2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution

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Never mind the increasing evidence—64 percent of white evangelical Protestants reject the science, and professors at Christian colleges are attacked if word gets out they teach it.

Evolution did not fare well in 2013. The year ended with the anti-evolution bookDarwin’s Doubt as Amazon’s top seller in the “Paleontology” category. The state of Texas spent much of the year trying to keep the country’s most respected high school biology text out of its public schools. And leading anti-evolutionist and Creation Museum curator Ken Ham made his annual announcement that the “final nail” had been pounded into the coffin of poor Darwin’s beleaguered theory of evolution.

Americans entered 2013 more opposed to evolution than they have been for years, with an amazing 46 percent embracing the notion that “God created humans pretty much in their present form at one time in the last 10,000 years or so.” This number was up a full 6 percent from the prior poll taken in 2010. According to a December 2013 Pew poll, among white evangelical Protestants, a demographic that includes many Republican members of Congress and governors, almost 64 percent reject the idea that humans have evolved.

The connection between acceptance of evolution and political affiliation has grown stronger over the past three years, exacerbating the polarization now plaguing Congress. Among Democrats, acceptance of evolution increased by 3 percent, to 67 percent, while among Republicans it decreased from 54 percent to 43 percent.

The trajectory is not encouraging, especially as it runs in parallel with a steady increase in the evidence for evolution—evidence now piled so high that not even one evolutionary biologist at any of America’s research universities rejects the theory. Evolution is as widely accepted in biology departments as gravity is in physics departments.

So how is it that 64 percent of America’s “white evangelical evangelical Protestants,” an unusually powerful and wealthy demographic, remains so strongly opposed to evolution?

Written By: Karl W. Giberson
continue to source article at thedailybeast.com

42 COMMENTS

  1. And for a bit of perspective consider this:

    “Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.”

    Not such an amazing quote I know but consider it was from an American president. In 1922! Its a quote from Woodrow Wilson.

  2. There is that linearity instead of branching again!

    Went to Amazon to see the reviews on Darwin’s Doubt and I must tentatively agree with the author here. 300 5 star reviews ( favorable ) to 65 1 star reviews (dis-favorable ). Usually when something this nonsensical is published ( wrote by our old ” friend ” Meyer ) the attack of the 1 star review is overwhelming. Science reviewed this crap and refuted it rather well, so is our side flagging?

  3. The world has seen tribal backwaters of ignorance and superstition many times before, so the population is polarising into a scientific academic elite who can develop medical advances and space technologies, while the dumb consumers who deny evolution, climate change etc. continue to elect unprepared politicians.
    They can go to the hypermarkets and buy the products Hype-TV has told them everybody must have, – until the increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, antibiotic resistant pathogens, pollution and obesity, reduce their numbers. Meanwhile the competitive industries which need scientific foresight, will probably be bought up by the Chinese.

  4. It’s disappointing, of course, but I’m not too down-hearted. I think what is happening is that the debate on evolution has picked up steam. The “intellectuals” in evangelical churches know that evolution strikes at the heart of their fundamentalist christianity and, at any time, anyone amongst their congregations can be stopped sharply in their tracks the moment they realise this for themselves. So to keep strong, they have called a 3 line whip.

    Whilst, the overall number of people who are religious may be going down, I would expect to see those who stay become more hardcore.

    • In reply to #7 by GPWC:

      Whilst, the overall number of people who are religious may be going down, I would expect to see those who stay become more hardcore.

      The more hardcore they are, the dumber they are and the harder and faster they will fall in the face of reason, logic and commonsense.

    • In reply to #10 by Dollysheriff:

      Clearly the aggressive anti-religious approach of the new nasty atheists is not working!

      You have it backwards! It is the religious ignorant anti-science approach which is the problem. The “hateful dialogue is all creationist! The scientists just want to get on with educating people in properly tested science.

      Time to change the approach from hateful dialog to a more mature one of engagement?

      What makes you think childish creationists (especially YECs) are interested in engaging in a mature reasoned discussion?

      The mountain of evidence for “evolution by means of natural selection”, has been standard science for over a hundred years. The only pseudo-controversy is in their heads, in their pulpits, in their pseudo-science books, and in the the comics which claim to be newspapers.

      Among the educated in Europe, people who talk this anti-science nonsense, are laughed at as the know-it-all scientific illiterates they are.

      If those spouting assertive ignorance about long time well evidenced science, don’t like being told they are ignorant fools, they should shut up and go and do some study of reputable scientific reference materials, instead of making fools of themselves in public as biological illiterates. To biologists they look just like Flat Earthists, floundering and ranting, at a space and astronomy symposium.

