Stranger Fruit

Go USA! We’re #2 …. kind of …

Science has just published a short comparative study of international acceptance of evolution. Thirty-four countries were polled, and guess what? We score 33rd – edging out Turkey for last place.

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Reference is, Jon D. Miller, Eugenie C. Scott, and Shinji Okamoto (2006) “Public Acceptance of Evolution” Science Aug 11 2006: 765-766.

Comments

  1. #1 s. zeilenga
    August 10, 2006

    bwaha ha… our plan is working perfectly. Creationists taking over…

    ok, just kidding. :)

    z.

  2. #2 Bruce Thompson
    August 10, 2006

    Who’s number 1?

  3. #3 Friend Fruit
    August 10, 2006

    The answers make more sense when you know what the question was, and how it was phrased:

    Beginning in 1985, national samples of U.S. adults have been asked whether the statement, “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals,” is true or false, or whether the respondent is not sure or does not know.

  4. #4 Shelley Batts
    August 10, 2006

    Its really, really scary how well this matches up with the happiest countries in the world.

    http://scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle/2006/07/nothings_rotten_in_denmark.php

  5. #5 John Lynch
    August 10, 2006

    Bruce,

    If you are to believe the DI, #1 would be those nice Islamic fundamentalists in Turkey. Harun Yahya is doing a hellofa job!

  6. #6 Eric Juve
    August 10, 2006

    And you can bet the people represented by the red will see this as progress.

  7. #7 Bruce Thompson
    August 10, 2006

    Sorry, I meant the other way. I belatedly realized my short statement would be interpreted as referring to Turkey. You should strike a Yahya pose for your Blog photo, it makes him look very authoritative and knowledgeable.

    This of course will be interpreted by many as meaning that any understanding of evolution is unnecessary for economic and military power since the US is the last great super power. The wussies in Europe who accept evolution had to have the US save their butts several times by the antievolutionist US.

  8. #8 CanuckRob
    August 10, 2006

    I note with regret that Canada wasn’t included (I recall we rank about midway between UK and US from a previous survey).

    It would have been interesting to see China. Perhaps that would adress the issue of military and economic power (not yet but within a generation?). I have no idea of how China would have ranked, does anyone?

  9. #9 AndyS
    August 11, 2006

    I’d like to see a state-by-state results for the USA. Then we could decide which states to kick out in order to bring our average up to something respectable. GWB would approve since that’s pretty much the way No Child Left Behind is done..

  10. #10 Bruce Thompson
    August 11, 2006

    Now I understand, it’s a blue state red state thing.

  11. #11 Alex Barth
    August 11, 2006

    would be great to have a comparison to non-european countries.

  12. #12 Coffee
    August 12, 2006

    Since there are obviously only 34 countries in the world, that means that we’re doing a great job of supressing evolution!

  13. #13 Cash
    August 12, 2006

    Actually, wouldn’t that low ranking be an endorsement of America? It means that other countries get handed the information from science or government leaders and believe it like dogma but Americans want to be convinced, right? Sure, it means Americans don’t believe what you want them to believe … but Jerry Falwell or whomever is probably blogging about you the same way.

    Getting acceptance for Evolution is easy; you just have to prove it.

  14. #14 Bruce Thompson
    August 12, 2006

    This of course will be interpreted by many as meaning that any understanding of evolution is unnecessary for economic and military power since the US is the last great super power.

    I was right.

  15. #15 Saheli
    August 14, 2006

    I love how Iceland is the true #1, b/c they also believe in faeiries and elves, right? Why can’t we have that kind of perfectly practical belief system, hmm?

  16. #16 Jason
    August 15, 2006

    Well, Cash, who would you rather have “convince” Americans about science: decades’ worth scientific authorities or Kent Hovind?

  17. #17 redhat
    August 15, 2006

    Would those scientific authorities be the ones who seem to always be finding “the missing link”? The ones that, upon further investigation, always come back and say something like this: “Well, it turns out that it wasn’t the missing link after all, but we’ll find it someday!”

  18. #18 AitrusTekis
    August 15, 2006

    Wow this is kinda really sad. And all those countries that have been around longer then us believe in evolution more then us… I wonder if that says anything. Of course this country was founded by the people who didnt believe the same as Europe… and they were prudes -_-

  19. #19 Dave
    August 15, 2006

    Hey Cash,
    Evolution is a theory, not a fact. Any true scientist will tell you that. And theorys aren’t proved conclusively, however much factual matter there is – and there is lots of factual material supporting the Theory of Evolution.

