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back to article Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey

A recent poll brings bad news for those who trust in scientific consensus: over half of Americans doubt the Big Bang theory of the inception of the universe, and about four out of ten doubt evolution, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that humans exacerbate global warming, despite overwhelming evidence for all four. " …

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Breaking News!!

Most Americans are stupid. Scientists unsure why. Congress vows to study the matter. Business leaders say educated workforce "too expensive and waste of time" and "would cost consumers in the long run due to associated costs having to be passed along." Supreme Court rules corporations more human than humans and deserve more rights.

This story when we come from the break.

"BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!"

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Boffin

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

Yeah, just don't put it on your plants.

What I really want to know though is:-

Are stupid people more likely to be religious or does religion make you stupid?

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Re: Breaking News!!

Funny... but did you see the questions?

Do you believe that global warming is real? Sure. We have evidence going back millions of years that there is a cycle.

Do you believe that global warming is man made?

("Mostly because of Man Made trapped gasses...")

Seriously.

That's the problem.

Junk Science at work.

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Re: Breaking News!!

Most Americans: Big Bang Theory huh? OMG I love that show!!!

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GBE

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

> Are stupid people more likely to be religious.

I think it's been shown repeatedly in studies that less educated people are more likely to be religious, and more educated people are less likely to be religious. Which is the cause and which the effect? Or are both effects of something else?

Personally, I think it's a gubmint plot: the flouride in the water is making people both stupid and religious (that way it's easier to control them using the mind-control rays transmitted by mobile phone towers).

I think it might also explain Fox News.

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@ edge_e -- Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

What I really want to know though is:-

Are stupid people more likely to be religious or does religion make you stupid?

Yes. Next question?

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Stop

Re: IMG Re: Breaking News!!

".....Junk Science at work." Worse, this is deliberately deceitful science. The whole premise is that if you don't believe in AGW then you have to be a God-bothering Reeeepublickin. Nothing displays this more than the flawed conjoining of four completely different arguments and insisting belief in any of them makes all of them undeniable.

"....and that humans exacerbate global warming, despite overwhelming evidence for all four....." And there is the lie - man-made global warming is not the same as global warming and is there is not 'overwhelming evidence' to support the idea. I have no problem with the scientific arguments for the theories of evolution, the Big Bang, or the age of the Earth, nor do I deny global warming exists (or that we're actually probably heading for an ice age), but to try and pass off the flawed evidence for man-made influence on global warming as proven or undeniable is simply deceitful. But I'm not religious. I also know several Christians that vote Democrat that are also completely sold on the man-made AGW myth, so the 'only religious nuts deny AGW' line is, frankly, wearing a bit thin. The linking of four such disparate scientific theorems is like saying that if you accept evolution, Big Bang theory and the age of the planet then you also have to believe in Klingons - the first three bear no relation on the fourth topic.

".....which surveyed 1,012 American adults...." Wow, a thousand out of 350 million! I'd suggest making sweeping generalizations from such a small study group is not just bad science but deliberately bad science. It makes the whole Hockey Stick episode look like a tiny, white lie.

And then there is the insistence that 'big, bad capitalism' is bankrolling Republican denial, neatly avoiding the money flowing out of the Left (or into the Left in the case of Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' marketing machine). IMHO, the whole articles is just shoddy forum bait.

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

>".....which surveyed 1,012 American adults...." Wow, a thousand out of 350 million! I'd suggest making sweeping generalizations from such a small study group

Wow Matt I didn't know you don't understand the basics of the field of statistics and sampling. 1012 samples will give you a fairly small margin of error even for a population of 300+ million if done correctly. Many political polls that determine where millions should be spent on ads have less samples. The key of course as always with people is getting samples that are not biased in anyway with each other.

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

Gallup by the way for a lot of their polls doesn't use much over a 1000 sample size of people either.

"with a random sample of 1,026 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level."

Good enough for opinion polls.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

You forgot the Joke Alert icon ...

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

Doh right in the article itself.

which surveyed 1,012 American adults 18 or older in late March, and reports a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 per cent at a 95 per cent confidence level.

Smaller population size than who Gallup considered I guess due to Gallup having a new better different population estimate.

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Re: Breaking News!!

It's not that Americans are any more stupid than any other race - it's that they are poorly informed.

We need to greatly improve science education at every level and keep religion and supertitions out of the classroom.

Some of the more extreme religious indoctrination of young children is nothing short of child abuse.

Children should be kept free of religious dogma until they are of an age when they can make informed decisions about whether Jesus rode dinosaurs and suchlike claims.

Toddlers will accept just about anything their parents tell them and in America - it shows

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Re: Breaking News!!

