Americans and their beliefs

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Moonbear

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In PA, it is required by law, so they get around it by having company cars that are insured. Not sure how that jives with their beliefs. :uhh:
:rofl: Okay, that struck me as funny. Everyone has a loophole it seems. I thought it was required everywhere in the US to have insurance to register a car, but was wondering if they somehow got an exception on religious grounds.

But, I think that even helps illustrate the point I was trying to make about diversity even within specific religious groups. The religion says one thing, but even those who adhere to it very strictly in most ways will make exceptions for some things. Someone else in their congregation might say they should only use public transportation or walk if they can't drive a car without insurance (hypothetically speaking, since I don't know anyone in their congregation).
 

Rach3

Russ: On further Googling, I came up with a Chris Mooney article on this issue.

Chris Mooney said:
Polling for Intelligent Design (Doubt and About)

...Clearly, figuring out what Americans "think" about evolution depends on what questions you ask. As sociologists Otis Dudley Duncan and Claudia Geist--upon whom I have relied for many of the aforementioned polling results--note in a forthcoming article in Reports of the National Center for Science Education, "The evidence does not justify the assumption that respondents will always be logically consistent in their responses to different questions. (Why should that be a surprise?)"
http://www.csicop.org/doubtandabout/polling/ [Broken]
 
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russ_watters

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Look at table 6 of the Harris poll - 82% want either creationism or ID in the classroom, either on equal footing with evolution, or in place of. :eek:
I don't see the words "equal footing" in there, Rach3....

Again, you are reading things in these polls that they do not say.

Regardless, 23% saying "creationism only" is a little disturbing. That said, I think this issue is one that the US has a peculiarity about and I think it is a mistake to use it as a benchmark issue for judging who is a "fundamentalist".
 
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russ_watters

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But, I think that even helps illustrate the point I was trying to make about diversity even within specific religious groups. The religion says one thing, but even those who adhere to it very strictly in most ways will make exceptions for some things. Someone else in their congregation might say they should only use public transportation or walk if they can't drive a car without insurance (hypothetically speaking, since I don't know anyone in their congregation).
Yes - some in this particular group fly and some do not. That one is apparently more of a guideline than a rule. :uhh:
 

Rach3

I don't see the words "equal footing" in there, Rach3....

Again, you are reading things in these polls that they do not say.
Evolution?
Creationism?
ID?
Or all three?


Of course I'm referring to the "all three", which pretty much defines "equal footing" for me - they're all legitimate enough to be taught in school. I'm not taking much license there, or at least certainly less license than you take by trying to "line up" the numbers for the CBS and Harris polls.
 

russ_watters

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Russ: On further Googling, I came up with a Chris Mooney article on this issue.

http://www.csicop.org/doubtandabout/polling/ [Broken]
Good article. Btw, I had a class in college (one of the more enjoyable liberal arts electives) called "public opinion and propaganda". I know it seems like I nitpick polls everywhere, but after being a pollster (we did a phone poll as a project), creating the questions, analyzing the results, etc., I really look at polls critically. I liked the class because it taught me to dislike most polls. :rofl:

Anyway, your polls aren't perfect, but are considerably better than the ones discussed in that article.

[edit]: Who wrote that article? I wasn't finished when I first posted this, now I see the header:
Do It Like They Do at the Discovery Institute
A Bloodhound Gang reference? Funny, but...
 
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Evolution?
Creationism?
ID?
Or all three?


Of course I'm referring to the "all three", which pretty much defines "equal footing" for me - they're all legitimate enough to be taught in school. I'm not taking much license there, or at least certainly less license than you take by trying to "line up" the numbers for the CBS and Harris polls.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO:surprised
ONLY EVOLUTION SHOULD BE TAUGHT. next thing we will be teaching about santa claus - and who knows, in a couple of thousand years there will be a nice big book extoling his virtues and how we should pray for our presents.:cry:
 

Moonbear

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After reading through the poll questions, I'm going to have to say at least some of those questions are flawed. For example, one of the questions is: "Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: Darwin’s theory of evolution is proven by fossil discoveries." Someone who is educated in the theory of evolution and believes the theory to be accurate, or who is generally well-versed in scientific method, or even just logic, would have to disagree with that statement. Theories are not "proven." Also, it is not JUST fossil discoveries that support the theory. What that question illustrates is the lack of knowledge of evolution by the person writing the poll questions.

Another question is: "Regardless of what you may personally believe, which of these do you believe should be taught in public schools?" You can't assume that people recommending a combination of theories be taught in school believe in any particular one of them. For example, I do not believe in creationism, but would argue that since many do, it ought to be at least mentioned in schools simply so that those learning about evolution know what it is that it's being held up against by others.

And, lastly, this question: "Which of the following do you believe about how human beings came to be?"

The poll choices don't give people an option to choose more than one.
Human beings evolved from earlier species.
Human beings were created directly by God.
Human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.
Not sure/Decline to answer
There are people that do not see a conflict between the first two choices. The poll forces them to choose one or the other when that may not really reflect their beliefs adequately.

