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Old 02-12-2009, 03:12 AM
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63% Reject Darwin's Theory of Evolution

I'm hoping this doesn't restart a debate that's already been discussed ad nauseum on WS, but I felt this survey's results were interesting and very surprising, at least to me, as I assumed the majority of American's believed in Darwin's version of evolution:


In the 150 years since he published his groundbreaking On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and the 200 years since the date of his birth celebrated this week, Charles Darwin has failed to convince the majority of Americans of the validity of his theories; an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found that 63% of Americans say they believe that humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being while only 26% say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/pew/20090212/ts_pew/63rejectdarwinstheoryofevolution
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:43 AM
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That is interesting, DK! I wouldn't have thought that large of a percentage disagreed with Darwin's theories.

I must admit that I haven't seen this debate discussed here ad nauseum and you know how I drift towards heated topics where I can cause trouble. Maybe I was napping.

Oddly enough, I have no strong opinions on this, though I do believe in evolution on many levels.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:31 AM
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This surprises me ---> "26% say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection."

I've never had a problem reconciling creation and evolution. Science and God go hand-in-hand. Too bad some of the scientists don't realize that!
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:09 PM
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Wow....well throw me into the 63% then. Won't say anymore because I don't debate at all.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:39 PM
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You can throw me in with the 60 something percent, too. I don't believe in evolution at all, and have never taught that to my kids. I'm happy that the majority of people reject this idea.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:35 PM
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This surprises me ---> "26% say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection."

I've never had a problem reconciling creation and evolution. Science and God go hand-in-hand. Too bad some of the scientists don't realize that!
Yeah, that's interesting since every year the number of people who say they believe in God is usually around 85%. So athiests don't even make up 26% of the population.

And I agree science and God can go hand in hand. The Vatican's position has been that, as well, in recent years.

*crossing fingers this thread doesn't get ugly, lol*
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Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-12-2009, 07:42 PM
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That is interesting, DK! I wouldn't have thought that large of a percentage disagreed with Darwin's theories.

I must admit that I haven't seen this debate discussed here ad nauseum and you know how I drift towards heated topics where I can cause trouble. Maybe I was napping.

Oddly enough, I have no strong opinions on this, though I do believe in evolution on many levels.
LOL! I am also shocked you somehow missed out on it, hehehe. It truly was ad nauseum, too. Unreal. I do remember Ariel7, a creationist, joining in late and pretty much owning people who debated the other side of it. She asked questions that couldn't be answered and poked all sorts of holes in their posts. It ended shortly after that, lol. But it drug out forever and a day, it seemed. Ugh.
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Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-12-2009, 07:52 PM
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When I first started out online some 18 years ago I didn't think that evolution was a reliable scientific theory. The year afterward, the classification of Archaea was formally announced and the discovery of Extremophiles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremophile which caused me to rethink my position (along with plenty of reasonable arguments from evolution supporters presenting tons of scientific evidence). Online discussions can be very beneficial.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:11 PM
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LOL! I am also shocked you somehow missed out on it, hehehe. It truly was ad nauseum, too. Unreal. I do remember Ariel7, a creationist, joining in late and pretty much owning people who debated the other side of it. She asked questions that couldn't be answered and poked all sorts of holes in their posts. It ended shortly after that, lol. But it drug out forever and a day, it seemed. Ugh.
Oh, please. Ariel7 is a gem, but nobody was owned and the debate certainly didn't end quickly. (And you, sir, were hardly an unbiased observer.)

The arguments against evolution are based largely in misunderstandings of Darwin and misunderstandings of the relevant terms (not to mention any number of straw-man arguments). But because denial is based in blind faith rather than reason, debates here invariably end in evolution opponents shrilly restating their original positions, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. The fact is that Darwin's theory has stood the test of time and is reconfirmed everyday by scientists around the world.

As for the 63% figure, I'm tempted to quote H.L. Mencken ("Never overestimate the intelligence of the American people."), but in fact, the problem may lie in the nature of the question. Since most Americans are theists in one sense or another, it isn't surprising that many question a theory that attributes all biological change to random events.

Personally, I believe that consciousness is purposefullly creative in a spiritual sense, but I recognize that belief is an article of faith. I don't expect science to confirm or deny it.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:37 PM
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The arguments against evolution are based largely in misunderstandings of Darwin and misunderstandings of the relevant terms (not to mention any number of straw-man arguments). .
I have a microbiology degree and am happy to stand with the 63%. I believe in natural selection but do not believe it is the be-all or end-all in how life began.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:18 PM
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Well, I am a Christian who loves science, and believes in the theory of evolution.


