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Dumb upon Dumb


Since science is the province of hippies and queers, Republicans have decided evolution is a hoax against Jesus or something.

Over the last four years, the percentage of Democrats who said they believe in evolution has risen by three points, from 64 percent to 67 percent. But the percentage of Republicans who believe in the theory has dropped 11 points, from 54 percent to 43 percent.

So while there was a 10-point gap in 2009, there is now a 24-point gap.

Pew says similar shifts have not occurred for any other demographics, either racial or religious.

At the very least the growth of the Tea Party might make us rethink the connection between “evolution” and “progress.”

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  • AstroBio

    There is no teleology in evolution.
    Also, education and birth rate are inversely proportional. We were warned.

    • We CAN make big rockets, and there is still the sun.

      • Gregor Sansa

        There was a science fiction story about that. When they made the movie “Idiocracy”, they left out that genocide part. Which is good because that part was racist trash. As it remains today, snark notwithstanding.

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          “The Marching Morons”

          • Gregor Sansa

            Doesn’t even need the word “derp”!

            • Gregor Sansa

              (Though of course today it would be “morans”.)

              • I don’t remember it being racist trash – seemed expansively misanthropic to me – but it’s been a long time since I read it.

                After a good hard think I agree that sending vast amounts of humanity to incinerate in the sun is likely not a good way to solve problems.

                • joel hanes

                  It’s much easier and less expensive to inculcate groups of people with ideologies that motivate them to produce incendiary weapons and incinerate each other at their own expense.

  • It would be interesting to know how much of this is mere signalling.

    Also, it’s hard to interpret without knowing whether the numbers of Dems and Repubs remain more or less constant. If this represents Sane Repub flight it’s a lot less interesting.

    • This.

    • steve

      Sane Republican flight is the likely culprit. I recall hearing about Republican party affiliation dropping significantly over the last decade+. The remnants are the old, incorrigble bible thumpers.

      • Warren Terra

        I suspect it’s not so much flight from the Republican party by sane people as flight from the Republican label by certain types of crazy people – a bunch of Tea Partiers who will walk through fire to vote for a crazy Republican but no longer admit to the label ‘Republican’.

        • Classical Liberal

          I can’t speak for everyone, but I have given up the label of “Republican” and will no longer donate.

          They don’t represent conservatives much anymore.

          • The Nine Million Nyms of Jennie

            I can’t speak for everyone

            You don’t say.

            • Overhead, the deep was going out.

              • Hogan

                Don’t you mean “the derp”?

                • Damn you autocorrect! Damn you my incredibly short attention span!

                • Still, points for the sci fi referent–its to the nine thousand names of derp, isnt it?

                • The War of the Derps

                  Stranger in a Derp Land

                  The Left Hand of Derpness

                • sparks

                  Soak his head in derpentine.

              • rea

                Not to mention the Hugo-award winning A Derpness in the Sky

                • Hogan

                  I just wish we could get to Derphood’s End.

                • Malaclypse

                  While I’ll admit a certain fondness for Frank Herbert’s Derp books, Kevin Anderson and Brian Herbert’s prequels, sequels and related works really were a House of Derp.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Tales from the White Derp.

                • I’ve got the Three Laws of Derp memorized.

                • rea

                  a certain fondness for Frank Herbert’s Derp books

                  Derp Messiah, the Ted Cruz roman a clef, was my favorite

                • Tybalt

                  1. Derp must seek to always injure human beings, and, through inaction, allow human beings to come to harm;

                  2. Derp must obey the orders given to it by its corporate paymasters, except where such an order would conflict with the First Law; and

                  3. Derp must protect itself from knowledge about the outside world, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Indeed, the Derp is a harsh mistress.

                • Captain C

                  Don’t forget Philip K. Dick’s classic, The Derp in the High Castle. Or was that The Man in the High Derp?

                • herr doktor bimler

                  Derpness falls from the air.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Do sheeple dream of electric derpicorns?

                • DrS

                  Don’t forget Philip K. Dick’s classic, The Derp in the High Castle. Or was that The Man in the High Derp?

                  The Derp in the High Derp

                • Old Derp’s War
                  The Derpiuchi Hotline
                  Dinner at Derpiant’s Palace

                • Malaclypse

                  Job: A Comedy of Derp

                  Illuminatus! The Golden Derp, Leviathan Derpinatus, The Eye in the Derp

                • Gregor Sansa

                  The Sheep look Derp.
                  The Player of Derp.
                  To Rule in Derp. (Brust is among my canon of classics, but his better-known titles don’t lend themselves, so this has to do.)
                  Derpdiver (ditto Brin)
                  Parable of the Derp (ditto Butler. Basically, when I’m in the SF section, especially in a used bookstore, I just go straight to the B’s, including Banks and Brunner above.)

                • postmodulator

                  Are there any left?

                  Derpworld/The Derpworld Engineers/The Derpworld Throne/Derpworld’s Children?

                  A World Out of Derp?

                  The Derp In God’s Eye?

                  (My admiration for Larry Niven’s writing is matched only by my disgust at his politics.)

                • Origami Isopod

                  Game of Derps
                  The Re-derp of the King
                  The Necroderpicon

                • Origami Isopod

                  Oh, and yeah, The Derp Factory.

                • did we do derper’s game yet?

                  or 2001: a space oderpsy?

                  or through a scanner derply?

                • Jordan

                  If we are doing things that didn’t win a Hugo and are better as movies anyways I give you:

                  Star Derp.

