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Monday, December 30, 2013

Republicans Devolve on Evolution

Posted by on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 5:29 PM

I know it's hard to believe, but according to a new Pew Research Center poll, Republicans have gotten even stupider and more anti-science than they used to be:

A poll out Monday shows that less than half – 43 percent – of those who identify with the Republican Party say they believe humans have evolved over time, plunging from 54 percent four years ago. Forty-eight percent say they believe “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” up from 39 percent in 2009.

At 67 percent and 65 percent, respectively, the numbers of Democrats and independents who believe in evolution have remained more or less the same since 2009. They’re also in step with the population nationally: Six-in-10 Americans say they believe humans have evolved.

Jesus Fucking Christ... 43 percent! Only 43 percent of Republicans believe in evolution! Down 11 points in only four years!

Also embarrassing: Only 67 percent of Democrats believe in evolution! At least that's up three points from four years ago, but fuck we are a stupid country!


Comments (117) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
i think the deniers know evolution is real, they just know that if they admit, tinker bell dies.

oh, sorry, i meant their religion.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 30, 2013 at 5:32 PM · Report this
its all the god shit in the mix. people can't tell fact from fiction because they're dumb.
Posted by duncan98117 on December 30, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Hurr durr republicunz amirite lol.

God damn Goldy is tedious.
Posted by William F. Fuckley on December 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM · Report this
skidmark 4
I don't believe nor do I have faith in evolution, I have an understanding of evolution.
Posted by skidmark on December 30, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Knat 5
Would this drop in basic science literacy coincide with the influx of Teabaggers to Congress?

Oh look, it totally does. Interesting.
Posted by Knat on December 30, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
I thought the numbers were even smaller than that. But then again, it also matters in how you phrase the question.

One thing I have noticed listening to talk radio (now and then) and reading the news is that the argument-from-design new/old-style creationists have been waging something of a marketing campaign on Christian and conservative media. The audience for these are mostly Christians and conservatives and, furthermore, they're more receptive to the message. So that may be why you see a changing trend amongst them while the rest of the population remains unchanged.
Posted by floater on December 30, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 7
Brawndo. It's got electrolytes.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on December 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Of course, the left hates evolution in practice. For them, it's survival of the laziest. We'd be cave men still if they left had its way.
Posted by Sugartit on December 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
One idea--- how have the number of people who identify as Republican changed over that time? This might just be a case of more moderate Republicans quitting the party. I bet this is what happened, since adults seem to change their opinions on this almost never. I think by the time people are 25 they've pretty much made up their minds.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:01 PM · Report this
mike in oly 10
@9 My thoughts exactly. Looks to me like any one with half a brain left in that dead end party has left it. The ignorant base reigns.
Posted by mike in oly on December 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Dougsf 11
@1 is spot on. Perhaps I'm being optimistic, but despite their internal duality, I think how a person identifies will trump something as consequence-free as a survey answer.

Also, there's lots of dumbshits too.
Posted by Dougsf on December 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Honestly, that doesn't make sense.
Evolution doesn't work that way. It's not about earning or deserving or politics or anything like that. It's what happens when some outside factor puts a lot of pressure on a species' population and only some make it. Like the plague. Not like a job market. Like sickle cell anemia. Not like our healthcare system.
Id actually argue that our whole civilization is basically designed around trying to immunize our species from that sort of evolutionary pressure. No one wants to watch their kids die.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Karlheinz Arschbomber 13
Holy shit.
Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber on December 30, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
@8, it requires a typical republican ignorance of evolution to have confused it with "social Darwinism" as you just did. Good job being an example, though.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
delirian 15
Actually, the report does have some good news. The age breakdown indicates that the anti-evolution views are held primarily by the older generation and those who haven't gone to college. Between senior citizens and 18-29 year olds, there is a 19 point difference. And between college graduates and HS or less there is a 21 point difference. It is also promising that the majority of the damage is caused by white evangelist Protestants (followed by black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics) while the vast majority of everybody else believes in evolution (over 3/4ths of mainline protestants). This indicates that localized brainwashing or choosing to ignore the evidence because of their religion is the major cause of the difference, not ignorance of the evidence. It also shows that our educational system is working, in general.

White evangelist Protestants, the Republican base, will cling to guns and their religion. It is what they do, but at least their idiocy hasn't metastasized. They aren't convincing people or increasing uncertainty despite their noise. All in all, that is a very good thing.
Posted by delirian on December 30, 2013 at 6:16 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 16
It makes you say thanks, and congratulate Ben Stein for making that wildly popular anti-Evolutionary movie 5 years ago.
Posted by dnt trust me on December 30, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
''This survey of American beliefs, showed that Americans, at a rate of between 48-51% don't believe in evolution, which is like, half... And on top of that 50 odd % a further 38-40% believe that biological evolution has occured but has been initiated by, and has since been administered by... God... Leaving a very small percentage of Americans who are right...''
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 30, 2013 at 6:24 PM · Report this
@4: thank you, it's good to see someone talking sense.

