Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism

Since Stepping Toes was placed from Xanga onto WordPress we had a look at the relationship or coexistence of Science and the Bible.

America’s leading publisher of dictionaries, Merriam-Webster, chose “science” as its 2013 word of the year. Merriam-Webster’s editors cited a 176-percent increase in searches for the word and cited

“heated debates about ‘phony’ science, or whether science held all the answers.”

In the United States we also could notice many bloggers went on about Creationism and ideas from scientists and what would be possibly been written in the Bible. We can not deny we find it strange that such an industrious and very developed country can have so many people who are sceptical about key tenets of scientific orthodoxy. On such issues as human evolution, the formation and age of the universe and, more recently, climate change, many Americans reject the dominant views of the scientific community.

In a 2008 survey of Floridians by the Tampa Bay Times, only 22 percent of respondents said public schools should teach an evolution-only curriculum, and 50 percent wanted only faith-based theories, such as creationism or intelligent design taught. {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science}

On Christadelphian World I discussed already the strange evolution we can see in the U.S.A. of people ignoring how the world evolved and how we have proof certain animals existed. There I also mentioned the Pew Research Center poll from 2009 which found fewer than a third of those sampled accepted the idea that humans evolved through natural processes, while 31 percent rejected the theory of evolution outright.

Top climate scientists issued a report in September saying the evidence that climate change is a real, man-made threat is as convincing as the evidence that cigarettes cause fatal illnesses. Yet a Pew poll from earlier that year found only 42 percent of respondents believed the earth is warming mostly as a result of human activities that produce greenhouse gases.

Some scientists and cultural critics see a dangerous trend at work. Science journalist Michael Specter wrote a book called “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” criticized such disparate tendencies as claims that vaccinations cause autism, bans on genetically modified foods and the embrace of supposed herbal treatments over traditional medicine. { in Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p2}

What most people could see is that it does not originate in the classroom, but that most children get their conservative and creationist ideas imprinted at home.  We also can see that certain people can find themselves at ease by a certain political party because it brings so fervently those conservative ideas which although seem not to do anything with reality can bring people a very strong mood, active to out their voice loudly of what they believe everybody should believe.

A poll in 2011 found that roughly 50 percent of those identifying themselves with the tea party rejected the science behind both evolution and global warming.

from The Ledger tells us that The Ledger requested Gov. Scott, who is aligned with the conservative tea party political group, his personal views on evolution, the Big Bang theory, the age of the universe and human-caused global warming.

The governor said:

“We don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state.”

but did not answer the questions. Instead, a spokesman emailed a general statement reading in part:

“In order to grow more opportunities for Florida families to succeed, we must invest in programs that will diversify our economy and create jobs for future generations. Governor Scott has been a consistent advocate for STEM education as a path for Florida students finding great jobs.”

Those conservative Americans let it look like believers may not believe anything what science present to humankind, because otherwise they would deny that they could be a “a walking miracle”. They started doing like the Muslims which always say ‘Inshallah’ ‘If God wants it’ and say “it’s God’s will.”

I shall not deny that it will be God his Will when he lets something happen. But when something happens it is not because God wants it to happen that way. We can wonder if God wanted the Holocaust to happen. Though He might have let it happen because it bringing a good lesson to the people of God. Though God has given the world to man. In case He would intervene every time, it would not exactly given to man to do like he wants. Than God could again be accused of what He was accused in the Garden of Eden, namely having the sole Power to rule the universe and giving man no right to think and handle for himself.

Carol Murray (62) of Winter Haven roundly rejects the notion that humans evolved over millennia from ape-like ancestors. The theory of evolution, developed over a century and a half by scientists through observation and research, has consensus acceptance in the scientific world and is part of the required science curriculum in Florida’s public schools.

“On the one hand, you’ve got kids going to Sunday school, and they’re telling them that God created them, and then they go back to public school and they’re being taught that man evolved from an ape,”

Murray said. “No wonder the kids have problems.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p2}

I think the problem lies more in the hands of the parents who can not explain enough people might have different opinions and can themselves not accept that others might have an other opinion. In case several opinions may exist next to each other they will not create so much confusion. Than every person shall be able to feel more at ease to find they have an other idea, but which many others would also agree with.

