A new Gallop poll (a Values and Beliefs Survey) indicates that 4 out of 10 Americans believe 'God' created the Earth and modern humans (independently from evolution) from 6 to 10 thousand years ago. Per the article:
Four in 10 Americans believe God created the Earth and anatomically modern humans, less than 10,000 years ago, according to a new Gallup poll....About half of Americans believe humans evolved over millions of years, with most of those people saying that God guided the process....three-quarters believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, according to a 2013 Pew survey.....a 2014 National Science Foundation study found that only three out of four Americans know that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, and a large percentage didn't know the Earth's core was hot....
There is a silver lining - The percentage of Americans who believe in natural selection has increased significantly. Per the article:
Though the percentage of people who believe in creationism has changed little over the decades, the percentage of people who believe humans evolved without God has more than doubled, and the percentage who believe in God-guided evolution has decreased. (Bold added.)
I talk to profoundly ignorant people every day, who don't know most of what I remember from elementary school science classes. I think I'm more likely to poke into scientific matters than most, so I probably encounter it a bit more than most.
I just don't think they're interested in knowing things.
That's what religions do, keep people ignorant and content with it.
Exactly, we are in an age where we glorify stupidity, and shun facts, learning, and those who use them. It's been getting worse for decades, but two things happened in the late 80's, early 90's that really did a number on us. Removing the Fairness Doctrine allowed for the rise of lies to pass as news, with no more need to report facts, and the rise of reality television, helping to promote more idiots into the public eye, as if they were people to emulate, all in hopes to be the next one on the TV.
As James said, an uninformed public, is an easily controlled public.
The dogma itself is designed to keep the gullibles enthralled. Look at the Nicean Creed, positing three gods in one. Look in the virtual inventors of pagan polytheism, and not even in the impossibly populated pantheon of the Bharatis will you find two gods in one, much less three, so I have to think this was actually some kind of lagnappe for the pagans the Church sought to convert. The object contemplated by Constantine as "this sign [by which] you conquer," was less cross and more broadsword. You can block, feint, dodge, and claim high degrees as a major in obfuscation and uglification, entitling you to expound. You might even defer with that old "mysterious ways" bullshit, and if that doesn't work, pull out the big magic. You talked to God about it and He said talk to the Son, who sent you to the Holy Spirit. Sheeeesh! Maybe now you can understand the ordeal of Ebenezer Scrooge.
What's the national educational curriculum like in the USA?
I'll guess that it is notionally good, by which I mean scientifically correct.
Then if so, part of the fault may lie with teachers and independent school inspectors--in addition to parents and pastors. Do you think that those awful poll results could apply broadly across the spectrum of teachers and inspectors too?
Americans United for Separation of Church and State fights these battles, too, and they win many of them, but they were predictably exasperated after the Greece decision. They almost come out and say it: the SCOTUS has established theocracy in America.
booklover and James, the Supremes' part is appalling; the Congress' part is not.
A law Congress enacted years ago requires the parties who lose church-state lawsuits to pay the costs of the parties who win, often well over a hundred thousand dollars.
HAPPILY, recent efforts in Congress to repeal that law have failed.
We have a certain percentage ... I want to say 12% or 13% ... of high school biology teachers who support young-earth creationism in biology class, Terence. Not just teachers. Not just science teachers. Biology teachers.
This is the level of entrenched, anti-scientific religiosity that we have going on in this country. And instead of an organized effort to make them cut that shit out, we have people trying to officially insert creationism into biology classes, through legislation. It's a bit of a problem. With that sort of inertia, it's difficult to reverse the trend.
The poll results won't show quite as high amongst the actual teachers, since you asked. You'll always have a slightly higher percentage in the general population, because you'll have a lot who believe what their pastor says, over what their teacher says, and I don't think people like that are as likely to get into teaching biology.
There was a report on Kansas on MSNBC tonight showing the dumbing down of schools by various means; like Texas, it is a red state that has refused the "extended" Medicaid. As you probably know, the Texas GOP in the '12 elections had on its platform a provision aimed at halting in our public schools all "critical thinking." A dumb electorate is a passive, fatalistic electorate. But the long-term effect is going to be lagging behind in technological progress and keeping up with other nations, and it is hard to imagine some home-schooled evolution-deniers making the grade in respected colleges and universities. Best to not take freshman biology.
Having lived in Austin, Texas, and owning a bit of land in the Hill Country, I follow the church-state news there.
In the late 1960s my wife taught in fifth grade. Starting in second grade, Austin schools taught comprehensive sex education. My work took us from the state before xians took over and started the infamous -- and failing -- abstinence-only sex ed.
As to evolution, a citizens group -- named Texan Freedom Network, I think -- arose and whipped the anti-evolution people appointed by the governor to the state school board textbook committee.
The National Committee for Science Education defends evolution in court and is starting to defend climate science. They have two email newsletter and an on-line you-tube library of their many efforts.
I think there is a Freedom Network now that fights for non-believers' and progressives' rights. Austin is like no place on earth and certainly no place in Texas. They originated the T-shirt saying "Keep ______ Crazy." They worship diversity and human rights. I would move there, but it is way too expensive and way too populous. I knew guys who moved out when the urban renewal and steroidal growth really took off. This was pre-Bergstrom International, too.
Disappointed? Yeah, I guess. Surprised? Not even slightly.