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-   -   Ideas for getting evolution accepted in America (http://ravingatheists.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15670)

Demigod79 11-20-2009 05:23 PM

Ideas for getting evolution accepted in America
 
Okay, so I just finished reading "The Greatest Show on Earth", another great book by Richard Dawkins. However, the figure he cited of the percentage of Americans who do not believe in evolution was depressing. Of course I knew the figure beforehand but it still depressed me to be reminded of it.

After I finished the book I then began to think of how evolution could be made to be acceptable within the United States. What changes need to come about to make it more appealing? Is it just lack of education? Does the power of the fundys need to be curtailed somehow? Will promoting it public make it more acceptable? Do more books need to be published about it? I wanted to start this thread to see what ideas others here had to get the US in line with the other developed nations in terms of the public acceptance of evolution. Anyone have any ideas?

Personally, I'm leaning towards more education. I heard it once said that most people who do not believe in evolution actually do so because they don't know anything about it. Some of the ideas expressed by the doubters reinforce that view. It's why you hear people claiming that evolution says people evolved from monkeys and comparing evolution to a tornado going through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747. Statements like those show an extreme ignorance of even the very concept of evolution. Studies show that public school students from the US always underperform students from most of the other developed nations (US is consistently under-average) so there is a good reason to improve education in the US (perhaps a national standard?), and this could including a comprehensive study of the theory of evolution, taught to every student as fact. Unfortunately I think the political will is lacking, although perhaps one day it could be there.

One radical idea I had was to compare evolution to the free market. It seems to me that many Americans have this reverence for free-market capitalism (you never hear an American espousing the virtues of socialism/communism) and evolution happens to share many of the properties of the free market. The free market is lightly regulated and likewise evolution has no regulator (no god), it's driven by competition, with the stronger triumphing over the weaker, it allocates resources to their most productive uses (over time it adapts living things to their environment extremely well), and it's driven by individuals (genes) trying to maximize their own gain/survival. Most Americans understand how the free market works and most think it's a good thing. By analogy they should then be able to accept evolution as well. Maybe signs should be made connecting the two: "Evolution is nature's free market", "Evolution support the free market", "Support the free market, support evolution", etc. Does this idea kind of make sense or am I just completely crazy?

ghoulslime 11-20-2009 08:12 PM

Education is certainly a good place to start.

Imagine if all of the hours wasted learning about the wonders and mysteries of the Sun god in all of His many forms, were instead dedicated to learning something useful in reality. :\

Choobus 11-20-2009 08:16 PM

If education was effective religion would be all but gone. Once kids have been brainwashed there's almost nothing you can do.

Sternwallow 11-20-2009 08:17 PM

Education is certainly greatly needed and I agree that it can cure a segment of the no-evolution idiots.

I fear there is a deeper and strongly emotional reason for certain people to reject evolution. It is not that evolution equates us with animals or our common ancestry with apes (we are apes). I think that many people reject evolution because it implies that they, however white they want to think they are, have African Black ancestry. I think that thought raises genuine disgust even more compelling than some really ancient animal ancestry (that some people tell them is not really confirmed anyway).

In the early part of the last century, it was well known on a statistical basis, that virtually every Northern European had some African blood. It was well known that many Africans, both free and slave mixed (fluids) throughout Europe.
This was when, in America, a single drop made a person non-white and no form of Black-White mixing was legal.

A notion that isn't even part of evolution, just of heritage -
Since the entire population of humanity was once African, by simple propagation with no admixture of non-African blood possible, we are all of 100% African blood (descent). There is only one race of humanity.

I know quite a few people who would puke at that thought.

ghoulslime 11-20-2009 08:24 PM

Quote:

Sternwallow wrote (Post 583011)
Education is certainly greatly needed and I agree that it can cure a segment of the no-evolution idiots.

I fear there is a deeper and strongly emotional reason for certain people to reject evolution. It is not that evolution equates us with animals or our common ancestry with apes (we are apes). I think that many people reject evolution because it implies that they, however white they want to think they are, have African Black ancestry. I think that thought raises genuine disgust even more compelling than some really ancient animal ancestry (that some people tell them is not really confirmed anyway).

In the early part of the last century, it was well known on a statistical basis, that virtually every Northern European had some African blood. It was well known that many Africans, both free and slave mixed (fluids) throughout Europe.
This was when, in America, a single drop made a person non-white and no form of Black-White mixing was legal.

A notion that isn't even part of evolution, just of heritage -
Since the entire population of humanity was once African, by simple propagation with no admixture of non-African blood possible, we are all of 100% African blood (descent). There is only one race of humanity.

I know quite a few people who would puke at that thought.

Lily is already scrubbing away at the dirty little black spots inside.

Sternwallow 11-20-2009 09:13 PM

Quote:

ghoulslime wrote (Post 583012)
Lily is already scrubbing away at the dirty little black spots inside.

