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  •  I'm surprised that you didn't point (0+ / 0-)

    out that the "Birther" poll suffers from the same problem:

    So why would only 42% of Americans say that they believe in this extensively-documented, measurable, well-established theory?  Should we worry that America is hopelessly backward and mired in some kind of anti-science dark age?

    No. For one very good reason: both the question itself, and the presentation of the results are deeply flawed. Intentionally idiotic.

    The "Pangea" poll: Do you believe that America and Africa were once part of the same continent?

    The "Birther" poll: Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?

    Both questions ask what you "believe". I don't really "believe" anything. All that I can say is that the evidence that has been presented to date seems to indicate that America and Africa were once part of the same continent and that Barack Obama was born in the United States. But I don't believe either of those things.

    I thought "belief" was associated with "faith", "religion", etc. Why are we asking people what they "believe" and then calling them backwards because they don't believe what we "believe"?

    •  "Belief" and "believe" have multiple meanings. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jake Nelson

      The distinction you want to make is generally not used in conversation.

      I believe that there is a stop sign down the end of Center Street.

      There's a preponderance of evidence in that direction, even if I can't remember it as part of an image.

      Angry White Males + DSM IV Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The Base

      by vets74 on Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 05:10:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure there are thousand different ways (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74

        to use the word, but I don't think the example you cite really applies in either of the cited cases. The point I'm making is that in either case, we are asked to state whether we believe something to be true that we do not know from personal experience to be true. You might "believe" that there is a stop sign down the street because you seem to remember it, even though you can't say for sure based on a clear mental image. That's still more on the personal knowledge side of things.

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