    However, Creationism is treated as fact, dogma even. With no proof at all. And please don’t tell me that the Bible, a religious book, written about religion is proof that said religion is truth.

  20. #20 ozcan
    August 15, 2006

    Humankind descended from Austalathorpres: Billy was the first.
    The fact that Australia and Canada are not represented in this
    baseline shows just how floored it is… .

  21. #21 JayT
    August 15, 2006

    Hey Dave,

    “Evolution is a theory, not a fact.”

    The definition of the word “theory” in science is quite different from that in everyday usage. Theories in science are proven. They are not mere postulates. Consider the “theory of relativity” and “theory of gravity”. No sane educated person would think relativity is “just a theory and not a fact”.

  22. #22 Dru
    August 15, 2006

    Blah, Evolution and Creation aren’t mutually exclusive, but this result shouldn’t be a shock, after all, most American’s couldn’t discern the difference between the two words anyways, they both contain more than 8 letters. Education != Literacy

  23. #23 Shane
    August 15, 2006

    So, the consensus is: It is more likely that the beginning of life was due to a series of coincidences?

    Ludicrous.

    There is evidence to support the existence of natural selection, not the spontaneous appearance of life. There is a much higher probability that life was created. It takes more faith to believe in evolution as the beginning of life than it does to believe in creation.

  24. #24 Mike Dickison
    August 15, 2006

    I don’t know about China, but there’s another study that ranks Canada up with Germany and Norway in acceptance of human evolution–nothing to be ashamed of. Interestingly, they took the next step and plotted evolution-acceptance against measures of religiosity like church attendance and atheism (and the USA once again looks pretty sad). I actually just posted a comparison of this study and the Science paper (above), with refs.

  25. #25 Girl from Iceland
    August 15, 2006

    I´m from Iceland and I can verify that almost nobody here belives in elves and faeiries. I even thought that more than 80% of the population here agreed that the evulution theory is true, at least do I not know anybody who thinks otherwise…

  26. #26 Cash
    August 15, 2006

    Jason, using an Ad Verecundiam logical fallacy ( some scientific authorities say it it true so it must be true ) doesn’t convince many scientists and sure won’t convince creationists.

    Dave, circumstantial evidence can’t even convict me of a speeding violation, I doubt you will get away with convicing people there is no god.

    All I am saying, and I will say it again, is that I believe American skepticism of evolution ( or any theory ) is an endorsement of the intellectual strength of the culture. Europeans believed the planet was flat and that they could transmutate lead into gold also.

  27. #27 Hildur
    August 15, 2006

    Speaking for the Icelandic people: It is a myth that we generally belive in faeries and elves. I don’t know anyone who does, but I know a bunch of foreigners who think most of us do.
    Some centuries ago the belive in elves, trolls and other creatures may have been common in Iceland, but times change.

  28. #28 Hax
    August 15, 2006

    Just thought I’d point out that the “people used to think the earth was flat” thing that is always thrown around is quite false in most cases. Especially considering the egyptians 4000 years ago not only figured out that the earth was spherical, but figured out to quite an accurate degree the circumfrence of the earth through use of shadows and basic trigonometry.

  29. #29 Peter
    August 15, 2006

    Yes, infact even the ancient Hebrews knew the world wasn’t flat as it was referred to as a circle (or sphere, depending on the translation) in the Old Testament. But God knew a thing or two about that, so its not entirely fair to give them the credit for figuring it out themselves.

  30. #30 peter
    August 15, 2006

    Though it is true that scientist widely accepted that space was filled with an “ether” that allowed light, which they “knew” was a wave to pass through it. If not for ether they would have had to admit that they did not fully grasp something that was right in front of them… sounds familiar…

  31. #31 Nick
    August 15, 2006

    Cash,

    You said “circumstantial evidence can’t even convict me of a speeding violation”. This is in fact the sort of argument one would make against the existence of god. You are presuming the existence of a god to start with, which is where your logic goes wrong.

    For example, an equivalent argument would be:

    There is a planet nineteen billion miles away that is made from cheese. Unless you can prove that this planet doesn’t exist, that is a fact.