@12, 14: if only the troll knew enough to realize what an ass he makes of himself on a regular basis.
Posted by MRM on December 30, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 19
@16- I remember when Ben Stein was that guy from Ferris Beuller's Day Off who had flirted with Jimmy Kimmel on his fairly entertaining low-stakes, late-night quiz show and advertised eye drops for stoners.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
For me, I was sure evolution was true after I wrote a report on sickle-cell anemia in Borneo when I was 11. It would just be too weird for all those people to have such a terrible condition that kills you, and is useful only in their exact circumstances. And for that condition to be present only in people whose ancestors had to survive those exact conditions for generations.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
Posted by stirwise on December 30, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
Hey, here's an idea. Let's reward failure and see how humans evolve over the next 10,000 years! Think Detroit.
Posted by Grosse Pointe South on December 30, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
a third of Democraps do not believe in the Big E?

You pinkies aren't nearly as smart as you like to pretend.
Posted by rounding error on December 30, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
If we have the resources to reward other people for anything, then we won't evolve. Evolution happens when sh*t hits the fan, like really truely hits. Like a nuclear war. Or a massive plague. With massive casualties.
If and when societies change their views on concepts like responsibility, worth, money, etc... those moments are not evolutionary moment. When you change your mind it is not evolution. When all your neighbors die of influenza but you don't, that's evolution. It's really not a time where you could consider anyone "rewarded"
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:33 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 25
Not sure what you're getting at. If you mean he'll do anything for a buck, that's kind of my belief. The public becoming stupid about evolution is a bonus.
Posted by dnt trust me on December 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM · Report this
and don't get Goldy started on all those stupid Jews who think that evolution is something set in motion by God instead of a true evolution based in complete random trial and error.
Posted by ChefJoe on December 30, 2013 at 6:44 PM · Report this
I think that there is also a literal Biblical basis for evolution. Since the dimensions of the Ark are stated, and all the creatures went up on it, and everything else died. The ark was to preserve life on earth. But since we have seen way too many creatures on earth, many more than would fit on a boat that size (even without any room for movement or food), that means that either the earth wasn't decimated by the flood(Biblically, it was), or the size of the Ark was very wrong(again, a literalistic interpretation doesn't allow this). To me evolution is the only way to bridge this gap.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:48 PM · Report this

and lets be sure to pay people for not working.

extend those unemployment benefits!

give till your children squeal, bitches....
Posted by devolution on December 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM · Report this

And... existed in present form from the beginning skews older, HS education or lower, and female. Why not talk about why only 28% of the men are stupid but 38% of the women are ?…
Posted by ChefJoe on December 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM · Report this
"Evolution happens when sh*t hits the fan, like really truely hits."

Actually it doesn't. It happens over millions of years with millions of small steps. Like rewarding failure as we do these days in the USA.

But thanks for playing.
Posted by Why evolve when u can get on welfare? on December 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Well if you are a believer in supernatural origin of the universe, it stands to reason that natural phenomena have an ultimately supernatural origin.
Arguing about how evolution STARTED is very strange. Kinda a chicken and egg situation. The living creature evolves. But what did it evolve from? Ultimately it had to come from some spark of non-living ingredients. Which I wouldn't call evolution, because the ingredients cannot perish. This is going down a rabbit hole. People will think what they want about that moment. And givin that we're humans, we are probably all wrong. So don't hate.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
@28. taxpayers paid for a free public education which you've clearly squandered, so you're in no position to complain about other deadbeats.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM · Report this
I think you're mistaken about that. Evolution necessarily happens over the course of generations, but it isn't always a slow process. Consider the Dutch on Borneo. That didn't take long. Every single time they tried.
Evolution can take a very long time if there are low pressures on the species, like a predator-prey relationship, or a slowly changing food supply. Things like disease and climate events can have a rather more sudden effect.
Also, poverty is not genetic, and it's not an outside pressure. It is something we control as a society. Consider Norwegian inheritance laws. To this day, property still goes to the eldest son. Not such a big deal now, But 150 years ago it could be a starvation sentence if you didn't get along with big bro. From a species prospective, those two guys are almost exactly the same(same parents). But one lives and one dies. Cause it was humans making that call, not nature.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Report this
@29 Women tend to outlive men, and the older generation had fewer women attend college-- both would skew the gender responses for older people. Perhaps you can find some conditional probabilities for us that take into account these confounding variables?
Posted by wxPDX on December 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Report this
Clara T 35
Essential reading for battling the fire hose of dumbfuckery regarding evolution:…
Posted by Clara T on December 30, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
Evolution is a Theory.

