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#15050 - 08/20/06 08:49 PM Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals: true or false? This simple question is splitting America apart, with a growing proportion thinking that we did not descend from an ancestral ape. A survey of 32 European countries, the US and Japan has revealed that only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact.

For the full story:
http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20060713235109data_trunc_sys.shtml

Now if only we could get Americans to also appreciate that everything isn't about them.
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#15051 - 08/21/06 12:08 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
Wolfman Offline
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Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
An interesting post, nice find, DA. I've wodered for years why, with all the Scientific advancements that have been generated by the US, the "Common Folk" are lagging so far behind in accepting Evolution. I mean, the Scopes trial, the "Monkey Trial" was in, what, 1925?

You can't underestimate the power of the hold that religeon has on people, I guess. See my post in the thread "Petroglyph Depicts Supernova".

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#15052 - 08/21/06 03:38 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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I was never taught evolution and I went to a school that was pretty good in most other departments.

I've spoken with a lot of people who simply were not taught the subject.

Also, I think that when it is covered reasonably well, it's not integrated into the biology curriculum. My girls were taught it: mentioned in 7th grade life science, and taught for several days in 9th grade biology. Probably less than 10 lectures, maybe even less than 5. I just don't think that's sufficient to really understand the material.

Also our own propaganda tells us that "nothing makes sense except for in the light of evolution" and that "evolution is a central unifying concept in biology," but we don't really teach it that way - possibly because of a shortage of teachers who understand, but probably more so that they tend to shy away from the controversy.

Finally, I think when it *IS* covered, kids brains have already been turned off. The preachers and parents have already told them "all they need to know" and have effectively inocculated them against reason or honest evaluation of the details.

"The bible said it. I believe it. That settles it."

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#15053 - 08/21/06 04:01 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
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Loc: Seattle, WA
Part of what you need to understand about America and Americans is that this country was founded by people who thought Victorian English morals were too loose.

This country prides itself on sex being dirty. It prides itself on believing things that are absolutely contrary to fact such as that it was founded as a Christian country. Lies to itself about such things as when the phrase "under god" was added to its Pledge of Allegiance (and more importantly why).

American's, for all of the advances of its scientific and engineering community would consider some TV commercials shown in a Catholic country such as Mexico immoral.

It is a place of stark contrasts. And except in radical or academic circles everyone pretends they don't notice that the Emperor is naked and stupid.
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#15054 - 08/21/06 11:15 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
dehammer Offline
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Registered: 03/23/06
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the problem as i see it is that in church you are taught not to ask questions.

it used to be that in school you were, but with the overcrowding getting worse in the last few decades, teachers have not pushed that as much. as a result, there is less and less to counter the church's dogma.
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#15055 - 08/21/06 04:09 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
DA Morgan Offline
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I agree.

School reform should be to go back to the way schools were in the 1950s-60s.

Instead the liberal teachers are swinging off the planet to the left while the so-called conservative teachers take an equally illogical swing to the right.

There is very little of the middle left just as we are now watching the dismantling of the [economic] middle class.
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#15056 - 08/21/06 08:22 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
TwoSheds Offline
Member

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 52
Loc: MA
I saw Tim Russert interviewing someone, can't remember who, about education in America. He seemed to think the problem was that people who become teachers study "teaching" rather than emmersing themselves in a subject they intend to teach. I only remember three teachers in high school that seemed to have real passion for their subject, history, physics, and computer programming....oh wait make it four spanish too.

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#15057 - 08/21/06 11:24 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
The problem begins and ends with the parents. I speak now as a university educator and I can tell you that the children of most asian ethnicities are not illiterate. Neither are the, and I hate to get into naming names, the children of at least two religious affiliations.

Why you might ask? Because the parents, for cultural reasons, make sure their children understand the importance of education and fill in the gaps.

Are there teachers that can't teach? Boatloads.
Are there teachers unqualified to teach? Boatloads.
It isn't stopping some identifiable groups.

That said both the nut-case left and the moronic right are to blame for polarizing, for political gain, that which is far too important to be left to politicians.

There was a great quote recently about the war in the Middle-East that went ... "The fighting will stop when they love their children more than they hate each other."

Here's my version:
Education will improve when parents love their children more than they hate paying taxes and getting involved in good governance.
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#15058 - 08/22/06 01:59 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
The problem isn't just confined to USA. Here in NZ there was research published that showed one quater of the population believed the earth was created in six days. Trouble is, it's part of our cultural background. There are also many people making a lot of money from pushing the ID or creationist barrow. Sure it's about education but you can't make people learn something they don't wish to. I teach guitar and most young people are at least keen to learn that but even so the same problem occurs.

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#15059 - 08/22/06 04:49 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
More Americans know the names of Disney's seven dwarfs than the names of the nine Justices on the Supreme Court.

Actions speak louder than words.

