On Darwin's birthday, 4 in 10 believe in evolution

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Gallup poll shows that 39% of people in the U.S. believe in the theory of evolution. Other graphs on the page show that level of education is correlated with a belief in evolution (belief drops to 24% among frequent church attenders), and 44% of people don't know which scientific theory Charles Darwin is associated with.

In short, the Pastafarians are winning. Hurray!

On Darwin’s Birthday, Only 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution

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  1. I think the question asked is too simple.

    1. There is the fact of evolution. We have observed speciation occurring. Things evolve, that is a fact.

    2. There is Darwin’s theory of evolution, a no longer accepted theory to explain the fact of evolution through natural selection.

    3. There is the now-mainstream scientific theory of modern evolutionary synthesis, which combines population genetics with the Darwinian idea of natural selection to explain the fact of evolution.

    So, asking people if they believe in the fact of evolution is equivalent to asking them if they believe in the existence of giraffes.

    Asking people if they believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution is equivalent to asking them if they believe in Newtonian mechanics.

    Asking people if they believe in the current paradigm of evolutionary theory is equivalent to asking them if they believe in Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.

    I could construct an answer to the question asked that was “none of the above.” Specifically: I do believe that evolution exists. I am not satisfied with any current theories that attempt to describe the reason that evolution exists.

    And this is part of the problem surrounding evolution (and the portrayal of scientific theories in the media in general). There is no distinction made between proven facts, scientific theories that attempt to explain those facts (and are disprovable, and make predictions that can be tested), and common-parlance “theories” that attempt to explain those facts, but are completely useless in terms of making predictions, and in most cases cannot be disproven by any means.

  2. About a year ago my wife and I visited a Darwin exhibit at the Field museum in Chicago. She grew up in Northern Ireland and was educated in a Catholic school. Partway through the exhibit she started crying. She said she was never taught this stuff, didn’t really understand it until the exhibit, and felt stupid.

  3. It’s not a religion so it doesn’t matter whether people “believe” in it. It’s like asking people if they believe in the Big Bang or relativity (leaving aside the blank stares most people will have to a question like that).

  4. The reason more young people believe in evolution is because the older you get, the more you see in this world, the more you realize there ain’t no evolution going on.

  5. 36% said “no opinion”, because American Idol was on and they were holding a beer. Yesterday anyway. In a few month, 36% will say “no opinion” because they will be too tired from their four part time-jobs.

  6. I am not sure why I find this so troubling. Is it the 25% that ignore logic and reason? Or the 36% that just don’t give a crap?

  7. Fact and theory are different things, but if you’re asked: “Evolution, Yes or No?” you should answer “Yes” without parsing the question or scrutinizing the questioner’s intent.
    If you’re not a fool.

  8. There’s that word, “belief.”

    Do I “believe” in gravity? Not really. I mean, I wouldn’t put it that way. It’s just there. I believe I understand, to a greater or lesser extent, the theories and experimental science behind our understanding of gravity. But I don’t trust in the notion of gravity other than accepting that it is unlikely it will stop working, or is part of some vast machine run by god.

    I can’t think of a better word, but there is no way that one ought to believe in a scientific theory the way one can believe in a religious framework.

    I’m not sure it’s possible to ask the question they pose in this poll and get any sort of reasonable results.

  9. “Do you, personally, understand the theory of evolution, do you not understand evolution, or don’t you have an interest in and curiousity about the world around you?”

  10. You’re asking the wrong question. Evolution isn’t a faith based idea. The question is; Do you know what evolution is?

    If you answer no then you may want to look into it. Odds are good your religion is making you look, sound, and act like a tool.

  11. Dmatos @3 got me wondering how many victims of the sabotaged education system here “believe” in Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. I bet “no” would be about the same and “no opinion” would be much higher.

  12. “It’s not a religion so it doesn’t matter whether people “believe” in it. ”

    Religions and scientific theories both make claims about reality. so in this they are similar. Whether or not I believe gravity will carry me to my death if i step off the golden gate bridge today has a strong bearing on whether or not i live till the end of the day.

    In a more extended fashion, if more people believe in evolution, more people will study it, understand it, and find ways to use that understanding to benefit mankind. Check todays news about a guy made immune to HIV via gene therapy.

  13. My feeling is that this poll is bunk. What does it mean to “believe” in evolution? Really there’s nothing to believe in. The actual theory isn’t complicated at all. The real question is: “Do you believe that the diversity of life on earth is due to evolution?”

    1. The actual theory isn’t complicated at all.

      And yet, even BB readers, when describing evolution, frequently describe intelligent design.

      The giraffe doesn’t develop a long neck because the leaves are higher up. The long-necked giraffe lives to breed because he has a longer neck than the other giraffes.