An other problem is that many people consider that the first man and woman looked the same as we do now. This concept of having a Caucasian Adam and Eve and a Caucasian, instead of a Palestinian Jesus, is distorting historical reality. A few years ago there was a heavy reaction when there was placed a brown baby Jesus in a Belgian manger. Lots of people could not accept that Jeshua from Nazareth, better known today as Jesus Christ, was brown skinned. In most countries the Christmas scenery is almost always placed in a European environment with fir trees and snow, having nothing to do with the place nor the time that Jesus was born.

Academic figures say scepticism toward science reflects misunderstandings about how science works and confusion about the way scientists use such terms as “theory” and “hypothesis.”

Russell Betts, dean of the College of Science at Illinois Institute of Technology, said hostility toward science often comes down to questions of “thinking versus believing.” Whereas science ideally is a dispassionate quest for understanding, Betts said those who attack scientific theories usually have differing agendas.

“The general public often takes scientists’ willingness to change their viewpoint as a weakness, as if that means they are fundamentally not reliable,” Betts said. “But science doesn’t claim to be absolute.

“It’s always open to change as new and better results become available. Largely, these changes are incremental; but sometimes, there’s a paradigm shift, often dramatic, as new evidence becomes available. Versus belief, which is what it is — unchangeable. That’s one of its characteristics.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p4-5}

Young-Earth Creationism: The Flintstones for G...

Young-Earth Creationism: The Flintstones for Grownups (Photo credit: PatinaLatina)

As a teacher I, by the years also noticed that many children and parents did not like it when others got to say how things where. They did not want to listen to others and where not interested in details or broader information. You can see that in the latest generations, just looking at the headlines or Tweeter messages, but not going further to click and look at the tweeted article.

Cottle, the FSU professor, said reactions against science reflect a more general backlash against intellectualism in America.

Scientists say the absence of complete proof does not disprove a scientific theory, whether it’s evolution or another matter. Cottle said a lack of absolute certainty is part of science, but he said scientists get defensive when sceptics cite uncertainties as proof the entire theory is wrong.

“When scientists feel that they are being attacked from the outside, they tend to get into a mode where they deny that there are open questions,” Cottle said. “In all our science, we have open questions. …

“I think it’s just one aspect of a broader problem — that we have lost respect for expertise. The idea that somebody else might be an expert and you should listen to them is simply not in vogue.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p6}

“The big mistake scientists make is when they’re being attacked by somebody from the outside that they don’t feel is informed, a politician or somebody else, they can throw their back up and say, ‘No, no, all the questions are answered,’ when in fact that’s not true. I see it in evolution all the time.”

The other great great problem is that several people do want to see the Bible as a literal text and do not understand the descriptive and idiomatic language of it.

In the world we can find many Christians who regard the Bible as a literally accurate description of history. They see a direct conflict to their faith in what are now accepted as scientific truths and do not want to accept that the universe and the earth might be billions of years old and had primitive life forms which evolved through natural selection over millennia to become modern animals and humans. they do not want to see the changes which have been taken place by the years, though if they would look in their own family they could already see great changes of length and form by their own children opposite their ancestors.

A poll by the Pew Research Center from 2009 found that 55 percent of evangelical Protestants said humans have existed in their present form since time began, and only 10 percent of them said evolution has occurred through natural processes.

The poll found that 26 percent of mainline Protestants and 27 percent of Catholics agreed that humans have always existed in their present form. Only 11 percent of Americans with no religious affiliation shared that outlook, the Pew Research Center reported.  {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p7}

Like Gaylord Paul Garcia writes in his blog: Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist:

Science and religion are publicly viewed as two different entities that will never reach a connection point where both will agree. They will never harmonize with each other because it has been a withstanding public truth that these two groups see each other’s views as either fantasy or fiction.

But I do not agree with what he considers to be the popular belief, that science and religion are ultimately incompatible – they cannot coexist. He himself knows that such is misguided.

