NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/07/10
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A new report on attitudes toward evolution among scientists and the public. Plus new selected content from the Expelled Exposed issue of RNCSE.
VIEWS ON EVOLUTION AMONG THE PUBLIC AND SCIENTISTS "Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time," while only 61% of the public agrees, according to a new report (p. 37) from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Asked which comes closer to their view, "Humans and other living things have evolved over time" or "Humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time," 97% of scientists responding chose the former option, as opposed to only 2% choosing the latter option; 61% of the public responding chose the former option, as opposed to 31% choosing the latter option. Those who chose the former option were also asked whether they preferred "Humans and other living things have evolved due to natural processes such as natural selection" or "A supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today." Among scientists, 87% preferred the former option and 8% preferred the latter option; among the public, 32% preferred the former option and 22% preferred the latter option. Members of the public were also asked whether scientists generally agree that humans evolved over time; 60% said yes, 28% said no. "Views on evolution vary substantially within the general public," the report observed (p. 38), "particularly by religion and attendance at religious services." For example, among white evangelical Protestants responding, a majority, 57%, agreed that humans existed in their present form since the beginning of time, and among those respondents attending religious services weekly or more often, a near-majority, 49%, agreed. In contrast, among the religiously unaffiliated responding, 60% agreed that humans evolved due to natural processes. Also correlated with acceptance of evolution were youth and education. The questions about evolution were part of a larger project, conducted by the Pew Research Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, investigating the public's attitude toward science and comparing it to the attitude of scientists. The report relied on three surveys, two conducted by telephone among members of the general public in the United States in April, May, and June 2009, and one conducted on-line among members of the AAAS in May and June 2009. The broader significance of the project's results are summarized in the Pew Research Center's overview report, issued on July 9, 2009. For the full report (PDF), visit: http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/528.pdf For the overview report, visit: http://people-press.org/report/528/ CATCHING UP WITH RNCSE Selected content from volume 28, numbers 5-6, of Reports of the National Center for Science Education is now available on NCSE's website. RNCSE 28:5-6 was a special Expelled Exposed issue, with a comprehensive debunking of the recent creationist propaganda movie Expelled. Featured are Eugenie C. Scott's recounting of her rude introduction to Expelled, Gary S. Hurd's discussion of the movie's misrepresentations of scientific research on the origin of life, and reports on the reaction from critics and from organizations with stakes in the creationism/evolution controversy, the controversies over alleged misuses of copyrighted material, and, of course, the box office. If you like what you see, why not subscribe to RNCSE today? The next issue (volume 29, number 3) features dispatches from Texas by Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science, NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, and Jeremy Mohn, who revealed Don McLeroy's penchant for quote-mining. There's also a story about the crowning of the kilosteve -- Steve #1000 in NCSE's Project Steve -- and a host of reviews, including Peter Dodson on Donald R. Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, Andrea Bottaro on Kenneth R. Miller's Only a Theory, and Donald R. Prothero on Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Don't miss out -- subscribe now! For the selected content from RNCSE 28:5-6, visit: http://ncseweb.org/rncse/28/5-6 For NCSE's compendium of information about Expelled, visit: http://www.expelledexposed.com For subscription information, visit: http://ncseweb.org/membership Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncseweb.org -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x310 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncseweb.org Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism -- now in its second edition! http://ncseweb.org/evc Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools http://ncseweb.org/nioc NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncseweb.org/membership