  14. #8 @Takuan correlation between American Idol-watching and number of part-time jobs?

    Also:
    #7 @Keneke evolution = a theory. Theory != fact. Ergo, evolution != fact. However! incorrect != theory until theory != better theory (at a point such that (better theory) becomes sufficiently larger than (theory) by n value).

  15. “Religions and scientific theories both make claims about reality. so in this they are similar. Whether or not I believe gravity will carry me to my death if i step off the golden gate bridge today has a strong bearing on whether or not i live till the end of the day.”

    “Claims” are called Hypothesis… gravity is so far beyond hypothesis it’s called “Law.” Your comparison is off a smidge.

  16. Are you now or have you ever been evolved?

    Remember, you can’t say evolution without…almost saying “evil.” Or something.

    Anyway. Darwin makes baby Jesus cry and shit himself.

  17. Not true. ‘Gravity’ isn’t “falling off a bridge”. Gravity is an attempt to account for why things do. In the same way, we used to have a theory of ‘levity’ to explain why smoke goes up instead of down. Smoke still goes up, even without the theory. Smoke is the fact, not the ‘levity’ explanation. And our understanding of what makes us fall will continue to change. Affirming your “personal belief” in it is the pinnacle of religious stupidity.

    Those who raise their right hands and swear their “personal belief” in Darwin belong need a real religion. And have 4 out of 10 also actually read ‘Origin of Species’???

  18. I believe in “Devolution.”

    Interesting timing on the article though. I read something online a couple of days ago about the possibility that, despite some opinions that human evolution has slowed down or stopped, that it’s actually speeding up.

    My first thought was, “That makes sense, there are more people in the world and more genes being mixed, etc.” And sure enough, that’s the prevailing thought in that area. (I felt so smart.)

    So one possible end result is one or more splits in the human race because of the increased rate of evolution. On the other hand, that chance of splits is, at the same time, decreased because of our current ability to jet across the world, which means that there’s less separation of various cultures.

    It was a great read. Ah, here’s the story at National Geographic…

    http://tinyurl.com/yo958u

  19. I just figured it out. 62% if the people surveyed are evolving backwards and, in a sense, parallel… into sheep.

  20. I gotta chime in here. You can skip this if you hate me.
    1. I believe the Bible.
    2. I believe in evolution.
    Whaaa? Genesis chapter 1, verse 21: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged foul after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
    I don’t have to look far to see that I am different from my father, and my sons are a little different from me. The above verse does not contradict evolution, to me, anyway.
    Other Christians are offended by the notion that we evolved from monkeys- that’s what’s really bugging them.
    You expect something wacky from me, so here is my answer for all of you:
    God created Adam full grown, as tho he had been born and had a childhood and developed into adulthood, like we did. Maybe God created the Earth full grown, as if it had developed exactly as the theory of evolution describes. Complete, even with the bones of creatures that hadn’t actually existed.
    What I do know is that we don’t know. We can only follow a trail of evidence. If you saw Adam, you would probably assume that he had been a child once. You’d be wrong.
    I can’t prove what I believe- if I could, you wouldn’t need faith to accept what the Bible teaches. God wants you to have faith in Him.

  21. “Religions and scientific theories both make claims about reality. so in this they are similar. Whether or not I believe gravity will carry me to my death if I step off the golden gate bridge today has a strong bearing on whether or not i live till the end of the day.”

    Nah! If you step off the golden gate bridge, you’ll plummet whatever you believe about it. The point is that I accept the theory of evolution has merit, but I don’t think I’d have signed up as a “believer”: it’s still a theory, and it has flaws.

    I think the question was really badly framed and the results are unreliable as a result.

  22. There’s a great BBC movie “Einstein and Eddington” about the relationship between, well, Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington. The interesting part to me was that Eddington, a life long Quaker, fought hard against the prevailing Newtonian mindset, not to mention the patriotic fervor of WWI, to give Einstein his due and bring his theories to the wider world. Going so far as to mount an expidition to photograph an eclipse in 1919 that gave relativity a solid footing.

    So when I see and hear people who are religious choosing scientific ignorance as a lifestyle I’m disheartened. If one believes in a God (on a mountain of Gods) then is not the pursuit of all knowledge of creation a most Godly activity?

    But I’m a fool.

  23. @ #22 posted by TroofSeeker

    I don’t want to attack religion or spirituality, but I do have to ask, other than words in a book, what makes you believe the story of Adam is true? Is it strictly faith? Even if evolution is still a theory, there is plenty of evidence in support of it, and none that I’ve seen that points to a god. Of course, as has been said before, absence of proof is not proof of absence. That’s why I never say never, and I spout all sorts of philosophical tidbits. : )

    I read recently somewhere (my memory is so bad for details) that someone said, jokingly, that God is an atheist, since faith requires belief without proof. And since God knows he/she/it exists, he/she/it has proof and is therefore incapable of having faith, and therefore is an atheist.