  32. #32 Nick
    August 15, 2006

    Shane,

    “It is more likely that the beginning of life was due to a series of coincidences? Ludicrous”

    Read up on evolution. It is a complete misconception that evolutionary theory relies on chance.

  33. #33 Jake
    August 15, 2006

    Whoever keeps saying that a doubting of evolution proves the intellectual power of Americans is using completely backwards logic. Not believing in a FACT (a theory is a hypothesis that CAN be, and usally is, proven) shows stubborn ignorance. I have no pity for the willfully ignorant.

    P.S. God obviously does not exist; religion is the opiate of the masses and a sign of weakness.

  34. #34 Evolution a fact
    August 15, 2006

    University of utah have reversed the evolution on mice, that supports evolution beeing a fact open your eyes already.
    Visit webpage below to see more about reversing the evolution.

    http://www.unews.utah.edu/p/?r=073106-1

  35. #35 Dave Martin
    August 15, 2006

    Nick,

    “It is a complete misconception that evolutionary theory relies on chance.”

    If not chance, then what would you call the “jump” from single-celled to multi-celled organisms? No one has ever been able to explain this to me sufficiently… so give it a shot.

  36. #36 John Corbin
    August 15, 2006

    Silly question. Of course there is evolution. The argument is whether Darwin’s Natural Selection applies universally on micro and macro biological scaled. That we can pass traits from species-member to species member does not foretell such change on the macro scale. It is a very pretty theory, but so was Communism, and only 100,000,000 people died for that lovely idea.

  37. #37 Silver
    August 15, 2006

    Evolution makes no claims about the orign of life. It only explains (and from now on, predicts) what happened after the first replicator appeared on Earth. The original life form need not even be what we would call a cell. It simply had to have the ability to make copies of itself.

    As for the origin of life itself, I do not find creationism to be a satisfactory explanation because it doesn’t explain anything. Assuming that life was created, I’m then moved to ask the questions ‘Where did the creator come from?’ ‘How was the creator created?’ and ‘Why did the creator decide to make life on Earth?’

  38. #38 Delbert Clyde
    August 16, 2006

    The dumbing down of America is not complete, certainly we can do better than 33rd! Come on America…I’m count’in on ya. Next, let’s see the numbers on belief in the Easter bunny! Hoo! Hooooo! Does offer an explanation for who may have actually voted for W…….thanks to all 3 of you!

  39. #39 michael
    August 16, 2006

    The international community might be starting to think we’re fundamentalist fanatics. Who else rejects fact for superstition?

  40. #40 Nick
    August 16, 2006

    Dave,

    “If not chance, then what would you call the “jump” from single-celled to multi-celled organisms? No one has ever been able to explain this to me sufficiently… so give it a shot.”

    Genetic mutation is random. Natural selection is not.

    Think about the lottery. You would not claim that it is incredibly unlikely that someone would ever win, because the odds of doing so are tiny. Given a sufficiently large number of ticket holders, when the draw is made, it is actually very likely that one or more ticket holders will have the winning numbers.

    Natural selection efficiently selects the very small minority of beneficial mutations from the whole body of mutations.

    There isn’t a magical jump from single to multi-cellular organisms, in the same way that there isn’t a magical jump from replicating protein chains to specialized cells.

    There are all sorts of multi-cellular organism – those that are just a collection of identical cells (like a sponge), those that have tissues (like a jellyfish) and those that have specialized organs like mammals.

  41. #41 Rico567
    August 16, 2006

    And the fact (…like evolution) that there is a controversy over a theory is a problem. Why? There seems to be room in myriad other areas for argument, but the “rigid, unyielding, conservative” view here seems to line up on the Darwinian side, if we ignore for a moment the intellectual dishonesty of “creation science.” If we can still admit that what is true will out in a fair fight, and we still have an open society where all ideas may be considered, what’s the problem? Would a declaration by the Supreme Court that Natural Selection is true, in all cases and for all time, help those who are so upset about….a graph?

  42. #42 Phil
    August 16, 2006

    Would those scientific authorities be the ones who seem to always be finding “the missing link”? The ones that, upon further investigation, always come back and say something like this: “Well, it turns out that it wasn’t the missing link after all, but we’ll find it someday!”

    But that’s the great thing about scientists – they can accept when they’ve got something wrong and then do their best to get it right in future. They also often describe their ideas as ‘theories’ because although they seem to be correct, they haven’t been proved yet (and maybe never will be). Most Christians on the other hand firmly believe that only they have the ultimate truth and no one or nothing will change their belief in that. Which seems the more reasonable approach?