                  IT WORKS TWICE!

                • rm

                  This kind of thing makes me fear that we are facing the end of civilization at the hands of an army of ignoramuses (ignorami?).

                  Like at the Battle of Helm’s Derp.

        • also: a fire upon the derp and journey to the center of the derp.

      • I didn’t see anything in Pew’s party affiliation trends that jumped out as validating this. I’ve yet to follow Gwen’s links below.

  • Denverite


    Seriously, though, isn’t this like Exhibit 432 for the proposition that Republicans tell pollsters that they believe is crazy-ass ideas, not so much because they do, but because they think it makes non-Republicans mad?

    • Could be, but as we can see from plantation owners being genuinely shocked that their slaves would leave upon emancipation, it’s real easy to start believing your own rhetoric.

      • Sly

        They were shocked to see slaves leave prior to emancipation. Even invented a mental illness to try to make sense of it.

        • Rigby Reardon

          That was … quite something. Really.

      • Gator90

        Who were these “slaves” of whom you speak? Do you mean baseball players before free agency? Or were the ballplayers in concentration camps — I forget…

  • brad

    I really can’t figure out what’s happened in the last 4 years that would lead someone to decide that evolution is somehow not a fucking obvious fact of life that can be demonstrated in very simple terms with fruit flies in a middle school science lab.
    Demographics? Older conservatives who at least were public educated being replaced with home schoolers who have no concept of a reality outside their politics?
    Haha, fuck libs just doesn’t seem to work for me with a question like this.
    Maybe people just take looks around them at Tea Party meetings and refuse to believe we’re an “advanced” species.

    • Davis X. Machina

      I really can’t figure out what’s happened in the last 4 years

      Team spirit. Plus it got really…dark…outside.

      • Alan in SF

        Evolution is a 2500-page theory rammed through in the dead of night without a single Republican vote.

      • brad

        Except that prior poll was 2009, so DC had already… gotten a lot of shade.
        Granted, the full impact could take a while to set in, but still. I was at one of the first Tea Party gatherings, if anything they seemed angrier than the clips I see today, tho that’s probably in part due to increasing media savvy.

    • FlipYrWhig

      It’s a fine distinction. They believe that things evolve, just not Evolution, the amoral secular belief system that replaces God with monkeys or something. Like how they believe in helping the poor, but not in Welfare.

      • ChrisS

        It’s referred to as microevolution in some intelligent design circles. Essentially, anything that science can show evidence for is just microevolution and everything that science can’t show evidence for is magic.

        • Lurker

          Yep. I lurked a few years in a Usenet newsgroup on evolution, and it seems that some creationists really attempt to have a somewhat coherent system where they assign permanency to genii, not to species. This makes their belief system more difficult to falsify.

          • herr doktor bimler

            they assign permanency to genii, not to species
            You may mean ‘genera’, but it is equally plausible that creationists do indeed invoke genii to explain natural phenomena.

            • anthrofred

              The goofy race of Space Irish on Stargate: Atlantis? Damn, they’re really reaching.

            • Lurker

              Sorry, I made a mistake with the Latin plural.

          • (the other) Davis

            This makes their belief system more difficult to falsify.

            It also demonstrates a fundamental failure in “scientific” thinking: Confusing the map with the territory. “Genus” and “species” are organizational ideas humans impose on the world (“the map”), not fundamental facts of nature (“the territory”).

      • JKTHs

        Like how they believe in helping the poor

        Wait, did I miss something?

        • FlipYrWhig

          In polling aid for the poor always scores highly across the board. But what sets apart conservatives, and conservative thought processes, is that they will always find loopholes and distinctions so that the actual poor being aided by The Government are always the wrong kind.

          • delurking

            Plus, conservatives — at least the conservatives around here — believe that if that damn gummit would just stop taxing everyone, which forces them to help the poor against their will, why then, everyone would out of the spirit of their Xtian heart give 10 or even 20 percent of their income voluntarily to a Charity of Their Choice and we could Solve Poverty 4ever.

            Because this worked so well during all the centuries previous to the Great Society, I point out to them, whereupon they call me a Marxist Socialist who believes in re-distribution of wealth.

            You forgot atheist, I like to point out then.

  • Gwen

    The fact that similar shifts have *not* occurred in other demographics suggests to me that this is re-alignment; if the overall number hasn’t changed, and haven’t changed much within other subgroups, it just means that voters are shifting around.

    The GOP is doing a heckuva job of attracting stupid people to its ranks.

  • FourTen

    This kind of question always uses the word “believe,” a word that IMO is loaded with meaning. Belief is not the same as understanding or agreeing with, two terms/phrases that should be used in this question. “Believe” might even been a semi-conscious dog-whistle to many that could change their results.

    I’d bet if they ask their sample pool that question while rotating “believe/understand/agree with,” the answers would be different

    • Gwen

      “With regard to the theory that humans evolved from animals, do you find the evidence to be compelling, or not compelling?”

      • gmack

        Hmm. Perhaps I’m wrong, but aren’t the only accurate answers to this question: “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” and (unless you’re a biologist” “How the fuck should I know”? I’m not an expert on these things, but my understanding is that evolutionary theory does not claim that humans evolved from animals (humans, rather, are just another animal species, and as such, evolved through processes of natural selection). So I have no idea what the claim “humans evolved from animals” is supposed to mean. I also have never looked at the evidence, at least not directly, so while I assume it’s compelling, this assumption basically rests on an appeal to authority (or more accurately, to my assumption that if I did study the evidence, I would be able to reproduce the conclusions). But in any case, my fully honest answer–my scientific answer, if you will–to the question of whether I find the evidence compelling would have to be: “I have no idea.”