  24. So Troofseeker – if God created everything in progress, and just made it look as if it were old, then I’ve got a couple of questions…

    1. Why is God screwing with his creation in this fashion? Is he “testing” us? When we arrive at Heaven believing in only natural causes, will he jump out and yell “Gotcha!” before pulling the lever on the trap door?

    2. If the Omphalos hypothesis is true, then how can you be sure he didn’t create all of the universe last Thursday?

  25. @22 “Other Christians are offended by the notion that we evolved from monkeys- that’s what’s really bugging them.”

    It’s too bad that they don’t understand that we didn’t evolve from monkeys, rather, we share a common ancestor. There’s no reason to be offended.

  26. Troofseeker

    We can only follow a trail of evidence.

    Yes, but please accept that you admittedly stopped following that trail at a time and place where you found comfort.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, it works for you.

    Not for me though.

  27. I’d be interested to see a study on how many people still believe in witches, lol. One of them actually could’ve ended up being our VP right now… and for each one that can go in public, there must be hundreds more, cowering under tables and beds, like little dogs in a never-ending electrical storm.

  28. @ #34 posted by bobhughes

    I know plenty of people that believe in ghosts. I can’t say I do, though. Or that I don’t…

  29. Hardly anyone objects to the theory of Evolution on scientific grounds. Resistance usually boils down to preference for a competing, usually religious, explanation for the existence of species. For that reason don’t find it necessary to seriously consider those objections in a reality-based world.

  30. “Accept”, not “believe”, as in , “do you accept (the theory of) evolution?
    As to “ain’t no evolution going on”: remember, populations/species evolve. Individuals do not.

  31. Gadgets123:

    I have never heard anyone who understands and is convinced by the science behind evolution and natural selection call themselves “a student of Darwin”. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding Darwin’s place in evolutionary theory; it would be like an atheist declaring himself “a worshipper of the Pope” in order to try to sound Catholic.

    This fundamental wrongness doesn’t help your assertion that you have well-informed religious friends. They must all be Trappists, to judge by the overtly faithful I see arguing against evolution.

    By the time I got to the idea that “the Left” would be running “reconditioning camps”, the smell of BS was too strong to take.

    FAIL

  32. troofseeker, how can you believe evolution and the bible since they clearly cannot be reconciled? for example, evolution clearly shows that adam and eve never existed, but as i’m sure you realize there a numerous such examples. also, why does god want us to believe in it? it does not reflect well on the creator of the universe that it is so insecure!

  33. @dmatos #3:

    2. There is Darwin’s theory of evolution, a no longer accepted theory to explain the fact of evolution through natural selection.

    Huh? I’ve never heard any respected scientist say Darwin’s theory was wrong. Incomplete maybe, since he had no way of knowing the actual mechanism through which traits were inherited, but that’s miles away from “no longer accepted.”

  34. People really need to stop saying they “Believe” in Evolution. This is one the most damaging misnomers for lay people.

    I ACCEPT the theory of evolution.

    I BELIEVE in fairies, unicorns, god, etc.

    Scientists do not BELIEVE in theories – they accept or reject them based on the evidence they are presented with.

  35. Other Christians are offended by the notion that we evolved from monkeys- that’s what’s really bugging them.

    To me, it seems like what’s really bugging them is the way they perceive evolutionists as thinking “we’re so much smarter than you because we don’t believe in God.” That’s what seems to bug my very Christian dad, anyway. He doesn’t give a shit about monkeys, he just doesn’t like it when people think they’re smarter than he is.

  36. To paraphrase Pratchett, I don’t believe in evolution. I know it too well. It would be like believing in the postman.

    39>25, yay.
    39<44, boo.

    I would be real interested in the percentage of non-churchgoers who marked themselves as believing evolution.

    Also in the percentage of non-theists (of all flavours) who do.

  37. Deconstructing this poll is pointless – everybody knows what they are really after when asked about evolution reagrdless of the possible clumsy phrasing. These results are depressing and make current and future disasters that much less a surprise

  38. “we’re so much smarter than you because we don’t believe in God”

    And Atheist are really bothered that we deserve to be tortured in fiery caves for all eternity for no swearing loyalty to every sect that wonders by.

    You dad is upset that people say they are right and he is wrong?

