Saturday, July 11, 2009

Create the controversy

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press have released a report on the American public’s science knowledge and opinions regarding science and scientists. (Links are to the AAAS news release, and the Pew report).

While there is much of interest and for concern, the most interesting topics for the evol/creato activist are the questions related to human evolution.

The “teach the controversy” position pushed by the creationists needs for a controversy to actually exist, at least in the minds of the general public. This is a Big Lie approach straight from the playbook written by the tobacco industry. With only a handful of industry “scientists” funded through the Tobacco Institute, the industry created a story that “the science linking tobacco and cancer is disputed” and “there is legitimate controversy about the effects of tobacco smoking among scientists.” And there is evidence that this lie is working for creationists.

The AAAS/Pew survey found that among scientists, there is a 97% agreement that humans, and all living things have evolved via natural selection. Yet, 28% of the public believes that scientists are not in general agreement that evolution occurred. And, 43% of creationists (mostly White Evangelicals, and about 31% of the general public) claim there is no scientific consensus on evolution.

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