Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Income Inequality, Evolution and Climate Change

By Professor Jerry A. Coyne Ph.D
American resistance to accepting evolution is uniquely high among First World countries. This is due largely to the extreme religiosity of the United States, which is much higher than that of comparably advanced nations, and to the resistance of many religious people to the facts and supposed implications of evolution. The prevalence of religious belief in the United States suggests that outreach by scientists alone will not have a huge effect in increasing the acceptance of evolution, nor will the strategy of trying to convince the faithful that evolution is compatible with their religion. Because creationism is a symptom of religion, another strategy to promote evolution involves loosening the grip of faith on America. This is easier said than done, for recent sociological surveys show that religion is highly correlated with the dysfunctionality of a society, and various measures of societal health show that the United States is one of the most socially dysfunctional First World countries. Widespread acceptance of evolution in America, then, may have to await profound social change.
Here is a video of Professor Coyne,  delivering a talk at the Harvard Museum of Natural History; "Why Evolution is True and Why Many People Still Don't Believe It".  The video displays most of his arguments and the data that is presented in his paper.   Querying the acceptance of evolution in America, Dr. Coyne investigates the intersection of religion and dysfunctional societies and comes to a surprising conclusion.  Since the denial of evolution and climate change seem to have a high correlation in many individuals, and while the lack of evolution's acceptance may hinder science, the widespread climate denial especially among policy makers could create catastrophic consequences for our planet.  It behooves all of us to understand how wealth inequality, food insecurity, lack of medical insurance and joblessness leads to a reliance on religion, and religion has never been a friend of science.  Never before in mankind's history have so many individuals used the profits of science (technology) to deny the very merits of science itself.  Similar to Tea Party extremists running as representatives for a government they believe should not exist. 
Credit: Beneath the Planet of the Apes

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