According to this study from Gallup - 39% overall believe, 74 % of college graduates believe, and 24% of regular church goin folks believe in the theory of evolution.
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archi...2/1791814.aspx
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Nova View Post
Oh, please. Ariel7 is a gem, but nobody was owned and the debate certainly didn't end quickly. (And you, sir, were hardly an unbiased observer.)

The arguments against evolution are based largely in misunderstandings of Darwin and misunderstandings of the relevant terms (not to mention any number of straw-man arguments). But because denial is based in blind faith rather than reason, debates here invariably end in evolution opponents shrilly restating their original positions, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. The fact is that Darwin's theory has stood the test of time and is reconfirmed everyday by scientists around the world.

As for the 63% figure, I'm tempted to quote H.L. Mencken ("Never overestimate the intelligence of the American people."), but in fact, the problem may lie in the nature of the question. Since most Americans are theists in one sense or another, it isn't surprising that many question a theory that attributes all biological change to random events.

Personally, I believe that consciousness is purposefullly creative in a spiritual sense, but I recognize that belief is an article of faith. I don't expect science to confirm or deny it.

Well said Nova. I guess I am in the less than 20% of the American population. A lot of people simply do not understand Darwin's theory and a big part of why is because many of them have not taken the time to actually read Origins of the Species or even read about it and actually try to understand what exactly he was saying. Darwin himself was a religious man, as most were when he was alive, even after his discoveries he still believed that there was a supreme creator and struggled greatly in the beginning with what the implications of his theories were.
So you end up with people who first of all don't understand what the are arguing against and they are arguing that point with a complete lack of reason and critical thinking because it is so clouded by their religious beliefs they are blind to anything that they otherwise might actually consider. You can't pit science and religion against eachother because they are completely different. One deals in absolutes, facts and theories that are backed up by years of research which has produced evidence to support that theory beyond a reasonable doubt another deals in faith. The definition of faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

America is an exception as far as western countries. Most European countries like England, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway over 80% of the population supports the theory of evolution and a lot of those people still have religious beliefs at the same time because evolution and adaptation is not viewed as a threat to religious beliefs.

Personally I don't understand how the theory that, for example, the Mockingbirds Darwin ccollected and studied and found that eventhough they were all Mockingbirds they were all from a different environment and over time they had physically evolved to fit into that specific environment is threatening. One mockingbird might have a long thin beak because their food source came from a long flower or deep thin hole whereas another mockingbird from a different island might have a thick stumpy beak because they had to be able to break open hard nuts and berries. Mockingbirds are one example - there are thousands and thousands of variations within species and you can look at it and see the adaptation that has taken place.
It is an amazing part of nature and it is sad that so many people refuse to concede it even happens when the proof of its happening is everywhere we look. Darwin's theory of evolution was based and focused largly on variations within species and why that happened and how. It has become simplified and grossly misconstrued to the point that when you say evolution people automatically think of some monkey squating down and crapping out a human which goes against everything that Darwin's theory supports.

That being said - there are a lot of moderate Christians in this country who are able to appreciate the science and at least acknowledge its validity and some of them believe in evolution. I can appreciate and respect people who are able to find balance between their religious beliefs and science.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:45 PM
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Well said Nova. I guess I am in the less than 20% of the American population. A lot of people simply do not understand Darwin's theory and a big part of why is because many of them have not taken the time to actually read Origins of the Species or even read about it and actually try to understand what exactly he was saying. Darwin himself was a religious man, as most were when he was alive, even after his discoveries he still believed that there was a supreme creator and struggled greatly in the beginning with what the implications of his theories were.
So you end up with people who first of all don't understand what the are arguing against and they are arguing that point with a complete lack of reason and critical thinking because it is so clouded by their religious beliefs they are blind to anything that they otherwise might actually consider. You can't pit science and religion against eachother because they are completely different. One deals in absolutes, facts and theories that are backed up by years of research which has produced evidence to support that theory beyond a reasonable doubt another deals in faith. The definition of faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

America is an exception as far as western countries. Most European countries like England, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway over 80% of the population supports the theory of evolution and a lot of those people still have religious beliefs at the same time because evolution and adaptation is not viewed as a threat to religious beliefs.