  39. If you read ‘No opinion’ as ‘I really don’t understand this stuff’, rather than ‘I can’t be bothered’, it demonstrates a commendable level of self-awareness with respect to educational level amongst the American public.

  40. I have never been able to fathom in what respect the concept of *belief* is in any way distinct from that of *opinion*. Except perhaps in the way that society deals with each.

    A high school biology teacher, and all around wise fellow; (Mr. Doug Bybee), was very clear and blunt in telling us, his students, that belief held no place in scientific, rational study; and that evolution should neither be believed in nor not believed in, but rather accepted for it’s explanatory power, on the basis of it’s scientific merit, until or unless such time comes that a more accurate or useful theory is presented.

    Putting Evolution and ID or Creationism into the same conceptual framework, whether that is that of belief or theory, just plays into the hands of those who are trying to create confusion.

    Methinks we need more Doug Bybee’s out there teaching us kids.

  41. I would have difficulty responding to this survey. I don’t “believe” in evolution any more than I “believe” in heliocentrism.

    Parents pass on their traits to their offspring. This is self-evident.

    The earth revolves around the sun. This too is self-evident.

    However in both cases the acceptance of that evidence requires the active application of thought.

  42. @ #40 pyota
    “how can you believe evolution and the bible since they clearly cannot be reconciled?”

    While I am not a religionist the usual answer is that these stories are metaphors. Adam and Eve did not really exist, the story is meant to convey deeper truths that are of more importance than the simple question of were they historical persons or not.

    This seems really hard for certain atheists to understand. Everyone seems to be so literal minded these days, both theists and atheists. If you really want your head to asplode try reading some of the Death of God theologians.

    “In short, the Pastafarians are winning. Hurray!”

    What? No Antipasto?

  43. Jeebus, there is some really misplaced pedanticism going on in this thread. The poll is clear; it doesn’t matter if anyone polled understands the intricacies of the theory or not. It’s trying to find out whether normal people, who don’t necessarily ruminate on these things, think evolution plays a part in their understanding of life’s origins.

    It doesn’t matter if their understanding is accurate or if they just ‘know’ “yeah, we used to be monkeys” (even if their understanding is wrong). It only matters whether they ascribe the mechanics of our existance to the notion of evolution, or not.

    Now, whether you ‘believe’ in statistics or not is another matter.

  44. ..these stories are metaphors … This seems really hard for certain atheists to understand.

    It seems a lot harder for some Christians.
    __

    Also, I think I’m AntiPasto. Nice wordery, I’ve felt it a long time now and just needed that phrase to give light to my darkness.

    There is probably no Flying Spaghetti Monster, now stop worrying and enjoy the meal.

    Thank you Noen.

  45. God. I can just see these poor bastards, going about their business, when all of a sudden some dude with a clipboard asks if they’d “mind answering a few questions”.

    Then, BAM! DO YOU BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION?

    Ummm… I, errrrr, well I, umm, think that…. put me down as “I don’t know”.

    I mean 1% of those surveyed just had their heads explode right there on the spot. Blap! Just like that. No answer. Subject deceased.

    It’s really out of control. This shouldn’t be a controversial issue in the 21st century.

  46. @ #8 TAKUAN – Please leave beer out of this. If anything, beer is a nice comparison for evolution and natural selection. When I was a kid, there was a handful of macro-brews for my dad to choose from. When I got old enough to drink, I put pressure on the market to evolve. Now, there is a vast array of slightly different micro-brews for me to choose from.

    If my brain was all “science-y” instead of drunk, I’d be able to form my thoughts better and then you’d understand how beautiful it all is. Your loss.

  47. This Gallup survey is worded very poorly.
    Or extremely cleverly, depending on what the intended application of the data was…
    “Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution…?”
    what? that it exists?
    as a narrative-strategy for meaning-making?
    as something a lot of people don’t really understand?
    a comfort when I’m lonesome?
    as sacred Truth?
    as blasphemous abomination?
    as a good recipe for lasagna?

  48. You lot manage to put a lot of baggage onto the word “believe” …

    I believe that dropping things onto my feet will hurt. I believe that the theory of gravity can precisely predict the speed these things will have on impact. I believe that the theory of evolution is a good explanation of how our current selection of species came about.

    Granted, to believe in something does suggest a more religious perspective, but it doesn’t have to imply it. It’s an imprecise way of speech, sure – but it’s also way more convenient than “Given the observations I’m aware of, the theory that seems to work the best is evolution, so I will use that as my default model”, or however you would like to phrase it.

    (Remember, it’ll always be a theory, never a fact – though one with so much supporting evidence that it’s very unlikely anything other than slight variations will supplant it.)

