8.13.2006

disbelief

Here's a testament to the train wreck that is the US education system, and to the rise of fundmentalist ignorance in that same country.
It's a statistic that would have Charles Darwin turning in his grave - more than one third of Americans don't believe in evolution, according to a new study.

After tabulating surveys that covered 34 countries, researchers at the University of Michigan have found that U.S. citizens are much less likely to accept Darwinism than Europeans and the Japanese.

The study, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, found that in countries like Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and France, at least 80 per cent of adult believe that humans evolved from other species. In Japan, 78 per cent of adults believe in evolution.

But in the U.S. only 40 per cent of adults believe whole-heartedly in evolution, while 39 per cent called it "absolutely false" in the 2005 survey, which questioned 1,484 Americans and more than 33,000 people worldwide.

The study's authors say that after decades of debate it seems the American public is more confused than ever on the issue of evolution. Over the past 20 years, the number of Americans unsure about their stand on evolution has tripled from 7 per cent in 1985 to 21 per cent in 2005.
This is some scary shit.

13 comments:

James said...

The US is a superpower because of its investment in science during the 40s and 50s.

Now, it is doing everything it can to reverse that.

Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science is an excellent overview of the current situation, which dates back to Goldwater. I should be writing it up on '77 Track 7, but haven't gotten around to it.

Scott M. said...

As an aside... I find it annoyting how the media never publishes Canada's results, or the pollsters ignore us, or lump us into "North America". Very annoying.

L-girl said...

Yes - unless it's a Canadian poll, or takes in hundreds of countries, Canada is often not included.

The author of this survey notes that Canada wasn't polled, but probably would read like Europe, not like the US.

tornwordo said...

It's statistics like that that really make me think it's hopeless. I just can't believe the idiocy!

Marcy said...

Yeah, and when people ask me, "Why would you want to immigrate to Canada?", I can give them yet another reason.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to come up with this, but there are lots of great civilizations that are nothing more than just another country on the map...Egypt, Greece, China, etc. I think the U.S. is heading that way. Years and years from now, students will study the fall of Rome, and the fall of the U.S.

L-girl said...

The US empire is certainly crumbling. But, unlike when Rome, Egypt and other ancient civilizations fell, the world is now completely interconnected.

In ancient times, civilizations were isolated from each other. Some traded, and some conquered one another, but whole sections of the globe never saw each other.

Not so today. We're all in it together. As the US crumbles, it takes a lot of the rest of the world with it. We're witnessing part of that right now, as it tries to gobble up the Middle East to get more oil.

I wouldn't care if years and years from now people were studying the fall of the US. I just want there to be people around to study it. People living in a decent society, not just survivors.

James said...

Not so today. We're all in it together. As the US crumbles, it takes a lot of the rest of the world with it. We're witnessing part of that right now, as it tries to gobble up the Middle East to get more oil.

It's vitally important that everyone outside the US build and maintain economic relationships independent of the US in order to ride out the next big crash.

Check out Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash sometime. The post-collapse USA portrayed there seems more credible all the time.

From the Wikipedia entry:

The story takes place in a fractured America around the end of the 20th century, in which corporatization, franchising, and the economy in general have spun wildly out of control. Snow Crash depicts the absence of a central powerful state; in its place, corporations have taken over the traditional roles of government, including dispute resolution and national defense. The United States has lost most of its territory in the wake of an economic collapse; the residual remains of the federal government are weak and inefficient and are often used by Stephenson for comic relief.

Much of the territory lost by the government has been carved up into a huge number of sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise (such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong" or the various residential burbclaves (suburb enclaves)). This arrangement bears a similarity to anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age. Hyperinflation has devalued the dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills, Ed Meeses, are little regarded and the quadrillion dollar note, a Gipper, is the standard 'small' bill. For large transactions, people resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies like yen or "Kongbucks" (the official currency of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong).

L-girl said...

It's vitally important that everyone outside the US build and maintain economic relationships independent of the US in order to ride out the next big crash.

That's a whole lot easier said than done.

Check out Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash sometime. The post-collapse USA portrayed there seems more credible all the time.

I'm pretty sure I'll never read anything by Neal Stephenson, but I'll read about it, from you. :)

Lone Primate said...

That's a whole lot easier said than done.

Oh, no... Wal-mart's been doing its best to get us all tight with China for the past 15 years. :)

lindsey starr said...

...and combine all of this with what we have read in Collapse (thank you Laura for getting me to start reading such an eye opening book!). yes, really scary stuff.

I want to build a house in Canada and make it completely off the grid, as the US and others are using up so much of the oil, and everything... from the food we get at the grocery store, to the ability to live in the suburbs, to the tech products we make and use... it is all so dependent on oil.

The fact that americans don't seem to think that we have evolved is scary also in the notion that they think we might not evolve even more. Why not think that we can evolve to be able to survive in a different world?

Just food for thought.
~Lindsey

L-girl said...

Lindsey, so glad to hear I turned you on to Collapse! Scary but important.

I want to build a house in Canada and make it completely off the grid, as the US and others are using up so much of the oil, and everything...

They're using plenty of oil and everything up here, too.

Crabbi said...

Scary shit indeed. People who believe dinosaurs and humans coexisted will believe anything. WMDs in Iraq? Imminent threat*? Sure. I heard it on TV. My ID-believing preznit said so.

*The threat could be anything. Just say it's imminent and watch the sheeple panic and give up their civil liberties.

L-girl said...

People who believe dinosaurs and humans coexisted will believe anything.

Good point, Crabbi. It's important to make that connection.