Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Left Behind

The NYWT has an interview yesterday (Aug. 30) by Cornelia Dean with John D. Miller, Director of the Center on Biomedical Communication at Northwestern U. (I've checked out their web site and they aren't giving up anything worthwhile, so you'll have to depend on Dean's interview for the info on this.)

According to surveys done by Miller's outfit, fewer than 1/3 of U.S. adults know what DNA is and what it has to do with heredity. 10% know what radiation is. And oh yeah -- 20% think the sun goes around the earth. Yup, that's what it says, right there in black and white.

In other news, the Pew Research Center released poll results , shown below:

So, about 1/4 of Americans believe in evolution by natural selection, and fewer than half believe evolution has happened at all. But why would they believe in evolution if they don't know what DNA is? (Darwin didn't know either, but he deduced that there must be something that functions as we now know DNA does, as a modifiable repository of instructions for making organisms.) If people don't have the most basic information about the world, then why would they choose an incomprehensible explanation over a simple and understandable one?

The preachers have their attention every Sunday and on lots of occasions in between. The scientists just talk to each other, in their $400 a year journals full of strange symbols and incantations about transposons, epigenetically labile targets, and gamma amino butyric acid. So whose fault is it anyway?


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Awesome information! Honestly I thought more Americans believed in evolution by selection, but just 1/4? This left me shocked.
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