    • In reply to #10 by Dollysheriff:

      Clearly the aggressive anti-religious approach of the new nasty atheists is not working! Time to change the approach from hateful dialog to a more mature one of engagement?

      Clearly a conciliatory pro-religious approach of the new nice atheists will work! Mature engagement, whatever that means, is the only way.

  5. Evolution did just fine in 2013.

    It carried on normally, oblivious to these living fossils (and possible evidence of evolutionary dead ends), same has it has for the last few billion years.

    • In reply to #11 by Stevehill:

      Evolution did just fine in 2013.

      It carried on normally, oblivious to these living fossils (and possible evidence of evolutionary dead ends), same has it has for the last few billion years.

      Quite right, science has more fossils, more DNA data and more evidence, What have the creationists got? more voters! So what? Science is not subject to democracy.

    • In reply to #11 by Stevehill:

      Evolution did just fine in 2013.

      It carried on normally, oblivious to these living fossils (and possible evidence of evolutionary dead ends), same has it has for the last few billion years.

      Now that is the point!

    • In reply to #11 by Stevehill:

      Evolution did just fine in 2013.

      It carried on normally, oblivious to these living fossils (and possible evidence of evolutionary dead ends), same has it has for the last few billion years.

      Yes, it did just fine. And more people were born to be educated about it in 2013 while others aged out of the “white evangelical Protestants” who suppress it.

  6. Such theological thinking explains why Darwin is linked to Hitler, our greatest symbol of evil, by most creationist leaders and even the supposedly more enlightened….

    Why is it when even by the admission of the current Chinese government, the Chinese Cultural Revolution started by Mao Zedong caused the death of 30 million of his own people is Hitler with his 12million ascribed victims still regarded as the “greatest symbol of evil”? In Mao’s case depending on the source, the numbers range from 49-78 million victims making Adolf look like a choir in comparison and puts him in the company of King Leopold II of Belgium with approximately 10 million victims.

    If we are going to pick on individuals as “bad guys” lets at least get our facts correct. It’s what scientists claim to espouse. No matter which way one looks at it, Mao Zedong was by far THE worst mass murderer in history. By perpetuating untruths we are just as guilty as bible thumpers. jcw

    • In reply to #15 by kaiserkriss:

      Such theological thinking explains why Darwin is linked to Hitler, our greatest symbol of evil, by most creationist leaders and even the supposedly more enlightened….

      Why is it when even by the admission of the current Chinese government, the Chinese Cultural Revolution started by Mao Zedong caus…

      I don’t think that the statements by the author, K. Giberson, warrant equivalence to the bible thumpers. It certainly doesn’t warrant saying “we” are just as bad as the bible thumpers. The author of the article did not say Hitler was the worst mass murderer in history. He said Hitler was our greatest symbol of evil which, whether Adolf deserves the title or not, he may well be. Even if you do not accept any of that the author was not saying anything overtly wrong or even highly exaggerated. That is Hitler may not hold the greatest purveyor of misery title but he was not a good guy. Therefore no overt lying or pretending took place on the part of the author which leaves him out of range of being compared to bible thumpers.

      • Point taken about comparing the us with a bible- thumpers. Also I should have left out the last sentence.

        I can’t see where I implied Hitler was nothing else but a bad guy- or “symbol of evil”, just not “THE GREATEST” as implied by the Author. Or, doesn’t the magnitude of genocide committed have any bearing on evilness? That would be quite callous. We are talking human lives here not some flora! I still think the statement made could be construed as perpetuating revisionism- something we all should be wary of. jcw

        In reply to #16 by Northampton:

        In reply to #15 by kaiserkriss:

        Such theological thinking explains why Darwin is linked to Hitler, our greatest symbol of evil, by most creationist leaders and even the supposedly more enlightened….

        Why is it when even by the admission of the current Chinese government, the Chinese Cultural Revo…

  7. Clearly the aggressive anti-religious approach of the new nasty atheists is not working! Time to change the approach from hateful dialog to a more mature one of engagement?

    Mature engagement? With creationists?

    • In reply to #17 by obzen:

      Clearly the aggressive anti-religious approach of the new nasty atheists is not working! Time to change the approach from hateful dialog to a more mature one of engagement?

      Mature engagement? With creationists?

      Careful! Ray Comfort will hit you with his banana!

      • In reply to #21 by ArloNo:

        In reply to #17 by obzen:

        Clearly the aggressive anti-religious approach of the new nasty atheists is not working! Time to change the approach from hateful dialog to a more mature one of engagement?

