Evolution illiteracy among America’s finest educators

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New England Science Public (NESP) and the New England Center for the Public Understanding of Science at Roger Williams University, United States, have just released the study ‘Acceptance of Evolution by America’s Educators of Prospective Teachers: The Disturbing Reality of Evolution Illiteracy at Colleges and Universities.’

Coauthors Dr. Guillermo Paz-y-Mino-C and Dr. Avelina Espinosa, members of NESP, investigated the attitudes toward evolution among 500 educators of prospective teachers affiliated with 300 colleges and universities in the US. These professionals (almost all PhD holders) where polled in five areas: (1) their views about evolution and creationism, (2) their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work, (3) their position about the hypothetical ‘harmony or compatibility’ between science and religion, (4) their awareness of the age of the Earth, its moon, the solar system and universe, and (5) their personal convictions concerning the evolution or creation of humans in the context of their religiosity.

Acceptance of evolution was strongly influenced by the educators’ religious beliefs. In comparison to two other populations whose acceptance of evolution had already been studied by Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa —that is research faculty and college students in New England— the educators showed an intermediate level of understanding science, low acceptance of evolution, and high religiosity.

The significant outcomes of the study can be summarized as follows:

• 59% of the educators accepted evolution openly, 51% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 59% admitted to be religious. In contrast, among the New England researchers, 94% accepted evolution openly, 82% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 29% admitted to be religious. Among the students, 63% accepted evolution openly, 58% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 37% admitted to be religious.

• Educators in each region of the US (North East, Midwest, South, and West) had science- and evolution-literacy scores below the researchers’ but above the students.’

• The educators’ rejection of evolution increased, conspicuously, with increasing level of religiosity.

The authors highlight that “the educators of prospective teachers are responsible for mentoring the teachers-to-be in the American school system, and that their hesitation to embrace evolution resides in a deficient understanding of science and high religiosity.”

Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa conclude that harmonious coexistence between science and religion is illusory. If co-persisting in the future, the relationship between science and religion will fluctuate between moderate and intense antagonism.

The complete 92-page study is available open access at New England Science Public; it includes 23 figures, statistics, 34 maps, 12 tables, and a companion slide show ‘Image Resources’ for science journalists, researchers and educators.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – • The educators’ rejection of evolution increased, conspicuously, with increasing level of religiosity.

    The authors highlight that “the educators of prospective teachers are responsible for mentoring the teachers-to-be in the American school system, and that their hesitation to embrace evolution resides in a deficient understanding of science and high religiosity.”

    The religious bias brain-blockers, inhibit the learning of science. Specialisms in some subjects (or the nature of some “universities”), may allow the scientifically ignorant to achieve academic qualifications, or teacher status!

    The culture of some theistic or arty subjects, actually encourages irrational wish-thinking and indulgence in fantasy, without recognising any boundaries between illusion and reality.

  2. I think one major problem is the way biology used to be taught in the US in elementary and high school classes. Actually, my guess is it’s not much better now but I remember when I studied biology before college they always made evolution a sort of additional “oh by the way” point rather than making it the foundation that everything else is built on. Also, even in the 70’s when I took classes they were still teaching things like group selection, without using the term but that adaptations could be “good for the species”. When I read The Selfish Gene several years ago I remember thinking that up to that point I never really understood evolution.

  3. Having gone through Junior High and High School in the ’90s, I can tell you that it isn’t better. I had one teacher (6th grade) openly refuse to teach it, despite it being on the curriculum. I had others, including a Biology instructor, say they didn’t believe in it but that they had to teach it – and they spent all of 5 minutes on it while teaching it insufficiently or incorrectly. It was limited to text boxes in the margins of the textbooks and wasn’t a core part of the overall subject. Only when I expanded out into biology electives in high school (like Genetics and Biology II) did they spend serious time on it.

