August 11, 2006

The Sorry and Dangerous State of Science in the United States

Nick Matzke tells the story on The Panda's Thumb,

Science magazine has just published the results of international polls assessing public acceptance of evolution around the world: Jon D. Miller, Eugenie C. Scott, and Shinji Okamoto (2006) “.” Science Aug 11 2006: 765-766

And for those of you who don't have access to Science, you can read about it on Fox News.

The bottom line, the United States is next to last among the 34 countries surveyed in our acceptance of a scientific theory that virtually all scientists who actually study the subject accept and consider the corner stone of their science - evolution. Only Turkey scored below that the US.

And in some ways the story is worse than it seems on the surface.

It appears that many of these adults have adopted a human exceptionalism perspective. Elements of this perspective can be seen in the way that many adults try to integrate modern genetics into their understanding of life. For example, only a third of American adults agree that more than half of human genes are identical to those of mice and only 38% of adults recognize that humans have more than half of their genes in common with chimpanzees. In other studies, fewer than half of American adults can provide a minimal definition of DNA. Thus, it is not surprising that nearly half of the respondents in 2005 were not sure about the proportion of human genes that overlap with mice or chimpanzees.

It is not in anyway controversial that "more than half of human genes are identical to those of mice" or that humans have "more than half of their genes in common with chimpanzees." These are simply facts of the matter. Just as it is a fact of the matter that I am sitting on a chair as I type these words. This sorry state of affairs is the result of a failed system for teaching science that is, in part, afraid to teach even the basic underlying facts of a theory that is made controversial by a disproportionate political influence of believers in Christian fundamentalism. I would guess that the same statement can be made in the case of Turkey by substituting "Islamic" for "Christian."

As usual, PZ Myers has the best commentary on all this.

Posted by DuaneSmith at August 11, 2006 09:28 AM | Read more on Evolution |

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Comments

Scientific Proof for why US is the most dysfunctional society of all ‘alleged’ democracies is directly correlated to its highest levels of creationism beliefs. Find this evidence at the Journal or Religion and Society HERE:
http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

Posted by: Adnihilo at August 11, 2006 02:46 PM

Scientific Proof for why US is the most dysfunctional society of all ‘alleged’ democracies is directly correlated to its highest levels of creationism beliefs. Find this evidence HERE at the Journal or Religion and Society


Posted by: Adnihilo at August 11, 2006 02:50 PM

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