  49. I live in a nation of fuckin morons. troofseeker, thank you for illustrating the point so damn accurately! do you even know what “god” you are reffering to? baal? moloch? ra? fsm? so incredibly stupid. sigh.

  50. I’m back, so I’ll answer some of youse guys.

    DBARAK “…I do have to ask, other than words in a book, what makes you believe the story of Adam is true? Is it strictly faith?”

    I don’t know for sure. Wasn’t there. But if God can make the heavens and the earth, I suppose He can make a man.

    CALADUS: “So Troofseeker – if God created everything in progress, and just made it look as if it were old, then I’ve got a couple of questions…
    1. Why is God screwing with his creation in this fashion? Is he “testing” us? When we arrive at Heaven believing in only natural causes, will he jump out and yell “Gotcha!” before pulling the lever on the trap door?”

    No; that’s just silly. First, He’ll judge you for the sins you haven’t been forgiven for, then He’ll pull the lever.

    “2. If the Omphalos hypothesis is true, then how can you be sure he didn’t create all of the universe last Thursday?”

    If I was sure, I wouldn’t be TroofSeeker. I’d be TroofKnower. I do remember last Wednesday, tho. I think.

    MDH: “…but please accept that you admittedly stopped following that trail at a time and place where you found comfort.”

    I met Jesus in 1971. Didn’t believe in evo at the time, but I’m still learning. We are the ants standing before the cold fusion reactor facility, theorizing about what goes on in there. One day I’ll know, and laugh at my own stupid theories.

    PYOTA: “troofseeker, …why does god want us to believe in it? it does not reflect well on the creator of the universe that it is so insecure!”

    Do you want your children to believe in you?
    You (and I) are free to believe what we want. God’s not gonna force you to accept Him or to live forever (by forever I mean beyond the realm of Time- the dimension Eternity).

    I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. I just want youse guys to know that I’m not conflicted between evolution and religious belief. Peace!

  51. Let’s Get Rid of Darwinism

    Darwin was an amazing man, and the principal founder of evolutionary biology. But his was the first major statement on the subject, not the last. Calling evolutionary biology “Darwinism,” and evolution by natural selection “Darwinian” evolution, is like calling aeronautical engineering “Wrightism,” and fixed-wing aircraft “Wrightian” planes, after those pioneers of fixed-wing flight, the Wright brothers. The best tribute we could give Darwin is to call him the founder — and leave it at that. Plenty of people in history have had an -ism named after them. Only a handful can claim truly to have given birth to an entire field of modern science.

    The Origin of Darwin

    Moreover, while many of his contemporaries approved of slavery, Darwin did not. He came from a family of ardent abolitionists, and he was revolted by what he saw in slave countries: “Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have stayed in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal …. It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty.”

  52. I believe it’s time for me to pour some wine (I’m out of microbrew, sadly) and watch “David After Dentist” yet again.

  53. Just a thought that I thought might help “explain” evolution in a timeframe people can understand: take that iPod out of your pocket. Compare it to the original iPod (assuming you are not still using an original iPod) — what happened? Evolution.

  54. [minTphresh , February 12, 2009 5:45 PM
    I live in a nation of fuckin morons. troofseeker, thank you for illustrating the point so damn accurately! do you even know what “god” you are reffering to? baal? moloch? ra? fsm? so incredibly stupid. sigh.]

    Mintie, my friend! What nation would you like to live in? If I had told you about anti-matter and black holes 30 years ago, you’d have said the same thing. I was refering to Yahweh, I Am, Creator of the universe. Those others are made of stone and wood. Chill, buddy.

  55. God Terraformed:)

    Anyway, Fred Hoyle has long since demolished Darwinism:

    BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION
    F. HOYLE and N.C. WICKRAMASINGHE
    Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy, University College, Cardiff, U.K.
    Abstract: The known facts relating to the evolution of terrestrial biology points strongly in the
    direction of an external input of genetic information.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/12308736/Biological-Evolution

  56. If can personally parse the “believe in” business.

    “I believe (proposition)” = “I think (proposition) is true”

    “I believe (person)” = “I think (what person says) is true”

    “I believe in (thing)” = “I think (thing) exists”

    “I believe in (commonly accepted shorthand for set of beliefs)” = “I think (those beliefs) are true”

    It doesn’t matter how well-founded or self-evident your belief is, it’s still the thing that you believe.

    IMNSHO anybody who answered “do not” here for semantic reasons was being perverse.

    I’ve watched a politician dance around his opinion on anthropogenic climate change because of a similarly-phrased question. That’s not, to my mind, cool.