The current rapid warming has got nothing to do with past natural cycles.

Your's is just another variation on the wearisome "The climate's changed before" (TM) meme.

Well no **** Sherlock. Who would have thought it?

And who told you anyway? Oh yeah - those same thousands of climate scientists who are also telling us that the current warming has nothing to do with any natural cycle.

ALL the natural forcings and cycles are currently in the negative. ALL of them.

The Milankovitch cycles - both orbital and axia.

The sun's TSI cycle - now at the lowest for a century and falling since 1950 while temperatures soared.

The aerosol global dimming - now at it's highest thanks to China and India.

The PDO - in the negative since 1998.

Volcanic activity - slightly higher than average - should be having a cooling effect.

And yet the Earth is still warming with the Arctic and the oceans warming fastest of all.

In the past every time a Milankovitch Cycle triggered an outgassing of CO2 the Earth warmed.

Every single time.

The laws of physics dont care WHERE the extra 40% of heat-trapping gas has come from - they just do their thing anyway.

CO2 levels rise - the Earth warms.

Always has - always will.

If you have a scintilla of evidence of some magical invisible 'natural' forcing cycle that tens of thousands of scientists can't see but - amazingly you can then tell us - WHAT IS IT?

You could be on for the Nobel Prize and global hero status if you can show us.

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Re: Breaking News!!

>Toddlers will accept just about anything their parents tell them and in America - it shows

Except thankfully the one thing Millennials in the US have going for them is they are not very religious at all.

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

There is no doubt that the more religious an American is the more likely he is to be a climate change denier.

There are literaly dozens of surveys which prove this.

Sure - not *every* climate change denier is a religious whackjob but just about every religious whackjob is a climate change denier.

And I don't have a dog in this fight - it's just a proven fact.

And I think you need to read up the definition of a "Representative Sample" before you make any more vacuous remarks about sample size.

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Re: Breaking News!!

" CO2 levels rise - the Earth warms."

* No, it is Earth warms -> CO2 rises.

* Computer models used by warmers produce high correlation between the temperature and CO2. The CO2 concentration has been rising very fast in the last 15 years, while the temperature is almost flat.

* The models do not model clouds and therefore the feedback mechanisms. They are almost always wrong on the warmer side http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/CMIP5-90-models-global-Tsfc-vs-obs-thru-2013.png

* Climategate emails showed how any dissent is supressed

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Re: Breaking News!!

"It's not that Americans are any more stupid than any other race - it's that they are poorly informed."

No, they really are stupid and not just stupid, but proud of it!

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Re: Breaking News!!

>Most Americans are stupid.

Compared to a country that chooses it's leaders from the same heriditory class that went to a couple of boys-only schools and then studied politics at one university. Where not a single minister has any technical background and who fire science advisors if they fail to agree with the Daily Mail.

A country with a monarchy that is more of a meritocracy than the governing party !

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

should you be writing on teh godless intertubes at easter?

grab a book on statistics and crawl back under that rock

ahh matt bryant, the touchstone for dumb, should have guessed

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Re: Breaking News!!

"A country with a monarchy that is more of a meritocracy than the governing party !"

At least the Limeys have some part of their grey and soaked country that has a meritocracy. That's a hell of a step up from the US of A.

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Matt I didn't know you don't understand the basics of the field of statistics...

I think you will find there is no depth to the trolls ignorance

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Re: vacuous remarks

Hey!

you leave matts first amendment rights alone!

if he cant be vacuous he'd have to be silent

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Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

"You forgot the Joke Alert icon ..."

It's not a joke, that's what makes it scary.

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Re: Breaking News!!

Quote: Toddlers will accept just about anything their parents tell them and in America - it shows

It's not just America that it shows. Look around the world a bit. It's everywhere.

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Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

"Are stupid people more likely to be religious or does religion make you stupid?"

Really interesting question, but after reading Freakenomics, I'm inclied to say "neither". Religion is probably the effect, rather than the cause.

This is in strong contrast to my thinking that only nutcases believe in religion, but this clearly isn't true, as much as I would like to think it is.

Forward thinkers separate the religion and science. And they CAN be separated, but in general - they aren't. Why? I'm thinking it's because if you're the non-forward-thinker who's easily swayed by religion, you're much more likely to stick to the documents that haven't changed in eons, rather than have to think for yourself, which is hard.

Thinking is hard, so why argue with hundreds of year old science that told you that elecrolytes are good?

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Re: Breaking News!!

@Leslie Graham

"And who told you anyway? Oh yeah - those same thousands of climate scientists who are also telling us that the current warming has nothing to do with any natural cycle."

