The Loom

Apparently so.

…Actually, this new Gallup report shows that 35% of people believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution is not supported by the evidence, while another 29% don’t know enough to say, and 1% have no opinion. So perhaps I should say, wrong or uninformed.


  1. #1 Faylene
    November 19, 2004

    This is a sad reflection on Science literacy in America. We need to find ways to show young people how science works so that this ignorance does not continue into the next generation.

  2. #2 darwinfinch
    November 19, 2004

    In my experience in talking with the Xian anti-evolution crowd, on the net and in person casually, I’m sorry to say that I feel the great majority are not simply ignorant, but proudly LAZY and (therefore?) fiercely ignorant. They (not being of low intelligence) often are well aware of the idiocy and illogic of their own beliefs, but see no reason to admit so, since this might require them to “think” about something for evem minutes at a time; and with no one paying them!
    I began following this debate some years ago, and it has, along with the campaigns of the last six years, convinced me against my will that ignorance is not the real problem, esp. in the USA, but conscious dishonesty.

  3. #3 gvander
    November 20, 2004

    I find this whole thing amusing. Darwinistic evolution is being whittled away day by day by new discoveries, particularly in Cosmology. I listen to the young-earth pseudo-science fringe with their literal 6-day creation dogmatics and truely agree that is not science. Unfortunately their influence over American opinion is not in direct proportion to their knowledge of science. On the other hand, my daughters have to learn the principles of evolution that either are out of date in their textbooks or elements of evolution that just have been plain proven wrong. The textbook manufacturers just can’t keep up with “real science” evidently.

    I admit I live on a different planet than the previous two posters and I live in a red state to boot. I have been influenced by at least two scientists who give solid evidence that evolution is a theory in trouble. I am referring to Dr. Walter Bradley and yes, I also admit I am influenced by the anthropic principle arguments of Dr. Hugh Ross. Darwinistic (read that Naturalistic) Evolution does not compute when you bring knowledge of all the sciences together and particularly when you look at the thermodynamics and probability of Darwinistic evolution as we were once taught.

    I feel for the two who posted before me, because the young-earth crowd is picking up steam among those not as astute as you obviously are and as I like to think I am. This is not a happy thing to report. I don’t think their views have anything to do with true science. As long as there is an Institute for Creation Research and a modern day self-proclaimed Martin Luther and one time science teacher, Ken Hamm, actively enlightening the masses, those statistics are going to get more dismal. The home school movement will only accelerate this process. Yes, there are a lot of lazy and dishonest thinkers out there and getting more organized every day.

  4. #4 Jason Potter
    November 21, 2004

    What does Cosmology have to do with Biological Evolution?

    What has been proven wrong in your daughter’s textbook?

    Bradley and Ross are physical scientists, they aren’t really trained in the biological sciences. I wouldn’t call them exactly qualified to make scientific conclusions about biological evolution. These probablity arguments are one big incredulity argument and I won’t even comment on thermodynamics irrelevence.

  5. #5 Robert O'Brien
    November 22, 2004

    Of far more concern to me is mathematical illiteracy in this country. Opinions on evolution don’t much concern me.

  6. #6 Augusta Era Golian
    November 22, 2004

    Anyone who thinks the problem is just in evolution is dead wrong. What we are seeing in Texas is a spread in doubt from evolution to the rest of science. Science teachers in general seem to be becoming suspect. There seems to be some feeling that looking at nature too closely is somehow questioning His work.

  7. #7 Jari Anttila
    November 22, 2004

    “Darwinistic (read that Naturalistic) Evolution does not compute when you bring knowledge of all the sciences together…”

    So it’s naturalism that really bugs us, isn’t it?
    No matter how God did it as long as He did it supernaturally. Give us some miracles and we’re satisfied.

