Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gallup On

Since Darwin turns 200 today, Gallup has released a poll (actually, they released it yesterday) about the number of Americans who believe in evolution. The question asked is:

Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution, do you not believe in evolution, or don’t you have an opinion either way?

There are a couple of things to note with this question. First: “Do you, personally, believe…” As opposed to what? Do I corporately believe? Do I impersonally believe? That’s a dumb way of phrasing the question.

But even dumber is the “in the theory of evolution.” There is no such thing as THE theory of evolution. There are many competing (no pun intended) theories of evolution, of which neo-Darwinism is the most prolific currently.

So my answer to that question would have to be a “depends on how it’s defined.”

Because of the poor wording, the numbers we get back are probably not very relevant. In any case, according to Gallup, only 39% of Americans believe in evolution, while 36% have no opinion either way and 25% do not believe in evolution. Interestingly enough, Gallup is spinning this result as: “Only 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution” whereas I’m sure most Darwinists would rather spin it as: “Only 1 in 4 Do Not Believe in Evolution.”

You can read the Gallup article to see how they’ve tried to correlate belief in evolution to lack of church attendance and increased education, but I find it more interesting that despite a monopoly on publik edjukashun and despite a monopoly in the universities, only 55% of Americans could correctly answer Can you tell me with which scientific theory Charles Darwin is associated?

(BTW, not to be overly picky, but I actually think no one got this question right. The correct response is not, as Gallup indicated, “Evolution, natural selection, etc.” but rather “Yes” or “No.” The question asked is CAN you tell me, not Please tell me.)

Darwinists can complain that their message just isn’t being taught correctly all they want, but there remains an interesting correlation in the Gallup poll that must be explained:
Younger Americans, who are less likely to be religious than those who are older, are also more likely to believe in evolution. Still, just about half of those aged 18 to 34 say they believe in evolution.
Younger Americans are more likely to have not yet gone through college, since they aren’t old enough to be post-docs. Which to me seems like a contradiction to the rest of the poll. Namely, if younger Americans believe in evolution at the rate of 49% to 18% who don’t, then how is it that those who are only high school educated disbelieve it at such a high rate? The way I see it, the only way to reconcile that is to say that the sample of those with only a high school education must include an awful lot of people who are older than 34 years to “correct” for the high younger American statistics.

And by the way, if that is the case, then I don’t find it at all amazing that someone who last studied Darwinism 20, 30, 40 years ago won’t remember what it was, exactly.

I think if I were to spin this poll myself, I’d say that what it actually shows us is that those who are currently studying the theory of evolution believe it. And that, too, is logical since the dissent is never presented while you are studying the theory, and when you have intellectual peer pressure being put upon you to conform to the will of the professor (or high school teacher), you’re going to go with the crowd. Once you get out on your own, you realize two important facts: 1) Darwinism means absolutely nothing to you in your day-to-day living and 2) there are actually arguments against Darwinism out there.

That’s my take. I figure it’s worth just as much as anyone else who wants to cherry pick data from a Gallup poll.

1 comment:

  1. It's a terrible question. Yes, I believe that organisms evolve. Big deal. As if anyone disputes that!

    More like - naturalism is false, and there is little to no evidence that unguided nat sel acting on random mutations is sufficient to bring about the variety of life we see today from one or a very few original ancestors and abundant evidence against it.