        Mature engagement? With creationists?

        Careful! Ray Comfort will hit you with his banana!

        And then smear you with peanut butter!

    • In reply to #17 by obzen:

      Mature engagement? With creationists?

      Perhaps you can all learn something from Charles R Marshall who very constructively tried to answer the very real problems raised by Stephen Meyer’s book, “Darwin’s Doubt” in Science (When Prior Belief Trumps Scholarship,” September 20, 2013)

      Instead of calling people who are Darwinian evolution skeptics, silly names and ridiculing them, try actually providing some answers. Perhaps then “Evolution” will not have another terrible year.

      If the militant athiests really believed that humans have no free will, then it is surely wrong to judge creationists for believing what the material world has programmed them to believe. So if you really believe this, show some humility.

      Love Dolly

      • In reply to #24 by Dollysheriff:

        In reply to #17 by obzen:

        Mature engagement? With creationists?

        Perhaps you can all learn something from Charles R Marshall who very constructively tried to answer the very real problems raised by Stephen Meyer’s book, “Darwin’s Doubt” in Science (When Prior Belief Trumps Scholarship,” September 20, 2013)

        There is very little to learn from creationist pseudo-science rubbish, except that it is rubbish, concocted by the ignorant and bigoted, to dispute very competently evidenced science, in order to mislead the gullible, as a means of propping up biblical myths and fairy tales.

        Instead of calling people who are Darwinian evolution skeptics, silly names and ridiculing them,

        There are no “Darwin sceptics”, there are only ignorant “Darwin deniers” – whose claims ARE ridiculous!

        try actually providing some answers. Perhaps then “Evolution” will not have another terrible year.

        As I pointed out earlier, science has been providing answers at all levels for over a hundred years.

        If the pig-ignorant politicians of Texas actually read the science textbooks instead of trying to change them, they might start to learn something!

        Evolution has not had “a terrible year”. It’s just that American right-wing ignorance has had a revivalist year within its own ranks. The rest of the educated world is laughing at them, while they refuse to learn even the basics of biology.

        If the militant athiests really believed that humans have no free will,

        This red herring has nothing to do with ignorant US Protestants. The Protestant Church of England and the Roman Catholics seem to be able to accept the basics of evolution. It’s just the head-in-the sand evangelical creationists who won’t learn the science.

        Catholic Church and evolution

        The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. In fact, the International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger, then president of the Commission and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, includes this paragraph:

        According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.

        Science does not show respect for asserted ignorance. It debunks it – especially if the ignorance was debunked over a hundred years ago, with the ignorant still refusing to learn and taking on posturing airs of superiority.

        then it is surely wrong to judge creationists for believing what the material world has programmed them to believe.

        The material world of their leaders has programmed them to believe, by a process of indoctrination.

        So if you really believe this, show some humility.

        Science does not kowtow to ignorance. Anyone who came into my science classes or laboratory spouting creationist nonsense, was clearly told it was nonsense and incompetent dishonest nonsense. Science does honesty and integrity, not posturing fudge to include made-up stupidity in its communication of proven methodology or knowledge.

      • In reply to #24 by Dollysheriff:

        In reply to #17 by obzen:
        Perhaps you can all learn something from Charles R Marshall who very constructively tried to answer the very real problems raised by Stephen Meyer’s book, “Darwin’s Doubt” in Science (When Prior Belief Trumps Scholarship,” September…

        Here. Go watch this train wreck.

        You want these morons in science classrooms? Because that’s a compromise I cannot accept. To the Barricades!

  8. Perhaps we should invite Ben Stein – a professional writer, correct ? – to do a reverse on Expelled, and show teachers who have been expelled for teaching evolution. Sounds like there are a number of them. Should I hold my breath, waiting for those commercial companies in the fields of biology, paleontology, geology, genetics, medicine, pharmacology, developmental biology etc. to stand up publicly and say they will not hire graduates from colleges like this, whose students have not been taught evolution by natural selection ? How about universities refusing to hire faculty whose education on science was from such a college ? It may be a simple enough matter to get a science course outline for such a college, on-line, to use in making such a determination. I can imagine the HR department saying “In a field such as ours, a complete understanding and acceptance of evolution by natural selection is an absolute requirement for employment. Just as a position of a German teacher requires the candidate be able to speak German, those who work in our field must be able to speak the language of science. Those whose world-view is aligned with creationism should seek opportunities in other, non-scientific fields.” Perhaps Bill Nye could consider calling on such companies, to ask them to ‘come out’ and take a public position on this. “Would you hire faculty whose science education includes creationism ?” Watch the reaction of the science departments when the Dean is asked this question. If this is indeed a war, bring up the
    artillery. Offense is the best defense.

