Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adam and Eve(rybody Else Accepts Evolution More Than We Do)

OK, not everybody. In Turkey, a smaller percentage accept evolution. And probably in some of the more backwards places on Earth, I suppose. But we pride ourselves on being "better" than that, don't we? Otherwise, we have a higher percentage of people in this country who reject evolution than in any of the so-called developed nations.

There are many factors that might explain why American students rank far behind their peers around the world in math, reading, and science. Unlike some other metrics, like GDP, I actually care about being #1. Or darn close.

One of the first areas people address is spending. In terms of spending, we rank tied for 37th in education spending as a percentage of GDP. A comprehensive overview of the statistic can be found here. Not bad, not great. This leads to the question of, "How effective is simply spending more?" This is a complex topic, which I will not address in this post.

I think one of the significant explanations, and one which is practically taboo in civil discourse, is religion. We take it much more seriously (NB the last column on the chart) than most of the countries that are ahead of us in educational performance. The following article demonstrates in concrete terms how belief in Biblical explanations for life, or "Creationism," interfere with the teaching of actual science. Make no mistake here, Creationism is NOT science.

High school biology teachers in U.S. reluctant to endorse evolution in class, study finds

It is critical to the advancement of our society that we let go of anti-science, anti-reason, faith-based thinking. Please notice what I am  not saying: We do not need to dispose of religion per se. To the extent certain forms of religion, often more fundamentalist ones, conflict with the best tool we have to determine fact and answer questions about how the world works, those religions impede our development.

1 comment:

  1. **random comment intended for the designer of Blogger**
    Why oh why do you have the "newer post" link on the left and the "older post" link on the right? Left to right people. Please.