  57. I think people who don’t accept evolution are guilty of rank stupidity (I think the same of militant atheists, but six 1/2 of one…)

    However, the reason why most people can comfortably live with disapproving of evolution or not even knowing what it is is that the theory of evolution does not concern the day-to-day workings of their lives. Sure, it might be the explanation for a great many things about that life – but unless one is a biologist, a journalist, or writing a book on how [Atheists/Fundamentalists] are idiots, you don’t have much reason to care. Sure, gene therapy might cure one’s disease – but the doctor’s the one who needs to know about genes, not his or her many patients. It can be as important or as ground-breaking as one likes – but if it doesn’t put food on the table, most people won’t care. Learning as a leisure activity is no longer popular, if it ever was, among the people of the West.

    And yet a great many people on both sides of the debate DO care, and do talk about it, and make movies and write books and give interviews on it, which they don’t on so very many other important things. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, exactly, but there’s only so much room in the national consciousness for intellectual and scientific issues – so maybe the ‘Darwinists’ shouldn’t be too annoyed that people want them to debate the subject. I doubt you’d get even 66% of the country to name the originator of most of the other important scientific discoveries of the past few centuries.

  58. And Atheist are really bothered that we deserve to be tortured in fiery caves for all eternity for no swearing loyalty to every sect that wonders by.

    You dad is upset that people say they are right and he is wrong?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: Exactly.

  59. NoahRodenbeek “…gravity is so far beyond hypothesis it’s called “Law.” Your comparison is off a smidge.”
    Um. The Law of Gravity and the Theory of same are two different things. A scientific law is a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a relation that is always under the same conditions, In science, the word theory is used as a plausible general principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon.
    Law of Gravity: Shit rolls downhill
    Theory of Gravity: Shit rolls downhill because…

    Calladus “1. Why is God screwing with his creation in this fashion? Is he “testing” us? When we arrive at Heaven believing in only natural causes, will he jump out and yell “Gotcha!” before pulling the lever on the trap door?”
    Dude, I totally spoke to Him this one time…that dude is freakin’ ineffable!

    “2. If the Omphalos hypothesis is true, then how can you be sure he didn’t create all of the universe last Thursday?”
    (/me digs out copy of Apologetics for Dummies)…Answer: Bible says so.

    nerak “It’s too bad that they don’t understand that we didn’t evolve from monkeys, rather, we share a common ancestor. There’s no reason to be offended.”
    Really? I’m offended! What, those monkeys think they’re too good for us?!

    Gadgets123 “However it is funny; virtually all of the religious people I know can state, without sarcasm or irony, the principles of evolution and the arguments for it.”
    Most of the ones I’ve seen follow the Chick Tract version of evolution. Most of the ones I’ve seen haven’t bothered to move past Darwin. Most of the ones I’ve seen are still stuck on Paley. Most of the remainder are stuck using their God to fill the Gaps (“See that bit we don’t know? That’s the Designer!”).

    “But virtually all of the messages in this thread cannot represent the “No on evolution” mindset without regarding them as pathetic idiots.”
    I don’t see them as “pathetic idiots”. I see them more as between “willfully ignorant” (the Hams), “useful tools for maintaining the status quo” (the flock), or “malevolent” (those that, whether or not they know anything about or whether or not they accept ToE themselves, see the previous categories as a convenient, virtually monolithic voting block).

    “I would say that puts the no-evolution folks in a significantly superior position to debate.”
    No. “Bible says…” is not evidence. Two people cannot argue if both of them are using different sets of facts. Well, they can argue, but anything approaching concensus is impossible.

    “BTW, the same is true for other controversies: abortion, global warming, etc.”
    Repeating the same argument over and over, focussing only on the outliers & denial of any fact that does not support “your” side’s case does not make the denialists arguments good ones. It merely make them repetitive. (Incidentally, you can see the same mindest in the runup to Gulf War II)

    “That is why the threat of theocracy is really quite minimal…”
    It’s only minimal as long as the rest of us push back.

    “…and the threat of reconditioning camps from the Left is much more likely.”
    Yes! Like those damn public schools teaching the religion of Darwinism! Outrage!

    “We are CORRECT, and everyone else is an idiot incapable of rational thought and in need of re-education.”
    Not “idiot”. Ignorant. Not “re-education”. Education.

    “Just a thought.”
    Obviously.