    Even in college (within the last 4 years), it wasn’t taught until Biology II – and even then it wasn’t until the last chapters. When I took it we ran out of time, so the final chapter covering more in-depth topics on evolution (such as genetic drift) were ommitted. (My college professor was an evolutionary biologist, so it isn’t as though he was averse to teaching it.) Also, Bio II isn’t even required for many degree plans so many students never learn about it there, either.

  4. On face value of the article, the questions objectifying “evolution” as a single true/false thing are too simplistic – ie illiterate in itself – but I see the full study report is linked. I shall take a look. Thanks.

  5. psybertron Sep 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    On face value of the article, the questions objectifying “evolution” as a single true/false thing are too simplistic – ie illiterate in itself

    Not really. That evolution has happened, and continues to happen, in Natural Selection shaping life forms on Earth, is established to the level of fact in thousands of published studies. That life-forms change and evolve over time is established beyond any reasonable doubt.

    The details of how it happens in individual species, or particular ecosystems, is scientific theory, so unwillingness to believe evolution is happening is simply scientific ignorance or religious bigotry.
    Uneducated people spreading ignorance, should not be employed as educators!

  6. robert Sep 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    What proof do you have that one creature changed to another by man’s observance?

    Thousands of examples from genetics, and experiments with mutating bacteria.

    The answer is none.

    That answer is wrong!

    So it is not science because science requires the observance and testing to come to any conclusion.

    Sure does! and your claims have no support from any scientific methodology!

    You guys are just happy to find an excuse to deny God’s existence, which I prove to men does exist in their terms – whether they are spiritual or not.

    Neuroscience has already identified god(delusions) existence, and should be producing confirmation shortly!

  7. Robert, if you have evidence that evolution isn’t true, then by all means write it up, get it peer reviewed, and collect your Nobel Prize. That being said, this probably isn’t the best forum to plug your book.

  8. robert Sep 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Amazing how science proves evolution is completely false but people so love to cling to this archaic concept.

    Science proves nothing of the kind, even if such scientifically illiterate assertions are made by pseudo-scientists at AIG and copied by the gullible uneducated.

    Try looking up real science to come to truer conclusions.

    I have been using REAL SCIENCE for decades. I think you are referring to “religious troooff”, which uses circular thinking to come back to its asserted preconceptions.
    Science starts with evidence and follows the tested evidence to rational conclusions.

    If you have a hard time finding them how about finding the earth’s ‘clocks’ to prove its young age.

    I don’t normally ask YEC illiterates for information they have made up and called “science”. Radiometric dating cross-checks multiple ways as “Earth clocks” and not only that, but it also allows nuclear power-stations and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators to work,

    I think the GPS satellites have those clocks described pretty accurately in terms of Newton and Einstein. That’s the thing about REAL science. Unlike YEC pseudo-science it actually works really accurately in the real world.

    I notate some of these in my book coming soon “Come on Man! Speak English to ME about GOD!”

    Did you have a particular god in mind? There have been so many of them.

    One that proves the earth is less than probably 8700 years is our magnetic core.

    Ha! ha! Got evidence????

    The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_System – in the even older Milkyway Galaxy.

    Dump the illiterate sources of pseudo-science, and study some real biology and astronomy! There is a world and a universe full of wonders out there, for people who manage to get the introspective reflective “faith-bucket” off their heads!

  9. This was initially a Reply to a (now missing) Comment claiming the moon’s current recession rate proves a young earth. I’m leaving it in because the article is a very good synopsis of a lot of claims.

    The following article, written by a Christian planetary scientist, responds to many of the young-earth arguments including the one concerning the moon’s recession rate. Bottom line: the recession rate was not constant.

    http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~matthewt/yeclaimsbeta.html

  10. Deletion of comments really should not be allowed. Thanks to Alan4Discussion for preserving at least some of a deletion so it’s possible to at least guess what was said. Sounds amusing as well!