  43. #43 Steven Hasty
    August 16, 2006

    This graph shows only European countries, Japan, and the U.S. (I’m counting Turkey as a European country, a whole different debate, but they want EU membership). One really can’t overlook this, as it skews the graph heavily in favor of more secular countries. You mustn’t claim that the U.S. is second-to-last when 160 countries are missing from the list, most of whom would likely score lower than the average European country on this chart.

  44. #44 macrumpton
    August 16, 2006

    I seem to recall that the #1 believers in evolution (Iceland) has the highest proportion of PHD’s of any country. More education = More evolution belief?
    What does that say about the US?

  45. #45 Shane
    August 16, 2006

    “Think about the lottery. You would not claim that it is incredibly unlikely that someone would ever win, because the odds of doing so are tiny. Given a sufficiently large number of ticket holders, when the draw is made, it is actually very likely that one or more ticket holders will have the winning numbers.”

    I’m not sure how the lottery example is relevant to your case. The lottery is an organized system rules invented by and enforced by intelligent beings. The natural order of things is to move towards a state of disorder, not order, when left undirected.

    However, for the sake of discussion:
    Yes, someone will win the lottery. The larger the pool, however, the less likely it is that YOU will win. It is incredibly unlikely that the series of events that happened in order for life to exist occurred without direction from an intelligent being.

  46. #46 Gustaf
    August 16, 2006

    Shane, Cash:

    You both seem like intelligent people in the way you write and express yourselves. No one is denying the existence of a supernatural being (god). But while we have no solid proof of god, we do have proof of evolution: comparison of fossils, proto-human and animal remains… even examples of evolution within recent history! While I respect that you two have developed your own opinions on this subject, I think you need to do a little unbiased research and maybe revise them a little.

  47. #47 Nick
    August 16, 2006

    “The natural order of things is to move towards a state of disorder, not order, when left undirected.”

    The direction comes from natural selection.

    “Yes, someone will win the lottery. The larger the pool, however, the less likely it is that YOU will win.”

    You don’t need to win. It’s only necessary that someone wins. The genetic improvements of the “winner” will be passed on to the next generation.

  48. #48 Shane
    August 16, 2006

    @Nick – That logic is illogical. Are you trying to personify “Natural Selection”? Natural selection does not make decisions, it is merely a label for an observed state. Also, in determining a “lottery winner”, you’re assuming that a particular path will be followed. There are too many potential paths to declare one the winner. In a lottery it is known beforehand what the winner will have to produce in order to be declared the winner. This cannot possibly be determined with natural selection. Your logic is faulty.

  49. #49 Noumenon
    August 16, 2006

    Speaking of the “jump” to multi-cellular organisms, I found a citation on talkorigins.org that says this has actually been observed in the lab. I blogged about what I found here.

  50. #50 Nick
    August 16, 2006

    Shane,

    Yes, you’re right! I was just using the lottery example to try to explain that evolution is not a chance process.

  51. #51 Ronny M
    August 16, 2006

    American’s are a skeptical lot. Generous, trusting to a point, but religiously skeptical of all the new found ‘knowlege’ contained in science these days.

    As far as “evolution” goes, I have yet to see a definition that most scientists agree upon, let alone those with a more religious bent. Most of the top countries on the list are swarming with residents who have little to do with religion or religious teachings these days, having kicked the scoundrels out of their former glory holes.

    Japan is a notable exception, though, interestingly, Japanese claim to be something like 65-percent Buddhist and 85-percent Shinto. Let’s not miss the hereafter on a technicality.

    Having looked at the arguments move from right to left and left to right again and again through the years, I’m inclined to go with more of an ‘intelligent creation’ than ‘evolution by pure chance’. There’s lots of big gaps in that old fossil record, you know.

    Interesting, too, is that the survey claims to be ‘international’ in scope, yet avoids half the world’s population in the results– where are thou, Oh China, Oh India? (not to mention Africa or South America).

    I’d prefer to see an independent survey of world scientists and their individual definitions of evolution. One million scientists surveyed might get one million definitions.

  52. #52 Jake S
    August 16, 2006

    What about the Theory of Universal Gravitation? Should we stop teaching Newton because gravity is “just a theory”?

