I hope you're right Eric, but most people tend to skim looking for things that confirm what they think they already know (confirmation bias). Research could expose many people to as much mis-information as correct information.
I do however think the tide is turning; just the fact that it has become a big controversy and creationists acting like a racoon backed in corner proves we are winning. I don't think you could point to any decade where a lower percentage of the population believed in evolution than the previous, that's pretty good progress.
Not to jack your thread to another subject but I got into a discussion at work the other day on how awesome the internet is with the free expression of ideas, and how much it sucks because individuals don't seem to be pre-programmed to be able to sort out the bad from the good.
A nice idea, except for one thing: the "scientists" out there who want to take Intelligent Design and justify it scientifically. Witness Michael Behe during the Dover, PA trial. Whether he's a con man plying his trade or he actually BELIEVES his bullshit, he is attempting to subvert science to his purposes and those of the Discovery Institute. There is a guy on another board that I work who, day after day, cuts and pastes crap from creationist websites under the title, "Science Disproves Evolution." The atheists who work that board simply quit trying to rebut his arguments, because he plainly isn't listening.
I don't see that there is any hope for people with an agenda. For those with an open mind, there is some hope, but there must also be in interest in LEARNING before we can actually accomplish something.
I've said it 100 times; I'll make it 101: belief is easy. KNOWING is hard.
Yeah, I'm feeling pessimistic when I see creationists studying science and rote memorizing just so they can say "see, I have the education and I'm still a creationist". It's easy enough to make yourself sound scientific and fool the general public.
I have to disagree. Most of them seem to dismiss any evidence for evolution by running to the creationism websites to see how to "debunk" it. They will buy whatever Ken Hamm, Ray Comfort, or Kent Hovind spout.
I had a debate on a message forum with a creationist and I posted a link to a short video that discussed why a worldwide flood wouldn't have created layers of sediment like we find in the the geological structure. In the video, the claim creationists make about differing layers of sediment being deposited simultaneously by the eruption of Mount St. Helens was explicitly refuted. Yet, in his response, this creationist made the claim about Mt. St. Helens anyway. When I asked if he had watched the video, he said, "No, I don't need to watch it. I've already studied the evidence".
The arrogance of this statement astounded me. He said it as if to say that there is no further evidence to be considered and that his mind was unable to be changed.
I've rarely been accused of being optimistic,much less overly optimistic. I do however, think that over the long run (I'm 67 and used to long runs), reason and science must, when they shine a bright light on superstition and mendacity, prevail. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant.
But y'all may be right. Humans are stupid and ignorant and stubborn. If so, we're friggin' doomed. Not a bad thing: evolution makes many dead ends and side roads.