Monday, December 20, 2010

The Unimportance of Science To Most Americans

A Gallup poll released on 12/17 showed that American views on evolution have changed somewhat but only a small percent of Americans believe in secular evolution.

40% today versus 47% in 1999 believe that we were created by God 10,000 years ago. The number drops to 37% for those with a college degree and to 22% for those with post graduate degree.

16% believe in secular evolution today versus 9% in 1982. Only 21% of college grads believe in secular evolution. Those with advanced degrees tended (49%) to believe in evolution assisted by God.

52% of Republicans and 34% of Democrats and Independents believe in creationism.

These data show that strongly held beliefs are difficult to counter with scientific evidence. Perhaps that is why Fox News and talk radio are so powerful. They help to confirm what people already believe. Religious fundamentalism is also related to political and economic fundamentalism. The GOP collects the lion's share of American fundamentalists. There is also a strong correlation between fundamentalism and the authoritarian personality. Perhaps that is why Republicans feel the need to stay firm on fundamental principles and show less interest in compromising. That is what their constituents expect from them.

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