Goldy makes it sound like a religion.

And the missing link is still. missing.

So 'Believing" in Evolution takes a leap of faith.

Get back to us when you can prove something, Goldy.
Posted by Humanism is no better than Catholicism on December 30, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this
#8 You be de whipping boy this time around. What a stupid comment! Sugertit my ass, more like sugarbooger. Stupid republican.
Posted by longwayhome on December 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM · Report this
@36, no, evolution is a scientific fact. Religions are matters of faith and superstition.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM · Report this
The missing link rebuttal is VERY flawed.
For one very simple reason.
If you have only 2 pieces of evidence, you have 1 hole(missing link) in between them.
If you have 3 pieces of evidence, you have 2 holes.
4 pieces of evidence, 3 holes.
So you can see that filling in the gaps just makes more gaps.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM · Report this
@33 "the dutch on Borneo"

Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this

you shouldn't let The Troll get under your skin.

and follow them around sniping like a ditched ex.

trolling a troll is no way to live.

plus you are embarrassingly shitty at it.
Posted by come on tubby. get a grip. on December 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
@41, A troll is a clever prankster who tricks other people into getting angry and saying something stupid.

A person who just says stupid shit and get responses is just a stupid shit who gets responses.

Learn the difference. It's not that complicated.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 7:18 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 43
The theory of evolution, cosmology, and "whatever" (e.g. "God" or supernatural forces) are not necessarily mutually exclusive theories or disciplines. Even Einstein and Hawkins have noted that. There's absolutely no reason to get bent out of shape because some poll suggests that American don't think the way pundits want them to. In fact, it's healthier for a pluralistic society to be that way. I believe it's called "dealing with ambiguity" which is a recognized strength and virtue.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on December 30, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
So the dutch kept trying to colonize Borneo but they couldn't, because they kept getting killed off by disease. Over and over. Like within a decade. It just wouldn't work. However the indigenous people were just fine, because they all have sickle cell anemia, which prevents them from exhibiting symptoms when infected by malaria. That's an evolutionary pressure in action. The dutch had guns and farming techs and everything, but its hard to use all that when you're shaking on a cot. They kept dying off.
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
delirian 45
Will people please stop replying to unregistered posters? Once in a blue moon they have something useful to say (usually about a real life event). The rest of the time they are trolls. Set the button "Unregistered" to "Off" and ignore them.
Posted by delirian on December 30, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
Wish granted
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 7:24 PM · Report this
pfffter 47
@43 Shut up, Phoebe
Posted by pfffter on December 30, 2013 at 7:33 PM · Report this
"Evolution happens when sh*t hits the fan, like really truely hits. Like a nuclear war. Or a massive plague. With massive casualties."

Posted by It's only natural on December 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM · Report this
@43: I'm not sure you could possibly have missed the point more. Whether or not you feel two beliefs are exclusive has no bearing on the fact that there is a well defined scientific understanding of something called "evolution", which 57% of Republicans no longer "believe in".

In certain things there are objective truths. Science is working to discover them. To quote Tim MInchin again:

“Life is full of mystery, yeah
But there are answers out there
And they won't be found
By people sitting around
Looking serious
And saying isn't life mysterious?
Let's sit here and hope
Let's call up the fucking Pope
Let's go watch Oprah
Interview Deepak Chopra

Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 30, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
fletc3her 50
I think we have to acknowledge that a large percentage of our citizens are dumb as posts.
Posted by fletc3her on December 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM · Report this
Troll, that is extremely insensitive and you should be ashamed. You are trying to use real human suffering to score some weird sort of comment section points and rile people up.
And yes, that would have become a massive evolutionary event had not people shown more empathy and compassion than you do. It would have been quite massive, since there are only 6 people known to be genetically immune. All women. Hard to have a species with that. You may not care about the gay population, but it was only incidental that it effected their community first. Do try and have a heart.
@45 Sorry man, that was just too sad and hateful to let lie
Posted by JonCracolici on December 30, 2013 at 7:43 PM · Report this
@51 why do you hate evolution so much?
Posted by HIV is natural selection at work on December 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM · Report this
@51, you are wasting your time (and ours). There are several trolls that live on Slog, and earnest explanations of your sincere beliefs simply mean that they will reply with more crap. Stop.
Posted by sarah70 on December 30, 2013 at 8:05 PM · Report this
@53 yet again, fear of facts scares the left just as much as the right.
Posted by HIV is just evolution at work on December 30, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
And American voters keep trying to put them back into office! Who are these voters? What kind of person that has even a middle school education would not see that the republican party is nothing but smoke and mirrors for the Christian fundamentalists that take verses from the Bible and apply them to their propaganda. I hope in my lifetime there can be some common sense between Govt. and religion. The two should never interact. Religion should be a personal commitment to oneself, not to be regulated by one's govt.
Posted by longwayhome on December 30, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
McBomber 56
@26, at least that's a much better outlook than "man walked with dinosaurs," or "god gave us oil to use until it's gone." I'm an atheist, but would welcome a world where all religions respect scientific study as merely unlocking greater understanding of their god's infinite intelligence. People will always cling to creation myths. If the original spark was the only point of contention, I could live with that.
Posted by McBomber on December 30, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
Jesus Fucking Christ... 38 percent! 38 percent of women don't believe in evolution!…

