Climate change

Coffee!!: What do polls mean?

Spread the love

Here, Barry offered some poll numbers re beliefs of Americans:

Percentage of Americans who believe in angels: 55

Percentage of Americans who believe in evolution: 39

Percentage of Americans who believe in anthropogenic global warming: 36

Percentage of Americans who believe in ghosts: 34

Percentage of Americans who believe in UFOs: 34

Some commenters wanted to know how to interpret this:

Before I get back to work, I will tell you how:

Angels are a teaching of all the major ethical monotheist traditions, and most of the minor ones. So we should not be surprised that a much higher number of people believe in them than believe in, say, UFOs – which are not taught by any seriously regarded institution.

Man-caused global warming and unguided evolution present a very different situation from UFOs. The most important pundits and the biggest governments are strenuously fronting these ideas, but people still just don’t believe. 

Belief is down there with the crashed UFOs and the discredited Ida fossil, rather than up there with the angels.

Doubt about global warming may relate to the snowstorm raging outside, as I type this. The only people global warming would be bad news for around here just now are snow plow operators.

If  churches, which have no secular power, can more easily get people to believe in angels than the US government – currently the most powerful entity on Earth – can get them to believe in man-caused global warming or unguided evolution, you can be pretty sure that the latter two are going to be a pretty hard sell.

I predict many civil liberties fights in the future.

7 Replies to “Coffee!!: What do polls mean?

  1. 1
    kevlar says:

    “If churches, which have no secular power, can more easily get people to believe in angels than the US government– currently the most powerful entity on Earth – can get them to believe in man-caused global warming or unguided evolution, you can be pretty sure that the latter two are going to be a pretty hard sell.”

    O’Leary, do you really think that this is a good comparison?

    Judeo-Christian religious beliefs have spent millenia getting entrenched in western society, and over those millenia the religious institutions have wielded tremendous socio-political power. AGW and evolution are extremely young in comparison, and to be quite frank, while the government may try to influence individuals beliefs about it, it does not, afaik, attempt as thorough an influence as a religion does.

    The government does not, in my experience, raise children in an environment where the sole authority figures take AGW and evolution to be true. I’m not sure about the American system, but as a fellow Canadian, evolution wasn’t taught until the final year of highschool biology, and AGW was only a topic covered in optional courses. In contrast, I was raised in a Christian household and was taught to believe in angels since a very young age.

    “I predict many civil liberties fights in the future”

    I’m curious O’Leary, do you think that you have a civil liberty to believe something that is demonstrably false? And a civil liberty to promulgate those demonstrably false beliefs? Not on the level of ID necessarily, but say, take the belief that the Jay’s didn’t win a world series in the nineties.

  2. 2
    Collin says:

    Somewhat off topic:

    Polls, TCU is ranked #4, but is forced to play the only other BCS team, Boise State. For both those team’s sakes I’m boycotting Tostitos to make a statement. Join me!

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    “I’m curious O’Leary, do you think that you have a civil liberty to believe something that is demonstrably false? And a civil liberty to promulgate those demonstrably false beliefs? Not on the level of ID necessarily, but say, take the belief that the Jay’s didn’t win a world series in the nineties.”

    Yes, absolutely. That is what civil liberties are. Didn’t you know?

    In an open society, government does not attempt to control everyone’s thoughts, conscience, and beliefs.

    People can believe that the US government is hiding the bodies of crashed space aliens, and can have books, tapes, magazines, and meetings on it, without hindrance.

    Of course, one wouldn’t take them seriously. But they can be fools if they want on their own time, if they do not engage in crime, counsel to commit a crime, or defame anyone.

    Canajan, eh?

    I see you got some Darwinism in high school, but apparently no civics.

    Crash remedial civics course: Our government does not “give” us civil rights. It recognizes the rights inherent in the human condition, including freedom of thought, conscience, and belief. That’s in our Constitution. Check it out.

    As citizens, we give up our natural right to do just as we please in favour of the Criminal Code of Canada and the civil law.

    But we do NOT give up our right to differ from an establishment, whether we are making any sense or not. People are free to listen or not. That is what an open society is.

    Gosh, if I must explain this to a citizen, I see why we have had an enormous problem in recent years with out-of-control “human rights” Commissions trying to social engineer society. Good thing that many valiant citizens are pushing back hard.

    I am proud to be a (very minor) free speech journalist! We must sometimes defend foolish or unattractive people, but being foolish or unattractive has never been a crime here, and if I have anything to do with the matter, it never will be.

    Of course, I try to avoid counterfactual beliefs. That is why I am not a Darwinist.

  4. 4
    Gods iPod says:

    I guess much of Norway will be answering that last question very differently this morning.

  5. 5
    kevlar says:

    “Yes, absolutely.”

    Cool, it’s all I was wondering. No agenda, no argument to that question. I was not intending to imply that I believed otherwise, I just wanted to know where you stood on that question.

    Why are you ignoring the substantive critical point I made of your post though? Do you grant that the comparison isn’t as level as you make it out to be in the OP?

  6. 6
    kevlar says:

    “Yes, absolutely.”

    Cool, it’s all I was wondering. No agenda, no argument to that question. I was not intending to imply that I believed otherwise, I just wanted to know where you stood on that question.

    Why are you ignoring the substantive critical point I made of your post though? Do you grant that the comparison isn’t as level as you make it out to be in the OP?

  7. 7
    kevlar says:

    Sorry for the DP, I’m not familiar with UD’s commenting system.

Leave a Reply