Every two years the National Science Foundation produces a report, Science and Engineering Indicators, designed to probe the public’s understanding of science concepts.
And what we find is that Americans who are religious are less willing to accept evolution and the big bang as factual than adults in other industrial countries.
When presented with the statement “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” just 45 percent of respondents indicated “true.” Compare this figure with the affirmative percentages in Japan (78), Europe (70), China (69) and South Korea (64). Only 33 percent of Americans agreed that “the universe began with a big explosion.”It used to be that religions tried to interpret new scientific findings as somehow showing evidence of the work of God, but we are now finding that science itself - facts - are simply being disregarded and ignored if they do not fit in with a persons belief system.
Consider the results of a 2009 Pew Survey: 31 percent of U.S. adults believe “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” (So much for dogs, horses or H1N1 flu.) The survey’s most enlightening aspect was its categorization of responses by levels of religious activity, which suggests that the most devout are on average least willing to accept the evidence of reality. White evangelical Protestants have the highest denial rate (55 percent), closely followed by the group across all religions who attend services on average at least once a week (49 percent).
That can't be healthy. How can there be a reasonable debate on any subject if a proportion of the public decide that the facts will be what they believe them to be rather than what they are?
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