    Secondly, and from a purely theological point of view, how can anyone claim that a supreme creator couldn’t devise a system such as evolution? Isn’t that sort of thinking placing limits on a supposedly limitless being?

  53. #53 Silver
    August 16, 2006

    The “winner” of the evolutionary “lottery” is the organism that reproduces before it dies. Until the advent of medicine, most humans did not live to adulthood.

  54. #54 James Shiell
    August 17, 2006

    A couple of points:

    1) A scientific theory is not the same as the generally accepted definition of theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

    2) For those who cannot grasp how life ‘spontaneously’ appeared, check out Dawkin’s ‘The Selfish Gene’. Regardless of whether you agree with him or think he’s a tit, it nevertheless gives a very good overview of evolution and how life probably began. It’s all chemical reactions people, nothing more.

    3) Assume you go for the creation argument, you’re just treading water – after all, who created the creator?

  55. #55 Snicker
    August 17, 2006

    FSM, FFS.

    venganza.org

  56. #56 Darren
    August 17, 2006

    I created the creator – prove me wrong!

  57. #57 alec
    August 17, 2006

    Who needs science when you have the platypus?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/platypus.html

  58. #58 Andy
    August 18, 2006

    @Shane Actually I think Nicks logic is spot-on. Your statement about the natural order leading to disorder is also true. Genetic mutations left to their own devices would keep changing generation after generation ad-infinitum. Natural selection is the guiding factor to keep these mutations in line. So I would have to say that natural selection does make decisions, not conscience rational decisions though.

    The lottery “winner” is the one mutation out of a billion that gave its particular lineage a leg up over the rest of the sludge, and allowed it to survive when all the other sludge dried out. When Nick says “You don’t need to win. It’s only necessary that someone wins.” he is absolutely correct. The fact is, “you” probably won’t win, your genetic contribution to the species has every chance of getting snuffed out completely on an individual basis. Collectively we are the product of billions of “lottery winners”, but for every winner there was a billion billion losers.

    I believe the biggest barrier to the acceptance of evolutionary theory is the inability of people to grasp the concept of time on a scale of more than a pitiful human lifespan.

  59. #59 Shane Shepherd
    August 18, 2006

    The biggest barrier to evolution theory as the origin of life is it’s plausibility, not “the inability of people to grasp the concept of time on a scale of more than a pitiful human lifespan”. It is not plausible.

    There is no credible scientific evidence that evolution is the origin of life. Scientific proof needs reproducible results in order to be conclusive…this has not been done. It is, however, possible that scientists will be able to show this some day, but not probable (cite: “one mutation out of a billion that gave its particular lineage a leg up over the rest of the sludge”). The odds (one in a billion in the case of this citation) are simply against it.

    Men have been trying to prove that evolution is the origin of life for some time now with no success. You might say this is a directed effort by intelligent beings. How much more implausible is it that sludge became life with the guidance of “natural selection”, the inanimate description of an observed pattern? Not impossible, but improbable.

    Would you agree that it is possible that a higher power (God, if you will) created life and/or directed the creation of life?

    If not, why not?

    If so, is it not more probable that this one in a billion occurence was planned. Yes! You are always more likely to reach your destination when you plan the trip. It is possible that you will never reach your destination if you don’t plan your trip.

    The lottery scenario assumes there will be a winner. If left to chance perhaps the wind would blow just right one day and a winning lottery entry would be “guided” to the winner circle with no intelligent involvement. Perhaps not. There may never be a winner in that scenario. Possible, but not probable. (side thought: If there is a lottery, where did it come from?)

    If an intelligent being plans the lottery, sets up the circumstances in advance, and then either selects the winner or devises a mechanism to select the winner…it is highly probable that a winner will be selected. In fact, in this scenario, there are only a few circumstances that would prevent a winner from being selected!

    Summary:

    - Evolution was the origin of life – possible, but not probable

    - God created life – possible and probable

  60. #60 Shane
    August 18, 2006

    @James –

    1) A scientific theory is not the same as the generally accepted definition of theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

    Wikipedia is not necessarily a credible source of information.

    2) For those who cannot grasp how life ‘spontaneously’ appeared, check out Dawkin’s ‘The Selfish Gene’. Regardless of whether you agree with him or think he’s a tit, it nevertheless gives a very good overview of evolution and how life probably began. It’s all chemical reactions people, nothing more.

    I have not read this, it sounds interesting though. I’ll put it on my list.

