Sunday, 28 February 2016

Misleading Christians

On Darwin Day, 5 facts about the evolution debate | Pew Research Center

Although all but the most honest creationists will try to pretend that their unscientific, anti-science views are actually good science with masses of scientific support, because that is the impression that the fraudsters who misinform them give them, the evidence from a Pew Research Center study into the views of Americans on evolution, re-published on Darwin Day this year, shows something completely different.

It shows that these unfortunate people are getting their 'science' not from proper scientists but from preachers and pastors who normally have no training in science whatsoever and that their opinions are based on religious dogma, not a rational examination of the scientific evidence. There is a clear correlation too between the degree of fundamentalism in religious affiliation with the degree of rejection of the scientific view of evolution by an unguided, natural process.

Jehovah's Witness (6%), Mormons (11%), Evangelical Protestants (11%) and 'Historically Black' Protestants (16%) all report astonishingly low (by European standards) levels of understanding that humans are the result of evolution by a natural process. This figure only rises to 28% for Mainline Protestants, 29% for Orthodox Christians and 31% for Catholics, still low by European standards.

The mainstream Christian figure is close to that for Muslims at 25%. It may surprise many fundamentalist Christians to discover that they are more extreme in their views than Muslims, who they traditionally regard as extremists.

The interesting thing though is how well accepted natural evolution is by non-Christians. Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and the religiously unaffiliated (which includes atheists, agnostics and 'spirituals') all have natural evolution acceptance figures well about 50% and apart from Jews, above 60%.

Bearing in mind that, by and large, all these people will have had the same access to the same data and will have been taught more or less the same science at school unless isolated from science in faith schools or by home-schooling, these differences must be due to the influence of religion, not of science.

Although there is some filtering out of religious fundamentalists from higher education in science by an anti-science culture, regardless of their religious upbringing, for most people educated to a higher level in science and especially those working in science, acceptance of natural evolution rises to some 98%. The difference here is exposure to scientific data combined with training in critical thinking skills and a willingness to accept what the evidence shows.

It is a measure of their ability to fool their 'flock' that pastors, preachers and creationist frauds seem to have managed to convince a large proportion of them that their unscientific views are actually supported by a significant number of scientists. Despite the very high level of actual support for natural evolution amongst scientists, the American public generally believe nearly 30% of scientists disagree with the Theory of Evolution. Clearly, this view doesn't come from listening to the views of scientists.

This is perhaps one of the more insidious results of the creation industry's campaign to misrepresent the Theory of Evolution as a theory in crisis and about which there is widespread doubt and disagreement in the scientific community.

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1 comment :

  1. Rosa, I hope you noticed this blog post the other day: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/01/ken-ham-teaching-kids-science-amounts-to-intellectual-child-abuse/

    About your great "favorite" (among all the ridiculous creationists) Ken Ham, who says that teaching kids science amounts to “Intellectual Child Abuse”.

    Yeah! I can fully understand why you adore that man so much, Rosa. :o)

    Did Ken Ham's view on science come as an amazing surprise for you?

    ReplyDelete

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