    RedShirt77 “And Atheist are really bothered that we deserve to be tortured in fiery caves for all eternity for no swearing loyalty to every sect that wonders by.”
    Naw. I’m most bothered by the fact that I apparently have no foundation for morality. None (and by “none” I mean a long line of ancestors who survived, rather than a book written by people who had long lines of ancestors who survived). The simple, naturalistic, pragmatic, “is” origin of morality apparently pales beside the majikal, absolute, “ought” of biblical, God-centric and God-given morality (which, incidentally, has never changed, ever, and anyway I’m not allowed to voice my moral “opinion” because of my own unstable, malleable, relative morality). My opinion is just my opinion. A True Believer’s opinion is God’s opinion. God’s opinion is a fact.

    noen “While I am not a religionist the usual answer is that these stories are metaphors…This seems really hard for certain atheists to understand. Everyone seems to be so literal minded these days, both theists and atheists.
    I’ve been accused of taking the Bible more literally than the literalists but, here’s the thing, I only tend to read it literally because literalists do. I don’t take Norse mythology literally, because few people are opening up Nordic Creationist museums (and fewer still are going to them), and nobody is pushing Nordic Creationism (whether as Creationism, Creation Science or repackaged as ID) in science class.

    robulus “It’s really out of control. This shouldn’t be a controversial issue in the 21st century.”
    Coke vs Pepsi is worse. This is because they both suck.

    TroofSeeker “I don’t know for sure. Wasn’t there.”
    You think you’ve got it bad? God was there, and He still couldn’t get His story straight.

    “But if God can make the heavens and the earth, I suppose He can make a man.”
    God makes boys. Emotional baggage, repressed emotions, and the crushing weight of responsibility makes a man.

  60. troofseeker, again i say,” sigh.” u say,” What nation would you like to live in? If I had told you about anti-matter and black holes 30 years ago, you’d have said the same thing. I was refering to Yahweh, I Am, Creator of the universe. Those others are made of stone and wood.” 1) a nation of people who would be enlightened/ educated. not a nation in deep denial. or a nation where ignorance is constantly rewarded. 2) bullshit! i knew of the existence of blackholes well over 30 years ago, youngstuff! do you even acknowledge their existence? 3) i thought you were christian. my bad. however, odin, aphrodite, oannes, othila, osiris, etc… would take great offence to being labled as “just wood and stone”.

  61. Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the most tested theories in modern science, and it is by far the best overall description of how life works that we have. Intelligent design is not, by contrast a valid theory, having never been validated by the evidence, and on every occaision where serious efforts were made to test what limited predictive value it has, it has been falsified. No other competing theory for the changes in life forms that we see exists, not for lack of trying, but because the scientific method seeks agreement with experimental result, and no other attempt to describe evolution meets this challenge. No documents currently published contain more errors of fact or omission than do the bible, and other religious texts, so their use to science is minimal. Faith, and individual philisophical or religious belief has always been an individual perogative, and no one suggests that you decide between your religion and science, instead, science has proved to be one of the most useful tools we have for understanding more about the world we live in. If you prefer understanding the world as it was understood thousands of years ago when it is convenient for you to do so, by all means do. But to clog the channels of scientific discourse with arguments that have not passed through the process I argue is selfish and useless. No scientist will ever be convinced by shrill voices that looking at the world in a systematic way and making his observations available to other like minded people often to be disproven is inferior to believing something unverified no matter who said it. If only 40% believe in evolution, it says more about our ability to think critically and separate careful thought from careless noise than it does about the validity of other points of view in a world where science consistently gets things right, and all philosiphies combined consistently do not.

  62. MINTY FRESH:
    “2) bullshit! i knew of the existence of blackholes well over 30 years ago, youngstuff! do you even acknowledge their existence?”

    The rationale sounds reasonable. Acknowledge their existance? I haven’t seen any proof… have you? You’re not following modern science like a lamb, are you? Are you?

    “3) i thought you were christian. my bad.”

    My afilliation is with Christ; not any particular denomination.

    ‘…however, odin, aphrodite, oannes, othila, osiris, etc… would take great offence to being labled as “just wood and stone”.

    I feel terrible about that. I should have said “beautifully carved wood and stone”. Think they’re appeased?

  63. Gee ! pastafarians win, that’s a good thing but goddamn ! as a PhD in biology these stats just make me sick … so much work remain to be done. Go on education !! Go on flying spagetti monster !! read books, eat pasta, in one word : evolve

    fleb

  64. I think, had I been giving this poll, I would have included “Do you know what a metaphor is?” as one of the questions.

  65. All this tells me is that 25% of Americans’ are either religious extremists or suffer from learning difficulties, and I know your government is a big fan of cutting funding on education

  66. @ #75 creating poorly formulated questions and posing them to random people is a form of torture. That’s not, to my mind, cool. ;)

  67. It’s convenient when you can justify your world view through numbers. That way it doesn’t matter how many people disagree with you.

  68. Results also suggested that 90% of respondents resented being phoned at home during meal times, 5% had something better to do but thought they should be polite while a further 5% thought the questions were poorly designed, ill-considered, badly worded and a colossal waste of time. Interestingly, a small number responded by telling the interviewer that they were a moron and hanging up the phone ;)

  69. @ Modusoperandi
    “Coke vs Pepsi is worse. This is because they both suck.”