Personally I don't understand how the theory that, for example, the Mockingbirds Darwin ccollected and studied and found that eventhough they were all Mockingbirds they were all from a different environment and over time they had physically evolved to fit into that specific environment is threatening. One mockingbird might have a long thin beak because their food source came from a long flower or deep thin hole whereas another mockingbird from a different island might have a thick stumpy beak because they had to be able to break open hard nuts and berries. Mockingbirds are one example - there are thousands and thousands of variations within species and you can look at it and see the adaptation that has taken place.
It is an amazing part of nature and it is sad that so many people refuse to concede it even happens when the proof of its happening is everywhere we look. Darwin's theory of evolution was based and focused largly on variations within species and why that happened and how. It has become simplified and grossly misconstrued to the point that when you say evolution people automatically think of some monkey squating down and crapping out a human which goes against everything that Darwin's theory supports.

That being said - there are a lot of moderate Christians in this country who are able to appreciate the science and at least acknowledge its validity and some of them believe in evolution. I can appreciate and respect people who are able to find balance between their religious beliefs and science.
Great post! I especially agree that religious beliefs and what we "know" scientifically can be satisfactorily balanced. This is why I was surprised at the results of the poll DK posted. Of course, polls can say anything!

Darwin's theory has certainly stood the test of time.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:23 AM
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63 percent of Americans believe that humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being.
I think that's the reason for the inflated numbers.

Just because a person thinks God might have been there as a guide doesn't mean they disagree with evolution, at all. I would say I agree with Darwin, and I often debate those in the first group, yet these stats would lump me in with them, just because I think if there is a god, he's guiding everything in some ways.

Without those groups being distinguished, the numbers are worthless. IMHO.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:00 AM
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When I read "something-percent of Americans" I always have to LoL: I don't remember being asked... LoL

I'm of the 23 percentile... and before I take any survey seriously I have to see the full demographics and how it breaks down. Jholi makes an EXTREMELY valid point...
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:13 AM
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I think that's the reason for the inflated numbers.

Just because a person thinks God might have been there as a guide doesn't mean they disagree with evolution, at all. I would say I agree with Darwin, and I often debate those in the first group, yet these stats would lump me in with them, just because I think if there is a god, he's guiding everything in some ways.

Without those groups being distinguished, the numbers are worthless. IMHO.
Pew is one of the most, if not THE most, respected survey and research firms. If anyone can gets polls right, it's probably them. Although I agree the margin for error can be more than what pollsters often say it is. But as far as polling methodology goes, Pew is one of the top dogs and are famous for it their surveys.
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10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:16 AM
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According to this study from Gallup - 39% overall believe, 74 % of college graduates believe, and 24% of regular church goin folks believe in the theory of evolution.
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archi...2/1791814.aspx
ding ding ding ding ding!!!

it's pretty clear that the numbers are so skewed against evolution because so many people are uneducated.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:17 AM
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I think that's the reason for the inflated numbers.

Just because a person thinks God might have been there as a guide doesn't mean they disagree with evolution, at all. I would say I agree with Darwin, and I often debate those in the first group, yet these stats would lump me in with them, just because I think if there is a god, he's guiding everything in some ways.

Without those groups being distinguished, the numbers are worthless. IMHO.
I forgot to add, those who believe God or some other intelligent being guided creation would be believers of Intelligent Design, in a sense. They are certainly diametrically opposed to Darwin's theory, which proposes natural selection is the cause for evolution. So the groups don't really need to be distinguished. You either believe it is random, or you don't, according to the question asked. If you believe in Darwin's theory of natural selection being the reason we exist, then you'd be in the 23%.
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Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:19 AM
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ding ding ding ding ding!!!

it's pretty clear that the numbers are so skewed against evolution because so many people are uneducated.
Or they've been tainted by biased professors who won't let them think of any other possibilities. Certainly more than 63% of all Americans are college educated.
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Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-13-2009, 07:10 AM
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ding ding ding ding ding!!!

it's pretty clear that the numbers are so skewed against evolution because so many people are uneducated.
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Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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Old 02-13-2009, 07:37 AM
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ding ding ding ding ding!!!

it's pretty clear that the numbers are so skewed against evolution because so many people are uneducated.
I have to disagree with you Squeaky... I am around professionals all of the time that are highly-educated, and some have their own reasoning for not believing in Darwin's theory of evolution. I may not agree with them, but I respect that they have the right to believe what they want. Besides, the "uneducated" argument is not a valid excuse/reason... it's just a nasty and very unfair insult.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:40 AM
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So you end up with people who first of all don't understand what the are arguing against and they are arguing that point with a complete lack of reason and critical thinking because it is so clouded by their religious beliefs they are blind to anything that they otherwise might actually consider.
And the vast majority of my professors were so overeducated and completely blind that they would stake their lives and reputations on life as we know it originating from a thunderbolt in a primordial soup of organic chemicals. Their furvor was nothing short of religious belief. And their students are evangelized no differently than one would be at a Billy Graham convention except it was daily and relentlous.

