Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Uh Oh, US way behind in genetic literacy

[hat tip paul wolpe]

Ker Than of livescience.com has an overview of an article recently published in the journal Science. The study finds that a disturbingly low number of people understand evolution.

A comparison of peoples' views in 34 countries finds that the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to public acceptance of evolution. Only Turkey ranked lower...

The researchers combined data from public surveys on evolution collected from 32 European countries, the United States and Japan between 1985 and 2005. Adults in each country were asked whether they thought the statement “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals,” was true, false, or if they were unsure.

The study found that over the past 20 years:

  • The percentage of U.S. adults who accept evolution declined from 45 to 40 percent.
  • The percentage overtly rejecting evolution declined from 48 to 39 percent, however.
  • And the percentage of adults who were unsure increased, from 7 to 21 percent.

Of the other countries surveyed, only Turkey ranked lower, with about 25 percent of the population accepting evolution and 75 percent rejecting it. In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80 percent or more of adults accepted evolution; in Japan, 78 percent of adults did.

The findings are detailed in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Science.

The content of this article is borderline unbeleivable. 80% is still way too low. Evolution is a fairly simple concept if taught well. Certainly we should be able to answer a questions as plain and direct as the one offered above. Once we get into natural selection, which mutations can be passed and how things get tougher but wow, we really should be at 96 or 97% of people being sure that the following is a factual statement: Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.


At 8/23/2006 , Anonymous Desh said...

I mean, when 76% of Americans believe that the US gained its independence from England and 79% of Americans believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, 80% is pretty good.


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