Why are most Americans creationists?

We know there is a link between education, church going behavior, and the inability or unwillingness to accept that evolution is real and that humans evolved. But what exactly is the relationship? I think the following diagram includes the correct answer, but I’m not sure which one it is:


i-b02877eaf0420a909314cb2dde53de76-edumication_teh_stupid_blue_500.jpg

What am I missing?

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    September 17, 2009

    Indoctrination into churchiness by adults already in possession of Teh Stupid.

  2. #2 The Science Pundit
    September 17, 2009

    Corrupt, anti-proressive, self-serving, oligarchy is the missing root.

  3. #3 Bob
    September 17, 2009

    What about people who are smart, go to church, and think creationists are as bad as the flat earthers and the fake moon landing set?

  4. #4 JefFlyingV
    September 17, 2009

    I don’t know Greg. There are people that have excellent educations and are church goers that are still creotards.

  5. #5 Virgil Samms
    September 17, 2009

    You need to add a circular alternative:
    Churchiness => Crappy edumication => churchiness …

  6. #6 davem
    September 17, 2009

    You’re missing the Establishment. Here in the UK, we have an ‘official’ church, and religious ‘education’ is compulsory. So all the kids fight it, and the good news that it’s a load of BS travels fast, and is welcomed. It helps that religion is also associated with the monarchy and Bishops in the House of Lords, who are seen as old-fashioned, and out of touch.

    I still remember my last RE lesson at school, where the teacher finally admitted what we thought all along – he didn’t believe it either. He took a poll. Of the 25 kids in the class, there was 1 believer. He was the only one who went to church.

    Instead, you get religion taught by your parents. And you believe them. Maybe separation of church and state isn’t really such a good thing… :0)

  7. #7 Roadtripper
    September 17, 2009

    Atheists are mean, therefore creationism is true.

    I read it in a book somewhere….

    Rt

  8. #8 LightningRose
    September 17, 2009

    It’s circular, and the positions are interchangeable.

    But you also have to remember that fully half the population are of below average intelligence.

  9. #9 posit
    September 17, 2009

    1) Told something.
    2) Turns out to be false.
    3a) Stop trusting authority (and what’s more authoritative than all the scientists on the planet. All those white lab coats!) or
    3b) You blank on the falseness and embrace the source of the lies. (and remember Christians are an oppressed minority. All 280 gazillion of them.)

  10. #10 rob
    September 17, 2009

    i am continually reminded of George Carlin’s observation about, what we call today, teh stoopid:

    when you think about how stupid the average person is you have to rememeber, by definition, half are even more stupid.

  11. #11 DrA
    September 17, 2009

    Based on my discussions with creationists, they back themselves into an intellectual corner by insisting upon inerrancy of the Bible, and such absolutist thinking as “if any part of it is wrong, the whole thing is useless.” I asked a bunch of such students if they thought Aesops fables were useless in teaching morality even though they are obviously fictions. Hmm, of course they never had thought of that. But literal interpretation of scripture seems to be at the bottom of the whole problem.

  12. #12 Ian
    September 17, 2009

    1. Cultural context -> 2. Inability to adjust to a changing world (“I want my country back”) -> 3. Rejection of change -> 4. Anti-intellectualism -> 2. Inability to adjust to change…

    And, of course, the cultural context includes belief in creationism, in white supremacy, in American exceptionalism, and in capitalism.

  13. #13 Averge Person
    September 17, 2009

    when you think about how stupid the average person is you have to rememeber, by definition, half are even more stupid.

    ..wait. I don’t get it.

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    September 17, 2009

    On the other hand, the “average person” in much of the world has no problem accepting evolution.

  15. #15 noel
    September 17, 2009

    Some Underlying Thing = Desire for Happy Thoughts like “I can live forever.”, and “God is on our side.” Facts like evolution threaten the whole delusional mindset. That’s why conservatives are suspicious of any education beyond the three R’s.

  16. #16 median person
    September 17, 2009

    I wish Carlin knew stats.

  17. #17 Roadtripper
    September 17, 2009

    Rob @10: technically, the 50th percentile of ‘teh stupid’ would be the ‘mean’ not the ‘average.’ But considering how mean, stupid and average the typical person is….

    Rt

  18. #18 L Fleming
    September 17, 2009

    Teh stoopid don’t want to die. Ever and ever.
    they will cling to whatever makes that promise, no matter how stoopid.

  19. #19 Roadtripper
    September 17, 2009

    Correction: That probably should be ‘median’ not ‘mean’ but it’s not nearly as funny that way. Damn.

    Rt

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    Median: This would be a good time to remind the audience of the definition of “average.”

    The Average is any of the generally used measures of central tendency. Many people mistake “average” for “mean” which is the sum of the variates divided by the number of the variates. A highly skewed (non-normal) distribution would result in an “average” (mean) in which it was NOT the case that one half of the variates (IQ values, for instance) are on one side of the mean.

    If he meant when he said “averge” the median, then by definition one half of the people are on one side of the average. I assume that is what he meant.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    A, Roadtripper, I didn’t see your comment. See my comment. “Average” is the generic term for central tendency. You are using the word “average” for “mean”

    A common, minor goof. But, one that can be exploited usefully. Buy me a beer some day and I’ll tell you a great story of how that happened once.

