Pharyngula

I see stupid people

Halloween is coming, and you can enjoy the haunted house theme of the 78th Carnival of the Godless.The Quackometer tells us that we’ve been very naughty boys and girls, and of course it’s perfectly natural at this time of year to hang around in the Boneyard. That’s nothing, however, I have something far more terrifying to show you.

Yesterday, I naively asked how stupid the Discovery Institute thinks people are. This was a mistake. I suspect the Discovery Institute thinks people are pretty darned stupid. Worse, I’m afraid they might be right.

Both Orac and Mark note the recent series of mind-numbingly credulous articles from CNN. One reports that a third of people believe in ghosts, which is horrific enough, but then CNN has to go and pander to their gullible demographic and publish an article on what to do if your house has ghosts. Their final answer: get an exorcism done, or learn to live with the spirits. Gah.

Here’s one factoid that burned me, though, and made me cringe deep inside.

The most likely candidates for ghostly visits include single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. By 31 percent to 18 percent, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.

Liberals do have an unpleasant infestation of New Agey nonsense in our midst, and I knew that…but non-church-goers also swallow that nonsense? Just more evidence that the sets of the superstitious and the religious are not equal.

And then Greg Laden has to remind us all of another frightening fact, that one third of the life science teachers in Minnesota are creationists.

So it looks like the answer is that about a third of the American population, spread across the political spectrum, is mostly hopeless, and that should terrify you all.

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    [...] the Discovery Institute [...] I’m afraid they might be right.

    LEADING EVILUTIONIST IS AFRAID DISCOVERY INSTITUTE “MIGHT BE RIGHT”!!!1! Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Quotemine Generator®.

    ———-

    The 19 Hz infrasound is very interesting.

    ———-

    bad, evil, and generally not a good idea.

    LOL!

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    [...] the Discovery Institute [...] I’m afraid they might be right.

    LEADING EVILUTIONIST IS AFRAID DISCOVERY INSTITUTE “MIGHT BE RIGHT”!!!1! Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Quotemine Generator®.

    ———-

    The 19 Hz infrasound is very interesting.

    ———-

    bad, evil, and generally not a good idea.

    LOL!

  3. #3 tus
    March 12, 2008

    i think some people just take horror stories too far.

    i dont mind people beliving in ghost mosts of the time…exorcism is a bit much…esspecialy when its done for possession. this bit of magic ritual still exists…and it would have all but disapeared were it not for “the exorcist” which is a sad thing in and of itself..

    ghost stories are nice, like any kind of fantasy it can be fun, ammusing, sometimes even thought provoking. im a fan of fantasy..but im also a fan of realizing that it IS fantasy…its easy to get pulled into it, to lose oneself to fantasy, to blend reality and fantasy…and sometimes good things come from it, nice works of fiction (some of which piss off religious people like harry potter…ironic i think…followers of one form of fantasy acting against another…) most fantasy writers are at least to some level detached from reality, they see things a bit differently, and the readers get pulled into this world and sepperate themselves, if only for a while…some just dont come back…

    its a tough one this, that sense of wonder and enjoyment which comes from a nice fantasy is good, the detachment from reality can be beneficial…but its also bad at the same time…

    for most cases though…its not too bad, japan has some of the smarter people in the world, are a leader in industry…cant speak to philosophy but certainly a great contributor to science…but still one of the most superstitious of the developed countries. most people would say they believe in ghosts…but would conceed not too seriously. more of a…blind acceptance but skeptical when pushed to answer. religious ritual is frequent but actual importance of religion is considered low.
    an interesting median.

    sometimes i like to entertain the prospect of a ghost in the house, just for fun. develop a method of communication and automate it through a computer and hook it into a text input program and run that through a text to speech program…have a friendly conversation.
    but thats just because im wierd and that idea ammuses me some. ^_^

    if asked i would certainly say no, i do not believe in ghosts…nor dragons, magic, or fairies…but i still love reading about them, and i love the legend of zelda.

    i think most just take it a level further. no real surprise actually, it just means an even greater level of interest in the subject, its what most would experience but a bit further.

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