        I’m not trying to be pedantic here. My point is that these sorts of polling questions are essentially misleading, and so are the data they produce. They have to use a short hand to describe the theory of evolution, rather than an actual description of the scientific they. As a result, both those administering the survey, and I would argue, those participating in it essentially interpret the question not as an assessment of people’s positions vis-a-vis a scientific hypothesis, but precisely as a measurement tribal/identity markers. (My evidence for my belief here is purely anecdotal, but I would invite the participants in this thread to note that this is precisely how almost everyone here interprets the question and the answers to it).

        Finally, I just want to add that these sorts of “Americans are stupid!” polls have been coming out for something like 70 years or so; they’ve always been tedious.

      • DocAmazing

        Humans are animals. No further evidence needed.

    • “Believe” might even been a semi-conscious dog-whistle to many that could change their results.

      Or, more likely, reinforce them.

    • toberdog

      Totally agree. It’s like asking people if they “believe” in gravity.

      • Gravity: it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

      • BigHank53

        It really doesn’t matter if you believe in gravity or not. Gravity believes in you.

        • Gravity doesn’t just believe in those of us who ride hanging scaffold, it actively hates us.

      • SV

        And many said “no”. Really, the question should be “Do you acknowledge gravity (/evolution)?”.

    • Jordan

      While I really dislike treating “belief” as a dog-whistle, I have to say the answers to “do you understand evolution” wouldn’t be terribly illuminating.

      • FourTen

        Though it would expose the percentage of people who are scientifically literate, the percentage who are capable of admitting that they don’t know enough about a single topic and the percentage that have convinced themselves that the scribbled down fairy tales of Bronze Age goat herders are true.

        • Jordan

          The answers would tell you something interesting about people who will admit not knowing about something that they know they should, but it wouldn’t tell you anything about the other two things.

  • joe from Lowell

    I have to suspect that this is a consequence of the reshuffling of the parties, and not about individuals changing their minds.

    The last reasonable Republicans are leaving the party.

    • pete

      Yeah, but they’re leaving all the lights on because Algore is a fat ithm

  • Gwen

    Another possibility, but one not necessarily supportable by the numbers I see from Pew, is that they simply measured a much smaller Republican Party this time around.

    I think it is likely that a lot of the Evolutionists (presumably, more moderate) GOPers simply switched to being independents.

    Gallup’s party ID numbers currently show that self-identifying Republicans is near-historic low levels (http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx).

    Likewise, Independents are currently the plurality of voters. Democrats have also shrunk, but I think this has more to do with generalized disappointment in Obama than with any real ideological/religious split, which is probably why we don’t see the Dem numbers changing much.

    • brad

      Except that a big part of that is many Tea Party types will tell pollsters they’re independent while, of course, not really in any way being so.
      If memory serves this was the fig leaf team Romney was clinging to, in that polls of “independents” were the only vaguely encouraging legit numbers they could point to.

      Seems like the most likely answer is simply increasing concentration of fundies in the remaining Repub backwash.

      • Gwen

        Indeeders. If you break down the Gallup numbers, the Independents who “lean Republican” has got to be a group that is almost the same size (possibly *the* same size) as self-identified Republicans.

        Last poll, for example: 24 percent Republicans, 42 percent Republican leaners (18/42nds of which must therefore be Independents who lean Republican).

        About 14 percent of Independents don’t claim to lean either way, and about 12 percent then would be Indy-leaning-Democrat.

        So on the Dem side you have something like a 3 self-identified Dems per each Indy-leaning-Dem, but on the GOP side it’s more like 1.25 Republicans for every 1 Indy-leaning-GOP.

        That might go a long way in explaining why the Dems all of a sudden look like the adults in the room — their coalition is, at least on paper, a lot more stable.

      • Code Name Cain

        This seems likely. The poll notes among independents belief in evolution is down 2 points over this same period. The moderate GOP might have stopped identifying themselves but many of the hardest right have as well.

        Presumably the latter prefers to identify themselves as the Know Nothings.

        • Presumably the latter prefers to identify themselves as the Know Nothings.

          They lack the requisite levels of honesty and self-awareness.

          • Gregor Sansa

            And historical awareness.

  • DocAmazing

    Since they don’t believe in evolution, they won’t mind if I treat their complex infections with first-generation antibiotics–there can’t possibly be any resistance, after all, seeing as there is no evolution.

    • brad

      Jebus’s daddy is just sending new plagues to smite the wicked, cuz he luvs us.

    • cpinva

      shouldn’t you be using a poultice instead?

      • jim, some guy in iowa


      • anthrofred

        New GOP healthcare plan: Trade poultry for poultices, like Sharon Angle/God intended.

        • burritoboy

          That’s a more developed plan than the other “plans” they’ve advanced before.

        • herr doktor bimler

          You mean that poultices do not consist of poultry under a bandage? OOOPS.

          • anthrofred

            Cold poultry. The ice is important.

            • herr doktor bimler

              This sounds like an ingenious excuse for when a friend one is caught trying to shoplift a frozen turkey by concealing it down the friend’s one’s trousers.