The truth is that natural selection does occur, species do evolve, etc., but no one really knows how life began. No scientist anywhere has managed to create life from nonlife.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:52 AM
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The poll results are no surprise. Science is poorly taught in the American school system and Americans are far behind the rest of the industrialized world in the basics of both science and history.

Darwin did not invent the idea of evolution. It was already recognized and debated by fellow scientists of the 19th century. Darwin (and Hutton independently) simply identified one of the processes though which evolution works, natural selection. Since Darwin, scientists have discovered the additional mechanisms in the laws of inheritance and genetics that were not understood by Darwin but further substantiated his observations and the reality of evolution.

Nothing has disproved evolution and nothing has proved the presence of any supernatural spirit(s) that played a role in the amazing story of this universe.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:27 PM
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Please do not presume to know the intelligence of every American who may have taken this survey. Just because intelligent design does not fit in with your theories does not make it incorrect. Has any scientist DISPROVED the existence of a higher being? Has a scientist been able to DISPROVE intelligent design? They all seem to get to that point of the first second of big bang, but have not been able to determine what created that first molecule, that first semblance of life. Scientists are not sure about alot of things, some things that they truly thought were correct at one time. If they are ever able to disprove intelligent design, I will eat every physics and religion book I own.


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Oh, please. Ariel7 is a gem, but nobody was owned and the debate certainly didn't end quickly. (And you, sir, were hardly an unbiased observer.)

The arguments against evolution are based largely in misunderstandings of Darwin and misunderstandings of the relevant terms (not to mention any number of straw-man arguments). But because denial is based in blind faith rather than reason, debates here invariably end in evolution opponents shrilly restating their original positions, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. The fact is that Darwin's theory has stood the test of time and is reconfirmed everyday by scientists around the world.

As for the 63% figure, I'm tempted to quote H.L. Mencken ("Never overestimate the intelligence of the American people."), but in fact, the problem may lie in the nature of the question. Since most Americans are theists in one sense or another, it isn't surprising that many question a theory that attributes all biological change to random events.

Personally, I believe that consciousness is purposefullly creative in a spiritual sense, but I recognize that belief is an article of faith. I don't expect science to confirm or deny it.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:36 PM
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Actually, to be more exact, Charles Darwin was a religious man until he started his research. In fact, before he married his wife Emma, they had a debate whether they were suitable, as she was religious and he no longer was. He later referred to himself as an agnostic. I wholeheartenedly believe in evolution, but also believe in the intelligent design aspect of it all.


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Originally Posted by gaia227 View Post
Well said Nova. I guess I am in the less than 20% of the American population. A lot of people simply do not understand Darwin's theory and a big part of why is because many of them have not taken the time to actually read Origins of the Species or even read about it and actually try to understand what exactly he was saying. Darwin himself was a religious man, as most were when he was alive, even after his discoveries he still believed that there was a supreme creator and struggled greatly in the beginning with what the implications of his theories were.
So you end up with people who first of all don't understand what the are arguing against and they are arguing that point with a complete lack of reason and critical thinking because it is so clouded by their religious beliefs they are blind to anything that they otherwise might actually consider. You can't pit science and religion against eachother because they are completely different. One deals in absolutes, facts and theories that are backed up by years of research which has produced evidence to support that theory beyond a reasonable doubt another deals in faith. The definition of faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

America is an exception as far as western countries. Most European countries like England, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway over 80% of the population supports the theory of evolution and a lot of those people still have religious beliefs at the same time because evolution and adaptation is not viewed as a threat to religious beliefs.

Personally I don't understand how the theory that, for example, the Mockingbirds Darwin ccollected and studied and found that eventhough they were all Mockingbirds they were all from a different environment and over time they had physically evolved to fit into that specific environment is threatening. One mockingbird might have a long thin beak because their food source came from a long flower or deep thin hole whereas another mockingbird from a different island might have a thick stumpy beak because they had to be able to break open hard nuts and berries. Mockingbirds are one example - there are thousands and thousands of variations within species and you can look at it and see the adaptation that has taken place.
It is an amazing part of nature and it is sad that so many people refuse to concede it even happens when the proof of its happening is everywhere we look. Darwin's theory of evolution was based and focused largly on variations within species and why that happened and how. It has become simplified and grossly misconstrued to the point that when you say evolution people automatically think of some monkey squating down and crapping out a human which goes against everything that Darwin's theory supports.

That being said - there are a lot of moderate Christians in this country who are able to appreciate the science and at least acknowledge its validity and some of them believe in evolution. I can appreciate and respect people who are able to find balance between their religious beliefs and science.
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