They must think they were created from the rib of a man so he could have something to stick his dick in when he got bored.
Posted by ChefJoe on December 30, 2013 at 8:24 PM · Report this
I see several things going on here.

1. Time as we experience it (Mankind has been on earth for what 20.000 or so years as, well, US) and Time as a universal constant.

2. The difference between a scientific Law and a scientific Theory.

3. The fact that both Law and Theory have much different meanings outside their scientific ones.

4. What a Motherly Catholic matron told me when I was cocky college freashman. "There is something very comforting about ritual and being reassured as to what is right."

The first is the simple fact that to think in terms of millions of years we have to go beyond our specie's experience of time. Jump outside the box.

The second. I can drop the law of gravity on you, go stand over there under that suspended car, for a really stupid proof of that. Whereas, a Theory is just a bunch of bricks.... until suddenly it is a wall. and then it is a Wall. At which point our time misunderstanding kicks in and well..... it has always been a Wall.

The third is simply the reality that we have all these other things not specifically scientific that we call Laws and Theories but have definitions not like their scientific ones.

Leaving us with the fourth point. Ritual and belief are comforting.

Posted by Machiavelli was framed on December 30, 2013 at 8:30 PM · Report this
I've never met a Mohammedan who believed in evolution but seattle liberals don't seem bothered by that.
Posted by Biggles on December 30, 2013 at 8:32 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 60
@55 it's the people that believe in the Party Of Taxes Are Too High! And people that believe in the Party Of Obummer's Gonna Take Our Guns Away".

Both of those sets of people are infested with people that are stump-fuckingly stupid. And, unfortunately, with people that are more reasonable, but still believe "Taxes Are Too High! And Obummer's Comin' Fer Our Guns!".

And they don't give a flyin' crap about anything else. As long as their taxes are even one cent, and as long as the NRA keeps telling them that the liberals are itchin' to take their guns, they'll vote republican. They don't give a fuck about religion or evolution. But they sure as hell care about their paycheck (not going to some mythical welfare momma) and their guns.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on December 30, 2013 at 8:34 PM · Report this
@60 ah yes, because the democrats thug base of are real rocket scientists. I
Posted by It's why ghetto kids are so smart on December 30, 2013 at 8:51 PM · Report this
rob! 62
The human genome contains evidence—quite a lot of it—of multiple past retroviral pandemics.
Posted by rob! on December 30, 2013 at 8:51 PM · Report this
#61 Drinking while posting?
Posted by longwayhome on December 30, 2013 at 9:01 PM · Report this
@61, as the poll clearly shows, democrats are much more scientifically literate than republicans, yes.

Not that anybody with half a brain didn't already know that.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM · Report this
I believe in evolution but man another lefty overreaction, we are a stupid county wow, and they wonder why they don't win.
Posted by Seattle14 on December 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM · Report this
Anyone who doesn't believe that Nature didn't just try every damned thing that came along to see what would succeed, should take a look at the heme (the iron-bearing part of hemoglobin) molecule and compare it with the chlorophyll molecule. Holy shit. If that's not proof that Nature is a totally random (and occasionally lucky) wetware hacker, nothing is. No "Intelligent Designer" would have lazily patched some fucking leftover piece of code from His work on plants to build a half-assed circulating oxygen carrier for vertebrate animals. Where's His sense of pride?
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 30, 2013 at 11:06 PM · Report this
@65 So if I understand you correctly the reason this country's "lefty" political wing doesn't "win" is because they over estimate the intelligence of this country.


You might have something there.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on December 30, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
@66 oh that'll never work. Your right of course, but it requires the ability to comprehend that time is scalable.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on December 30, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
Christampa 69
Phoebe, you delirious slut, that kind of thinking is basically carte blanche for any old wacky and insane theory people adhere to to be valid. Allowing people to have differing opinions on things is not the same as allowing them to believe the wrong thing, and anybody who doesn't believe in evolution necessarily believes in a wrong thing, whatever it is they believe in its place. There's no evidence indicating that evolution doesn't work more or less as described, and no evidence that some asshole wrote Evolution in C++ for his God Doctorate.

