Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dinosaur Jumbler

The Flinstones was not based on a true story

Gallup conducted a poll recently showing 46% of Americans say they believe in Creationism, or as Gallup's poll worded it, they believe that:

...God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so

Katha Pollitt of The Nation flagged this number, which is even more mind-boggling:

....the proportion of college graduates who are creationists is exactly the same as for the general public. That’s right: 46 percent of Americans with sixteen long years of education under their belt believe the story of Adam and Eve is literally true. Even 25 percent of Americans with graduate degrees believe dinosaurs and humans romped together before Noah’s flood. Needless to say, this remarkable demonstration of educational failure attracts little attention from those who call for improving our schools.

I'm not totally surprised by this result, but I am still disappointed. I would have expected 20% perhaps (20% of the country seems to believe virtually anything on a given day), but not 46%. On one hand, of course you are free to believe whatever you want. But on the other hand, we do have huge problems we need to tackle in the coming decades. This includes everything from Climate Change and natural disaster preparation/prevention to technocratic solutions to every-day problems in fields like health care, pollution, expanding wireless and broadband access, etc. Creationists obviously would not appear to be the most open to scientific arguments in support of solutions to these problems. And they would seem more susceptible to misinformation campaigns that question the accuracy of scientific data. This is highlighted in Chris Mooney's latest book related to how some of us process scientific arguments within our own set of biases.

In order to help implement solutions to these problems within our current political system, it will take an educated public who understands the consequences of our behavior and is accepting of whatever solution is supported by the empirical data. If you believe carbon dating and radiometric dating are trumped by what you read in Genesis, then I'm not sure where we go from there.

Needless to say, I am skeptical you can persuade the majority of the public on the merits of the public option or green energy or of the importance of preventing the polar ice caps from melting when nearly half the country (and nearly half of those with college degrees!) believes the human race began in the last 10,000 years and that we must have lived during the same period as dinosaurs. This clip from the late great Bill Hicks is still relevant.

1 comment:

  1. Many public schools in the US teach creationism only in science class or intelligent design only so these students are not educated about evolution in science classes. See Wikipedia article Creation and evolution in public education in the United States,, for more information.