Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It Takes Practice

Oh, fellow Americans, you crack me up:

When presented with the statement “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” just 45 percent of respondents indicated “true.” Compare this figure with the affirmative percentages in Japan (78), Europe (70), China (69) and South Korea (64).
Forty-five is actually a little higher than I would have guessed, but I am a pessimistic sort of guesser.

That said, let's step back from Despair Cliff for a brief pause and remember exactly what kinds of human beings Americans tend to know -- other Americans! So when you read "human beings" in that, think "Americans," and then ask yourself how inclined you are to indicate they've "developed" from anything to anything. See? There's a sordid, sad rationale lurking beneath this sordid, sad presentation of data.

This next part will shock everyone:
The survey’s most enlightening aspect was its categorization of responses by levels of religious activity, which suggests that the most devout are on average least willing to accept the evidence of reality. White evangelical Protestants have the highest denial rate (55 percent), closely followed by the group across all religions who attend services on average at least once a week (49 percent).
Could it be that regular practice at believing unsupported and unsupportable ideas makes people more adept at it? That developing mental pathways through which to shunt the absurdities of theology and cosmology open up pathways for a broader range of absurdities?

I trust my fellow Americans will pray on it.

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