Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Google-ing Evolution

And evolutionary tree based on fully sequenced genomes. Bacteria are in blue, archaea in green, and eukaryotes in red
I did a little experiment today and Google'd the words cases for evolution. I was actually rather shocked to find a link to the Institute for Creation Research coming up at number four. I suspect that the results would have been much different if I put the words in quotation marks, but that's not the point.

Of the developed countries, the United States has one of the lowest acceptance rates for the theory of evolution. Numerous studies have found these numbers stay true. Despite this, the scientific world still overwhelmingly accepts the theory to be true. Despite this, supporters of creationism and intelligent design continue to make lists of scientists that oppose the theory and claim that this is proof that there is debate going on among the scientific community. These lists generally have few, if any people who have a very good understanding of the theory. Also, lists such as Project Steve are a humorous counterpoint to the creationists.

I feel that this low acceptance of the theory comes from a combination of sub-par education and too many people spreading misinformation. It still amazes me how people still listen to such characters as Kent Hovind and actually believe that he's telling the truth when he's actually lying through his teeth.

It makes me wonder what Charles would think. He would be amazed by what has been accomplished since his death, and also probably more than a bit upset at all of the continued dissent against his life's work. We have many advantages that he did not, like a good understanding of genetics, access to highly accurate dating methods, and decades of work trying to discover any real evidence that goes against the theory. That's what scientists do. They check and re-check to see if they've done anything wrong. It's why the theory of evolution has changed slightly since the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Yet creationists continue to ignore all of that work and sneer in the faces of thousands of scientists and the countless hours of work that has been put into the theory.

Images are from Wikimedia Commons and are copyright free: one, two


  1. No wonder why I want out of Canada so badly. Look at the acceptance rate among European countries! Can I move to Sweden, please?

    I think part of the problem is fundamentalism; and fundamentalism tends to manifest whenever prospect looks bleak. The recession is definitely not helping the cause for the theory because as we tank our own ship, more and more people are bailing and taking up literalism of religious laws.

  2. But at least Canada doesn't kill its own citizens, unlike our country.

  3. Dave: Frankly, I would love to move to somewhere in Europe too. You do have some very good points. It does seem that there has been more...aggressive reaction to science since the beginning of the recession.

    Scottie: I'm assuming you've heard about Troy Davis?

  4. There was a study done in Germany about the correlation between religious fanatics and social mobility. The less social mobility, the more it manifests among the lower classes. Unfortunately, United States is ranked lower than Britain in regard to social mobility if I recall correctly.

    Social mobility as in the ability to go up and down the economic ladder in term of incomes.