A New Gallup Poll On Americans’ Belief in Evolution Is Out Today …
… and it’s full of rather sad figures. A full 46% of those surveyed believe that God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years. The number has essentially remained unchanged for the past 30 years (44% in 1982).
You can check the Gallup report for the detailed results, but a few things jumped out at me:
- Among people who never attend church, a full 25% still subscribe to creationist views.
- There’s only a 17% difference (58% vs. 41%) between Republicans and Democrats
- Almost four out of five Americans believe God had a hand in creating humans in some way
Now, I’m not bothered by the existence or acceptance of religion, when used for good. Nor do I believe that accepting evolution means that you must deny all other religious beliefs. Sure, the more one learns about science and the universe the more one will experience the pangs of cognitive dissonance and questioned faith. But those feelings and questions are part of the human journey. They carve the unique facets of your identity that make you truly you.
What bothers me is that evolution is at the core of so much of science, and to dismiss its truth is akin to a mathematician dismissing that 1 is half of 2 or a chemist refusing to acknowledge the existence of electrons. You simply can not fully immerse your brain in the workings of our living world without evolution. Medicine, biology, nature … any of it.
And in thirty years of bloody knuckled work to bring science into people’s lives, it feels like we still haven’t gotten anywhere.
The Brocken Spectre, here seen in Poland, is an optical phenomenon in which the observer’s shadow appears to be magnified on clouds or fog below. The Spectre can be observed from mountaintops when the sun is low and behind you, and there’s dense fog or clouds below. It is often accompanied by a glory, a rainbow-like halo that can also be observed when one is between the sun and a layer of clouds, and the movement of the clouds plus the apparent magnification can give the impression of a supernaturally tall ghost being walking the mountain.
The phenomenon is named for Brocken, also known as Blocksberg, a mountain peak in northern Germany long associated with witches and devils in local lore and literature. Another place to see it is the Scottish mountain Ben MacDhui, a frequently fog-shrouded peak where legend has it an unusually tall “Grey Man” resides. It isn’t hard to image how a lone mountaineer—halfway lost and hearing his own footsteps oddly distorted in the mist—could conjure up mythical beings when faced with a ghostly giant in the distance.
Skywatcher Photos: Have You Seen Jupiter and Venus Meet Up This Week?
Tonight, March 13, Venus and Jupiter reach conjunction. Over the horizon in the west, they will be a mere 3 degrees apart. Like two distant Tatooine suns that are actually planets and therefore not really like suns at all, almost on top of each other.
Go outside and experience it tonight!
Bonus: EarthSky tells you why Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky.
(↬ Space.com, top image by Shawn Malone, Venus and Jupiter over Lake Superior, Michigan)
Reblogging for the awesome info, and also for the gorgeous picture of Lake Superior!!! Oh, MI.
Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival. Not only does that get people interested in sciences and all the related fields, [but] it transforms the culture into one that values science and technology, and that’s the culture that innovates. And in the 21st century, innovations in science and technology are the foundations of tomorrow’s economy.
I could stand in front of eighth-graders and say, ‘Who wants to be an aerospace engineer so you can design an airplane 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the one your parents flew?’ That doesn’t usually work. But if I say, ‘Who wants to be an aerospace engineer to design the airplane that will navigate the rarefied atmosphere of Mars?’ because that’s where we’re going next, I’m getting the best students in the class. I’m looking for life on Mars? I’m getting the best biologist. I want to study the rocks on Mars? I’m getting the best geologists.
What [the president] needs to say is, ‘We need to double NASA’s budget because not only is it the grandest epic adventure a human being can undertake, not only would the people who led this adventure be the ones we end up building statues to and naming high schools after and becoming the next generation’s Mercury 7 as role models, not only will there be spinoff products from these discoveries, but what’s more important than all of those, what’s more practical than all of those, is that he will transform the economy into one that will lead the world once again rather than trail the world as we are inevitably going to be doing over the next decade.’
Valentine’s Day Climate Denial Bombshell
In documents leaked yesterday, The Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded at various times by the Koch family, ExxonMobil and and R.J. Reynolds, detailed plans to create a K-12 curriculum designed to dissuade teachers from teaching science in order to support climate change denial.
A key passage:
We are pursuing a proposal…to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools…[this] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.
A coal industry consultant named David Wojick (who has a Ph.D. in something called “Philosophy of Science”) was to be paid $100,000 to design these classroom materials. Heartland also targeted publications like Forbes as new mouthpieces, since
“Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as [Peter] Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”
The documents were released by an anonymous leak, and have thus far been verified by budget comparisons, tax documents and metadata in the documents that were released. Ironically, Heartland was one of the cheerleaders for the manufactured email-leak controversy known as “ClimateGate” in 2009-2010.
This is some of the most damning proof I’ve ever seen of the depth of organization, money and conspiracy that goes into today’s science denialism movement.
Rundown of good coverage:
A new view of the Helix Nebula acquired with ESO’s VISTA telescope in infrared light reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are mostly obscured in visible light images of the Helix. (AFP)
THERE IS A GIANT FUCKING EYE
SAURON IS WATCHING US