America officially flunks Biology

August 10, 2006 | By | Reply More

Reporting on the acceptance of evolution in 34 countries, the journal Science found that the United States ranked next to last, ahead of only Turkey.

Among the factors contributing to America’s low score are poor understanding of biology, especially genetics, the politicization of science and the literal interpretation of the Bible by a small but vocal group of American Christians, the researchers say.

“American Protestantism is more fundamentalist than anybody except perhaps the Islamic fundamentalist, which is why Turkey and we are so close,” said study co-author Jon Miller of Michigan State University.

The study found that 39% of Americans rejected evolution, while 21% were unsure.  In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80% accepted evolution.

How bad is our understanding of evolution?  Americans don’t understand that humans are related to all other life forms:

The current study also analyzed the results from a 10-country survey in which adults were tested with 10 true or false statements about basic concepts from genetics. One of the statements was “All plants and animals have DNA.” Americans had a median score of 4. (The correct answer is “yes.”)

Here’s the silver lining: this study suggests that most Americans aren’t really rejecting evolution.  In order to reject it, one would first have to understand it, and Americans don’t understand the key concepts.  This would seem to leave an opening for better science education.

The bad news is that many Americans aren’t in the mood to learn about evolution.  They spend an hour each week at church but they haven’t bothered to learn any of the basic concepts regarding evolution.  I would suggest an evolution theme park, but the creationists have already beat the evolutionists to the punch with this Kentucky-based “Museum of Creation,” which promotes the message that God created humans in their present form 6,000 years ago.  A side exhibit blames evolution for the 1999 Massacre at Coumbine High School.  Another exhibit blames homosexuals for AIDS.  “[I]n another room, visitors will see a tyrannosaurus rex pursuing Adam and Eve after their fall from grace.”

According to Ken Ham, an Australian evangelist who runs Answers in Genesis, the $25M museum is “going to be a first class experience. Visitors are going to be hit by the professionalism of this place. It is not going to be done in an amateurish way.”

According to Answers in Genesis, the overall objective of the museum is to exalt Jesus Christ and to equip Christians to be better evangelists. 

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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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