Nothing we can do can outright prevent people from thinking the wrong thing, but don't act like it's beneficial to society for people to ignore facts and pretend magic is real.
Posted by Christampa on December 30, 2013 at 11:33 PM · Report this
raku 70
69- Calling a woman a slut is about 4 steps more ignorant and regressive than not believing in evolution. You should be ashamed.
Posted by raku on December 30, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Report this
Clara T 71
slutroversy aside very well said 69.
Posted by Clara T on December 31, 2013 at 12:01 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 72
Wikipedia in every child's hand is the only answer. The freedom to learn anything in minutes. That's how you fix a dumb country.

I can't believe my education growing up consisted only of preset hours in a location only accessible via a diesel cloud spewing school bus. Or occasional trips (again, un-walkable) to the library with limited time to browse and pick a few interesting books.

The Evolution article is 20,000+ words and you can follow deeper links forever. Are scientists really just writers paid to orchestrate an elaborate hoax?
Posted by Westlake, son! on December 31, 2013 at 2:24 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 73
Scientists have been able to extract 400,000 year old DNA from our hominid ancestors. Ignoring facts does not make you smart, give you credibility or show integrity of thought. It makes you small, close minded and illogical and definitely not the kinds of people that should set public policy.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 31, 2013 at 3:40 AM · Report this
The Republican party has devolved from a political movement into a cultural movement. They no longer have a set of clear, consistent principles about how this nation should be governed, nor are they working to implement those principles in our laws and courts, Instead, Republicans are fighting a futile rear-guard action to preserve the American monoculture from the inevitable tide of multi-culturalism.

Republicans seek to preserve the monoculture found in small towns and rural areas (Sarah Palin's "real Americans") where everyone shares the same heritage, the same faith, and the same social norms. They eat the same foods, live in the same types of homes, and adopt the same social roles. Part of this worldview is the belief that the world is a dangerous place and we need a strong father-figure to protect us from the evil-doers lurking in the dark. And we owe this strong father our obedience in exchange for that protection. It is an intensely xenophobic and hierarchical view that divides the world between us and them and makes everyone who isn't a member of the American monoculture one of them. Like all monocultures, it professes that there is one right way for everything and any deviation from that one right way is wrong. There is one right way to be a man or a woman, to be a husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter. There is one - and only one - right way.

This world is shrinking as mass media, and now the internet, brings a more diverse, interesting, and successful array of possibilities into their homes and schools. Younger people - even those in small towns - can participate in a broader culture that includes elements from American cities and even from around the world. They listen to hip hop, they see other fashions, learn about other foods, and discover other social roles. They see that the world is not such a scary place. They see that being protected from this world has kept them isolated from this world. They see that their way of doing things is only one right way and that there are other right ways, some of them better. How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they have seen Gungham Style?

The response, from a significant number of the members of that American monoculture, has been to glorify "traditional American values". To put them on a pedestal and worship them. This effort has some odd consequences, among them sworm fealty to fundamentalist Christianity that teaches that the Bible is literal truth rather than allegory. These people aren't necessarily stupid. They don't even necessarily dis-believe in evolution. But they hear the question as code for "Which side are you on? Traditional American culture, values, and tradition - or are you on the side of multi-culturalism with all the frightening and unfamiliar foreign ideas that has destroyed the certainties of our lives?" It's no surprise that many of them answered that they dis-believe in evolution. It wasn't a scientific question for them. It wasn't even a religious question. It was a question to test their membership in a culture under siege. You might as well have been asking Texans if they remember the Alamo. Sharing the myth is fundamental to membership in the culture.
Posted by Charlie Mas on December 31, 2013 at 4:55 AM · Report this
I love all the folks pointing to the anti-science right, while ignoring the anti-science left.

Sure, make fun of the right for their ignorance of evolution and global warming. But don't forget that "your" side supports shit like anti-vaxxers, anti-fluoridation wackjobs and people who have no fucking understanding of basic genetics or nuclear power.
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 6:56 AM · Report this
fletc3her 76
@70 It was a 70s era SNL reference.
Posted by fletc3her on December 31, 2013 at 7:10 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 77
@75: yes, that is exactly equivalent.

again, it's not ignorance. it's willful denial, like a child refusing to eat their vegetables. admit climate change is happening, then you have to take measures to combat it. those cost money and create inconvenience.

admit evolution exists, you admit the bible contains error. god dies.

cunningly, refusing to admit the most basic facts into the debate has the effect of forestalling debate indefinitely. which is precisely what the tactic is meant to achieve.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 31, 2013 at 7:19 AM · Report this
@77 Anti-vaxxers and anti-fluoridation jackasses are a serious hinderance to public health, and lefties who are too stupid to pass a physics class are seriously hampering efforts to drastically reduce carbon emissions despite their general acceptance of manmade climate change.