What is helpful in that poll is the breakdown by geographical region and age. You can easily see how polls might vary in their overall results if too high of a percentage of your sample came from any particular region. For example, if your "west" group included a large number of respondents from Salt Lake City, UT, you would have a fairly different outcome than if they came from someplace like San Franciso, CA.

This particular disclaimer at the end is an important one to always remember when interpreting poll results:
Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.
I'd like to know what they say when they first introduce themselves on the phone? For example, if they start out with, "I'm conducting a brief survey on religious beliefs," a lot of non-religious or non-believers are going to hang up, while someone with very strong conviction in their religious beliefs may be interested in taking the survey and sharing their views. Even the time of day when someone calls can matter. If you're calling in the middle of the day when you're only reaching those who aren't working outside the home (whether they have a home business, or are retired, or students, or stay-at-home parents), that's a different demographic than if you call after 7 pm and catch more people who work outside the home.
 

Moonbear

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOO:surprised
ONLY EVOLUTION SHOULD BE TAUGHT. next thing we will be teaching about santa claus - and who knows, in a couple of thousand years there will be a nice big book extoling his virtues and how we should pray for our presents.:cry:
But Santa Claus WAS included in the classroom...at least when I was a kid (he's probably been replaced now by "The Multicultural Holiday Person Dressed in Faux Fur"). It didn't mean we spent time being taught the myth of Santa Claus, or being told we had to believe in Santa, but we did make arts and crafts projects with Santas in them...red construction paper and cotton balls are fun to glue together for any kid.

I agree with Russ that it does NOT imply equal footing to say all three should be taught in the classroom. It also does not mean they need to be taught as fact. Since people WILL encounter beliefs and teachings on creationism outside the classroom, it's important that these are addressed inside the classroom, if for no other reason than to explain that they are religious beliefs but not scientific theories. I don't see it as terribly different than presenting Lamarckian theory and explaining the evidence that has since overridden that in favor of Darwinian theory.
 

D H

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Not quite; 28% take it literally. An additional 49% believe it is the "literal word of god", so a nice 77% supermajority interpret the origin of the bible literally, even if viewing the text as somewhat allegorical.
source: 2006 Pew Forum poll, n=1002
http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=10618 [Broken]
Rach3, you misinterpreted the poll results.

You did get the 28% figure correct.
According to a recent survey by the Gallup Poll, 28 percent of Americans believe the Bible is literally true.

49% did not say the Bible is the "literal word of God".
Nearly half, 49 percent, said the Bible was the "inspired word of God."

That 49% includes people who think that the Bible was inspired by God but printed by a bunch of bumbling apes and people who think that the Bible, the Koran, and the Kama Sutra are all inspired by God (e.g., Unitarians). Inspired by God does not mean the literal word of God.
 
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Gokul43201

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I think this one was posted earlier. Is there some ambiguity with the wording?

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2004/US/724_public_view_of_creationism_and_11_19_2004.asp [Broken]

Gallup said:
Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?
1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,
2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process,
3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?

Polled in November 2004, 38% of respondents chose (1), 13% chose (2), 45% chose (3), and 4% offered a different or no opinion. These results are also similar to those from previous Gallup polls, which extend back to 1982.
45% believe (I think this is within 5% or so of other similar polls taken around this time - like the CBS poll) the Creationist view that humans (or do you prefer the more Freudian "erect hominids") were created in the last few millenia, and only 13% believe in an evolution model independent of a god.

To contrast, from a BBC-commissioned poll in the UK, last year, it turns out that 48% of respondents state that Evolution theory (as opposed to Creationism or ID) best describes their view of human origin and development. More importantly, only 15% of respondents didn't want Evolution taught in school (compared with the 37% in the US).

http://www.mori.com/polls/2006/bbc-horizon.shtml [Broken]

Here's a comparison of the acceptance of Evolution among people from 34 Countries (from the EU, US and Japan):

http://www.livescience.com/images/060810_evo_rank_02.jpg [Broken]

Here's a fairly comprehensive compilation of data from dozens of polls conducted in the US over the last 5 years : http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm
 
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russ_watters

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But Santa Claus WAS included in the classroom...at least when I was a kid (he's probably been replaced now by "The Multicultural Holiday Person Dressed in Faux Fur"). It didn't mean we spent time being taught the myth of Santa Claus, or being told we had to believe in Santa, but we did make arts and crafts projects with Santas in them...red construction paper and cotton balls are fun to glue together for any kid.
When I was in Elementary school, our school play was on how Christmas was celebrated in different cultures. In junior high, language classes include culture and how Chrismas is celebrated plays a big role in that.

So Santa Clause is most certainly taught in school, and rightfully so.

I also read some of the Bible in an English class and covered different world religions in Social Studies.
I agree with Russ that it does NOT imply equal footing to say all three should be taught in the classroom. It also does not mean they need to be taught as fact. Since people WILL encounter beliefs and teachings on creationism outside the classroom, it's important that these are addressed inside the classroom, if for no other reason than to explain that they are religious beliefs but not scientific theories. I don't see it as terribly different than presenting Lamarckian theory and explaining the evidence that has since overridden that in favor of Darwinian theory.
Exactly. I wouldn't bet that many people would answer the poll that way, but to me it is critical for ID/Creationism to be covered in Biology class because it is precisely the lack of understanding of what makes a theory a theory that causes people to believe such things are scientific..
 