    Steve

  11. The results of this study are not surprising. In the U.S., especially in the southern bible belt where I live, general illiteracy, not just scientific illiteracy, is rampant. I worked in public education for several years, and I found it appalling how poorly educated “educators” actually are. Consequently, our young people are held hostage by medieval religious beliefs and a celebration of ignorance. The day I became an atheist ws the most liberating of my life. I now find evolution to be extremely fascinating.

  12. I really do hope that it was Robert who deleted his comments, and not a moderator. Though I thought his views highly flawed (to say the least), I also saw no reason to censor him.

  13. Kathy Sep 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    This was initially a Reply to a (now missing) Comment claiming the moon’s current recession rate proves a young earth. I’m leaving it in because the article is a very good synopsis of a lot of claims.

    Most YECs are scientifically illiterate and just copy drivel from AIG and each other. They think because they are personally impressed with science language and stuff which goes right over their heads, they can assume everyone else is as uneducated as they are.

    Frequently they just throw in silly and incompetent pseudo-science copied from YEC websites whose writers are usually as ignorant of science as they are, but have sometimes “swotted up” on some science paper or article they cannot understand. They also make up misleading incompetent numerical projections – as we could expect from those using “faith-preconceptions and confirmation biases in place of scientific methodology.

    WE could waste hours or days on the mountains of illiterate / innumerate drivel they have made up and posted. I can usually shoot down the claims of some self-professed YEC “expert and author” in under five minutes.
    (I suppose my special professional interests in environmental biology and space sciences helps).

    For REAL scientific details on the Moon’s orbit and spin: –

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_11/experiments/lrr/

    The Laser Ranging Retroreflector experiment was deployed on Apollo 11, 14, and 15. It consists of a series of corner-cube reflectors, which are a special type of mirror with the property of always reflecting an incoming light beam back in the direction it came from. A similar device was also included on the Soviet Union’s Lunakhod 2 spacecraft.

    . . .

    The Laser Ranging Retroreflector experiment has produced many important measurements. These include an improved knowledge of the Moon’s orbit and the rate at which the Moon is receding from Earth (currently 3.8 centimeters per year) and of variations in the rotation of the Moon.

    Similarly the silly claim projecting the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field down to zero, only shows ignorance of the fluctuations in the magnetic field over geological time, (not a Young Earth), with the reversal of the poles periodically as shown in the magnetic striping of the spreading larva deposits from mid-ocean ridges on the ocean floors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal

    Young Earth evolution denial, is not only a profound ignorance of biology. It is also an ignorant denial of geology, astronomy, and science in general. – Usually with a dishonest YEC claim to be “Real Science” thrown in!!

    Preaching YECery without producing evidence or reasoning, is of course trolling, and so is deleted by the mods as it is against the Terms and conditions.
    (Those preaching stuff copied from AIG usually have no capability to produce scientific evidence or reasoning! – If they had, they would not be copying dishonest fakery from scientific illiterates)

  14. I went to college at a small Catholic institution in Illinois. I went to school to be a teacher. The college required that I that I take so many hours of religious education. So I pinched my nose and found and registered for the least offensive class that I could. It was called Science and Religion and in a nutshell it taught that science and religion could peacefully co-exist. This class was populated with roughly 28-30 prospective science teachers. The next part of this story I’ll never forget. The person teaching the class, which was a priest of some sort if memory serves me correctly, took a poll and asked if anyone would object to having creation science being taught along side conventional science. To my utter shock and disbelief, my hand was the only one that went up. I wanted to jump up on the teachers desk and say “Are you f!@#$%^ kidding me?”

  15. Christopher Sep 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    The person teaching the class, which was a priest of some sort if memory serves me correctly, took a poll and asked if anyone would object to having creation science being taught along side conventional science.

    Ah! But in Catholic teaching, there are “right” and “wrong” types of “creation science”.
    Catholic “Old Earth” god-did-it-and fiddled with-it along-the-way” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Catholic_teaching_and_evolution) which claims (falsely) to be compatible with NeoDarwinian science is “trooo science” while according to the Vatican, YEC and ID are wrong pseudoscience!

