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Cross posted from Blue Virginia

A few days ago, the Pew Research Center reported its disturbing - but sadly not surprising - finding that Republican "belief" in evolution has plummeted in recent years. I put "belief" in quotes, because any educated person should know that science has nothing whatsoever to do with "belief," but about data collection, hypothesis development, rigorous testing and experimentation, etc. In short, science is about empiricism and rationality, the opposite of "belief," religion, theology, etc.

Anyway, the pathetic and disturbing bottom line is that only 43% of Republicans agree with the overwhelming scientific evidence that humans - like all other species - have evolved over time. This compares to 67% of Democrats and 65% of Independents, both of which are also pathetically low percentages, but still 20+ points better than Republicans. This would be bad enough if it were isolated to one branch of science, albeit an absolutely crucial one. But it isn't.

Instead, Republicans also don't "believe" in other major scientific findings, such as that human-emitted greenhouse gases are causing climate change. Of course, climate science also has been demonstrated and validated/refined by overwhelming empirical evidence, collected over more than a century, in addition to tremendous grounding in scientific theory (and no, the word "theory" in science does not mean what it does in popular usage). Yet according to Pew, only 24% of Republicans (and something like 9% of Tea Partiers) give the scientifically accurate answer that human activity is the primary cause of global warming, compared to 66% of Democrats and 43% of Independents. Again, those are pathetic numbers among Democrats and Independents, but still far better than among Republicans, let alone Tea Partiers.

The bottom line is that on two of the best-supported scientific matters, Republicans - and particularly the Tea Party branch - are unequivocally the "stupid party," as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) put it. More evidence of this disturbing phenenomenon can be found right here in Virginia, as Josh Israel of Think Progress reports:

A new bill, up for consideration this year in the Virginia General Assembly, would give Virginia’s public school teachers permission to teach about the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “scientific theories” like evolution and global climate change. The bill is part of a national trend of legislative proposals, led by creationist organizations like the Discovery Institute and climate-change deniers such as the Heartland Institute.

Virginia State Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell (R) pre-filed House Bill 207 over the holidays for consideration by the House of Delegates when it reconvenes this week. His proposal would require Virginia elementary and secondary schools to teach about “scientific controversies” in science classes.  

This is obviously unacceptable and should receive ZERO votes in the Virginia General Assembly. I mean, it's one thing for rank-and-file Republicans, Independents, or Democrats to be scientific ignoramuses, but our supposed leaders certainly have no excuse (other than pandering to said ignoramuses). Yet here we are, with a bill to require Virginia public school teachers to actually teach children how NOT to think scientifically, and basically how NOT to be competitive in a 21st century economy in which understanding of science and technology are paramount. It's utterly appalling, and we should all be watching VERY closely to see who votes for this trash. Frankly, anyone who does so should be automatically disqualified from holding public office. But since that's not possible, the least we can do is make sure we vote against anyone who does so, strongly support their opponent, and otherwise let them know our displeasure at their anti-science, pro-theocracy attitudes.

Originally posted to lowkell on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recently had an argument (8+ / 0-)

    with someone who claims to be neither a creationist nor an evolutionist but whose arguments were riddled with creationist talking points (that macroevolution and microevolution were not simply the same thing over differing periods of time, that a "big change" must therefore happen in a single generation, and that this "big change" has never been observed therefore evolution is a religion not a science).

    These talking points are, of course, immune to correction -- showing evidence of observed speciation doesn't count because it's a bacteria/it's a plant/the amount of change is insufficient/other bullshit reasons -- and any amount of proof that according to evolutionary theory, macroevolution and microevolution are qualitatively identical and only quantitatively different, is dismissed with an accusation of ignorance about the science itself.

    The self-reinforcing walls of ignorance (or stupidity -- which I define as ignorance that refuses correction) are stunning among the anti-science morans. It's truly remarkable.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:34:50 AM PST

    •  I recommend the book "The Language of God" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, ColoTim, Lujane

      as a starting point for getting Christians to accept evolution.

      I'm on a mission! Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:56:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's also good to go straight to the genetics. (0+ / 0-)

      The genetic evidence is a slam dunk - we share 50% of our genome with the vegetable kingdom and that's only possible because we have a common ancestor.

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:26:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's a flawed argument, for the same reason the Creationist 'irreducible complexity' argument is flawed.

        (I don't know if you're factually correct on the 50% genome statement, either, but assuming you are...)

        A Creationist response to your argument is that we could share 50% of our genome with the vegetable kingdom because our Creator used the same building blocks to create the diversity of life which we experience today.

        "This is only possible if" type arguments are usually red flags for fallacies.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:38:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your hypothetical Creationist... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raptavio, mookins, ssgbryan

          ...needs to lean some basic biology.

          But you are right that "only possible if..." is poor phrasing and I should have said " the best explanation for this is..."

          Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

          by GreenPA on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:52:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, that's true. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreenPA, mookins, ColoTim

            That is a better phrasing. Even better: The shared genetics between animals and plants, and indeed with all life, are entirely consistent with the theory of evolution.

