Pharyngula

Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance

We’ve got a new Gallup poll on evolution to agonize over. It’s nothing but bad news—we are a nation of uneducated morons. Gary chose to weep over the political correlation: look how membership in the Republican party is tied to ignorance about science.

i-fb41e1b19ddeb31137574fb0f1006fb2-partisanship.gif

The clear majority of Republicans are screwed up. And you know, I’m not too happy with the Democrats, either. These results tell us that the population across the board is messed up, confused, lied to, and festering in ignorance—it’s just that right now the Republican party is a magnet for the stupid.

What’s the cause? Look a little more closely. Here’s another chart that exhibits an even more marked difference.

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Yeah, being a Republican may not be causal, but going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage. This is just a correlation, of course, so how about asking those people who reject evolution why?

%
I believe in Jesus Christ 19
I believe in the almighty God, creator of Heaven and Earth 16
Due to my religion and faith 16
Not enough scientific evidence to prove otherwise 14
I believe in what I read in the Bible 12
I’m a Christian 9
I don’t believe humans come from beasts/monkeys 3
Other 5
No reason in particular 2
No opinion 3

The overwhelming majority credit their religion; the two secular excuses (“not enough scientific evidence” and “we didn’t come from no monkeys”) are common enough phrases among the creationists that I expect a majority of those are ultimately due to religion, too. So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

Comments

  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 11, 2007

    going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage.

    There is certainly a correlation between religion and miseducation/non-education and I suspect between miseducation/non-education and performing less well on analysis or planning, for the groups if not for specific individuals.

    Certainly it seems as religion is an indication of a problem. Of course, without specific evidence of involved phenomena one could also claim that brain damage could facilitate religion. Which is not so believable but less scary. :-o

    Evolution is not a matter of belief it is a matter of understanding the evidence.

    Philosophy can use belief to try to define knowledge (“justified true belief”). But that is too general and confusing here. This has more to do with accepting the justification than the degree of belief or even the degree of understanding the technical details of biology.

    So I prefer to say “accepting the evidence”.

    [Uh, and prompted by the discussion of stupidity of viewpoints: it is stupid not to accept the evidence scientists accept. Hints: disbelief or pseudoscience vs tested knowledge, amateurs vs profession of experts, ...

    (But that doesn't mean one accepts every peer-reviewed result out there, scientists doesn't do that either. They may form a consensus however, or some schools of preferred models.)]

    PG:

    an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    How so? Philosophers prefer to conflate them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism ). So you must always define your atheism and agnosticism, at least roughly.

    More to the point, what would be the difference here, and what would non-belief in gods have to do with it? Both groups prefer to use non-religious organizations for these matters. “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy”, indeed.

  2. #2 Feòrag
    June 12, 2007

    No-one seems to have noticed how the troll Peanut Gallery is going directly against the reported words of Jesus Christ here. I mean, look at Matthew 6: 1-4:

    [1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    [2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    [3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    [4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    There again, I’ve noticed the reported words of Jesus Christ tend not to be important to those who are loudest about invoking his name. Even more amusing, by quietly going about their charitable work with whatever organisations there are, and not setting up exclusive “religious” charities, atheists are behaving in a more Christian manner than many Christians.

  3. #3 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    This comment is for sailer.
    Evolution is a belief like any other. Could you please explain to me in just what lab you are talking about? There is no lab.
    I am not debunking scientific techniques or theories that have been proven conclusively in nature, or at least demonstratable in lab conditions. I am not saying that natural selection is baseless. It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another. What exists is alot of circumstantial evidence i.e. bones in the ground.

    There is a big differance between rationalism and reason. The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat. They based this on circumstantial evidence. They saw with there own eyes that the earth appeared flat, so it must be flat. Today we find bones in the ground. What is are conclusion? We evolved from them. This is rationalism, not reason. What is needed is hard core evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence.

  4. #4 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    I stand corrected