  16. Denial of the scientifically validated proof of evolution’s verity is a function of the denier’s fear. Evolution is empirical. However, religious people, especially Christians, must either refuse to accept the scientific facts or deny religious concepts that promise everlasting life in a blissful place and state. Most opt for religious belief because to accept evolution as true, they must give up the hope of heaven and accept total oblivion after death. It scares them.

    And, it is scary if all one’s life the church has guaranteed heaven will be one’s destiny if certain qualifications are met, i.e., acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal savior. To find that lifelong guarantee without foundation makes one so fearful that she becomes a teeth-chattering idiot. She is much more able, and willing, to deny science and embrace myth because myth feels better, myth is familiar, whereas science is brutally objective. I find it sad that education is not geared to help people over that hurtle and make science more friendly. Maybe someday?

  17. Sad to hear that although not surprised. Especially awful that it seems to be taught that way even in some college level programs.

  18. I guess the moderators have pulled Roberts comments? Damn, missed them;)

    Part of the problem with education here in the fairly secular Australia is due to the increasing numbers of evangelical private schools is that many text book publishers are particularly in junior high school 8-10 not directly teaching evolution. They use weasel words adaptation but refuse to mention evolution explicitly or natural selection. They want to publish books that cover the content without being explicit, the evangelical schools need to follow the curriculum by law but don’t want to teach it explicitly so they by these textbooks.

    I once looked through all our textbooks and didn’t find one mention of Darwin or evolution through natural selection in any (we had four different texts), I kicked up a stink for the next 3 years until they finally brought some that where explicit about it. So there is a muddying of the waters and unless the students choose biology in senior they may never be exposed to the real teaching of evolution – unless their teacher is well versed in it.

    I like many ended up teaching science without sufficient training (Hard to attract science trained teachers at the time-not so hard now the government has cut research funding loads are teaching to stay off unemployment). I had been a lifelong fan of science so I had good general knowledge when I started teaching science (and I have taken a number of post grad courses to up-skill myself since) but I’ve taught alongside trained science teachers who clearly don’t understand evolution. They are great at chemistry or physics but just stumbled through evolution, it’s a real problem.

  19. I’m glad this study is out and making the rounds of public discourse. In Late 90s I did research on teacher knowledge, understanding, acceptance and teaching of evolution and came to even more distressing conclusions: the average biology teacher had evolutionary knowledge and understanding comparable to a freshman just completing his intro biology course, only 25% of the biology teacher were teaching evolution, and of these the average number of days was between 4-5. Clearly we have a problem, and it ain’t just the creationist fundamentalist movement. An evolution course is not even required in the vast majority of biology degree programs, much less in biology education programs. In 2003 of the over 100 programs certifying biology teachers in NY state exactly one (the one I chaired) required evolution specialty course. And for this I had to fight with my dear Biology colleagues! It’s easy to demoniza the forces of fundamentalist unreason, but our problems go beyond that, within our own world of science education and science teacher training – where biologys(and arguably sciences ) most important theory can be ignored in specialty programs.

  20. When doing science in high school in the sixties, evolution was presented in such a way that it was beyond doubt. It’s troubling to find that now doubts have been allowed to insinuate themselves into this magnificent explanation of what we see about us. How did this happen? I like to blame American fundamentalists, (sorry guys! It can’t be us, even if we did produce Ken Ham!)
    @RecklessMonkey. I can’t believe that our text books have been ‘interfered with’. This wasn’t the case when my kids were going through their final years at school in the nineties and early naughties.
    Seeds of doubt have been sown where no doubts should exist.