Whether firm believers of this public truth decide to stay loyal to this belief, the truth is science and religion can coexist, it has coexisted, it coexists now, and it will continue to coexist in the future. {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

The belief that the universe has an Author Who created everything, Who is all-knowing, and Who has everything planned for us, does not have to mean that He would not have given man the ability to think for themselves and to find many things out how the world was created and developed. It is wrong to think that scientist would work against the Creator or not believe in a or The Creator. It is not because a person believes in the Big Bang that he can not accept that the Cause of that Big Bang was a Divine Creator. To have something happening there should come something in action by something. That something could be that Eternal Spirit who also let the world know that He was and is the causer of everything “I am Who is”, “I am The Being”. Without The Being there can not exist a being or something that is.

Problem with several scientists and many atheists is that they have a generalised idea about Christians and never came to read what the Bible says and compared it what several churches made of it. When they would have done such a study they would have come to see that there are many churches who teaches other ideas than presented in the Bible.

Many Christians, in their turn, may forget that the Divine Creator is the One Who gives knowledge to man and Who has given also scientists the possibility to use their brains properly.

The 18 years old, undergrad at American University, Gaylord Paul Garcia, let us known what Abdus Salam, a physicist born in Pakistan thinks about this situation.

His father was an official for the department of education and because of that, schooling became a major factor in his life. Abdus Salam got his PhD in theoretical physics from Cambridge University at the young age of twenty-five years old. From then on, he received a Nobel Prize in physics for his work – Unification of Fundamental Forces – and created the International Center for Theoretical Physics. What is important of his work is that all of his scientific work has been epitomized by a quote from the Quran. The Quote is from Allah, that says,

“Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.”

As said by Abdus Salam, his religious spirit made him understand that there is a divine creator that created these unique systems and they are were created for a reason. He understood that this knowledge is for him to share to those who did not know about their workings. {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

People should understand that the Most High has given different gifts to different people. We should trust the Creator and accept that He knows best whom may have which knowledge and whom might be the best one to share the knowledge with others. We all can not have the same knowledge about all the subjects this world has to offer; So there shall be people who are better in mathematics, geography, history, archaeology, anthropology, physics or an other subject we need to put all things together and to let this world turn reasonably well.

We do need chaos. God is a god of order. We should be pleased we can deserve somewhere a place in that universe created by the Almighty God.

Like Abdus, we should trust Allah, God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and be pleased that we can find so many people who are willing to   contribute to the people who are less fortunate. Like he did knew what his role was in life, we should come to get to know our position and be satisfied we can play a role, be it different, in this community.

Abdus Salam did not lose his morals because of his faith and religion.

That despite the amount of knowledge or truths people attain, they are grounded by their faith and it keeps their ethics straight. Like Abdus Salam, he used and shared his knowledge to those people who are less fortunate because of his faith. Hence, science and religion in perfect harmony advances the human race in peace, while science without religion or religion without science may not produce something to that effect. In the words of Albert Einstein himself, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

In our trust in Jehovah we should share our knowledge and be content others have the willingness to share their knowledge about subjects we know less. Like he shared his knowledge to those people who are less fortunate because of his faith we should be sharing our knowledge and have others also to see that science and religion in perfect harmony advances the human race in peace, while science without religion or religion without science may not produce something to that effect. In the words of Albert Einstein himself,

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

It is wrong to think a Christian might not have critical thinking. Religious and scientific descriptions of the world do not in essence require a certain leap of faith. they only need a clear investigating and wondering mind.

Granger, a former Marine who works for a building-supply company, makes a good point when he considers science essential to progress and generally accepts the determinations of scientists.

“If somebody were to truly disregard science and evolution, that would limit what kind of advancements can be made with medicine and understanding the way the human body works,” he said. {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p9}

Therefore it would be best for schools to include alternatives,

not just one (theory), and they should get into discussions of it and not just say that theory is it,”

Geraldine Watson of Bartow said. At 78 she teaches a Sunday school class once a month at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bartow, and she regards the passages in the book of Genesis as literally true.

The Florida Department of Education, which sets the curriculum standards for public schools, does not include those alternative theories in its science benchmarks. Biblically based narratives are incorporated into science teaching at some private, religiously affiliated schools, such as Lakeland Christian School.

Lithia resident Jonathan Smith, vice president of Florida Citizens for Science, said some Americans are illogical in rejecting certain elements of science while accepting the rest.

