It means that today’s young people are clearly not the vanguard of a scientific revolution!
Yes, a major shift is occurring, but not the one many people assume. Advancing naturalism (the belief that nature is all there is) produces both expected and unexpected effects. The Harris poll found that belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution increased to 47 percent, up from 42 percent in 2005
As a result, some will crow that “Science is winning over superstition!” But it isn’t. Between 2005 and 2013, belief increased in
– ghosts from 41% to 42%
– UFOs from 35% to 36%
– astrology stayed the same at 29%
– witches decreased significantly from 31% to 26%
– reincarnation increased from 21% to 24%
While the noted increases are small, we should expect declines nearly across the board instead, if the “science wins” thesis were correct. (The one exception is UFOs; as a “sciencey” belief, they correlate with naturalism despite lack of evidence.) Further, we would expect young people (18–36) to reject ghosts and reincarnation more strongly than older people (68+) do.
And they don’t. On the contrary, younger folk believe in ghosts at 44% to seniors’ 24%. In UFOs at 36% to 30%. In astrology at 33% to 23%. In witches at 27% to 18%. And in reincarnation at 27% to 13%.
In short, naturalism offers liberation, not from the bonds of superstition but from the burden of rationality. And we must address the fact that increasing numbers of young people are embracing that liberation. More.
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