    The “chemical reactions” necessary to produce life from “sludge” have not been reproduced by human beings…and therefore are still “theory”. If you don’t like the word “theory”, substitute the word conjecture or speculation; Both words capture the spirit of my intended meaning.

    3) Assume you go for the creation argument, you’re just treading water – after all, who created the creator?

    The creator is. It is ironic that the evolutionist has no problem accepting the concept of billions of years of lottery but cannot accept the concept of a creator who pre-existed. Both are supernatural.

  61. #61 Fin
    August 18, 2006

    bruce thompson is a jackass. Oh us americans have bailed out the europeans so much. That doesnt make you and your friends lesser idiots (no offence to the few intelligent americans out there). You are an idiot with a fair lesser intelligence than most countries due to i suspect mass inbreeding and a ridiculous education system. your idiot country wont even allow world renowned published college text books to be sold in your country because oh ‘ we have a better way to teach’. yeah right. blow it out your ass with your white supremist religous farce way of thinking. If your people were not so thick and didnt act like sheep the world would be an almost perfect place. you dont realise how your arrogance angers a real person. BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS. Just because your american does not mean people actually care about you. Cause they dont. Chances are your a fat slob that lives behind his computer ordering his food and all lifes supposed necessities from the net. oh and colour is how its spelled not color. Did i mention your an idiot??

  62. #62 Noumenon
    August 19, 2006

    Shane — I don’t believe the theory of natural selection is supposed to explain how life arose from sludge. Natural selection explains how things that reproduce with variation come to appear as though they were designed. It couldn’t begin to work until living things appeared and began to replicate themselves.

    Life-from-sludge is something scientists have hardly any explanation for and don’t understand well. That’s why they spend more time defending natural selection, which explains how life developed after it arose from its mysterious origins.

  63. #63 GM
    August 20, 2006

    Oops. Canada (The second largest country on the planet) was overlooked . . . . . . . again.

  64. #64 Andy
    August 21, 2006

    As has been said by others, evolution does not claim to explain the moment that life began. What it does claim is after that initial spark of life, there began a series of events that is still underway today, unaided by any higher power than nature itself. Your argument about the plausibility of it all sounds the same from both sides of the fence.
    When you state,”There is no credible scientific evidence that evolution is the origin of life.”, certainly you can see that the same statement holds true for creationism. The difference being that science is still looking for the answer and religion claims to already know it, so no further investigation is needed. Nothing to see here folks, keep moving!
    Is it possible that a “higher power” created life here, yes. If you count a more advanced spacefaring race sending a contaminated probe to this world, or making a pit stop to empty their latrines. An all knowing supernatural being created in the minds of men, highly unlikely.

    The self-satisfying claims of creationists since these debates have began, “I didnt come from no monkey!” are true to a certain extent. If you go back far enough they came from slime and ooze, the only difference between them and me, is that I’m ok with that.

    The journey thing…” You are always more likely to reach your destination when you plan the trip”.
    If you dont plan your trip, your always at your destination.

    Since you take the whole lottery concept out of context, I will just drop it.

  65. #65 greyburny
    August 23, 2006

    That explains how Bush got elected.

  66. #66 Lou
    August 24, 2006

    Evolution through natural selection is not a “lottery”. To simplify it so is ignorant. We can all agree that the environment changes, we have proof that the world has changed complexions a thousand times over. We also have proof that genetic material randomly mutates (this is how cancer happens). There is reproducable, scientific evidence for every aspect of evolutionary theory: Computer models, genome research, genetic modification (germ line and somatic cell therapy are how we create our food these days)…

    Given that we know the world has changed dramatically in the past AND we know that species undergo constant change (ask the AKC how they determine breeds in dogs), then why is it difficult to agree that, when environmental change happens some genetic traits will prove to be beneficial in the new environment? And further, these traits will likely propagate due to the success they bring for individuals??

    Or are we to believe that God was out of ideas when he created humans so he gave them loads of genetic material that is identical to roundworms??? And furthermore, when this God continued to pull the strings of biology he/she decided to have genes mutate in order to creat interspecies variation…and, even though MOST of these mutations prove to be disastrous and/or life-ending for the individuals it’s perfectly OK, because the suffering of an individual doesn’t matter? If you want to insist that a creator started life then you have a problem…because most of what scientists have found as proof of evolutiuon turns out to be pretty darn bad news for individuals. Given the choice between genetic inheritance and a sadistic creator, I’d like to believe that no one was behind all the suffering that our own biology causes us….