    • InnerPartisan

      But but but! That’s Micro-Evolution – all those germs are still germs! Therefore, evolution disproved! (It’s also quite convenient, because Noah only had to take one species of germs with him on the Ark.)

      • Gregor Sansa

        Genus: germ. Linnaeus wept.

        • Linnaeus

          It happens.

  • The break out by religion is also interesting, although the study’s use of religion + race is odd.

    I guess we’re too assume that only people of the flagged religions took part in the survey.

    • TO assume. Arrgh.

      • GoDeep

        There’s a great political divide b/tn White Evangelicals & Black Protestants. Its not uncommon to split them. I’m actually surprised that so many Black Protestants believe in evolution; I would’ve thought they more closely mirrored White Evangelicals on that question.

        • Sorry, that wasn’t my point.

          I think it would have been more meaningful to look at religion separately and race separately. As it is you’re left to wonder: “What about Black Catholics? Or Hispanic Protestants? (And indeed, the black Evans.) And where are the non-Christian respondents? Did they all hang up?”

          I take it these results were pulled from a larger survey, but I haven’t been able to find that bigger survey to check the baseline questions.

          • The Catholic position on evolution is much more advanced than the protestant fundamentalist position. Not that the laity have to pay attention…

            • Another reason why I think the survey should have looked at a number of religions and done race/ethnicity separately. As it is I can’t understand why they only looked at certain combinations.

              • anthrofred

                It’s equally frustrating to me that there’s no breakdown in the extended report of the actual numbers as represented in the sample, unless I just blew right past in when reading. I have no idea just how many, say, “Hispanic Catholics” were actually asked, and sample size definitely matters for this kind of breakdown.

                • anthrofred

                  Right, I saw that – I mean the actual number of respondents that identify with each category, not the percentages. It’s hard to tell how representative any of the subsamples are, though Pew is relatively reputable so I assume they aren’t too bad.

                • GoDeep

                  Found this:

                  Monday’s results were based upon a national survey Pew conducted between March 21 to April 8 with a representative sample of 1,983 adults. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.

                  So, if they only did 2K ppl & blacks were the 13% of the sample that they are of the nat’l population then you’re talking abt just 260 black ppl. That’s pretty low already; I don’t think they could break that sample down any further by race (eg, black Catholics, black Muslims, etc) and produce a valid statistic.

            • Hogan

              They don’t, but if it’s not functioning as a tribal marker, what the hell.

    • Jo

      That is interesting. I wish they’d weighted it somehow by what percentage of the population is in each of the named religious groups. It looks like about 100 million catholics + mainline protestants vs. about 40 million evangelicals. I’m too lazy to do the math, but it’s likely that a majority of Christians believe in evolution.

  • Tom Servo

    That the percentage for either party is less than 100 is shameful. Truly a national shot stain.

    • ajp

      And I realize that a lot of it is posturing. It’s still sad. In fact I think it’s sadder.

    • GoDeep

      People of a certain age just have no idea of what evolution really means. If you ask my parents–both of whom are north of 70–they’d say evolution means that ppl descended from apes. That’s the beginning & the end of their knowledge.

      I’m curious how many 20-somethings understand evolution, or simply ‘believe’ in it b/cs its an attribute of modern culture.

      • Rigby Reardon

        My parents are both right at 70 and are well aware of what evolution does and doesn’t mean.

        Of course, they both have college degrees, and not everyone in their cohort does.

        • My parents are in their eighties and not only do they believe in evolution– they’ve seen it done.

        • GoDeep

          I’m not as familiar w/ the stats as I used to be, but I’d bet good money that the % of 70yos w/ college degrees is less than 25%.

          • Rigby Reardon

            Sounds like a reasonable guess.

      • ajp

        I realize class might have something to do with it and access to education. But among people who had educational privilege, there’s really no excuse not to understand evolution. Now, that may sound condescending, but so does the assumption that most 20somethings don’t understand it or just grasp onto it as an aspect of identity-you can say that about anyone surveyed here.

      • JMP

        My parents are in their late 60s, and not only know what evolution means but they can type out the entire word “people” without abbreviating it.

        • DrS

          That’s bcs baby boomers stole all the vowels.

          • If u cn rd this, u cn vt nxt yr.

        • Anonymous

          As can GoDeep – s/he did so in the comment you just spelling-snarked at.

          Can your parents raise a polite human being to adulthood – that’s the question.

      • njorl

        There’s an awfully wide range of meaning for the word “understand”.

  • Classical Liberal

    At the very least the growth of the Tea Party might make us rethink the connection between “evolution” and “progress.”

    There was no mention of the Tea Party in the Pew article. This is just a cheap shot (and dumb)at your perceived political enemies.

    The growth of the Tea Party is simply because mainstream republicans have strayed off course. They are for the staus quo as are the Democrats. “Keep the money flowing…” is the motto of both.

    • Malaclypse

      As a liberal, I tremble with fear and impotent rage at the idea that the Tea Party will throw their awesome might behind, say, the Constitution Party.

    • brad

      Points for effort, but you have to be either more reactionary and obvious or a bit more literate with your troll.

    • Classical Liberal

      The really fun part was when all of the liberal rags pretty well wrote the obituary for the Tea Party.

      Now, in just a few years and unlike the “occupy” movement, they have organized, motivated voters and have elected representatives of their choice in the federal government and have had even more influence in the state governments.

      Say it ain’t so

      • Malaclypse

        Indeed. Particularly impressive was the way you prevented Mitt Romney from buying the nomination. President Perry owes it all to you.