Creationism isn't something to be proud of, but it doesn't give newborns whooping cough.
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 8:07 AM · Report this
emor 79
Nicely done

Come on. The looney left is a fringe movement. The looney right has been adopted by the conservative's mainstream and is demonstrated daily in the highest halls of governmental power.
Posted by emor on December 31, 2013 at 8:18 AM · Report this
@75, as the poll clearly showa, the right is far more anti-science than the left.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
@80 congratulations, you're a tall midget.
Posted by The democrats ghetto base ain't very smart either on December 31, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
@81, "democrat's base isn't very smart either"

Yet they're far smarter than the Republicans, obviously.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 83
@78: "too stupid to pass a physics class" is probably >90% of everyone on earth. apparently you did it, i know i did it, but at my HS, only about 10% of kids got far enough in the science currriculum to even try.

the survey said that 1/3 of Dems don't "believe" in evolution, so no one here can claim it's only Republics that are the problem.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 31, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
Camco 84
Do you have to say f#ck to emphasize what a stupid country we are? Sounds pretty infantile.
Posted by Camco on December 31, 2013 at 9:24 AM · Report this
@75 Fringe or not, they wield increasing power on the left, and unlike creationism, diseases that could be prevented by vaccination cause other people to become sick. Even if you think they're fringe, as someone on the left, you should be calling those ignorant assholes out for their own stupidity - otherwise you're no different than those on the right who vote for anything with an R at the end of their name.

@83 Evolution, while a vital foundation of modern biology, isn't the only science out there that people are ignorant of, and has a huge effect on public policy. As someone from the left, I feel it's my responsibility to call out stupidity from my own side long before I call it out across the aisle.
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 9:27 AM · Report this
@85, an ignorance of evolution leads to bacterial resistance. So lets not pretend creationism is somehow nobler than anti-vaccers. Also, there are plenty of anti-vaccers on the right. I doubt it's nearly as partisan as the creationism movement is.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
@86 Yes, which is why the anti-vaccine meccas here in the United States are states like Washington, Oregon and California - places known for being highly competitive in Presidential elections.

Have you even interacted with these communities before? They mostly consist of "crunchy moms" who masturbate to wholesome organic food, naturopathy/homeopathy and the evils of modern medicine. Does that really sound right wing to you?
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Solk has a point: Conflating creationists with the anti-science crowd ignores the fact that there are different groups who are anti-science. Look at the HPV vaccine for example. There are right-wingers opposed to it because they think it'll make their daughters go out and have sex, but there are left-wingers who just think "but this 1 girl might have died because of it! It's dangerous!"

Further, if 33% of Democrats are creationists, calling the left-wing "pro-science" is already laughable.

Most of our population only knows about science what they read in press releases. Do we need to even go into how awful those are?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 31, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
blip 89
@85, Here you go:……

No need to derail a theead when you can bitch about vaccines and fluoride and actually be on-topic (if a bit late to the party).

Posted by blip on December 31, 2013 at 10:51 AM · Report this
@89 The topic here is anti-science movements within political factions. I'm not sure how pointing out that most here are being absolute fucking hypocrites is "off topic".

Look, it's really fun to point at all the low hanging fruit on the right, I too love to laugh at them. But as some point you have to stop laughing and do to the hard work of cleaning your own house. So either we can do that, or we can continue to ignore the festering and the rot within our own ranks.
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 91
@49: Yes, but evolution does not explain what enabled evolution to begin in the first place such as the $64,000 questions of where the first sub atomic particle came from, what existed before the big bang, and so on. That's why the poll is so silly.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on December 31, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Catherwood 92
@90, I can't disagree with the sentiment, but I do disagree with the factual basis for this -- you say that, for instance, anti-vaxxers are increasing in power on the left. I don't think that's true. Can you substantiate that claim? I would suggest that in fact they have reached their peak and will decline, because their asshattery was previously a kind of underground thing, but now they have been exposed for the boneheads they are. Sure we should continue to point that out, but are they driving Democratic Party policy? (Hint: no.) Are their equivalents on the right driving Republican Party policy? (Hint: yes.) I really think you're making an apt comparison with respect to their shared idiocy, but not with respect to their impact on their party politics.
Posted by Catherwood on December 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM · Report this
@91: Neither does the fact that the world is round, but there are people who don't believe that too. How about the moon landing? People not recognizing these things as true is the same as evolution vs. creationism. Neither of us are qualified to discuss the fine points of the creation of the universe, but I can probably debunk every point you have about the moon landing. Evolution has occurred, is occurring and will occur. Humans bear marks of its effects. Humans have seen other animals evolve during our modern existence. Saying that you think “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” is not even close to equivalent to questioning the origins of the natural universe. It is, plain and simple, rejection of science in its entirety.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
blip 94
@90, Your concern has been noted.