  21. Look at alien abductions, ancient astronauts, anti-vaccine quackery, astrology, …, a lot of people believe a lot of nonsense apparently because it suits their personality somehow. Some frankly admit that they go “shopping” for a faith/belief/religion before settling on one that “suits” them.
    I think the demand is there already, and the charlatans simply see a market they can exploit; they don’t create the market.
    So when a guy says “hey I can prove from [insert technobabble] that the earth is under ten thousand years old”, he’s not necessarily stupid; he sees a market (for his book or lectures or ministry) he can reach, and he’s coming up with the goods. It’s no different to a hack writer coming up with yet another teen/vampire franchise: not because they’ve got something new and original to say, but because they are producing goods for an existing market demand.

  22. If I am remembering correctly, the MMPI has 22 different ways to be crazy. Within one standard deviation:
    .66 to the exponent 22 =1 out of 10,000 is sane

    Within 2 standard deviations, 35% are sane.

    Why did you expect sanity?

  23. I think it is safe to say that most people have trouble accecpting macroevoltuion. Especially when evolution says we Homo sapiens share a common ancestor with apes and monkeys.
    By the way, I think the “Baramin” or “created kind” is pretty absurd, a total ignorance of scientific fact. Some creationists seem to believe that all bacteria form a single baramin, seriously? you got to be kidding me !

  24. Hi Nitya,

    I don’t think it is so much interference as self censorship. When I was a graphic designer (mainly cartoon illustration) I got a gig doing about 30 illustrations for local science textbook authors. There were many self imposed restrictions, very strict numbers of male vs female, different races – this was fine by me but would have been nice if I’d been told before I’d drawn up 30 illustrations only to have to go back and re-draw half of them, put an Asian kid in here take out that girl here and replace it with an aboriginal boy. Anyway they were very sensitive to potential lose of sales if they were perceived poorly by any particular group, fair enough. I think it is the same thing happening here. Reading the texts they did mention adaptation, they related it to suitability to environment but they watered it down and wouldn’t name the theory, Darwin, his history or explicitly explain the theory of evolution through natural selection. This to me seemed as weak as piss, but I guarantee you that they will be well stocked in the many evangelical schools who can then say they are teaching it while for most students at least until senior (remember science is not mandatory after year 10). I must say it is Queensland of course there may be a very different picture in NSW, ACT or Victoria. Still feel the ghost of Joh in the machine up here.

  25. Kathy Sep 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    This was initially a Reply to a (now missing) Comment claiming the moon’s current recession rate proves a young earth.

    This is a common YEC ploy! They take some hard won high-profile data derived from advanced scientific techniques and methodology (such as measurements of the Moon’s spin and orbit), and cobble some totally incompetent or dishonest YECery on to it and call it “TTtrrrroooo Science”!

    I recall one of their “refutations” of radiometric dating, in which a piece of fossil wood in side some ancient volcanic rock, was carbon dated by YECS as containing carbon recent carbon. They claimed on the basis of all the worlds nuclear physicists were wrong!
    On closer examination of their claims it was found that the fossil wood had been lying around in ground water and was contaminated with modern organic plant material. Some people wonder why scientists laugh at them and journals won’t publish their incompetent rubbish.

    You can be a “YEC expert”, if your flawed methodology confirms a “Young Earth”, and you are too incompetent to check for sources of contamination in your sample materials!

  26. So let me take a wild guess/stab at this proposition. It seems the most plausible determination in my estimation depends on how tight/lose the religious blinkers/binders are regarding the acceptance and/or rejection of evolution and/or scientific discovery based upon, and further quantified by, the overall percentage of belief within that region? Please don’t beat me up on this as it’s just a guess but I’m thinking it’s along the lines of the Forrest Gump tale that, stupid is as stupid does? I could be wrong I suppose.

    I’m thinking the South of the United States will forever be a permanent delusion zone that has to be waded through as pertains to the delusion of religion. In a nut-shell, religion is a gift that keeps giving to these “folks” and that is a proposition supported by numerical/statistical fact . Go figure, and how terribly sad is that fact?

  27. I have studied medicine in the Netherlands and over here it is covered in depth.. I know a lot about gene expression, genetic drift and shift. and a lot of other things which make reading the selfish gene more fun and I cannot understand why there is so much vehement aversion towards this enlightning stuff..
    schools in our societies should be secular: free of religious input, unless it is a special (religious) school.. then they can talk about all kinds of shit if they don´t want to open their eyes..