My feelings exactly and I had this same argument in another thread.

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Unhappy

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

"Are stupid people more likely to be religious or does religion make you stupid?"

Ahh The eternal question.

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Happy

@Trevor_Pott

"At least the Limeys have some part of their grey and soaked country that has a meritocracy. That's a hell of a step up from the US of A."

Now Trevor you know the US of A has the best down democracy that money can buy.

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Unhappy

@Mark 85

"It's not just America that it shows. Look around the world a bit. It's everywhere."

Perhaps so yet in other countries with other religions some how the religion doesn't seem to get in the way of a technical education.

IOW It's science and religion rather than science or religion

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Re: IMG Breaking News!!

"Smaller population size than who Gallup considered I guess due to Gallup having a new better different population estimate."

Not necessarily

If you work out your sample error as you go along you can see the error become asymptotic with the error axis and can reasonably decide to not to talk to any more corn feed Iowans

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Holmes

Re: IMG Breaking News!!

@asdf

Having spent several years in market research, I can tell you emphatically that market research always produces the result desired by the organisation that pays for the research. Companies that do not abide by this simple rule go out of business rapidly.

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Re: Breaking News!!

I live among them and the majority of them don't believe anything unless it comes from a Pastor or Priest or the Tea Party!

I've even been told that we, the English (British), stole the English language from American's and that we are horrible people.

I just shrug my shoulders and smirk at their ignorance and walk away. There is no point in trying to reason with Stupid!

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Re: "It's got what plants crave!"

Pretty much shows why IQ tests are designed to have 49% of the population in double digits.

It all comes down to education and as long as we as a people don't focus on education, we will suffer the consequences from ignorant people doing stupid things. (like allowing a mumps or measles outbreak in a wealthy country in 2014)

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@ John Smith 19

"Perhaps so yet in other countries with other religions some how the religion doesn't seem to get in the way of a technical education."

Your kidding yeah? Totally joking with absolutely no attempt of honesty? Please I beg that you did not say that with any conviction.

The middle east was a wonder of scientific advancement, until its current status as religiously crippled. Religion used as justification or an excuse for the attacks on people particularly women. Of course Christianity wouldnt be so bad except in Africa where belief causes interesting conflicts of thought vs religion and women are baby making machines. I mention these particularly as they are coming here for jobs and a better life.

So there goes the large chunk of the world. If you are a supporter of Palestine then you will probably oppose Israel on religious grounds too although they do seem to manage technical brilliance alongside belief.

And if your in the UK have a look around. See the amazing development of ethnic and religious clusters. Look at the recent scandal over schools being subverted to Islam at the expense of education. Of course the US has been racked plenty over its religion on here already.

This is an interesting world for an atheist.

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Americans == totally thick

...and they've got the Nobel prizes to prove it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Breaking News!!

Truely shocking levels of ignorance. No wonder they make such a mess of pretty much everything outside of the US that they get involved with...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Breaking News!!

"Junk Science at work."

You must be American. That AGW is happening and is primarily caused by man hasn't been in any serious doubt for at least a decade now...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IMG Breaking News!!

"there is not 'overwhelming evidence' to support the idea"

There most certainly is overwhelming and long term observable evidence that global warming itself is happening and that man is at least a partial cause. There is also a high probability approaching 3 sigma that man is the primary cause.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Breaking News!!

"* Computer models used by warmers produce high correlation between the temperature and CO2. The CO2 concentration has been rising very fast in the last 15 years, while the temperature is almost flat."

But still within the statistical variation of the previous recorded data - and this doesnt take acccount of higher levels of warming in the arctic - or of the warming of the oceans.

That global warming continues in the longer term is not realistically in doubt by any respected scientific source.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Breaking News!!

"Compared to a country that chooses it's leaders from the same heriditory class that went to a couple of boys-only schools and then studied politics at one university. Where not a single minister has any technical background and who fire science advisors if they fail to agree with the Daily Mail."

And we still end up with smarter, better, more liked and more competent leaders than yours.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Breaking News!!

"And we still end up with smarter, better, more liked and more competent leaders than yours."

Speak for yourself.

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Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

Or is there simply a coincidence of social factors. Note also, "stupid" is not a good term in this instance. "Ignorant" is a better term. I know at least one gifted programmer who has some stunning blind-spots when it comes to science (they reject Evolution) and despite the flaws in their starting axioms, will build some staggeringly tall and complex logical arguments to justify their belief. Enough that it takes a pretty skilled and intelligent person to cut through their crap. That's why I favour the term ignorant over stupid. It's far more accurate to what we're talking about.