  8. #8 Travis Garrett
    November 22, 2004

    I assume that gvander is refering to the apparent ‘fine tuning’ of the physical constants in our universe, such that if they were slightly different then the stars would nova too quickly or everything would collapse into black holes or the universe would expand too quickly… and so on, so that the conditions would be inhospitable for the evolution of life. But once you have our atomic chemistry, long lived stars, and a flat universe, life arises via natural darwinian evolution just fine. And the cosmological fine tuning has lots of tentative explanations – in string theory you can compactify the extra dimensions in many different ways, giving rise to different effective physics at our scale, and a common idea now is of the ‘string theory landscape’ where you have lots of different domains (perhaps separated by vast distances by inflation) with different physics in them, and we, not surprisingly, find ourselves existing in a region that can give rise to the spontaneous evolution of complex organisms. See, for instance, Lenny Susskind’s paper on the subject.

  9. #9 Adam
    November 23, 2004

    Science is a day to day irrelevance to most people since they happily use its products instrumentally without being curious about how things work. Perhaps questioning and curiosity have been strangled by the educational system? Or the instant answers provided by mass media don’t correctly convey the struggle to produce those same answers.

    None of the current arguments about God and Science are new in essence. Greek philosophers were accused of atheism for denying the divinity of the heavens, medieval scholars argued over the ability or otherwise of human reason to understand the processes of the world, and many couldn’t accepted Newtonian ideas in the 18th century because they somehow did away with a need for a physically involved God.

    Perhaps what is needed is public education in the essentials of theology – not orthopraxsis but the philosophy of God – so people can decide for themselves what makes sense of the World. Then they might be immune to the vague arguments about the Divine and Nature’s interrelationship that plague current discourse. Creationism is fundamentally flawed because it assumes God is exactly like a human engineer working on some mighty machine – as if engineers ever brought forth anything ex nihilo?

  10. #10 Maracucho
    November 24, 2004

    There’s lots of hostility out there, and a feeling that “we don’t need your science”. Mr. Bush seems to follow that approach, pushing scientists off national advisory panels if they speak openly in favor of things that he doesn’t like. His ownership society will starve the public schools of money, and teachers will become even more demoralized. If science were only of esthetic interest (it has great esthetic interest to me), this wouldn’t matter. Since science bears on many practical realities, such as climate change and antibiotic resistance, the combination of an ignorant public, a corporate controlled government, and stupefying media is dangerous. The mass media personalize every issue- we get two screaming heads- Fred Singer who assures us that global warming is a myth and a nerdy scientist on the other side saying just the opposite. Children must learn about human vanities- consider Peter Duesberg, a decent intelligent microbiologist who went out on a limb against HIV causing AIDS and whose pride won’t let him admit error. He once claimed that oncogenes didn’t cause human cancers, but I haven’t heard that recently- both of those views are flat wrong. Can genetics, diet, drugs, etc. influence the course of AIDS and the likelihood of getting it? Yes, of course, but Duesberg’s basic premise is flat wrong.

    Singer and Duesberg, stubborn as they are, are much better informed than the geologists, biochemists etc who speak for Creationism. Joe Sixpack hears the talking/screaming heads and can only decide who to accept based on style, dress, manner of speech etc. Most of our schools are weak(not just about science, but about history and how every nation has religious leaders telling the people that god is on their side); our media, including NPR and PBS, increase public ignorance. US culture is self-destructive. Pay attention to Potter’s comment about how home schooling is going to clarify things. We have 3 million people under age 21 in LA County. Perhaps 2% of them have parents who are educated and economically comfortable enough to home school their children. The assumption is that the other children can get a cheap education and become janitors, waiters, etc. I think that is a formula for first scientific backwardness and later civil war.

  11. #11 Faylene
    November 27, 2004

    I think it would be useful if people concerned about education, especially parents, could avoid setting up false dichotomies. We need a society that is numerate, literate and scientifically literate. We desperately need to promote tolerance and respect for the wisdom of different traditions. Many people of deep faith are able to reconcile religion and science. It seems to me that curiosity about how the natural world works is the realm of science. The difficult moral issues in our lives can be addressed by religion, philosophy or other personal approaches without literal reliance on ancient creation stories.
    This is a difficult time for those of us who regard education as central to our hopes for a better future but we must not give way to elitist sentiments if we wish to have a voice in our children’s future.
    (I live in a red state too!)