Only Turkey is worse

This week's issue of Science includes the results of a survey that doesn't exactly provide cause for celebration. LiveScience has a preview for those averse to reading journal papers:

A comparison of peoples' views in 34 countries finds that the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to public acceptance of evolution. Only Turkey ranked lower.

Only Turkey. Sigh.

The meta-survey found:

A dichotomous true-false question format tends to exaggerate the strength of both positions. In 1993 and 2003, national samples of American adults were asked about the same statement but were offered the choice of saying that the statement was "definitely true, probably true, probably false, definitely false," or that they did not know or were uncertain. About a third of American adults firmly rejected evolution, and only 14% of adults thought that evolution is "definitely true." Treating the "probably" and "not sure" categories as varying degrees of uncertainty, ~55% of American adults have held a tentative view about evolution for the last decade.


Regardless of the form of the question, one in three American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution, a significantly higher proportion than found in any western European country.

Another sigh.

These results should be troubling for science educators at all levels. Basic concepts of evolution should be taught in middle school, high school, and college life sciences courses and the growing number of adults who are uncertain about these ideas suggests that current science instruction is not effective. Because of the rapidly emerging nature of biomedical science, most adults will find it necessary to learn about these new concepts through informal learning opportunities. The level of adult awareness of genetic concepts (a median score of 4 on a 0-to-10 scale) suggests that many adults are not well informed about these matters. The results of the SEM indicate that genetic literacy is one important component that predicts adult acceptance of evolution.

The politicization of science in the name of religion and political partisanship is not new to the United States, but transformation of traditional geographically and economically based political parties into religiously oriented ideological coalitions marks the beginning of a new era for science policy. The broad public acceptance of the benefits of science and technology in the second half of the 20th century allowed science to develop a nonpartisan identification that largely protected it from overt partisanship. That era appears to have closed.


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bwaha ha... our plan is working perfectly. (z. smiles approvingly and begins scheming for next facet of plans) Creationists taking over... ha ha..

Ok, just kidding. Hey, give us a chance to gloat for a few hours at least. :)