Gene Expression

Darwin is a white thing

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I was mentioning to a friend that Whoopi Goldberg is apparently a semi-moon landing denialist. At least Goldberg isn’t a Creationist like fellow View co-host Sherri Shepard. In fact Goldberg took issue with Shepard’s stance when it came up. Rather disappointing when it comes to the moon landings then, though of course attitudes toward evolution for most people are cultural markers, not genuine assessments of the scientific consensus. It is interesting that both Shepard and Goldberg are black. The black community is more Creationist than the American popualtion as a whole, and have less general knowledge of science. My friend asked: is black opposition to evolution a function of their greater religious conservatism, as is the case with their attitudes toward homosexuality?

The General Social Survey question in regards to evolution which has the largest N is EVOLVED. N = 2,256 for whites and 368 for blacks. I cross-referenced several variables with race. Results below.

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Now let’s sort:

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It is true that blacks are more religious than whites, and tend to be more fundamentalist in their orientation. Among those who do not necessarily know that God exists, it is much more skewed toward those who believe, but with doubts, among blacks than among whites (who have more atheists & agnostics in this class). But the religious differences can not explain all of the gap between the two groups. Whites are relatively well sorted when it comes to attitudes toward evolution and its correlations with religious orientation, but blacks who believe that the Bible is a book of fables are only marginally less Creationist than whites who believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Blacks who consider themselves religiously liberal are around the white average in regards to evolution.

These results aren’t too surprising. The GSS also has a question about whether we trust too much in science. 28% of whites said we did. For blacks? 52%.

Comments

  1. #1 fullerenedream
    July 21, 2009

    Maybe it’s because of all the times white racists have claimed white people are “more evolved” than black people.

  2. #2 Joshua Zelinsky
    July 21, 2009

    It is unfortunate that Goldberg has been taken in by that sort of thing. My impression previously had been that she’s generally be a force for rationality and education as opposed to most of her cohosts (especially that idiot Shepard).

    Regarding the GSS data, there are a variety of effects likely going on here.

    First, regarding the black attitude towards evolution, there is a history of portraying black people are resembling non-human apes or as being somehow more closely related to non-human apes than other racial groups. Given this history, and given that at times it has had backing from scientists, a general black skepticism of evolution is and related claims is understandable.

    Similarly, even prior to Darwin, there were elements of the scientific establishment which tried to use science to justify some of their existing prejudices. Similarly, scientists have in the past been willing to unethically use black people for research purposes. Tuskegee would be the most obvious example. Given that, it is not surprising that blacks would generally have much less trust of science than whites.

  3. #3 Stagyar zil Doggo
    July 21, 2009

    Black – College or Higher ~= Black – No College ~=Black

    that seems pretty unusual for a predominantly christian community.

    Also TRUE( Black – Atheist/Agnostic/Higher Power/Believe in God but Doubts ) ~< 50%

    So what origins narrative is subscribed to by those Blacks who apparently reject both Common Descent as well as, (presumably) religious explanations?

  4. #4 chris
    July 21, 2009

    Excusing blacks unwillingness or inability to understand modern science as some noble fight against the racist establishment is silly.

    The white establishment also used to use evolutionary theory to bash the Chinese — how much do you want to bet the Chinese-Americans show a greater belief in evolution than both the whites and blacks?

  5. #5 Evil Man
    July 21, 2009

    “Maybe it’s because of all the times white racists have claimed white people are ‘more evolved’ than black people”

    http://img.moronail.net/img/9/0/90.jpg

  6. #6 razib
    July 21, 2009

    there are only 30 chinese americans who answered the evolved question. 80% believe that evolution is true.

  7. #7 Neuroskeptic
    July 21, 2009

    “Similarly, even prior to Darwin, there were elements of the scientific establishment which tried to use science to justify some of their existing prejudices. Similarly, scientists have in the past been willing to unethically use black people for research purposes. Tuskegee would be the most obvious example…”

    OK, but the Jews had it even worse in terms of pseudoscientific racism and, notoriously, human experimentation (Dr Mengele, etc.)

    Whereas not even the most deranged antisemite could accuse Jews of being anti-scientific.

    I suspect that if there is a black anti-science attitude (I don’t know if there is but the GSS does suggest that) it’s probably down to the fact that there are few black scientists.

    Of course we then need to explain why that is, but I’m not sure that’s too difficult.

  8. #8 blkg
    July 21, 2009

    Well, I believe it. There are alot of racial tests on here but whatever.

  9. #9 Billare
    July 21, 2009

    I have been trying to make this point for a long time – much of Black social and civil pathologies are a function of ignorance and idiocy, directly mediated by their lower average IQ. Not conspiratorial tendencies inflamed by nefarious sources. Remedy IQ deficits, and you have an enormous source for positive change in the world.

  10. #10 Joshua Zelinsky
    July 22, 2009

    Neuro, there may be other elements going on there including the fact that in the US Jews are generally not that religious a group and Jews have a long cultural history of intellectualism.

    Chris, an explanation is not the same as an excuse.

  11. #11 megan
    July 22, 2009

    [[I have been trying to make this point for a long time - much of Black social and civil pathologies are a function of ignorance and idiocy, directly mediated by their lower average IQ. Not conspiratorial tendencies inflamed by nefarious sources. Remedy IQ deficits, and you have an enormous source for positive change in the world.]]

    And Jews by virtue of the shape of their skulls PROVES their IQ deficiency in your racist fascist book Billare too huh?

    A culture of high religious indoctrination, adopting intellectual stances opposite of supposed oppressors, outside society that patronizingly encourages low academic achievement in conjunction with home/community helps foment this general statistical result. But MY black family literally worshiped high tech/schooling/science/nature as = to a higher being’s creation method and an education a respected method for African Am. achievement. So all discoveries were learned and considered as truth until scientifically debunked. Most in my family grew to be agnostic/atheist as we saw more validity in science than the human enforced indoctrination going on in the church both Protestant and increasingly Catholic. This statistic doesn’t separate newer African professional immigrants, where like the Chinese and Asians, education is promoted.

    The old school black leaders of the Booker T Washington and Douglas line promoted learning, now days the descendants from my generation accept staying out of jail as high achievement for themselves and their kids. The dumbing of America has been widespread across color-income lines (see Jenny McCarthy) since the late 80′s and the minority communities with worse vertical advancement prospects adopted it the most as flash and cash is promoted as the means to better one’s self and be radical.

  12. #12 Billare
    July 22, 2009

    Pfft, Megan. You have no idea which political or scientific views I represent. I won’t explain myself though. You may simply trust that I know far more of what I speak, both fine-grained and macro, than you do.