      • joe from Lowell

        Uh, the “liberal rags” wrote the Tea Party’s obituary in early 2013, not in 2010, and since then, the Tea Party has collapsed into such an irrelevancy that even John Boehner is taking pot shots at it.

    • DrDick

      Boy, you are even more confused than ever here. In reality, it is the Teahadis who have driven the GOP over the cliff into cloud cuckoo land. The marginally sane folks with double digit IQs have fled in horror.

      • Syrup madness is a poorly understood dementia that causes its victims to believe that is down, the Tea Party has long-term political viability and Obama is plotting to steal their precious bodily fluids.

        • You’re edging toward the dangerous territory of discussing JenBob’s syrup. I, for one, disapprove of this sticky topic.

        • DrDick

          It can be treated, however, by regular massive doses of pancakes.

      • Classical Liberal

        …it is the Teahadis who have driven the GOP over the cliff into cloud cuckoo land.

        Sooo….if the Tea Party is largely irrelevant, how could they drive the GOP anywhere? Your statement suggests that they have a lot of power withing the party…..and I agree with you.

        • Dwight D. Eisenhower

          Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

        • John Boehner

          Are you kidding me?!

  • cpinva

    I note the lowest levels of belief in evolutionary theory is among two groups:

    1. those 64 and older.
    2. those with a H.S. education or less.

    since the elderly and less educated trend towards both high religiosity and extreme conservatism (both aspects of the current GOP), and they make up a large % of the current GOP, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that, as they get older, they become even more extreme in their views. hence, the aging of the GOP results in an even lower level of belief in science.

    just a theory.

    • DrDick

      It is also the case, as John Stuart Mill observed and science has confirmed, that stupid people lean strongly conservative.

    • GoDeep

      I doubt that ppl believe evolution ‘less’ as they age; they almost certainly never believed it to begin with. There are a lot of misconceptions abt what evolution actually means, esp for older ppl.

    • pbf

      President Obama won 83% of the vote of non-college educated non-whites in 2008. In 2012, his margins decreased as you went up the education ladder from no hs (+29), hs grad (+3), some college(+1), college grad (-4) though he won post grads (+13) handily.

      The less educated trend toward high religiosity but not extreme conservatism unless limited to whites particularly southerners and evangelicals.

    • toberdog

      And now a moment for pedantry, which I’m only doing because this is a thread about the theory of evolution. You’re offering a hypothesis, not a theory.

  • Auguste

    ‘the percentage of Democrats who said they believe in evolution has risen by three points, from 64 percent to 67 percent.’

    Sixty-seven fucking percent. I don’t know what we’re bragging about.

    • ChrisTS


    • DrDick

      A few years ago, there was a poll that showed less than a third of Americans believed in evolution, so this looks a lot better.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Some people would have us believe that views on evolution have evolved, but it’s just a theory.

      • MV

        Actually, that number has not changed. It also came from the Pew Research Poll. About 32 percent of the population accepts (believes) in evolution.

        The statement that 67 percent of Democrats believe (or accept) evolution is WRONG. It’s why I dislike the reporting on this poll. And I suspect the probably the poll itself is designed to create this misrepresentation (or at least not prevent it).

        There are multiple categories lumped into the believe evolution category including the guided by God and unsure categories. It it is guided by God, it’s not evolution. If you don’t know, you don’t believe in (or accept) evolution.

    • toberdog

      Yep. As I said above, these people might as well say they don’t “believe” in gravity.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Sure, but they’re strongly in favor of “intelligent falling”.

        Now, if they put their objection in terms of “spooky action-at-a-distance”, we’d have to give them some props, but no.

        • Warren Terra

          You snark, but as I recall Aristotelian gravity pretty much is intelligent falling, with items seeking to reach their assigned position in the Z-axis of the universe.

  • Daragh McDowell

    Anybody else concerned that 1/3 of Democrats DON’T believe in evolution?

    • Classical Liberal

      That’s the part that no one seems to want to discuss.

    • Rigby Reardon

      The Democratic Party is very diverse, and religious black Protestants may be driving this number.

      • GoDeep

        Black Protestants & to a lesser extent Hispanic Catholics, according to the HuffPo. I also imagine older Dems & southern Dems believe it less than, say, middle-aged Northeastern Dems.

        I wonder if Blacks & Hispanics are included in the “Dumb & Dumber” label, or do we escape?

        • Future JD Student

          The full title of Darwin’s work: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (emphasis mine).

          Liberals want evolution to matter to the extent it makes biblical conservatives look bad. Beyond that it’s raaaaacist.

          • anthrofred

            Oh, there it is. The racialist counterpart to the old why do you think Nazis called it National socialism, mmmmm? card. Golf claps (and syrup).

            • Future JD Student

              I can tell someone Really Doesn’t Like my comments. xoxoxo

              • Malaclypse

                Well, it is mainly because 1) you’ve clearly never read the Origin, or you would know that it doesn’t use the word “Races” like you are using it, and 2) you don’t show any grasp of the consensus of work on this topic.

                • Future JD Student

                  That’s the consensus? Guess the cascade of peer-reviewed articles and academic work, the forthcoming book by NYT Science reporter Nicholas Wade, the established health professional habit of warning African-Americans about particular blood diseases to which they are more susceptible, and on and on … it’s all hooey!

