Prof. Bleen (6_bleen_7) wrote,
Prof. Bleen

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Faith-based Medicine

The journal Science recently published an unsurprising but horribly depressing article1 about the acceptance of evolutionary theory by the public in Japan, the United States and Europe. As the graph (under the cut; large version here) shows, evolution is more often rejected in the United States than anywhere in Europe except Turkey.

Here we see how the public of each nation responded to the statement, "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." Pharyngula and The Panda's Thumb have already discussed the article, and have covered the essential points. However, I want to re-emphasize that religious and political ideologies predicted attitude toward evolution considerably more strongly in the US than in Europe. Spain and Germany, while overall quite religious and, specifically, Christian, scored near the top of the list—so apparently religion and reality can coexist. Also, I wish that the countries of the Middle East were included in the poll. I have a feeling they'd do no better than Turkey, and probably worse. Then we could say to the Fundies, "Look! All of those evil Ay-rabs deny evolution! You have to accept it now! Or are you one a' them terrorists?"

At just about the same time the article came to my attention, jillbertini discovered a humorous fake motivational poster poking fun at the 17-member tribute to Fundamentalist brainwashing, the Duggar Herd Family. I wrote one of my most scathing rants (warning—potentially offensive!) about the Duggars, and, gazing in horror at that portrait of the entire brood, I realized that I could use it to construct the visual equivalent of my main thesis, that the reason that the Duggars have sixteen live, healthy children, instead of nine or ten clinging to life with varying success, is the triumph of science over the medieval superstition they teach their children—and want taught to all American schoolchildren—in place of science. Here it is (click on the image for a really big version, albeit with lower resolution in the photo):

Fortunately, before this terrible fate can be realized, I expect that (if current trends continue) the US will first lose its superpower status, on account of widespread ignorance and a political and social atmosphere hostile to scientific progress. Maybe a little humility will wise us up!

Edit: Below is the original version, in which the word "DIED" took the place of the skull and crossbones. I like the skull version slightly better, but the direct mention of death has much to commend it. If you prefer the "DIED" version, please let me know (this is sort of an informal poll). I'd also be happy to take suggestions for improvement, e.g., more medieval maladies.


1Miller, J.D., Scott, E.C., and Okamoto, S. (2006). Public acceptance of evolution. Science 313, 765-766.
Tags: evolution, fundies, rant
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