“You don’t hear people talking about, ‘We don’t believe in gravity; we don’t believe in germ theory,’ or stuff like that,” Smith said. “But evolution probably conflicts with people’s religious beliefs, and so does climate change. …

“We use our cell phones, we drive in our computerized cars, we rely on antibiotics — anything science can provide for us, as long as it’s convenient. If it’s anything that might alter your view of the world, particularly from a religious perspective, they reject it.”  {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p10}

Dewey Funkhouser correctly says:

Religion is probably the largest business in America and the Bible thumpers want to bad mouth science as much as possible. So-called religion has done more to set America Back than any other thing. If you think the Tea Party movement hasn’t hurt America, you must be a kook.

We should be very careful before we accuse the schools of brainwashing the children. The schools should give a wide or broad margin of subjects and should teach the children the necessary things they should get to know, based on facts and science. Schools and educational programs do have the task to prepare people to stand strong in the world-community, being able to investigate and think for themselves. They should prepare them to compete in life, the world economy, college and anywhere else in life.

Schools in democratic countries also should learn that no religion may be allowed to oppress anyone, and that everyone should be allowed to believe and adhere whatever they want. Freedom of thought should be in the first line of duty.

Let us always remind:

“To think without believing disregards many possibilities, but to believe without thinking disregards more certainties.”

Religion and science are not mutually exclusive, to the contrary. Those who are Christian should not be afraid of science when they are standing straight in their shoes. When our Christian faith is strong enough and we are willing to use our heads properly, we shall get to find out how things really work and we shall overcome our challenges without fearing us.

Don Gifford says it nicely:

You should have enough faith in godless humanistic doctrine not to fear me. If we can agree to respect each others rights we can get along just fine and our children will be all the better for it.

Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist notes:

The greatest thinkers and contributors of science have been men and women of faith. The bible or other religious texts should not ever be taken literally as it is not based on scientific evidence. However, religion should not be brushed off. Religion in itself is a way of discovering meaning and purpose, to ignore it means to ignore morals and ethics. To most people, to have religion is to be grounded and a way to not forget to be selfless. Likewise, science is also not optional. Science explains to us the physical universe and how it functions and come about.

The last few weeks people could find a lot on

the much-ballyhooed debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on creationism versus evolution (“Ham on Nye”), which only served the purpose of giving Ham’s ridiculous beliefs attention they did not deserve. And, it got Ham enough money from donors an taxpayers to complete his theme park. {How to Debate a Christian Apologist}

A writer/virtual assistant living in the Philippines writes:

I believe, as a scientist, if you go into science with unshakable, preconceived notions of what is and what should be (creationism), when you insist that only one theory, one thesis is correct, then you’re not being a good scientist. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

as a Christian, it goes against one of our main virtues: humility. Even with the Bible, we cannot assume to know exactly what’s God’s plan is and how he created the universe. He leaves clues and we follow the clues. We can’t just insist that just because it’s in the Bible it’s fact. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

We never may forget that:

God uses science as a tool for us to appreciate the glory of his creation, not to exclude or persecute. And that regardless of whether the universe is young or old, humanity hasn’t existed long enough for us to understand and appreciate it.

All the complexities and inconsistencies that we see serve a purpose we do not understand but can only attempt to comprehend. After all, life’s much more fun if we have a few surprises. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

Science seems to deal often with objects, such as quarks and black holes, that have not been directly detected.

Since multiple universes are strongly suggested by modern cosmology, they must be considered when we debate theological questions. As long as they are not ruled out, they cannot be used as a god-of-the-gaps argument for the necessity of a creator. What’s more, other universes are in principle detectable by their effects on the cosmic microwave background. {How to Debate a Christian Apologist}

Atheists as well as Theists do have to recognise that both have their dogma‘s. Both are”believers“, be it in having a god or gods or not existing gods or not having a Divine Creator God.