    Another thought……I sense a certain risk, that evangelical parents in the US may not want their kids to attend college at all, rather than be exposed to – oohhh ! – real science – and be converted from their faith to – OMG – no faith at all ! We need to hear stories from students in such families, as to how this all worked out.

    It is one thing to have college donors refuse to send money when the science dept. teaches evolution. It is quite another when students, and perhaps even parents, won’t consider enrolling because the college graduates will be tainted in the marketplace, especially lately given the jobs situation in the US. Even those students whose courses don’t involve science much, or at all may want to reconsider their choice of college. Market pressures work in both directions.

    • In reply to #25 by rod-the-farmer:
      >

      Another thought……I sense a certain risk, that evangelical parents in the US may not want their kids to attend college at all, rather than be exposed to – oohhh ! – real science – and be converted from their faith to – OMG – no faith at all ! We need to hear stories from students in such families, as to how this all worked out.

      Hi Rod!

      I think natural selection works in business too.
      I will shortly be supervising university examination rooms, with the science, mathematics, engineering, computer, and business courses, packed with Chinese and Indian students, who work hard and really want to learn.
      Need I say more!

    • In reply to #29 by Mr DArcy:

      I would like to know how, as reccommended by dollysherrif, you can have a sensible dialogue with a YEC such as Congressman Paul Broun ?

      The man is clearly out of touch with science.

      Paul Broun @0min 30 – “There are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that really show that this is a young Earth!”

      Talk about “Lies from the pit of Hell”!!!!! This idiot claims to be a scientist!!! He would not even rate as lower school science student!

      I see from his collection of mounted deer heads, that he “knows” all about big-bangs and animals!!!

  9. When a self-professed scientist discusses Darwin when trying to refute the theory of evolution you know they are completely ignorant. Darwin is of course important as a historical character, but with regard to the modern theory of evolution it’s as irrelevant to talk about Darwins’s doubt as it would be to talk about Galileo’s doubt when trying to refute modern quantum physics. Unfortunately I think scientists are somewhat guilty of this trend as well. Darwin is often used as a trademark for the theory of evolution which gives the impression that the theory stands and falls with him. If Darwin had doubts or if Darwin could not explain something then clearly the whole theory is wrong. We give the creationists a straw man of gigantic proportions. What other scientific theories are still bound by their original inventor as much as the theory of evolution? I would say none, and this illustrates the big problem!

  10. “Religions/faiths are in their death throes”. AC Grayling

    What we are witnessing is the glitter before the death of a powerful star…its going to get quieter with the passage of time.

  11. In reply to #15 by kaiserkriss:

    Such theological thinking explains why Darwin is linked to Hitler, our greatest symbol of evil, by most creationist leaders and even the supposedly more enlightened….

    Why is it when even by the admission of the current Chinese government, the Chinese Cultural Revolution started by Mao Zedong caus…

    Oh dear, naughty old Mao again, hey?

    I do wish conservatives would keep to the same story – did “the world’s most evil man” kill so many millions over his whole career (including during the fighting against Chiang Kai Shek and the warlords and foreign interventionists, the Japanese occupation, 14 years of guerrilla warfare and the revolutionary period), or from the time he took power until his death, or just during the intra-bureaucratic madness of the “Cultural Revolution”?

    At least we know the exact length of Hitler’s killing spree – as well as the fact that he was most definitely not an atheist.

    Moreover, if Mao was personally responsible for each of these millions of deaths, then surely “good and gentle” Queen Victoria must rank amongst the worst of the worst mass murderers of all History (recorded and unrecorded)!

    And what of the 25,000 children in many countries who starve to death every day under a system called “Free Enterprise,” aka capitalism, where there is more than enough food to feed them, but they are not fed because it is not profitable to do so?

    I could go on to talk of Stalin, Castro, Ho Chi Minh and the Korean Kims (and even Pol Pot) but I’ll not continue the derailing you started.

  12. Pretending that Religion and Anti-Science attitudes will eventually fade away because Reason trumps bullshit – or even worse…. thinking changing ‘framing ‘methodology is all that’s needed to make stupid people agree with you … is behaving in an Anti-Science manner (no different than the Creationists) .

    Most of the News stories on this site clearly show an ever increasing rise in Anti Intellectualism …. This should show those not inclined to wishful thinking that the Enlightenment is over .

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