                • Malaclypse

                  If there is “a cascade” of peer-reviewed studies showing cognitive differences due to genetic differences between races, it should not be hard to link to, say, three.

                  We’ll wait.

                • anthrofred

                  Oh FJDS, you sound like you need some pancakes to put all the cherries you’re picking on.

                • DrDick

                  warning African-Americans about particular blood diseases to which they are more susceptible

                  I assume that you are referring to sickle cell anemia, which is quite widespread in Mediterranean and South Asian populations, as well, and actually has its highest incidence in parts of Greece. It is a classic example of ongoing evolution, as it has been selected for because of its ability in the heterozygous form to confer immunity to malaria.

                • Future JD Student
                • Future JD Student

                  I guess the mod filter dislikes lots of long hyperlinks,









                  But, you guys are 1000% right, and I know NOTHING!

                • Malaclypse

                  You promised links about cognitive differences between racial groups. Not a single study ever uses the word “cognitive.”

                  Internet tradition requires that you move the goalposts now.

                • anthrofred

                  Do you bother to actually read any of the shit you prattle on about? For one thing, Mal’s challenge was to show cognitive difference between races. None of the links I’ve followed from you so far do any such thing – rather, they represent a variety of approaches to categorizing human populations and dealing methodologically with both self-reported and genotypically assessed diversity in populations. Then there’s folks like Nevan Sesardic, who it’s worth noting is a philosopher, not an anthropologist or biologist.

                  LGM is not a good place to try to just spam links. We know how to read here.

                  I’ll just let your own very first linked article play the exit music:

                  Despite this complexity, genetics researchers have a unique opportunity to reduce at least some of the confusion and controversy surrounding the issues of race, ethnicity, ancestry, and health. They can demonstrate the irrelevance of racial and ethnic labels for pursuing many research questions and health improvement objectives—for example, by clarifying the many ways in which environmental factors that extend across groups interact with biological processes to produce common diseases (Lin and Kelsey 2000; Rotimi 2004). By emphasizing the close genetic affinities between members of different groups, researchers can reduce the wide-spread misconception that substantial genetic differences separate groups (Wilson et al. 2001; Olson 2002; Jorde and Wooding 2004).

                • herr doktor bimler

                  sickle cell anemia, which is quite widespread in Mediterranean and South Asian populations, as well, and actually has its highest incidence in parts of Greece

                  Come now, DrDick, any fule kno that thalassaemia /= sickle-cell trait.

                • anthrofred

                  @bimler This is true, but sicklemia is also present in Mediterranean and South Asian populations, and thalassaemia in African ones, and some forms of the latter are clincally similar to the former. They seem to be two different responses to parasitic blood infections like malaria.

                • Future JD Student

                  Race and cognition in particular? These took less than a moment to dig up. I can keep going AND be extra careful in the future to sift out those that don’t wholly agree with and address my point. The issue was to establish that the consensus is at best not so established.





                • herr doktor bimler

                  Do you bother to actually read any of the shit you prattle on about?

                  FJDS’s list of supposedly-germane citations appears to cribbed from lists that circulate around Stormfront and similar sites, which does not bode well for a positive answer to this question.

                • Future JD Student

                  I do read, and we have yet another super-hyperlinked comment that is awaiting moderation.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  I am pleased to learn that the LA Times is now a peer-reviewed source.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  we have yet another super-hyperlinked comment that is awaiting moderation

                  So where is this list copied from? It is beer o’clock here and there are hop-related activities to distract me from reconstructing the search terms FJDS used to find it.

                • Future JD Student

                  Sometimes you can’t get to the peer-reviewed journal online, so you have to settle for the third-party coverage.

                  It’s amusing pretending I’m in an actual discussion, not a five-minute hate session with a bunch of hyenas. Open-minded, reflective crew here.

                • Malaclypse

                  Nobody predicted a flounce.

                • DrDick

                  Race and cognition in particular?

                  Except that only two of your articles actually address race differences and one of those argues there are not cognitive differences. The other is authored by the notorious, discredited racist Arthur Jensen (I wondered how long it would take you to get around to him). The other two simply argue that intelligence is largely heritable, which is a contentious proposition and not universally accepted.

                • I am pleased to learn that the LA Times is now a peer-reviewed source.

                  Getting the comics page done every day is not easy.

                • (the other) Davis

                  Nobody predicted a flounce.

                  The flounce is particularly amusing coming from someone who claims to be on the side of science. Compared to the vitriol that arguments between real scientists often achieve, this comments section is a kitten-snuggling-fest.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  Sometimes you can’t get to the peer-reviewed journal online, so you have to settle for the third-party coverage.

                  Hey, they’re your goalposts, feel free to do what you like with them. We do not judge.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Mostly that title shows that the word “race” didn’t use to mean much having to do with skin color. 18th century poets would do things like call fish “the finny race.” See also the recurrent phrase “last of his race.”

            • Future JD Student

              Correct. And they still don’t. No assumes dark-skinned Indians and African-Americans are cognitively and behavioral identical just because their skin colors match up. Red herring.

              • DrDick

                Once again demonstrating complete ignorance of everything.

              • Rigby Reardon

                Race != just skin color. Not now, not ever. Otherwise, there never would have been any question of whether or not the Irish were “white.” But there was, you know.

            • Linnaeus

              What’s more, as a naturalist, Darwin is using the term “race” to mean certain populations within a species whose traits differ from other populations in the same species , often due to the fact that individuals within that population are isolated and hence interbreed with each other. Sometimes “races” get recognized taxonomically as subspecies.

