion, superstition or limited understanding of the math.

    Those who reject the theory of gravity tend to self limit due to the dangerous experiments they choose. (Ironically, these are often chronicaled in the “Darwin Awards”.)http://www.darwinawards.com/

    Those who disbelieve nuclear physics are often not harmed by this disbelief since they cannot comprehend enough of the theory to formulate experiments that could harm them. 90% of the work in the field is done with a computer or a pencil anyway.

    If those who disbelieve the theory of Evolution were willing to forgo the scientific and engineering advances made within that framework, I might have a bit more respect for their position.

    Vaccines, genetics, and most of current medical treatment would not have been possible without those researchers who worked within that framework.

    Agriculture would be a very different operation without the scientific advances in genetic modification and veterinary medicine.

    (most of this rant deleted.)

    I don’t have time to do a good job of it and it has been done over and over again. Anyone with questions read this link.


    Those of you who feel the genesis account is literal, no amount of my explaining it to ya like a ten year old is going to help either of us.

    If I thought it would do any good to beg you not to vote based on that belief, I would be doing so now.

    The mainstream religions both protestant and catholic understand the Book of Genesis to be allegory and very similar to the creation myths of nearly a dozen precursor religions that we know of. Those sects and denominations which require a literal belief in the bible, are also those who do not believe in Democracy or the separation of church and state.

    The fundamentalist, the snake handler, the prosperity huckster and dominionist flavored con men will all tell you I am the tool of the devil for suggesting reason and science should over-rule faith.

    But the truth is, I don’t give a rats patoot what you believe as long as you stop trying to inject it into either the decision making process of the country or the educational system at any level.

    Only those with books to sell are trying to change your mind. Science does not care one whit as to what your religious beliefs are as long as you quit trying to call it science.

    I am happy to see that some of you prefer reason with your conservatism. It means there is hope that you can take your party back once you realize how far is has gone from where you are.

    A few not so random quotes from my archive:

    I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.

    — Barry Goldwater

    “In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”

    — Homer Simpson

    “The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees,” “Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.”

    — Michael Scanlon ,memo, read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

    Some say being thoughtful is old fashioned. If so then I guess I’m just a caveman, if they existed – which they didn’t!

    — Ned Flanders



    Ken – I almost always agree with every point you make but the current tone is a little militant. We all give TheHouse a bad time for the way he comes across but today you seem to have switched places. I actually thought his post was clear and factual without being condescending or emotional. Your post sounds angry and critical and I don’t see how that informs. We did get a little off topic but that happens in every post.



    Actually my post was a bit disjointed since I had to stop several times and do various errands and projects.

    I was impressed with House’s post and I guess I should have said so more clearly.

    Guess I was expecting him to realize it without saying so.

    I am off on another project….before the weekend draws to a close.



    Ken: Did you notice the innocent-appearing Senate bill (6893) “regarding intellectual freedom” on college campuses? (If you read it, you may detect a whiff of “teach the ‘controversy'”.) It’s dead for now, but you can bet it will be reintroduced sometime.



    Thanks for all of the comments re: moi above.

    I’ve stayed neutral until Julie’s cattle prod statement above. I did read the Bill (it is short) and I don’t understand how you interpret “intellectual diversity” to mean “teach controversy”.

    I believe that the intent of the Bill was to neutralize politics in the classroom. As many can attest and I have seen with my very eyes, many college professors are liberal and shine their political views/world views on the people in their class. I had several of the same debates I have on this blog with some of my college professors.

    My interpretation of this Bill is that it will require professors to show both sides of an argument in a non religious course. Religion courses already teach multiple sides, so there should not be an issue with those types of courses.



    David Horowitz is all you need to google for the background on the bill.




    Because facts have a well known liberal bias.

    Conservatives have seen the effectivness of the “wedge” type attacks in other areas so this is no surprise. Davis H has been doing this a long time.

    Since David Horowitz switched his political allegiance from the radical left to the authoritarian right, he has engaged in one embarassingly paranoid crusade after another. Each one is designed to stifle a liberal conspiracy which exists only in the hollow canyons of his own mind, and each one fizzles out in a mist of his own petulant frustration. Each time, insidious liberal influence is to blame for his own failures.

    — Max Blumenthal



    The thing is, the “controversy” and “diversity” is often a tiny minority of people who offer religiously- and politically-driven, scentifically weak arguments that offer little against well-established research and evidence. All science is not created equal nor is it of equal weight. You could find somebody somewhere who doesn’t agree with the germ theory of disease, but would you like our med students to be taught that as an equal alternative theory in med school? I’d personally prefer my doctor has been taught the latest, most sound, most widely accepted and accurate medical research.

    Science isn’t like Philosophy, where lots of ideas compete mainly in the abstract. We have tools like the scientific method and peer review that serve us well, if imperfectly.

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