« The Attack on Reason | Main | Precursor to the Evolution Debate »

June 24, 2006

Americans, Evolution and Revelation

Hate to beat a dead horse, but the poll numbers here are truly disturbing.The biologist Edward O. Wilson (thanks to a long-ago comment by Peter):

Nothing ["nothing"?] in science as a whole has been more firmly established by interwoven factual documentation, or more illuminating, than the universal occurrence of biological evolution. Further, few natural processes have been more convincingly explained than evolution by the theory of natural selection or, as it is popularly called, Darwinism.
Thus it is surpassingly strange that half of Americans recently polled (2004) not only do not believe in evolution by natural selection but do not believe in evolution at all. Americans are certainly capable of belief, and with rocklike conviction if it originates in religious dogma. In evidence is the 60 percent that accept the prophecies of the Book of Revelation as truth,

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at June 24, 2006 12:53 PM


I find it very difficult to believe that 60% of Americans even know what is in the Book of Revelations. I find it very difficult to believe that 60% of Americans have read the book of Revelations. Do you know of anyone, does anyone know of anyone who was asked that question? It like that congressman who couldn't list more than 3 of the 10 commandments; bullshit.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 24, 2006 2:05 PM

Having conducted polls myself in grad school in Sociology, I concluded that the answers were the questions, if you get my drift.

Polls are subject to Heisenberg's theory: the more you find out how things are, the less you know about where they are going. Or something like that.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 24, 2006 2:23 PM

Hey, they don't have to have read it to believe in it. In fact, not having read it may be a big help in believing it. All they need to know is that it's in the Bible - that automatically makes it true.

Plus many of them do know a bit about it: all the end of the world, apocalypse, antichrist stuff. Whether they've read it or not, they've heard it preached.

Posted by: The Ridger at June 25, 2006 10:34 AM

True, but belief comes in many forms and degrees.
One may believe in Ford Mo Corp without ever having seen any factory or knowing any employees, that is what sociologists call a "gloss". But belief in gravity is much different; we all have continual experience with gravity and believe in it completely (other than in the Hitchhiker's Guide). Yet when asked what we believe in almost no one mentions gravity, which shows the basic unawareness we have about our own beliefs.

When people are asked, especially by people they do not know, if they believe in the book of Revelation in the Bible, there is a cultural imperative to say yes when they often hardly ever think about it.

Our nature is to believe in reality and it is a slippery slope from there. If we cannot admit that reality is an individual invention (Buddhism, no?), then we are easily convinced to believe in others' constructions of reality.

Taking responsibility for the worlds we construct is a attribute very hard to poll. Polls are based and skewed on the assumptions of the poll writers.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 25, 2006 12:56 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)