Exactly. I wouldn't bet that many people would answer the poll that way, but to me it is critical for ID/Creationism to be covered in Biology class because it is precisely the lack of understanding of what makes a theory a theory that causes people to believe such things are scientific..
You don't need biology class for this - turning the age of reason is enough. They didn't teach us Rapunzel in biology class why should anyone be bothered with Creationism? (Creationism is self evident, you don't need creationism to understand what makes a theory a theory)
 
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it is precisely the lack of understanding of what makes a theory a theory that causes people to believe such things are scientific..
An excellent and valid point.
 
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but keep creationism to folklore, not biology or any other good science.
 

russ_watters

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You don't need biology class for this - turning the age of reason is enough. They didn't teach us Rapunzel in biology class why should anyone be bothered with Creationism? (Creationism is self evident, you don't need creationism to understand what makes a theory a theory)
Rapunzel isn't being presented as science by Rapunzelists. Big difference. Teaching is done via examples and counterexamples - ID/creationism is a good counterexample.
 

D H

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If the three concepts (evolution, ID, creationism) are to be taught side-by-side, it only makes sense to compare them and analyze them scientifically. Something makes me think that debunking creationism in the public schools is not quite what the religious right has in mind when they call for teaching creationism in the public schools. I like it!

For those Europeans participating in this thread, I put a lot of the blame for the US' religious fervor on your ancestors. Your ancestors chased their religious fanatics overseas to the Americas. We have to live with their descendents and their memes.

The Puritans are a prime example. The same desires that led to the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's brief reign drove the Puritans to emigrate to Massachussetts before the Civil War. We are taught the Pilgrims left England to escape religious persecution. They left England because they wanted to establish a theocracy. The government they created in Massachussetts offered far less religious freedom than did pre-Civil War England.

English Puritans, French Huguenots, and German Calvinists greatly contributed to the two Great Awakenings in the 1730s and early 1800s. We feel their influence to this day.
 
Rapunzel isn't being presented as science by Rapunzelists. Big difference. Teaching is done via examples and counterexamples - ID/creationism is a good counterexample.
I don't think the difference is that big between Rapunzelists and Creationists personally. Could you further discuss?

I agree with your 2nd point.:cool:
 
For those Europeans participating in this thread, I put a lot of the blame for the US' religious fervor on your ancestors. Your ancestors chased their religious fanatics overseas to the Americas. We have to live with their descendents and their memes.
Thats a ridiculous argument.
 

D H

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And what is so ridiculous about it?

Did Europe have a religious theocracy that rivaled the Sharia Law in its severity, as did the US in Massachussetts?
Did Europe suffer the two Great Awakenings that occured in the US?
Did Europe react as vociferously against Darwin as did the US?
Did any European nation attempt to legislate that pi=3, since that is in the Bible?
 

Rach3

Did Europe have a religious theocracy that rivaled the Sharia Law in its severity
No, only for a few hundred years
 

D H

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Did Europe have a religious theocracy that rivaled the Sharia Law in its severity the onset of immigration to the New World?

My point is that Europe exported most of its religious nutjobs to the Americas. The memes that they brought with them are still rampant in the US but are much less rampant in Europe.
 
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To contrast, from a BBC-commissioned poll in the UK, last year, it turns out that 48% of respondents state that Evolution theory (as opposed to Creationism or ID) best describes their view of human origin and development. More importantly, only 15% of respondents didn't want Evolution taught in school (compared with the 37% in the US).

http://www.mori.com/polls/2006/bbc-horizon.shtml [Broken]
I think this poll exemplifies what I hate about polls made by journalists (who basically don't know their arse from their elbow). The poll is completely rigged to make classifications that they percieve, not to find out what people really think.

For the site, thier first question was:

Can you tell me which of the following theories best describes your view?

1. The "evolution theory" says that human kind has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process.
2. The "creationism theory" says that God created human kind pretty much in his/her present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.
3. The "intelligent design theory" says that certain features of living things are best explained by the intervention of a supernatural being, e.g. God
I would have had to answer 'none of the above' to this, even though I am a scientist who believes in evolution, because I am also a Christian, and have to reject the 'God had no part in this process.' statement. I wouldn't answer no 2 because I am not a Young Earth Creationist. I would almost be inclined to answer yes to number 3, but I don't know what the hell they mean by 'intervention' so I would feel deeply uncomfortable answering yes to this, because I am sure they mean ID in the new American sense.

I may have answered 1 depending on what mood I was in.

So basically, this poll is almost entirely useless in distinguishing what people believe (although atheists are presumably a subset of 1.)

The second question (should each of the three views be taught in school sceince) is also pretty useless, because it makes no attempt to distinguish reasons. Clearly I think evolution should be taught in science class because it is a scientific theory. I don't think creationism should because it is not a scientific theory (unless to point this out). But that says nothing about my view on their correctness - it is simply a statement of categorization.

I don't think I have ever seen a poll that asks reasonable questions.
 
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