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This article is made possible by using material from a.o. who can be reached at gary.white@theledger.com or 863-802-7518. He blogs about tourism at http://tourism.blogs.theledger.com and about books at http://ledgerlit.blogs.theledger.com.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  2. Reconciling Science and Religion
  3. Bible containing scientific information
  4. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)
  5. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  6. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  7. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  8. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)
  9. Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2012.124pp.
  10. God’s design in the creation of the world
  11. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  12. Incomplete without the mind of God
  13. Belief of the things that God has promised
  14. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  15. Stand Up

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In Dutch:

  1. Wetenschappers, filosofen hun zeggen, geloven en waarheden

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Map of the world, showing percentage by countr...

Map of the world, showing percentage by country who believe religion is important (2002). Data by the Pew Research Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • GOP is increasingly anti-science on climate change, evolution: Editorial (nj.com)ed0103editAbox.jpg
    Forty-eight percent of Republicans now say they believe that humans evolved over time, either with or without help from a supreme being. The numbers of Democrats and independents who believe in evolution, meanwhile, have held steady, and reflect the population as a whole: Six in 10 Americans believe that humans have evolved.

    One can simultaneously believe that God created life, and set in motion the process of evolution that Charles Darwin described — even Darwin made that point. But to flat-out deny the undoubted changes that scientists have found in the study of fossils and life forms is just ignorance.

  • Public, Private Schools Diverge in Handling of Biology, Cosmology (theledger.com)
    Wasemann said he knows a certain segment of his students — and their parents — reject the prevailing scientific theory that modern humans evolved from lower life forms. Aside from the fact that evolution is crucial to a scientific understanding of the world, Wasemann tells his students, it’s also a subject required for high school science teaching under the Sunshine State Standards, the Florida Department of Education’s curriculum guidelines.

    That means it must be included on the exam that comes at the end of the term.

  • Republicans Reject Evolution in Favor of Devolution (planetpov.com)
    Many religious people expressed a belief in evolution, seeing God’s hand in it. Science and religion can indeed coexist for some but unfortunately, not for the extremists. 64% of White Evangelist Protestants (and 50% of Black Evangelist Protestants) don’t believe in evolution.

    The political breakdown…and breakdown may be the right word when one considers the deterioration in Republicans’ belief in science…is most interesting. In 2009, when Pew held a similar poll,  In 2009, 54% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats supported evolution. In this week’s poll, those numbers have changed to 43% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats.

    So in just four years, there are almost 20% more Republicans disbelieving evolution, the 10% gap with Democrats in 2009 has ballooned more than double to a 24% gap (meanwhile, there was a gradual increase of 3% more Democrats believing in evolution).

     

  • Conservatives (including Christian conservatives) aren’t anti-science as much as they’re anti-hectoring and unpersuaded by naked appeals to authority delivered with maximum condescension (climber.wordpress.com)
    First, let’s be clear that there’s very little quality scientific education in the United States (and that applies to liberal citizens as much as conservative).
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    Second, daily life teaches us that public scientific declarations are uncertain, debatable, and often wrong. Parents, for example, get bombarded with competing theories over their child’s intellectual and emotional growth, their diet, and their physical health — with incompatible opinions delivered at high volume and with absolute certainty. When it comes to our own diets, how many competing scientific voices are screaming for our attention? And that of course doesn’t count every other aspect of life where scientific certainty shifts, changes, is hotly debated, then changes again.
    +
    Of course, one can be Christian and understand that evolution could be one method of God’s creation, and one can be conservative and completely buy the “consensus” arguments surrounding global warming, but the debate has not been fought on those terms, and the other side has made effectively zero effort to meet Christians and conservatives where they are to make the consensus case.
  • A Move Is Afoot to Keep Climate Science Out of Classrooms (scientificamerican.com)
    For decades objections to the theory of evolution have bedeviled individual teachers, school boards, state boards of education and state legislatures. Educators fought to keep evolution in science classes and creationism out. We resisted intelligent design, the notion that natural selection alone cannot explain the complexity of life-forms, which served as a way of getting creationism through the back door. We are now fighting legislation that encourages teachers to teach the “evidence against evolution”—facts found only in the creationist literature.

