More on evolution denial and religiosity

Jerry Coyne has just gotten a paper published in the journal Evolution, on the relationship between evolution, religion, and societal health. As anyone who pays attention to American news, politics, or even daily life can tell you,  most people who deny evolution do so because it conflicts with their religion. As I have posted before, survey data bears this out.

Coyne uses similar data to demonstrate the relationship between evolution denial and religiosity. He also discusses how societal health influences religious belief. Finally, he offers suggestions for how we can increase acceptance of science and evolution on a national level.

Here is the paper’s abstract:

American resistance to accepting evolution is uniquely high among First World countries. This is due largely to the extreme religiosity of the United States, which is much higher than that of comparably advanced nations, and to the resistance of many religious people to the facts and supposed implications of evolution. The prevalence of religious belief in the United States suggests that outreach by scientists alone will not have a huge effect in increasing the acceptance of evolution, nor will the strategy of trying to convince the faithful that evolution is compatible with their religion. Because creationism is a symptom of religion, another strategy to promote evolution involves loosening the grip of faith on America. This is easier said than done, for recent sociological surveys show that religion is highly correlated with the dysfunctionality of a society, and various measures of societal health show that the United States is one of the most socially dysfunctional First World countries. Widespread acceptance of evolution in America, then, may have to await profound social change.

If you’re interested in these issues, read the whole thing! (PDF)

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7 Comments

Filed under Creationism, Evolution, Religion, Science

7 responses to “More on evolution denial and religiosity

  1. No, I reject evolution because it’s fanciful and lacking in evidence. In fact, I am willing to hear any other theory of how we came to be because there is a good chance that it will make more logical sense than evolution.

    • Ah, so you’re simply agnostic on the issue of how we came to be?

      Out of curiosity, what books or sources does your understanding of evolution come from?

      • No, I am a creationist that is willing to hear other views and make up my own mind whether or not it makes any sense. As for now, there is nothing that makes more sense to me than as you atheists put it, “God did it.” This is why I accept creation an reject evolution.

      • “Out of curiosity, what books or sources does your understanding of evolution come from?”

        I was inculcated with evolutionary doctrine in school as most are/were.

      • I see! Well I must say, if you believe in creationism then I think you have a strange idea of what “making sense” means.

        But let me ask you – do you not feel awkward at all stating that you are a creationist who denies evolution in a thread which talks about the very topic of people denying evolution because of their religion? I know you have just told me you that you object because evolution doesn’t make sense. But the whole reason for the data above is that creationists are constantly trying not to make sense of evolution. In fact – and this is sad, but I have seen it time and time again – they often lie about the facts.

        I know you think you already learned about evolution in school, but I guarantee you that if you think evolution doesn’t make sense, your understanding is missing something. Evolution is an amazing theory, and if you like science I think you will find much joy and awe in learning about it. Please do consider updating your understanding of evolution. Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution Is True, which lays out the basic evidence for the theory, is an excellent way to do so.

  2. “But let me ask you – do you not feel awkward at all stating that you are a creationist who denies evolution in a thread which talks about the very topic of people denying evolution because of their religion?”

    Not at all. You created the premise of this thread and I have no reason to succumb to peer pressure to accept conjecture and pseudoscience as fact. You can completely reject evolution and be a great scientist. Many are, so there is no denying this.

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