Posted by blip on December 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
@91, the poll wasn't asking about where the first particle came from. The poll was asking about evolution, and the very stupid people who don't believe in it.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
delirian 96
what existed before the big bang
The rest of your post is trolling, but I do have to ask if you have considered what time actually is. Asking what existed before the Big Bang has no meaning. Time applies within our universe. Trying to ask how it worked in a metaphysical sense just removes all of the physics from it. At that point, it is a philosophical question, not a physical question (for example, if I made a simulated universe, a game of Pong, and defined 'time' based on clock cycles of a microprocessor, then what happens to time when I first start the game or when I pause it? And what happened in the 'time' before the game started?).
Posted by delirian on December 31, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
@92 They certainly aren't as powerful on the left as they are on the right, but if the left is going to call itself the side of reason/technology/science/fact/etc then they have a much higher bar to clear when dealing with these wackjobs.

As far as a rise in power, I would point to the rise in vaccine-preventable diseases:…
Posted by Solk512 on December 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this
lol, you really do enjoy painting yourself into a corner, don't you?

Democrats really do clear a higher bar of scientific literacy, as compared to your party, as evidenced by this latest poll.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Christampa 99
@Solk - All of the anti vaccination people I know are Reaganites. I can believe without reservation that a significant percentage of them identify as liberal, but I think that your perspective of what constitutes a liberal here is skewed by not taking into account the resurgence of the libertarian tin hat brigade. The shiny bright lights of libertarianism have blinded a good chunk of both the left and the right so that once reasonable sounding men and women suddenly think it's a great idea to drug test for welfare benefits. Truthers are often said to be a left-wing fringe too, but in reality it's all libertarian scum who happen to also be pro gay marriage and pro pot.
That's the real source of anti science these days. The right trusts authority, but only the authority they've trusted since their parents told them who to trust. And so they don't trust science when it disputes their primary authority. The libertarians think skepticism means not to trust anyone or anything unless they can sum up their theory in a three hour long youtube video (Hi sgtdoom!). Both anti-vaccination and anti-fluoride adherents owe more to their libertarian streak than their liberal one.

@91 - You're skipping a lot of steps between the big bang and biogenesis. Where life came from is not a part of the theory of evolution, so any reservations someone has on that matter is moot. In any case, I'm willing to grant a lot more license to Scientologists to believe that an alien ship came and deposited life on earth than I am to someone who believes in the face of all evidence that life doesn't evolve once set somewhere with adverse conditions. Although there's evidence in play for where life originated from on Earth, it's hardly the same settled matter that Evolution is.
Posted by Christampa on December 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 100
@88- "if 33% of Democrats are creationists, calling the left-wing "pro-science" is already laughable."

The Democratic Party is not a left-wing organization. It's center-right.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 31, 2013 at 1:00 PM · Report this
@100: I got yelled at when I said that to people in another thread. Also, they don't break it down further, so while the left may be slightly better, I am not convinced that the difference is huge.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Christampa 102
And @97, while the effects of anti-vaccination proponents on disease control have been significant, you can't judge the movement's current political capital by the current effects. It's more likely that the movement peaked a few years ago and the fallout is still increasingly a problem, even as their influence dies away. Unlike someone who thinks that their baby magically turned autistic the second they had their vaccination, you and I both know that effects like that can take years to truly take root.
Posted by Christampa on December 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 103
@101- You change your opinion just because people yell at you? Ok.

Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
@103: =P I change my vocabulary based on how other people use words. The purpose of language is communication, so even if I hate that "I could care less" and "I couldn't care less" mean the same thing, I understand and don't throw a fit, I just change my usage.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 31, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 105
We're in agreement that evolution theory is sound. But when asked about evolution, people also think about the metaphysical pre-big bang and such as well. So you can't divorce one from the other. Believing in evolution does not negate "creationism" in a cosmological sense. It's as if
Evolution + x = Universe
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on December 31, 2013 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Look, wouldn't it be nice if we could just cut out conspiracy-theory believers from the political spectrum? The nature of believing conspiracy theories isn't right-wing or left-wing or religious or atheist. It's just mental illness, sometimes just temporary, but not always. It comes from wanting answers to real problems, but being too impatient or ill-equipped to analyze the situation or simply unwilling to accept the reality of it or understand the answer. It's a hole in the intellectual capacity of human beings, and how some people are led to fill it.