            • DrDick

              In the 19th century it meant a subspecies, which term has replaced it in modern scientific discourse. It is, however, the consensus of all the biological sciences that humans do not have either and are in fact one of the least genetically diverse species on earth. I would also note, just to make JenBoob’s head explode, that if you destroyed everyone on earth except native Sub-Saharan Africans, you would still preserve the vast majority of that little bit of variation in the species.

          • DrS

            You know, metapedia is not really a good source.

          • Matt T. in New Orleans

            You know, you might have a point if work on evolution had stopped with that book. Dumbass.

          • The Pale Scot

            Hi prof. what’s your name.

          • Random

            Pardon my OT. But I just want to point out that I have never, ever met a single Democrat who spouts this crap in my entire life living in the former Confederacy, and I’m willing to bet nobody else here has either. I’ve heard it all many times and it is only and exclusively Republicans/conservatives who say this garbage.

            Manju can suck it.

          • MAJeff

            Those racist cabbages and their animus against cauliflower!

      • SV

        Um, this sounds a lot like “Obama only won because so many blahs voted for him.” Or maybe No True Scotsman. What does being black and Protestant have to do with people’s surprise/disappointment that so many liberals don’t believe in evolution?

        • Rigby Reardon

          Um, this sounds a lot like “Obama only won because so many blahs voted for him.”

          Not in the slightest.

          What does being black and Protestant have to do with people’s surprise/disappointment that so many liberals don’t believe in evolution?

          With their surprise and disappointment? Not a goddamn thing. Rather, it’s a potential explanation for the fact that a third of Democrats claim not to believe in evolution – i.e., there is a large group of people that a) votes overwhelmingly Democratic, b) is highly religious and may therefore be resistant to accepting evolution, and c) happens to be black. Nothing more than that, really. Not sure why you read so much into that sentence.

    • GoDeep

      As a political matter I think its irrelevant what ppl believe regarding evolution. I wouldn’t care abt my political allies’ beliefs on evolution anymore than I would care abt their beliefs abt the Virgin Mary, Vishnu, Jehovah, or Allah. All I really care abt at the end of the day is whether or not they’re with me on the issues. Hell I know ppl who don’t believe in evolution (my father), but does believe in global warming. So this might give Dems something to crow abt vs Reps, but I don’t think it matters much in the political scheme of things.

      • Anonymous

        it’s a political issue because local control of schools informs textbook purchases and any yahoo can fuck up a school board meeting.

        • ajp

          Precisely. Education is important. If you don’t want evolution to be taught, or want intelligent design taught in biology, you are not my political ally.

          Like reproductive rights-these differences that stem (on the opposing end mostly, not on my part) stem largely from religion and I am not willing to compromise on them either.

          • anthrofred

            It’s problematic to assume, however, that people who personally don’t recognize evolution also object to it being taught in schools. Certainly there are plenty of people who want to “teach the controversy” (sigh), but that doesn’t mean that GoDeep’s parents, for example, would necessarily want to alter textbooks, though they might.

            The survey didn’t ask “should evolution be taught in schools”, or perhaps more tellingly “should evolution be eliminated from textbooks” (phrasing matters!). It simply asked people about their own private beliefs.

            • Anonymous

              having accepted the error in the instrument, this is still a political issue.

              • anthrofred

                Sure. But it’s a bit frightening to think of it as a litmus test. Would you throw away the support of black evangelicals, for example, against police corruption or the cutting of entitlements? “You are not my political ally” (which I realize is something ajp said, not you) is a very strong statement that also implies a particular understanding of what “ally” means.

                Alliances are contingent, negotiated, and often transient, relating to particular struggles and issues. To actually put purity tests in place is to fall prey to Tea Party logic.

                • Anonymous

                  i can be political allies with people who drive me to drink.

                • anthrofred

                  Granted. Sometimes there’s no other way.

                  You really should pick a nym if you post more. We have a truly beloved anonymous troll here and it would be a shame for you to be confused with them.

                • DrDick

                  Black Evangelicals are far more likely to believe in evolution than the white ones.

                • BigHank53

                  Black evangelicals are a bit less likely to accept the inerrancy of the Bible. Particularly the bits about slaves.

                • anthrofred

                  Granted, DrDick; poor example, but the one that popped into my head. (You are less likely to find white self-identified evangelicals worth allying with on many issues, I wager, though there are exceptions)

      • Sans Lies

        As a political matter I think its irrelevant what ppl believe regarding evolution.

        Smartest comment to date.

      • Donalbain

        The ability to look at evidence and come to conclusions regarding the world is important to me in a politician. Or the ability to seek advice when they don’t know the answer. Someone being a creationist tells me that they do NOT follow where the evidence leads and that is worrying.

    • It’s a solid majority which means we don’t have to worry about placating dummies like the Republicans do.

  • legion

    Not all Republicans are morons, but if you _are_ a moron, it’s pretty much a given that you’re a Republican.

    • Jamie

      I would flip that around. Not all morons are Republicans (see, for example, the Green Lantern set on the left), but if you’re a Republican, it’s damn likely that you’re a moron.

      • anthrofred

        There’s nothing dumb about supporting the party that supports your class interests. Many Republicans, particularly big donors, are very intelligent and very selfish.