  22. #22 planetspinz
    September 17, 2009

    Creationists are just following their own bronze age sun rotates around the flat earth bible – their god kicked his kids out of paradise because they ate from the tree of knowledge – so if they aren’t going to piss off their god, they can’t eat them tree of knowledge god made little green apples

  23. #23 median person
    September 17, 2009

    I’m just tired of that jerk average taking all my glory. It was just like that growing up, too, mom always liked him best.

  24. #24 mode person
    September 17, 2009

    You think you’ve got it bad?

  25. #25 Arithmetic Mean.
    September 17, 2009

    Everybody thinks I’m an asshole who can count.

  26. #26 Jason Thibeault
    September 17, 2009

    Buy me a beer some day and I’ll tell you a great story of how that happened once.

    *squint*

    I see what you did there.

  27. #27 Jared
    September 17, 2009

    Isn’t the mean/median thing a moot point with IQ because it is a normal distribution?

    Greg, you missed out on denialism, incredulity, and paranoia which don’t all come from churchiness or poor education.

  28. #28 Degrees of Freedom
    September 17, 2009

    Thank you for the N’s..

    … nom nom nom …

  29. #29 Kate from Iowa
    September 17, 2009

    So you’re saying, Jared…that the root cause is teh crazee?

  30. #30 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    Jared: Isn’t the mean/median thing a moot point with IQ because it is a normal distribution?

    It would be yes, but even though you can say “I got here in a vehicle” when you might have arrived via bus or bike, you will want to get the terminology right when you go to buy or rent “a vehicle.”

  31. #31 Standard deviant.
    September 17, 2009

    See you at the pawn shop.

  32. #32 Bernoulli Distribution
    September 17, 2009

    If it’s not one thing, it’s the other.

  33. #33 ildi
    September 17, 2009

    I vote w/ Ian: anti-intellectualism combined w/ American exceptionalism.

  34. #34 thom
    September 17, 2009

    Something called “sensor1.suitsmart.com” is causing my browser to ‘load’ your site forever. it is all there as far as I can see but it is still loading for a very long time.

  35. #35 Pete Rooke
    September 17, 2009

    Not that I agree with you but you’re missing geographic isolation in which particular brands of ‘crazy’ are allowed to flourish unchallenged.

  36. #36 Ted
    September 17, 2009

    Greg, you missed out on denialism, incredulity, and paranoia which don’t all come from churchiness or poor education.

    I would have thought that would all be subsumed under “teh stupid”

  37. #37 Irene
    September 17, 2009

    @6 – Interesting concept, shoving it down people’s throats and thus guaranteeing low rates of participation as soon as a choice is available. I wonder who thought of that?

  38. #38 Paul D.
    September 17, 2009

    Interesting point about “average” and “mean.” I have been saying this wrong for quite some time. BTW, the Internet agrees with you (sorry, I had to check)

  39. #39 Enoch
    September 17, 2009

    The problem is, you have not really distinguished among your variables. They are all three words for the same thing.

  40. #40 katydid13
    September 17, 2009

    There are also people with excellent educations, who are churchgoers, who believe in evolution and are just as baffled by the creationists as you are. As much as you might like to believe it those aren’t mutually exclusive world views for lots of people.

  41. #41 Stephanie Z
    September 17, 2009

    katydid13 (and person upthread whose comment I can’t see because something is borked on Sb at the moment), there are also atheists out there with very little education who reject evolution because they ain’t gonna let nobody tell them nothin’ nohow. Mentioning correlation and speculating on the relationships is not the same thing as embracing a Venn diagram of perfectly overlapping circles.

  42. #42 uniform distribution
    September 17, 2009

    It all evens out in the end.

  43. #43 multimodal distribution
    September 17, 2009

    Not necessarily

  44. #44 trend line
    September 17, 2009

    follow me

  45. #45 Lisa A
    September 17, 2009

    [11]I asked a bunch of such students if they thought Aesops fables were useless in teaching morality even though they are obviously fictions.

    And it may well be that some of the fables are better than others as morality object lessons.

  46. #46 Andrew
    September 17, 2009

    Let me know when the tee-shirt comes out!

  47. #47 Fiona
    September 17, 2009

    Most Americans are not creationists. They are simply afraid to admit that they either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t tow the line.

  48. #48 Donna B.
    September 18, 2009

    Is anyone actively looking for a logic gene yet?

  49. #49 third world student
    September 18, 2009

    Greg, thanks for the explantion about average. You explained it better than my statistic’s teacher.

    About the god stuff, I think maybe some people just can’t tolerate the idea of dying.

  50. #50 abb3w
    September 18, 2009

    “Parents” would appear to be one “some underlying thing”. Or, more exactly, “teh stupid crappy edumacated churchy parents”.

    Pete Rooke: Not that I agree with you but you’re missing geographic isolation in which particular brands of ‘crazy’ are allowed to flourish unchallenged.

    Yes; you have to consider information flows in space, as well as over time. So, “teh stupid crappy edumacated churchy neighbors” also.