To what degree does scientific illiteracy precipitate rejection of evolution by natural selection?
I'm not sure that scientific illiteracy is the problem. Most students are taught evolution by high school. So in that sense, they are scientific literate for at least a short time. I think it's their religous beliefs that are overriding scientific evidence. Many people I know that reject evolution (they are relatively few) are quite versed in all the theories. Not sure why there is such a problem today. I was taught evolution at my Catholic HS by a Brother. Belief in God and evolution can coexist. It's a shame so many get worked up over this issue. Great question.
I speculate it may indeed be a significant positive correlation; perhaps even close to positive 1.0; having texted that, keep in mind that does not provide causation. It will never verify that...
Science is currently being promoted by certain religious people as being problematic. The reasons they list for science being inferior to religious tenets are:
1. Science changes its mind a lot. - True, when new evidence comes to light, science must adjust for new variables and facts.
2. Science tries to invalidate the "word of God". - Not true, science has sprung from religion and is used to try to verify events from religious texts. But, to date, science has been unable to verify the supernatural, so therefore, religions do not approve.
3. Science does not have all the answers. - True. Science is a process of investigation, not an "answer machine".
4. Science mocks religion. - Not true. Scientific research is used to improve our lives and figure out How Things Work. Science has very little to do with religion and they are two entirely separate fields of study.
5. Science tends to dismiss human emotions and feelings. - True - science tries mightily to be impartial and non-judgemental.
But due to these and other reasons, religions actively try to discourage scientific literacy (as well as mathematical literacy). When evolution is shown to be scientifically valid, it is a 100% rejection of the theory that mankind was created in an instant, from dirt, by an invisible mastermind.
Even though a great deal of evidence in the real world is available to demonstrate that evolution occurred, and is still occurring, the scientific illiterate can't be bothered to research and examine the evidence because they have been convinced that this is something called "blasphemy".
Religions go to the extreme of banning scientific literature and books that produce evidence of natural selection, evolution, and even climate change.
It's the blind leading the blind.
Some people are incapable of learning for whatever reason, and that is a thorn in scientific progress as well. It's not that they don't want to learn about science, they simply cannot. Dyslexia, learning disabilities, brain damage or other reasons prevent learning.
And a great number of people today are simply unable to read. They are still illiterate. Education is expensive too. They may just be too poor to go to school and learn new things.
I dislike the "science doesn't have all the answers" rhetoric in particular because it is likewise unsatisfactory to simply make up all the answers, as with religion.
That is what drives scientists in the first place! That we do not have all the answers. We constantly search to find the truth and facts. Religionists have been taught that "god" is the answer to everything. That conclusion is just as invisible.
Austinstar and Spongy0llama - Very well put, both of you!
It is in the northern part of the USA where evolution is most accepted. This is the wealthier section of the USA. It is in the bible belt, a poorer area of the USA, where you have the Creationists with their nonsense. In the USA a good education is expensive. Hence there is likely to be more scientific illiteracy in the bible belt than in the northern part of the USA. Also where you have more scientific illiteracy there is the tendency to put down evolution by any means possible even going for fake science.
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If you have any evidence please present it.
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