A lot of my fellow ScienceBloglings have written about the attempts in many Floridian municipalities to weaken biology education, so I won’t waste bandwidth revisiting that here. But what amazed when I read this article about Floridian voters’ views of evolution was the response to the question “Which of the following comes closest to what you think evolution is?”:
How in the Intelligent Designer’s green earth do the same number of people define evolution as creationism as do correctly define evolution? Remember, this was not a question about what was the ‘correct’ version of how life came to be, simply a multiple choice question about what evolution is. If you look at the follow on questions in the article, I think it’s safe to say that most of the creationists defined evolution as creationism (or intelligent design creationism). This means that these creationists oppose evolution–which they misdefine as creationism–meaning that…they…oppose…creationism.
Mad Biologist’s brain…locks…up…
Two explanations come to mind:
- Many people are fucking morons.
- Evolution is a trigger word.
As readers of this blog know, I’m always a big fan of explanation #1, but the trigger word hypothesis is interesting. Essentially, many respondents heard the word “evolution”, shut down any sort of intelligent thought, and pooped out a definition of creationism. I’m not sure what this means, except that a large fraction of the public is already lost to us. No amount of explanation will break through: evolution is TEH EVIL!! (never mind that it is also TEH REALITY).
This must have implications for combating the creationist controversy, but I don’t have a clue how to proceed. Clearly, logic isn’t going to work here.
I guess it’s back to name calling….