            And that's important. There is nothing yet discovered in all of creation (see what I did there?) that is inconsistent with the theory of evolution, and much that supports and validates that theory.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:56:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Most People Don't Need to Know any Science (3+ / 0-)

    to get along in their lives, relationships and careers, and there are more than enough people learning science here and abroad to supply industry.

    Meanwhile with anti science you get a rich and large community with all kinds of support, missions for those who are strong and energetic, and tremendous support from global ownership if you choose to go into a leadership career.

    The truth about evolution is dire for an enlightenment based society: evolution does not proceed upward or forward --only onward. Brains shrink, wings lose flight, and societies can thrive while going intellectually dark.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:44:39 AM PST

  •  Scratch an anti-evolutionist/climate change denier (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Sue B, ssgbryan

    and in virtually all cases you'll reveal an Evangelical Christianist who believes that Adam and Eve had vegetarian dinosaurs for neighbors in the Garden of Eden 5,000 years ago. Creationism isn't about science; it's about the maniacally ignorant compulsion to defend and extend the belief that the Bible is the literal word of God.

    •  i've recently found that noone is a (5+ / 0-)

      literal bible believer.

      point out passages that for some 21st century ears sound like they literally support slavery, or genocide, or that the earth is flat, or that bats are birds, or that the moon generates its own light, or the like and your "every word of the bible is literal and true" individual will tell you those parts are "allegory." Which is why they can eat shellfish but condemn gay people for existing.

      It's convienent, isn't it?

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

      by terrypinder on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:23:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Selective literalism (0+ / 0-)

        You're supposed to take it all as the literal word of god, not subject to debate or interpretation. Except the Book of Revelations, of course-- that's to be taken allegorically, as a warning (Gog and Magog as USSR and China, mark of the beast as the universal product bar code, Antichrist as Obama).

        Just do as we tell you to, and don't ask any questions.

      •  I like the part where the conditions under (0+ / 0-)

        which you can sell your daughter into slavery are spelled out.  

        Somehow I never hear a sermon on those passages.

        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

        by MadScientist on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:36:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Evolution isn't a theory or a belief it is a fact (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tuesdayschilde, a2nite, MKinTN

    There are theories that go towards explaining the phenomenon of evolutionary change but disagreements among theorists have to do with specific mechanisms not the phenomenon as such.

    I don't have time to be bothered arguing the fine points with anyone so stupid other than to tell them that if they think evolution is just a "theory" then gravity is a theory too, so why don't they prove it's wrong by walking off yonder cliff?

  •  a tell is the use of (0+ / 0-)

    'evolutionist' in their talking points. They think that's the opposite of 'creationist', and equivalent to 'scientist'.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:22:28 AM PST

  •  yeats said it best (0+ / 0-)

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
         Are full of passionate intensity.

  •  The Taliban has no place in the 21st Century.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tuesdayschilde, a2nite, ColoTim

    ... and apparently 80% of the American population also has no place in the modern world.

    Of Democrats, 27% evolution sure BUT God did it, not physics and chemistry.

    Where is the panic over the massive epidemic in mass IGNORANCE? How is this not a public health crisis ... mental health. :)

  •  When humans create "god' in their own image (0+ / 0-)

    and likeness - as fundamentalists, and most of the rest of Western "christians" do - there is one thing that becomes obvious.  What THEY CAN'T DO their "god", of course, can't do either.

    So, fighting the truth of "evolution" - and even the truth of  the Copernican "world view", as the Roman Religion does, by way of Hitler's 2nd Pope, Ratzinger, who pronounced Galileo's condemnation, etc., to be "perfectly correct", in a formal Audience at the beginning of his papacy - is just as natural for them as . . . breathing, for instance.

    Now, the Roman Religion has a "new" Pope, Bergoglio, who could, "infallibly", change his mind; and bring even that pre-Medieval mélange into the 17th Century.  But, that's beside the point.  "Infallibility" is just as silly an idiotology as any to be found elsewhere in today's so-called "christianity".

    That the Teabaghead/Republiklan Party is made up, mostly, of those WHO DO create their own "god" in their own image and likeness is, after all, a basic, fundamental, and sad truth.  The saddest part of it all being their fanatic necessity to impose that kind of "truth" on everyone else.

  •  I'd suggest asking anyone who doubts (0+ / 0-)

    the efficacy of science (altho he wouldn't use that word) if he (or she) goes to a doctor when he's sick (or injured).

    Doctors (at least licensed ones) are scientists.

    "There's always room for cello." Yo Yo Ma

    by ceebee7 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:50:29 PM PST

    •  It's more accurate to say that doctors are (0+ / 0-)

      actually engineers more than scientists.

      Science is about studying existing phenomena to learn about the universe, and Engineering is going in the opposite direction and taking stuff that's been learned about the universe and using it to make phenomena happen.

      Healing a person by using the results of other people's experimental research belongs in the second category more so than the first.

      The researchers who discover medical techniques are the scientists.  The general practitioner family doctor who puts them into practice is an engineer.

  •  More evidence for Theory of Evolution than for (0+ / 0-)

    the Theory of Gravity. Ask creationists if they have fallen up lately.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:41:07 PM PST

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