    Heretic! May you be boiled alive in a vat of Dr. Pepper for your sins!

  70. Noen: they’re okay with booze, but that comes at the expense of adulterating perfectly good liquor.

  71. Evolution and Creationism are totally compatible and complementary. Huh? It’s very simple really. Evolution is based upon the start of everything from the “Big Bang”. Everything in the universe evolved from that original explosion. However, what was there Before the “Big Bang”? In nature, matter – all the matter in the universe, is finite. It can change form, but it cannot be destroyed, or created. All that is, IS. So, prior to the bang, there HAD to be something.

    Now, in Creationism, some supreme power started the ball rolling. If you believe in a “Creator” of the universe, you cannot attach human attributes to this ‘power’. Whatever it is created whatever existed just before the “Big Bang”, well, banged. No one can say how long a day is to this ‘creator’, man was made in the image of this being, but that does not necessarily mean a physical image – more like a spirit, soul, or nature.

    Therefore, the universe had to have been created by some “power”. All that exists today in nature evolved from the origin of the universe.

    The concept of god is merely an invention of mankind to explain the inexplicable; a vehicle for requesting aid and comfort; and a fall guy for all that goes wrong in one’s world.

    Its all really very simple, compatible, and totally adverse to what everyone wishes to believe. Mankind has an innate requirement to have an explanation to all that happens in life. So, we have created an idea of a supreme being to turn to for all our answers.

  72. It was me and I’m so terribly sorry. About a week ago, while visiting another more carefully created dimension, I celebrated a little too much. That place turned out so nice, it really feeds my ego. Anyway, the next thing I know, a huge wind blew out my celestial sphincter and once these things happen one just has to live with the results. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complete disaster, it just isn’t one of my best efforts.

    So, first of all I would like to apologize for your having to take a dump everyday. There really is no excuse for that shit.

    My guy, said he sent one of his best men down to straighten things out, but he seems to have caused more problems than anticipated. Let me just say this about that, nepotism. It won’t happen again.

    Anyway, what can I say, but oops, nobody’s perfect.

    P.S. Darwin was right, smart ass.

  73. Noen: the usual answer is that these stories are metaphors … This seems really hard for certain atheists to understand

    I don’t think Aethiests and non christians look at Genesis and can’t see it as some human’s attempt to explain how life got on the planet. It’s not that hard, really.

    But I’m pretty sure as far as explanations go, evolution is probably a lot closer to the truth than Genesis is. Filled in a lot more details, you know.

    And I think creationists have a bigger problem with evolution being correct than Evolutionists have with Genesis being a really rough first draft.

  74. I watched Battlestar Galactica last night and I no longer know who created what or what created whom, but whatever/whoever it was was drunk.

    So I suspect Ellen is God.

  75. It’s not a navel per say, it’s more like the knot in a balloon.

    His name is Bob Sr. He thinks he made everything and he’s the only one. Don’t take him too seriously.

    BTW, I love you guys.

    P.S. I don’t know where I came from either. Truth is I just make big coalescing toots. This whole thing is like standing in a mirrored elevator.

  76. Personally I don’t believe in evolution. Evolution is still a theory. Here are facts that everyone will agree. Man is not perfect. Scientist are not perfect. Knowledge of man might be flawed so is science because it was thought of by man. The universe… man still doesn’t know enough and is expanding. The big bang might have happened or not but somebody should have started the ball rolling. I believe this. It must be supernatural and only someone who exist with no time and space. Scientist have accomplished something remarkable but will still be flawed because nobody is perfect only God. For those who doesn’t believe look around and see and think (just wonder) how complex everything is and they have to be created not out of an accident alone.

  77. And here are my thoughts. Scientific theories are statements of fact that have been tested, and have held true, and will continue to do so, until new verifiable information becomes available to either disprove or modify them. You are correct, man is not perfect, and science recognizes this and allows for changes and modifications. You religious nutjobs out there believe whatever is convenient at the time so long as you agree with it. Your precious book has been rewritten countless times. Been mistranslated and has had entire texts hacked out of it b/c the people at the time didn’t like them. I’ll trust well researched science anytime against hypocritical religions like the Christian one. You folks should be out stoning your children and beating your wives and slaves. Oh..best not eat that shell fish, or wear that poly cotton shirt you love. Bah..I’m not against religion, just retarded people who throw the words faith and belief around like some mystical shield. Belief and faith require no empirical proof, and therefor are easier and require less work. Folks who use these words in defense of their religious hankerings are either lazy or ignorant.

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