Some people being extra-stupid, however, they reject all evidence of fairly well-established theories outright and latch onto someone else's semi-logical but fallacious explanation. This part of it is not right, it's not left, it's just ignorance and stupidity. However, there are a number of demagogues (and radio personalities who function as them) who willingly exploit these failings to further their own prominence. That's where, when you start counting noses, you'll find far more on the right than the left.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 31, 2013 at 2:45 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 107
@104- Language forms our thoughts. If allow the Democrats to be called "left-wing" then it makes the most moderate of socialists at the same level as Stalin.

@105- No, Phoebe, you don't let the most ignorant people define the discussion. If you encounter someone who thinks evolution is about the Big Bang, you tell them the truth so that they don't live in falsehood any longer. It's not polite to let someone else be stupid. Nobody gets any better educated if we let the least educated run things.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
@105, evolution is completely divorced from the Big Bang.

They are two different things. Apples and oranges. The only thing they share in common is that people who are ignorant of one are often ignorant of the other.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
@105: The question is whether “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

If you conflate that question with "do you believe in god(s)?" then you are anti-science. Science is the study of the world as it is, not as you wish it to be. If you can't divorce the two, you are dangerous.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 31, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Simple solution to all of this. Don't vote for any republican in 2014 and 2016.
Posted by longwayhome on December 31, 2013 at 8:24 PM · Report this
venomlash 111
@24: Correct. Evolution by natural selection only occurs when there is some selective force. (This generally requires that resources be sufficiently scarce that not all individuals will be able to reproduce, and that some individuals are more likely to reproduce than others.)
@27: As a scientist and a Jew, it's my opinion that trying to mix science and religion invariably corrupts both. Let it be; you're just fussing over the Ark's dimensions and in so doing presenting a serious misunderstanding of evolution.
@39: Correct again. When Creationists ask "where are the missing links, the transitional forms?" they forget that everything we've found thus far is a transitional form between something and something else.
Posted by venomlash on January 1, 2014 at 3:04 AM · Report this
The Theory of Evolution is a theory until we get around to mapping all of the genetic changes that created all the divergent species (that are still testable/in existence). While that still won't change the minds of those who "believe" otherwise, for Science that will allow proof positive for "Law" status. We don't have to know the why of gravity to establish immutable fact as Law; we don't have to know the cause of changes that caused divergence of species, just the proof it occurred (again, and again, and again, and again....).

Part of the many problems with Medicine can be explained/alleviated by having full DNA sequences of everyone, and establishing genetic propensities. Unfortunately that will allow GATTACA scenario invasiveness as well. The problem with any human endeavor is that ethics and accomplishment aren't even remotely interrelated unless they are required to be. Just look at Wall Street for example...

Posted by Married in MA on January 1, 2014 at 9:36 AM · Report this
sissoucat 113
Evolution is called a theory just in the States. Everywhere else, it's just called Evolution. Just like Quantum Mechanics is not routinely called "the theory of Quantum Mechanics".

I guess insisting on calling Evolution a "theory" is a way to minimize it ?

As for "believing in science", what a strange way to poll. I agree with #4. Science has never needed belief to work - not needing any belief is a hallmark of science.

Religion, prayer : it needs belief to work, not only some, but "a lot" - and belief is so hard to measure... that when religion or prayer fail to work, not enough belief is the ideal culprit.
Posted by sissoucat on January 1, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 114
@113 No, saying "Darwin's Theory of Evolution" is as respectful as saying "Newton's Theory of Universal Gravitation."

The problem is that in casual speech, "theory" is used to mean "a semi-informed guess that remains to be substantiated." In science, the parallel term is "hypothesis."

In science, theory means an overarching concept that SUCCESSFULLY explains a large body of data better. A very different usage, and one that the anti-intellectual fucktards make much hay from.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 1, 2014 at 8:59 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 115
er, "...better than competing explanations."
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 1, 2014 at 9:01 PM · Report this
I would really like to see polls on evolution include questions regarding a belief in the efficacy of animal husbandry for the cross tabs.
Posted by Not What Santorum Thinks It Is on January 2, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Knat 117
@93: We've even seen a case of evolution happening on a macro scale within a single human lifetime. I'm referring to the Italian wall lizards of Pod Mrcaru. (link)

@114: That's the little tidbit of information that rankles me the most, I think. Science illiterates spouting, "You only hear about the Theory of Evolution; you never hear the fact of evolution!" It's always said so very proudly, as if they've spotted the scientists' bait and switch. So they're either proudly ignorant, or intentionally misinforming their listeners.
Posted by Knat on January 2, 2014 at 9:38 PM · Report this

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