Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Americans Reject Evolution

I love America and Americans, but sometimes they scare me. I find it very disconcerting that according to a CBS poll only 15% of Americans believe in Darwinian evolution. 30% believe in intelligent design (a creationist version of evolution). But most troubling - a majority of respondents believe in classic creationism.

Again, I turn to a comparison with Israel. There's no uproar about evolution being taught in schools. The creationist version is presented in bible classes, where it belongs. Israel is perceived by many as a religious country, but it's much less religious than the United States. I once saw statistical data that showed that more than 40% of Israelis called themselves secular, while another 30% said they were "not so religious, but traditional", which is quite ambiguous. But I assume a lot of them mean they aren't religious but still celebrate Jewish holidays, like me (though I am secular). I have a feeling an evolution poll would show that a vast majority of Israelis believe in evolution. I googled for such a poll but couldn't find one. It would be interesting to see if I'm right.

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  1. I think it's prudent to be sceptical of polls. The real worry here is that some Americans call for replacing creationism with evolution in mainstream schools and classes.

    I see no problem at all in teaching creation (not creationism: the story of creation is not a theory, it's a parabel or metaphor, whichever you prefer) in religious classes in schools.

    Saying you're a "secular person" is ambiguous: a society is secular if it separates state matters from religious matters. Perhaps you're agnostic?

  2. Personally, I'm closer to being an atheist than agnostic. I don't believe god exists. Though I admit I might be wrong, I seriously doubt that I am. In spite of this, I'm still Jewish. Sounds like a paradox, but it isn't, since my Judaism is more of a cultural thing.

    Your definition of what secular society is reminded me or something I once heard someone say: "The US is a secular country with a religious population and Israel is a religious country with a secular population". Sounds about right to me, though secular is really ambiguous. My guess is that most Israelis aren't atheists or agnostics, but rather believe loosely in the Jewish version of God with semi-deist elements.