    The consequences of antievolutionism are felt in many American schools: evolution is not taught or is taught poorly. Yet evolution is one of the most important ideas in human intellectual history, and students have a right to learn it.
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    Some political conservatives claim that global warming is a liberal plot to increase the power of the federal government, which if it reduces our reliance on greenhouse gas–producing fossil fuels, will jeopardize national security and threaten our individual freedoms. Some libertarians believe that policies such as carbon taxes are a socialist plot intended to cripple capitalism. True, some political and economic views cannot accommodate policies associated with combating climate change, but we should not let the ideologies of some prevent or distort the education of the many.

  • [Review] Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future, by Donald R. Prothero (kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)
    Reality Check goes in-depth into antiscience in general, as well as specific varieties of science-rejection.

    Prothero’s book begins a discussion of antiscience, its strategies and its tactics, moving to a description of science and it’s fundamental importance in our modern world, insights into its process and thinking, and then an expose of scientists who’ve betrayed professional integrity as paid shills of those with a vested interest in attacking science on financial and political grounds.

  • Creationism vs. Evolution: Where Does Islam Stand? (meditationsofamuslimah.wordpress.com)
    Muslims believe in a Creator, God, who created the universe. But on the other hand, most Muslim scholars do not throw out the entire theory of evolution, but do clearly discard the well-known piece that claims humans have evolved from apes (or ape-like creatures), as well as ideas that one species can evolve into another.
    +
    Regarding dinosaurs, Muslims generally believe that if science and fossil records prove that the earth is billions of years old, then it must be true. This is not a contradiction to Islamic belief, because Muslims believe that when God created the universe in “6 days,” this mention of time does not mean 6 earth days. God cannot be restricted to time as we on earth know it. In fact, the Quran specifically states that sometimes God’s “days” does not mean earth days, but can mean other periods of time such as thousands or tens of thousands of years. So we don’t know what actual unit of time it took, but 6 days most likely refers to 6 distinct phases of creation. In this view, it is permissible to believe that the dinosaurs were created along with other animals, and may or may not have gone extinct before humans were created.
  • Creationists Can’t Be Scientists (huffingtonpost.com)
    William Saletan sees creationism as “harmless” because scientists who espouse it can “compartmentalize” their beliefs. He recognizes its absurdity, but writes that, “You can be a perfectly good satellite engineer while believing total nonsense about the origins of life.” But creationism is part of the larger crusade within the religious right to make “biblical literalism” Christian doctrine and federal law. To espouse it is to preclude practicing science. Saletan believes that a distinction between historical science and modern science is what exculpates the creationist:
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    What should make us terrified of the creationist movement is this political mobilization. The movement is deeply intertwined with right-wing fundamentalism. Among the terrors Ham worries about are abortion and gay marriage.  Across the country creationism has tried to force itself into science curriculums, with political maneuvering and outright lies. But Saletan glosses over this concern, mentioning only briefly that seeing creationism as harmless “doesn’t mean we should teach creationism in schools or pretend it’s a scientific theory.” I agree we shouldn’t, but the creationist movement is trying to do exactly that.
  • Religious and scientific communities may be less combative than commonly portrayed (psypost.org)
    The NSB 2014 Science Indicators study, released earlier this month, found that roughly seven in 10 Americans believe that the effects of scientific research are more positive than negative for society — a number that has remained roughly the same since 1979.

    Other recent surveys show a partisan political gap, however, in views on scientific topics such as evolution and climate change.

    Between 2009 and 2013, the gap between Republicans and Democrats on the question of evolution grew by 11 percentage points, said Cary Funk of the Pew Research Center. “There had been a partisan gap before, but the size of the gap is now bigger. And what happened is that fewer Republicans said humans and other living things evolved over time.”

  • Why Climate Change Skeptics & Evolution Deniers Joined Forces (motherjones.com)
    anti-evolutionists and climate deniers were both getting dumped on so much by the scientific community that they sort of naturally joined forces. And that makes sense: We know that in general, people gather their issue stances in bunches, because those stances travel together in a group (often under the aegis of a political party).But there’s also the “declining trust in science” theory, according to which political conservatives have, in general, become distrustful of the scientific community (we have data showing this is the case), and this has infected how they think about several different politicized scientific issues. And who knows: Perhaps the distrust started with the evolution issue. It is easy to imagine how a Christian conservative who thinks liberal scientists are full of it on evolution would naturally distrust said scientists on other issues as well.
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