So that caveat in, does religion lead one to ignorance or being ignorant lead one to religion? I could see a case for either or both: if you believe you have the answers, or do not wish to contradict an authority, then you do not accept new facts (Evolution contradicts what I've been told so I'll ignore it). Ergo, it can lead to wilful ignorance. If you are already ignorant, you may seek answers and get the wrong ones. Ergo, ignorance can lead to religion (I don't know what causes Thunder so maybe it's Thor's chariot).

But it's also worth noting that there's a third factor which is common societal factors pushing multiple demographics in the same direction. There have been times historically where particular religions have correlated with the less ignorant sections of society. Power shifts and with it education and opportunity. Being religious does not mean one is stupid OR ignorant necessarily.

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Re: Breaking News!!

>>"Do you believe that global warming is real? Sure. We have evidence going back millions of years that there is a cycle. Do you believe that global warming is man made?"

Yep, another one here - I certainly believe the climate is changing. The degree to which human activity is a primary factor, I do not know. Similarly I put down low confidence on the Earth being 4.5bn years old. It sounds like it could be right, but I have to be honest and say it's a long time since I learned about the history of the planet and for all I know it could be 6bn or 3bn. No doubt that would be read as my being a Creationist but actually it's just scientific honesty in that I don't remember. A good survey should have trick questions like this on there for control. It reads quite a bit like they know what they want to find out. Also, although I'm fine with extrapolation as a principle, approx. 1000 people surveyed for this sounds far too low for a population in the hundreds of millions.

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Re: @Matt Bryant

I find it amusing (and positive) that we are having a furious argument about state religion and ethnic exclusivity on another story, but I agree with everything you write above so much. Voted you up for all the difference it will make in the shower of downvotes. ;)

>>"Wow Matt I didn't know you don't understand the basics of the field of statistics and sampling. 1012 samples will give you a fairly small margin of error even for a population of 300+ million if done correctly. Many political polls that determine where millions should be spent on ads have less samples. The key of course as always with people is getting samples that are not biased in anyway with each other."

You can certainly extrapolate from small samples when the data is not Complex. But the demographics of the USA are very much a complex data set. Trying to extrapolate from a dataset which has fewer members than factors you have to control for, is extremely difficult.

I don't think anyone is saying that the principles of extrapolation are not well-founded. It's a comment that the degree to which they're being taken here is pushing it. I'm not even saying the results are wrong, just that the margin of error here is way too wide to accept this as something other than just being suggestive.

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Childcatcher

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

It's not a joke, that's what makes it scary.

Tell the joke. Be the joke. Poe-tay-toe. Poe-tah-toe. The results of this survey come across in the same vein as "Is fire hot? Dirt dirty? Pope Catholic?" to me. One obvious course of action this study points toward is to increase the overall education level of our population. Unfortunately, this is controlled mostly at the state and local level and the groups that would most benefit from better education are most resistant to funding it. Reminds me of a quote:

Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not...

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> have less samples

Not disagreeing with your sentiment but it's fewer samples

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FAIL

Re: IMG Breaking News!!

It also attempts to put on an equal footing the mindsets of two different approaches to belief. A Creationist is likely to say that have no doubt at all that the world was made in six days some millennia ago. Someone like myself may well think the Earth could have been formed 4bn years ago, but we're not likely to claim certainty. We're likely to think in terms of "the current evidence we have available suggests this to be the most likely". Ergo, you can't look at the midpoint of the bellcurve of a confidence scale and draw simple conclusions about the portioning of beliefs.

Real scientists are going to tend toward the middle more than non-scientist because the opposite of "I'm certain X is true" is not "I'm certain X is not true", but rather "I'm not certain".

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Trollface

Re: BRAWNDO!! IT'S GOT ELECTROLYTES!

Ok, I'm curious - is the lack of religious belief in educated people confined to those in areas which traditionally conflict with religion?

I could be very well educated in 16th Century Icelandic literature. That in no way is going to allow me to ascertain the veracity of scientific progress or the claims of many religions. Essentially, then, I'm educated but my faith in science is blind, since I'm not equipped to understand it and my knowledge of religion probably equally lacking.

Is the rejection of the supernatural merely a cultural convention which happens to be present in the educational system which educated people pass through at an impressionable age and therefore acquire?

There is a touching belief in these forums that it this is cause and effect rather than merely correlation.

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Re: Breaking News!!

Wasn't it recently established that you get better government by randomly picking names from a phone book than from ANY of the diluted flavours of democracy currently practiced?

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Coat

Re: Breaking News!!

"Toddlers will accept just about anything their parents tell them"

except "don't put stuff you pick up from the floor in your mouth", "electrical cords are not toys" etc etc

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