  28. • Educators in each region of the US (North East, Midwest, South, and
    West) had science- and evolution-literacy scores below the
    researchers’ but above the students.’

    The bullet preceding this said 59% & 51% for educators versus 63% & 58% for students. Isn’t that students above the educators? Maybe I missed something?

  29. . Reckless. There were many self imposed restrictions, very strict numbers of male vs female, different races –

    I’m really pleased to see that you addressed the gender balance as well. At times Maths text books and even exam papers can be mindful when it comes to using a variety of ethnic names in the hypothetical ‘problems’, but completely eliminate the names of girls.Of course, I’m on constant alert in this area. I’m astounded that our PC consciousness has to take on unscientific ideas as part of the guidelines.

    I think text book manufactures would like to sell their wares across the continent so these ‘adaptations’ would be submitted everywhere. My thinking is that they’d like to be the book of choice for fundamentalist schools. Ugh!

  30. Hi Nitya,

    In relation to the gender balance at the time, I found it to be a pain, I was young 20 at the time but, mainly because it just never occurred to me, I had a balance of girls boys and different races in my drawings but it was pretty random. I’d done about 30 (so I’d been at it over a couple of weeks), and then the authors told me there formula for balance which meant I had to change about 10 of my drawings which cost me time they could have avoided if they had included it in the brief. Now that the annoyance of redrawing for week has passed I think they were right to have the mix just nicer if you tell the artist exactly what you want first. Often though I think people who can’t draw just can’t imagine what is going to be wrong until they see something, I came across this a lot (not the gender thing just having to add things not asked for until they saw something).

    I think text book manufactures would like to sell their wares across the continent so these ‘adaptations’ would be submitted everywhere. My thinking is that they’d like to be the book of choice for fundamentalist schools. Ugh!

    Yes that was my thinking. I found it because I noted the text book I was using didn’t have any specific mention on evolution, so I went out the back into the prep room where we have copies of all our text books across all grades, and I started looking for a better text. It became a almost frantic rush to find any text book in the school that mentioned it explicit. We had five different texts (the Head of Department had purchased single copies of five texts as some have better examples of this or that or good pracs to use as resources), none explicitly mentioned Darwin. It is of course in all the biology texts by those same authors/ publishers but as I said biology is not mandatory after year 10 some the majority of schools using these texts are relying on the teachers to explicitly teach the specifics in class, if the teacher plays it safe like the texts or uses the text significantly to direct this lesson (and less experienced teachers – or teachers who’s main area is not biology may well do so).

    So many students get through the whole of their education with never being explicitly taught evolution through natural selection (that is without it being downplayed as adaptation). This favours the many creationists who spruke about kinds and evolution having some break that stops evolution when a rabbit stops being a rabbit. I’m pleased to say after much winging from be (and possibly just to shut me up) the department brought new texts which explicity mention evolution, Darwin and Natural Selection. I would encourage any other science teachers on this site to do likewise.

    Regards 😉

  31. Reckless. When I noticed the complete lack of female names on a year 8 exam paper, I was quick to speak up. I think the issue had been completely overlooked and someone needed to draw attention to this oversight. I can understand how a twenty year old male would not notice. My twenty year old self would not have noticed!
    Households that fail to give wildlife documentaries pride of place in the night’s viewing are shameful. David Attenborough contributed greatly to the education of my kids. I could imagine families that forbid all that nasty ‘wildlife stuff’ in preference to the sugar-coated anthropomorphisms of the Disney studios and the like.

  32. David Attenborough contributed greatly to the education of my kids.

    Mine too and thanks to “the new kid on the block” Prof Brian Fox for the science. Hope he is as durable.

