Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals: true or false? This simple question is splitting America apart, with a growing proportion thinking that we did not descend from an ancestral ape. A survey of 32 European countries, the US and Japan has revealed that only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact.
Religious fundamentalism, bitter partisan politics and poor science education have all contributed to this denial of evolution in the US, says Jon Miller of Michigan State University in East Lansing, who conducted the survey with his colleagues.
“The US is the only country in which [the teaching of evolution] has been politicised,” he says. “Republicans have clearly adopted this as one of their wedge issues. In most of the world, this is a non-issue.”
Miller’s report makes for grim reading for adherents of evolutionary theory. Even though the average American has more years of education than when Miller began his surveys 20 years ago, the percentage of people in the country who accept the idea of evolution has declined from 45 in 1985 to 40 in 2005 (Science, vol 313, p 765).
That’s despite a series of widely publicised advances in genetics, including genetic sequencing, which shows strong overlap of the human genome with those of chimpanzees and mice. “We don’t seem to be going in the right direction,” Miller says.
Crazy place we live in yes?
Miller thinks more genetics should be on the syllabus to reinforce the idea of evolution.
American adults may be harder to reach: nearly two-thirds don’t agree that more than half of human genes are common to chimpanzees.
How would these people respond when told that humans and chimps share 99 per cent of their genes?
Dylan played at Harry Grove stadium this weekend and despite being only an hour or less from the metropolises of both DC and Baltimore many of the people here, I’d say forty five percent, never venture out of this county and the rest were just thrilled to be able to go to a concert without having to travel more than twenty minutes.
My tickets were free thanks my employment. I was given four tickets as a going away/ back to school gift. That was pretty awesome because I wasn’t sure they really appreciated my brilliance or irreplaceably until now.
They also gave me a dinner out and a going away party is scheduled for Monday evening. Those Urban Planning types party hard.
I took Emma, a friend from work and my summer coconspirator, my brother , and in the end I gave the other ticket to Cooper, my old coconspirator, who was blissfully unaware that Dylan was playing within walking distance of her apartment until three days before the event; she showed up right before he went on because she has a party to attend earlier in the day and was furious that took her camera away at the gate. These people are nothing if not serious about their “no video no camera rule”.
Seeing that the rest of us had stood in line for a long time waiting to get in I wasn’t too sympathetic to her cause as she arrived at ten to nine or something like that and waltzed right in. I on the other hand was in line at 5 in the afternnon.
The fun part was watching the parents and their fifteen year old kids there with their parents.
A saw quite a few parents of old friends there. The parents of the ego and the id, from the infamous idego weblog, were both there and I saw them both at the beer stand.Fun to see the two lawyers and the engineer and the nurse all dressed down in jeans and tee shirts drinking beer out of paper cups. ( and wishing they were stoned like back in the good old days – just a guess)
The ego was alreadly on his way back to Cornell so did not attend.
I’m leaving for Providence next weekend; I need a week or so to get settled.