In a rather disturbing finding, a recent Gallup Poll revealed that only 8% of people who identify themselves as Republicans believe in the theory of evolution as defined by science, namely that evolution is a natural process. In a slightly less (though still very scary) finding, only 16% of the people surveyed (regardless of political ideology) believed the same thing. In contrast, 38% of the people surveyed said they could stomach Darwin's theory if one included the idea that God steered the process of evolution while 40% believed that humans were created exactly as we are today by God at some point in the past.
And we wonder why the United Stares is quickly dropping to the back of the pack when it comes to educational achievement in the sciences.
Obviously, for any science-minded person, this is a very disturbing finding as evolution is not a theory, but an observable fact that is continuing as we speak. Similarly, it has been theorized and even demonstrated in a lab setting that life can originate from non-living matter, too. In the world of science, if there is any one commandment, it is this: respect the facts no matter how disconcerting to one's own personal beliefs they may be.
Now, you may be wondering why something about biology is appearing on an astronomy website. Well, simple: like biology, astronomy/cosmology also seeks to answer te big question of where we came from, Like biology, astronomy has answers, ones that fly in the face of established religion and thus spark controversy among normally rational people. Personally, I think it would be great if Gallup did a poll on whether people believe in the Big Bang or theories regarding solar system formation, too.
Expect more to follow.
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