GOD DID IT ALL, GOD HELPED, or THERE AIN’T NO GOD. That’s basically the three groups in this Gallup poll released last Friday. One thing it seems to show is that over the course of three decades, despite ALL the wonderful evolution education, programming, and books screaming out “Evolution is a Fact” … it appears that people aren’t changing their minds much. However, what about the past year — look at that change in the two big groups. Is it real or just “pan slosh“?
CAREFUL WITH THAT SLOSHING PAN
Last Friday there was a fairly monumental event, I think, in the issue of evolution education in the United States. Gallup came out with the latest update in their evolution/creationism poll and it showed one thing clearly with a second thing, maybe.
First thing is the lack of change. Pretty simple. Thirty years, the percentages are pretty much unchanged. Still about the same — a buncha people think God did it all, a few less think God helped (kind of the Bill O’Reilly “I’m hedging my bets, just in case there is a God” approach), and then a small group thinks there ain’t no such thing as God. Not much change, really.
The second thing is the possible recent uptick. If you look at the last year you see a sudden 6 point upswing in the pure creationists mostly at the expense of the non-atheist evolutionists, but is that a real trend? Some folks are trying to say there’s a new fever/ferver spreadin’ wild in the countryside spreading this for real. Other’s say it is simply non-significant. Andy Revkin, author of the wonderful Dot Earth NY Times blog, refers to this sort of small scale pattern as “water sloshing in a pan”. (here’s one of Andy’s typically powerful and important essays where he introduced this simple and useful concept of “water sloshing in a pan” to symbolize the idea of “just noise”)
AS STOOPID AS WE WANNA BE
Let’s be honest here, there is indeed a new breed of stupidity ablaze in America’s education system. I’m still sitting here somewhat in shock from the HBO documentary on obesity I viewed a couple weeks ago titled, “The Weight of the Nation.” It is extremely good. And one of the stunning things it talked about is the drastic cuts in physical education programs in schools. Physical Education … P.E. … something we never, ever would have questioned in my youth … is now mandatory in LESS THAN 10% of all schools in America. Which I find staggering. What the hell has happened to this society?
Similarly “homeschooling” has propagated. And that’s where some folks are wondering if this uptick in the graph could be real.
For now I favor the “pan slop” cautiousness, but really … in this country … these days … I don’t know. Might actually be happening.