    You can’t have your creator AND an omniscient, benevolent God….the two are contradictory…

    And please, don’t glorify Job in order to explain this problem. That story was written as an attempt to explain this obvious contradiction.

  67. #67 John
    August 25, 2006

    Evolution by means of natural selection can be stated as a simple logical proposition. Therefore anyone who wants to disprove evolution only has to disprove one of the following three statements which go into the logical proposition. Here they are:

    1. Life exists.
    2. Life reproduces itself over time.
    3. Individual instances of life have physical characteristics than can vary between individuals (Example 1. some humans have brown eyes, others have blue eyes; Example 2. some baby cows are born with two heads).

    These three propositions then lead logically to the following:

    4. Some individual instances of life reproduce more copies of themselves than others because different physical traits must interact with the earthly environment in different ways that may be either 1. beneficial to the reproduction of that life form, 2. not beneficial to the reproduction of that life form or 3. inconsequential to the reproduction of that life form.

    This implies the logical conclusion 5.

    5. The physical composition of populations of individual life forms change over time because traits promoting reproductive success cause themselves to be reproduced with greater frequency in the next generation and traits that are less successful cause themselves to be reproduced with reduced frequency (this is the phenomenon that evolution by natural selection describes).

    Thus the logical proposition based on the numbering of the statements above would be:

    If 1, 2 and 3 are true
    Then 4 is true and consequently 5 is true.

    So if you would like to disprove evolution all you need do is disprove any of the statements one through three, which would disprove four and its implied consequence five, thus DISPROVING EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION!!! Good luck.

  68. #68 Sean
    August 25, 2006

    From the 8/22/06 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education:

    Educators Question Absence of Evolution From List of Majors Eligible for New Grants

    “Like a gap in the fossil record, evolutionary biology is missing from a list of majors that the U.S. Department of Education has deemed eligible for a new federal grant program designed to reward students majoring in engineering, mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages.

    That absence apparently indicates that students in the evolutionary sciences do not qualify for the grants, and some observers are wondering whether the omission was deliberate.”

    To read the full article, click here.

  69. #69 bert
    August 26, 2006

    can you americans stop badmouthing comunism as an example? 100 000 000 people mostly died of starvaition due to the fact that the US decided they were going to both invade (1918) and stop selling grain to them.

    PS Ok britian and france helped

    PPS EVOlUTION IS THE SAME KIND OF THEORY AS THE THEORY OG GRAVITY!

  70. This is a good start, but we must make sure that Americans know and accept scientific truths as taught in the Holy King James Bible, with no alterations to make them more politically correct for modern liberals:

    http://www.heterodoxy.com/societyofchristians/biblically_correct_science_facts.pdf

  71. #71 Epistaxis
    September 26, 2006

    So many people here are saying that Americans’ disbelief in evolution is a testament to our skepticism. Is that the same form of skepticism that manifests itself in the disproportionate number of us who believe in ESP, UFOs, and astrology as well? I don’t think “skepticism” is quite the right word for that.

  72. #72 Elvin
    September 30, 2006

    The saving grace is that where it counts (among the scientists, physicists and astronomers) the US believes in evolution. I’m surprised there’s still a debate, i thought the fossils settled the issue…missing links and all.

    Relying on the supernatural explanation defies logic in explaining the unknown. It reminds me of the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” a native in the Kalahari Desert encounters technology for the first time–in the shape of a Coke bottle. I found this to be very amusing, but I also began to see parallels between his thought process, and that of the modern day Theist. Both are using CAVEMAN LOGIC to explain their world. I fail to see the difference between “hmm, bottle fall from sky, must be gods” and “hmm, trees and butterflies prove the existence of god.”

    In both of these cases, someone is simply replacing one unknown for another unknown, but proving nothing!

  73. #73 Zach
    March 15, 2007

    If God did have anything to do with Earth, would we be having this debate?

  74. #74 nothingpletty
    June 5, 2007

    The creationists (won’t dignify them with a cap., believe that Adam and Eve were real, not allegory. They have no proof of that except some words on a page. You are not going to shake them in the belief.

    10,000 French man can be wrong, but not 60? of the semi-literate population?

    We’re going backwards, my friends. A new Dark Age is blossoming.