  33. I agree. Actually the message is coming from many different sources, but individual households need to tune in. It’s almost hard to avoid. I would like to add Neil de Grass Tyson to the collection as well. It’s been my experience that kids lap-up this stuff.
    Little wonder that fundamental groups eschew the intrusion of the media into their little worlds. Keep their kids uninformed under the pretext of keeping them innocent.

  34. Hi nana,

    I’ve probably covered this my replies to Nitya’s posts but not so much interfered with just tactically omission of content. The authors trained scientists are bending over backwards to please people who if given half a chance would refuse to teach science period. It is one reason why I cannot abide NOMA.

  35. I’ve been talking to a friend in the US about evolution recently. I know she’s staunchly religious but I try not to discuss it with her because it just doesn’t get anywhere.

    However, I’m doing my best to get my crowbar of evolution into her mind to crack it open an inch, and the resistance she has to accepting evolution is stunning. First, she comes out with all the same old creationist bollocks-
    “If humans evolved from apes, how are there still apes”
    “When fish first came onto the land, how did a fish know what it needed to change”
    Etc (seriously, do they issue the religious with a book of these?).

    The she says quite confidently that she might accept that ‘some evolution’ might have happened. I’ll let the relevant scientific institutions know, thanks. I am optimistic that I might make some headway.

    However, why do these people (and she’s never used the words creationist or given me a clear clue she’s read up on any YEC propaganda) have a such a resistance to evolution? Is it just the Eden thing?

  36. Hi Froggy. Can’t agree, I’ve met many so-called born again Christians who accept the theory of evolution and still believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and resurrected bodily after death.

  37. Bob Springsteen Sep 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Hi Froggy. Can’t agree, I’ve met many so-called born again Christians who accept the theory of evolution and still believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and resurrected bodily after death.

    The problem is that they (or their preachers) have done the old theist trick of redefining the word “evolution” to have a wooist meaning, where they pick and choose which bits of the science they like, and add whatever woo they fancy!

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

    Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism or evolutionary creationism are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of evolution relates to religious beliefs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

  38. We cannot blame the unfortunate, who never had an education! But to be educated with a PhD and remain blind is unforgivable!

  39. Hi, Alan,

    “… the reversal of the poles periodically as shown in the magnetic
    striping of the spreading larva deposits…”

    So are those mid-ocean ridges made of coproliths, or just the usual larva deposits? ^_^

    (Sorry… couldn’t resist!)

    Steve

  40. There is much discussion of scientific illiteracy in the comments. What about the near illiteracy of the writer of this article? Where is the editor?

    ” 59% of the educators accepted evolution openly, 51% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 59% admitted to be religious. In contrast, among the New England researchers, 94% accepted evolution openly, 82% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 29% admitted to be religious. Among the students, 63% accepted evolution openly, 58% thought that evolution is definitely true, and 37% admitted to be religious.”

    This reminds me of a very bad experiment of mine. I required a one page essay at the beginning of a calculus course for non-majors (mainly kids wishing to go to undergrad business school). The sample above, from the article, captures both the English competency and mathematical literacy of that entering class.

  41. Centuries ago to believe that the Earth was flat was enough to transport a consignment of beer and oil from one town to another. Later with the development of navigation, and much later the invention of the plane, that idea wasn’t enough; people had to learn that the planet was round to be able to transport goods, services and people to faraway countries and other continents. The same is happening with biology, a subject very important to medicine, and other sciences. It’s of an extreme concern the delay in the introduction of Darwinism in schools and teaching institutions and see at the same time the appearance in the USA of people, supposedly “well educated”, who are hostile to Darwinism and other ideas. The world is full of examples of human societies that entered in decadence due to their refusal to accept and develop new ideas. The fact that this is beginning to happen in the USA, a nation that owes its progress to the development of Science and Technology, makes me feel very worried, as whatever happens in the USA sooner or later it’s likely to spread to the rest of the West.

  42. Would you care to actually state what you believe is mathematically illiterate in the quote?
    You seem to believe you have a point to make, so why don’t you make it?

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