In “Wright and Ruse on Creationism” (Evolution Blog, June 13, 2012), Jason Rosenhouse attempts to account for a recent poll of Darwinian evolution vs. other alternatives (guided evolution, creationism), observing:
Well, the latest numbers are out, and they are not good news. The creationism number, which was at an all-time low of 40% two years ago, is now all the way up to 46%. Theistic evolution is down from 38% to 32%, while atheism went from 16% to 15%. That six percentage point jump for creationism and corresponding drop for theistic evolution could well be a blip in the data, but it is significant enough to promote some chatter in the blogosphere.
Dismissing the theories of others, he offers one of his own:
I’m not really sure why these latest poll numbers are provoking so much hand-wringing. The 46% figure is far more consistent with the history of the poll than was the low 40% figure of two years ago. Probably the low figure was just an outlier, and the polling data has just reverted to what it has typically been.
But if we are looking for an explanation, I’m surprised that neither Wright nor Ruse mention a really obvious candidate. It’s hardly news that religious and political extremism tends to flourish in bad economic times with high-levels of uncertainty. In fact, when I consider the sheer level of political dysfunction in this country right now, to the point where I think we can discuss seriously the idea that we are no longer a functioning democracy, I almost hope Wright and Ruse are right. Far better that people be influenced by a handful of atheist writers than by the well-funded and malevolent right-wing forces eager to take advantage of our current economic distress.
Well, the trouble with Rosenhouse’s idea – not that we anticipate him either noticing or considering it – is that these figures are unchanged from better economic times featuring less dysfunction. If a war broke out, the figures would still not likely change.
Darwin and his followers do not have convincing explanations for life. And the best they can come up with is that we evolved so as to not believe them. True. We evolved to believe in reason, logic, and evidence instead.
Alternatively, did you know that religion evolved partly to limit female unfaithfulness? That little girls evolved to like pink , even though the association between girls and pink is only a century old? Gosh, if we could work Elvis into evolution, he’d be spotted once again at a local donut shop.
It’s been a while since that happened here, so maybe by now it would be evolution …
Seriously, truth, falsehood, and nonsense all strive to defend Darwin, but nonsense prevails so much of the time, and that’s not something that most of Darwin’s supporters even want to try to get under control.
See also Breaking: 46% of Americans still believe God created man, woman