A recent survey found that only 22% of Floridians felt that evolution was a proven principle of science. These quotes are from a liberal Florida newspapers editorial:
I came across this tidbit casually I have no idea whether it is true.
and don't really care But assuming for a moment that it is true, it brought meback to this site which you sent a few days ago
Should people like those described be voting or commenting on global warming
or other scientific matters?
My reply: It's a fascinating topic. I don't know the origin of the statistic, but let's pretend it's true. It doesn't tell us what, exactly, they do think. Those that think that evolution is likely true but unprovable because it is unfalsifiable and unrepeatable might be right. Those who believe in a 10,000 year-old earth are wrong, but I am not sure how much that actually affects things. I don't know enough in any of the sciences - neither data nor theory - to make a case on my own for much of anything. I believe in an ancient earth and in evolution because people who do know things from so many fields - geology, biology, archaeology, linguistics - come to approximately the same conclusions, each in their own fields, and when they explain things to me it seems to make sense. I doubt there is one person in a thousand who can make any of those scientific cases that is anything more than repeating what they read in National Geographic or similar items.
Also, people believe contradictory things because they don't really have much sense of time or numbers. A lot of that 78% are likely proud that their kids know so much about dinosaurs or astronomy, and believe in cavemen. It depends on who's asking and how.
More important, that enlightened bunch who roll their eyes at the creationists are just as ignorant, they just believe a different myth. The National Geographic myth would tell us that human beings first showed up in Africa 2.3 million years ago. True enough as far as it goes, but they don't mention that these creatures they are so anxious to call human didn't have language until about 50,000 years ago, and didn't domesticate animals, plant crops, or build shelters until about 10,000 years ago. That's a helluva lot of that "human beings" time that consists of people we wouldn't think were much like us - far less so than current New Guinea tribesmen or isolated tribes in the Amazon Basin. If you told educated people who don't believe in creationism that human beings started 2.3 million years ago and asked them to guess when they started to talk, very few would guess below 100,000 years. In this way, the National Geographic myth is also complete crap - they leave out the parts that interfere with the picture they want you to have. That's for another issue. Because even their readership doesn't keep the difference between fifty thousand, fifty million, and five billion very clear in their heads. It's all just a long time ago.
The philosopher Anthony Flew, an atheist for most of his 86 years, now believes in a theistic god of Aristotle, which has "considerable overlap with the Judeo-Christian deity" on the basis of recent advances in genetic and cosmology. For him, evolution is more an evidence for god than against him.
There also isn't evidence that this 78% don't understand scientific arguments compared to the 22%. That is automatically assumed, but I doubt it's true. The elites fear people who won't believe what they are told, and this is what is happening in the AGW argument. The belief of the major AGW advocates is that human beings need to live differently, buying less stuff. They want to tell the masses how to live. The problem with this is that their belief long predates discussions of AGW. Bill McKibben set the global warming scare going in the late 80's. We read Mother Earth News in the late 70's and early 80's, and those folks were already pissing and moaning about how unecological everyone was, not so that they would clean up rivers and the air, but with clear advocacy that You Should Live Differently - Maybe You Should Be Made To.
I think AGW unravels more each year. Warming stopped in 1998. That was a warm year, and we haven't dropped off (until 2007) more than a fraction, so people can still rightly claim that the last x years are among the warmest on record. But looking at the record, we now find that some years in the 1930's were warmer. And it got colder this year. And we're going into an Ice Age in 200 years. We are already five years past McKibben's catastrophe and 35 years past Paul Erlich's. AGW is going to turn out like the lefty belief 1960-90 that the US was nearly as bad as the Soviets, and that people listening to their betters was what would solve the Cold War. It's all religion, but only one side admits that.