Please note, I did not single out Lily, I inclusively meant all of the primitive, hate-filled racists who fear the truth about world ancestry. :\

Demigod79 11-20-2009 09:50 PM

Quote:

Sternwallow wrote (Post 583011)
Education is certainly greatly needed and I agree that it can cure a segment of the no-evolution idiots.

I fear there is a deeper and strongly emotional reason for certain people to reject evolution. It is not that evolution equates us with animals or our common ancestry with apes (we are apes). I think that many people reject evolution because it implies that they, however white they want to think they are, have African Black ancestry. I think that thought raises genuine disgust even more compelling than some really ancient animal ancestry (that some people tell them is not really confirmed anyway).

In the early part of the last century, it was well known on a statistical basis, that virtually every Northern European had some African blood. It was well known that many Africans, both free and slave mixed (fluids) throughout Europe.
This was when, in America, a single drop made a person non-white and no form of Black-White mixing was legal.

A notion that isn't even part of evolution, just of heritage -
Since the entire population of humanity was once African, by simple propagation with no admixture of non-African blood possible, we are all of 100% African blood (descent). There is only one race of humanity.

I know quite a few people who would puke at that thought.

Hmm, an interesting idea but I'm not so sure. According to a 1991 Gallop poll there is actually less support for evolution among African-Americans than caucasians (4% compared to 9%, respectively). The figures for support for creationism is also higher among African-Americans (53% to 46%). The figures can be seen here.

Or are you referring only to caucasians who reject evolution?

Sternwallow 11-21-2009 01:35 AM

Quote:

Demigod79 wrote (Post 583025)
Hmm, an interesting idea but I'm not so sure. According to a 1991 Gallop poll there is actually less support for evolution among African-Americans than caucasians (4% compared to 9%, respectively). The figures for support for creationism is also higher among African-Americans (53% to 46%). The figures can be seen here.

Or are you referring only to caucasians who reject evolution?

Yes, the people who overtly or covertly despise persons with dark skin. :)

ubs 11-21-2009 06:34 AM

I agree with Choobus. The rejection of the theory of evolution is an act of faith, not an absence of information. In the minds of the creationists it's a symbol that you are rooting for your team.

The only way I know of to combat a situation like that is to drive a wedge between the individual and the group by pandering to clearly defined personal interest. Promises of beneficial scientific developments that may or may not impact someone living in a trailer in Alabama are not going to do it.

Better to pay them $5 for being able to explain the fundamentals of evolutionary theory in a booth in front of the Walmart. Then they have to research it and recite it. Once you have them reciting it for $5, you've planted the seeds of cognitive dissonance and you're on your way.

It probably wouldn't hurt to run an ad campaign emphasizing the 'Merikinness of finesse in the sciences.

Philboid Studge 11-21-2009 06:46 AM

Oh ubs, Game Theory is your answer to everything! (I kid -- you may be onto something.)

Also, props for proposing a 'Wedge Strategy' for our side. In a way that would be hoisting them by their own petard. (although in that case we should call it a wedgie strategy)

Whisper 11-21-2009 08:12 AM

I think one of the problems with the educational system in america, is that there is no national curriculum. Here in the UK, even home-schooled kids are taught exactly the same thing as every other kid in the country (with the odd exception here or there, and perhaps slightly different learning materials - the usal slight differences between counties and schools).

From what I know of the American educational system, there is no such thing. Home-schoolers in the US can pretty much teach their kids whatever they want, and each state has a different curriculum anyway.

It seems to me that if they had a national curriculum, with every child being taught the same thing, from English to Science to Art, with home-schoolers being checked up on occasionally and then every single child having to take the same exam, and it being compulsory - I feel a lot of the educational problems would be nipped in the bud.

Of course, with such a LARGE country, with so many states, it would be an awful lot of work to set this up. So I'm not going to hold my breath.

Philboid Studge 11-21-2009 08:22 AM

Quote:

Whisper wrote (Post 583041)
Here in the UK, even home-schooled kids are taught exactly the same thing as every other kid in the country (with the odd exception here or there, and perhaps slightly different learning materials - the usual slight differences between counties and schools).

All in all you're all just bricks in the wall.

:thumbsup:

Whisper 11-21-2009 08:24 AM

Quote:

Philboid Studge wrote (Post 583042)
All in all you're all just bricks in the wall.

:thumbsup:

Ok, probably the headache but, what? :eh:

Philboid Studge 11-21-2009 08:35 AM

Whisper! :o

See Floyd, Pink.

ubs 11-21-2009 09:06 AM

Quote:

Philboid Studge wrote (Post 583046)
Whisper! :o

See Floyd, Pink.

:lol: The youth wedgie

I'd rather make home schooling illegal. I think the German's have the right idea there. Not just because of the religious wackery but because the state has a responsibility to it's children and you can't be honoring that obligation if adults can keep kids out of community eyes.


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