Atheist Ramblings - 3.6
more to fear...
...As if I wasn't already worried enough about my fellow citizens, I read about some very scary polls done recently.
...The first was from the Gallup organization concerning American's beliefs in creationism and evolution. When asked if they agree with the basic tenants of Young Earth Creationism, nearly 45% of Americans agreed. (35% agreed with theistic evolution (god controlled it), and the remaining 10% went with the 'no-god-required' evolution). That's 45% of the population that either does not know, does not understand, or flat out denies the work of modern science.
...From geology to cosmology to biology, the evidence for an old universe is rampant. It is so prevalent that it is just taken as a given (tho the exact age is up for grabs, there is no doubt it is many billions/trillions of years old).
...It is very important to note that this isn't because science is not interested or is blocking alternative theories, its just that the evidence is so over-whelming that no alternative theory has come close to fitting what we already know. Just as no layman would drop a ball and wonder which direction it would fall, no scientist even bothers to see if the universe is old, just how old it is.
|"Less than half of Americans realize the 'Flintstones' is not a documentary."|
|...Eugenie C. Scott
Freethought Today, Jan 2000
...In another poll, the National Science Foundation asked people if humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Only 51% knew that we didn't!!
...Such mass ignorance of science is troubling for two reasons.
...First and foremost, there are more laymen than scientists and more laymen in positions of authority. If those people do not know or understand what science is trying to say, they can and will make judgments, laws, and other choices that could have devastating effects. Imagine if science had not been able to convince nonscientists that the moon orbits the earth and the earth the sun, our space race would have turned out very differently (if at all). If the round earth theory could not be demonstrated, Columbus would never have sailed.
...Secondly, it indicates a very large disconnect between science and the layman. Scientists are not doing their job of showing how the universe works. It is just fine and dandy to know more about how things are, but if that knowledge cannot be passed on to others -and most importantly to those who do not follow the details of the field- then science has failed. The layman is the coconspirator in the quest for knowledge because it is from that field of laymen that the next generation of scientists will come. By not translating the concepts, science does a disservice to its own future.
...More to the point of the polls, the 45% of the population that does not understand or accept the evidence that the earth is much older than young earth creationism teaches are in positions where they can influence science education in our schools. This can and will have a doubly devastating effect. Not only will the best science not be taught, but alternate 'theories' that are flat wrong will be taught. What hope does the next generation have of understanding the subtle complexities of science if they are told things about science that are flat wrong? Imagine a school where flat earth theories are taught as true, would those kids really be competitive in the next generation?
...That 45% will grow if science cannot do its basic job of showing what it knows and sees. Science for science's sake is one thing, but even open ended studies can be relayed and explained in a way for all of us to understand. And until science can bridge the gap people will continue to not understand and therefore mistrust scientists and what direction science is moving.
...Science needs to lead us into the future, but they aren't going to do it unless they stop and hold our hands and show us where to walk... Never trust people to follow on their own.
2 May 2000
From: Samuel Åslund (---email redacted---)
Subj: "Do you believe in Occham?"
I find it interesting to hear an atheist talk about "The truth" actualy it's not spelled out in the text but I get that feeling from reading it.
belief system: Still have not decided. Doesn't consider it important.
found the freelinks: Random surfing, found your quote
freelink opinion: I mostly agree.
4 January 2000
From: NATHAN BRATT (---email redacted---)
Subj: DO NOT AGREE BUT WOU
I HAVE RECENTLY READ YOUR ARTICLE ON ” ATHIESTS RAMBLINGS, MORE TO FEAR ” . I HAVE TO SAY THAT IT INTERSESTS ME TO KNOW YOUR OPINION. I SIMPLY HAVE TO ASK IF YOU HAVE PROOF OF ALL THE THINGS YOU CLAIM IN YOUR ARTICLE, LIKE THE STATEMEANT THAT THE EARTH IS MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD AND WAS NOT CREATED BY A GOD. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SIMPLY SEND ME SOME SORT OF FACTUAL INFORMATION ON HOW EVOLUTION HAS EVER BEEN PROVEN AND WHY YOU THINK A THEORY SUCH AS EVOLUTION SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS AS FACT. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.
belief system : "CHRISTIAN"
why here : "TO HEAR OTHER OPINIONS"
opinion : "DO NOT AGREE BUT WOU"
My Response to Nathan:
...I initially was going to just ignore this message. It looked a bit like a bad spam what with all the caps (ps, dont type in all caps, its very hard to read).
...As for "proof" of things like the age of the earth or evolution, all you have to do is go by your local library. I'm sure any encyclopedia would provide a wealth of excellent resource information as well as references to other sources. Also, I encourage you to find any current issue of a major peer-reviewed, scientific journal.
...Things such as the age of the earth or the evidence of evolution were not just wild fancies dreamt up by someone and thrown out as fact with no supporting claims. Both the age of the earth and evolution are based on years and lifetimes of work and research by thousands of people across many fields of science. Both the age of the earth and evolution are supported by mountains of data and both theories are our most accurate understanding of how all that data ties together.
...Finally, do not confuse the scientific word "theory" with the lay term meaning "guess". When the scientific community attaches the word "theory" to something, it means "the best explanation of the facts as we have at the time". "Theory" in a scientific sense is just a bit down from scientific law. (the word "hypothesis" would closest match the lay term "theory"... I know its a bit confusing, but its common that one community would use a word differently than others).
...Remember, we also teach the "theory of gravity" in schools... and for a good reason too.