Wednesday, March 08, 2006
As I looked over the latest Gallup poll showing that most Americans reject Darwin's theory of evolution I could not help thinking about Galileo. In 1616 he stood before an inquisition while being told the Copernican theory he was advocating was not only philosophically wrong but theologically erroneous. He was expected to recant these heretical views despite what his research showed him. By 1633 his views were considered heretical and Pope Urban VIII puts him under house arrest in Sienna where he remains until his death in 1642.
Despite this he publishes his final two works: Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems & Discourse on Two New Sciences. As I think back about my readings on Galileo in my college days I can't help but wonder about organized religion's record regarding its opposition to science whenever it finds its theological underpinnings threatened by the empircal data of science. Of course the church did eventually come around on Galileo's findings: they finally accepted the fact he might be right in 1986. Better late than never I guess.
The state of denial most Americans live in regarding this "issue," if it can be called that, has a disturbing aspect to it. Let's look at Gallup's actual poll results via Editior & Publisher:
NEW YORK A Gallup report
released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution
theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement, "God created man
exactly how Bible describes it." Another 31% says that man did evolve, but "God
guided." Only 12% back evolution and say "God had no part."Gallup summarized it
this way: "Surveys repeatedly show that a substantial portion of Americans do
not believe that the theory of evolution best explains where life came from."
They are "not so quick to agree with the preponderance of scientific
evidence." The report was written by the director of the The Gallup Poll,
Frank Newport. Breaking down the numbers, Gallup finds that Republican backing
for what it calls "God created human beings in present form" stands at 57% with
Democrats at 44%. Support for this Bible view rises steadily with age: from
43% for those 18 to 29, to 59% for those 65 and older. It declines steadily with
education, dropping from 58% for those with high school degrees to a
still-substantial 25% with postgraduate degrees.
Alright. That exlains the 34% that still support the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The 'missle gap' JFK talked of in his 1960 Presidential campaign had now turned into a very real academic gap with respect to other countries in Europe and Asia. I just wonder at what point this cultural and religious denial starts to eviserate? If ever? When we rank near the bottom clutching our bibles?Tweet