They can not claim to care about their country when the evidence proves conclusively that it is not the case.
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#15060 - 08/22/06 05:10 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
TwoSheds Offline
Member

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 52
Loc: MA
Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Ginsberg, Roberts, Alito...ummmm crap

okay now the dwarves

sneezy, dopey, happy, bashful, grumpy, doc, sleepy.

I do have a pair of 7 dwarves PJs I think that's why its so easy to remember

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#15061 - 08/23/06 08:47 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
soilguy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/28/05
Posts: 414
Loc: North Carolina
Another problem here in the US is teacher pay. I've been told by many different people that I'd make a good teacher. When I investigated the possibility, I realized I could make at least twice as much by poking holes in the ground, and I don't have to deal with hormone-crazed kids that way, either.

When it is treated like an honorable profession, it will improve.
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When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
--S. Lewis

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#15062 - 08/23/06 09:12 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Teachers tend to want to compare themselves to the very highest paid professionals only.

If a teacher wanted to do my job, she would get paid according to 1) highest degree obtained, 2) subject of degree, 3) years since degree obtained.

If I wanted to teach, I'd have to throw away all of my earned experience and start at the bottom of the heap. Right now I teach "advanced" topics in computer science as a volunteer. They're advanced because the teacher doesn't understand them - and I'm fine with that. This guy has had to learn java largely on his own and, besides, one doesn't become an expert programmer just by taking courses. So if I were to switch careers I'd start at ground zero. I hired a teacher intern this past year and paid her the same thing she was making as a teacher. (OTOH, I have more leeway than a principal would.)

They give the pretense that they're just trying to "ensure that only qualified people get in the classroom," but their requirements seem almost completely orthogonal to that stated goal.

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#15063 - 08/25/06 04:37 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
regarding teaching of evolution. I don't think we should knock teachers. It's a job like any other. Some do it because they like it, some because they can and some because they can't do anything else. Many well qualified scientists don't actually understand how evolution happens. We have to be able to explain it simply to everyone. I'm pretty sure I understand it but explaining it to other people is tricky. The main problem is that even Charles Darwin confused "evolution" with "progress". after all he did live near the industrial age's beginning.

But I feel evolution is stunningly simple to understand if you imagine it as waves of genes spreading through species. One of my friends even calls it the wave theory of evolution.

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#15064 - 08/25/06 04:39 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
By the way I was thinking of posting this topic myself but thought it would be presumtuous to do so. It was in the science news section of sagg, probably still is.

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#27708 - 09/13/08 12:19 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution? [Re: DA Morgan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes. Name me a species that only partially evolved. Like the great ape of long past gathered all the apes of the planet and henceforth asked each and everyone; who wants to be a human, raise your hand.....

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#27711 - 09/13/08 02:57 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution? [Re: Anonymous]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
I'd like to say it's just a problem with our language, but it is really more of a problem with our education system (or maybe just the social system in general?).
But whatever....

More correctly one should say, not that there are "still apes," but that apes (and humans) evolved from a common ancestor.

If you study how evolution works, you'll avoid many common misperceptions about the process (like that one about humans evolving from apes).

For instance....
How did Chihuahua's and Great Dane's evolve from the wolf (hint: the same way apes and humans evolved from....)?
Wolve's are still around too (though smaller than back then);

...just like lemurs are still around (the least changed of the ancestor to apes and humans).

wink
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Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#27737 - 09/14/08 09:51 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution? [Re: samwik]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Because
America still has a religious problem, but its not as religious as it used to be, I wonder why?

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#27743 - 09/14/08 10:39 PM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution? [Re: Anonymous]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
The question puzzles me.

Am I the only one who is puzzled by this question? Is America a person capable of having beliefs?

Over the decades, I have known many Americans. Over half my family--on my mother's side--migrated from Newfoundland to the USA, decades ago. Two of my mother's brothers were in the American navy in the late 1890's. They were sailors in the Spanish American War, in the Cuban campaign. Quite a story.

Me? I took two years of post graduate studies at Boston University in 1954-1955.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, a famous American, I have never met an American I did not like--Maybe one or two.

The bottom line? Most Americans I met, like most other fellow human beings, had enough common sense to ask questions, like any true scientist.
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#27750 - 09/15/08 03:25 AM Re: Why doesn't America believe in evolution? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Hiya Revl.
I've just spent about 5 minutes thinking about all the different demographics in the US. As you point out it's not one person, but rather than list all the cabins, farms, towns, etc., I'll just ask if this makes sense:

I'd suggest that you've only met a small slice of one (or perhaps two) of the dozens of demographics around.

[I suppose it might sound more reasonable to suggest that you've only met a slice of a dozen or so out of hundreds] ...but I hope you see my point.

I know you have a lot of broad experiences and interactions in your life, but I still think it was with a small fraction of the different demographics in the US.
I don't (think I) have any special knowledge about this, but I'm continually surprised by the discovery more and more, large demographics.

There's an interesting couple of graphs on a social science forum (not to prove anything, but...):
http://hypography.com/forums/social-scie...html#post237208

I know there's at least one demographic that prides themselves on not asking questions.

Cheers!
smile
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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