Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Polls, Evolution, and Stupid Americans
I work with a man from Sweden obsessed with and apalled by Americans' belief in creationism. Every so often, he sends out a statement of disbelief, along with a link to polls concerning Americans and evolution: http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm.
According to the Harris poll, roughly half of people believe humans and apes had a common ancestor, that fossil evidence supports evolution, and that other plants and animals evolved. The same poll also says that 64% of people believe God created humans in their current form, so some people both believe humans and apes had a common ancestor and that God created humans without evolution.
Does expressed belief in creationism indicate an anti-science attitude? Only a third of people believed that religion and science conflict with each other. Most people, including me, have a deeply rooted belief that humans are special and distinct from other animals, so it is difficult to accept evolution on an emotional or instinctual level. If the scientific community can support its viewpoint that creationism differs from a scientific theory and should be left out of science curriculums, we will gain more ground than by belittling people's religious belief and feeling incredulous that religious people exist. Let's support the teaching of evolution without comment on religion.