Monday, January 7, 2008

God of War (on Science)

So one friend of mine is reading the entire transcript of the Scopes Trial in preparation for a course he's teaching on American religious history. He told me that more people believe in creationism now than in 1925. Another friend mentioned that according to Schott's Miscellanies, a recent survey of college graduates revealed that one-third expressed a belief in the literal creation story of the Christian Bible.

Both of these assertions seemed so beyond belief that I had to do a bit of cursory research myself. But I quickly corroborated both of these claims: according to, around 50% of Americans believe in literal creationism. A staggering statistic. In that context one cannot be surprised that American teens are among the worst in science, compared to their international peers. What was more surprising is just how out of step Americans are on this "issue." Again, (emphasis mine):
By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science [0.14%]... A British survey of 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican bishops and Protestant ministers/pastors showed that: 97% do not believe the world was created in six days, while 80% do not believe in the existence of Adam and Eve.
In other words, most scientists and religious scholars have wildly divergent ideas about the nature of the universe than mainstream Americans. Meanwhile, Fundamentalist Christians applaud figures that demonstrate that Americans have lost all interest in actual science, and use them to demonstrate the correctness of their positions. The insanity of that logic is apparent on its face. But it doesn't seem to matter. Mike Huckabee won in Iowa. The God of Ignorance is ascendant.

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