Interestingly, I saw an article that actually ended up startling me than giving me the confidence I had hoped. According to a survey, most Americans are skeptic of evolution rather than having confidence in it as a concept. 31% of respondents said they were very confident that “life on earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection” whereas 42% said they were not at all confident. These results are surprising to me as I had largely hoped that Evolutionary medicine would be a part of undergraduate education. I had always known that evolution was a controversial topic, especially growing up in the South, but it surprised me just how much of a majority of Americans have no confidence at all. This makes it tough in the trajectory of Darwinian Medicine being implemented into medical practice, as the essential framework of the practice could contradict the beliefs of a large portion of Americans.
The article continues to highlight that these numbers are due to politics and religion, where once more science seems to be at odds with faith. Further, it also highlights that the implications of this rift are that many children will not be vaccinated and spread diseases because of the generalized distrust of certain scientific concepts. In the same survey, 15 % of Americans said they were not at all confident that childhood vaccines were safe and effective and 30% were not sure. 15% may not seem like a lot, but considering the number of Americans that amounts to it is a much larger number than I expected.
These sorts of differing views on evolutionary concepts may make it much tougher for evolutionary biologists and supporters of Darwinian Medicine to see their visions implemented in American education.
Poll shows Americans not confident Big Bang, climate change or evolution is real. (n.d.). CBSNews. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-big-bang-evolution-ap-poll/
2 thoughts on “Many Americans Skeptical of Evolution”
I also came across an article stating that one-third of Americans do not believe in human evolution. Although there might be a possibility that the statistics of the survey might be biased, it was quite interesting to realize that considerable amount of people, about thirty-three percent , say there is no such thing as evolution.
In addition to the statistics that you mentioned, I thought it was also interesting to see more percentage of people who received higher education tend to believe that evolution occurs. After recognizing that education boosts belief in evolution, I think evolutionary medicine should not only be part of undergraduate education but also should be heavily taught in high school in order to introduce the evolutionary view to those who are not familiar with it.
I find it really interesting that you highlight the fact that there is such low confidence in science! I think this comes up in a lot of human health issues. We visited this concept during Dr. Mina’s presentation. I definitely agree that politics and religion play a major role in this issue. A good example would be contraceptive use in America. There is an on-going debate on how the use of contraceptives go against religious beliefs, especially in the Catholic belief. This tends to make people over look the positive effects of contraceptives. For instance, the use of birth control pills can help with birth spacing. This can have tremendous impacts on the health of women, especially in low income countries. Another example is that the use of condoms lowers the rate of STDs. Again, these medical interventions could have tremendous impacts on Global Health if people just had more confidence in them.