        • Jamie

          That’s fair, but even if their support of Republicans is rational, they can still act like idiots. Sheldon Adelson throwing money away on a vanity candidate comes to mind. Some of these people may very well be intelligent, but they’ve managed to convince themselves, in a lot of cases, that black is white and up is down. Which strikes me as fairly moronic.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          you left out “evil”

  • Don’t over-think it, the reason is pretty simple: today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

    • This supports my theory that one day President Obama will let slip that he doesn’t think people should mix bleach and ammonia to clean their toilets and … Mustard Gas Tragedy Leaves Thousands Ill, Dead.

      • anthrofred

        Is there a suggestion that would only render them unable to vote rather than dead? Because I could get behind that.

        “Always bring your ID with you to polling places!”, maybe.

        • That would only work in places where ID is required to vote and hopefully there will soon be no such places.

          “I’m President Barack Obama and I encourage you to vote this election day.”

          • anthrofred

            hopefully there will soon be no such places.

            Hopefully! But FRAUD!)@#!, you know, those shifty DemoRATS, gotta legislate against that. Thanks a bunch, SCOTUS, for making it easier.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          The IRS will have undercover agents snooping around polling places in GOP-heavy districts, looking for people that are looking “too prosperous” for their declared income.

      • Cheap Wino

        Hehe. Thanks for the laugh!

        I really hope history acknowledges just how anti- anything Obama (first) and Dem (second)the current GOP is. These are the governing policies of their party. The third most influential factor is about as important as the third most influential political party in the US is.

        I feel that this is the essentially the legacy of the Obama presidency. Whatever the degree of success of PPACA, historically everything will have to be understood through the lens of the utter intractability of the GOP for the last eight years.

  • Asserting “I don’t believe in evolution” is pretty much the culture conservative’s version of “I am Spartacus!” It’s not a comment about biology—most people care about biology?—it’s a loyalty oath.

  • jkay

    I think it’s because of the debt ceiling radical stupid. It’ s resplitting the GOP coalition that was fragile after being broken by Shrub. I read Larison, a peacemonger conservative Republican, and that’s what he blogs on the subject.

  • Future JD Student

    Biblical conservatives: Evolution is false.

    Egalitarian liberals: Evolution is true, but only up to a point. You better be an anthropological egalitarian and not discuss cognitive and behavioral differences among human groups, or else you’re a raaaaacist.

    Liberals have their miraculous Jeebus moment, too: 40,000 ago, when humans branched off and evolution stopped mattering.

    • anthrofred

      You better be an anthropological egalitarian and not discuss cognitive and behavioral differences among human groups, or else you’re a raaaaacist.

      Yeah, pretty sure behavioral differences among human groups is the foundation of anthropology, but hey, don’t trust me on it, I only have master’s degrees in the field.

      Of course I’m being a pedant: I know that you meant “evolution means skin color determines behavior because syrup”.

      • rea

        Obivously, evolution links skin color and intelligence, because, as we all know, the skin is the organ of thought.

      • Linnaeus

        Of course I’m being a pedant: I know that you meant “evolution means skin color determines behavior because syrup”.

        JenBob also said “cognitive”. That’s the tip-off, right there.

        • anthrofred

          The big tip-off that any given name is JenBob is “raaaaacism”, with any number of extra “a”s.

          I just left “cognitive” alone, because there’s a difference between “cognition” and “cognitive capacity” that’s just too fine for our poor future JD.

    • rea

      FJDS, it is not enough to believe in evolution, it is also necessary to understand it.

    • DrDick

      Speaking as a Ph.D. anthropologist who has taught race and ethnicity for more than 20 years, let me simply observe that both the American Anthropological Association and every major genetics organization have issued public statements stating that humans do not have races and the cognitive and behavioral traits do not map onto what are commonly thought of as races or any other geographical population.

    • herr doktor bimler

      40,000 ago, when humans branched off
      Don’t give up the day job.

      • The lobby of the Chase bank branch near me hasn’t been cleaned in 40,000 years.

    • DrDick

      40,000 ago, when humans branched off and evolution stopped mattering.

      Is there anything you actually know? The human line branched off that leading to chimpanzees and bonobos about 5-7 million years ago and the human line continued to evolve up to the present. Even fully modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, in Africa, but only appear in Europe about 45,000 years ago. They were already in Australia by 50-60,000 years ago. We have numerous good examples of ongoing evolution in humans, such as the production of lactase in adults.

      • Future JD Student

        A slip of the tongue and there’s nothing–hear Mugatu shrieking, “NOTHING!!1!”–I know.

        • Malaclypse

          Still waiting on that “cascade” of links to peer-reviewed studies. I know you didn’t mean to overlook it.

          • Future JD Student

            The comment is awaiting moderation. Many more than three, and more after that if you need.

            • I am all atingle in anticipation.

            • How many are written by Ken Ham or, whatshisname, the banana guy? Ray Comfort? That guy.

              • Dick Cheney

                I’ll bet a bunch of it is Lehigh guy. Behe? Whatever.

                Also, I think the collective noun for peer-reviewed articles is “tsunami,” not “cascade.” Or is it “torrent”?

        • ChrisTS

          Well, there’s your problem, right there: don’t type with your tongue.

    • JD stands for Jerk n’ Derp.

    • Francis

      Even assuming, hypothetically, that you could measure a single variable Q and call that intelligence, you need to explain why you’re so particularly interested in how Q varies among human groups.

      Why use “race” as the second variable? Why not height, or hair color, or eye color, or handedness, or relative finger lengths? Why is it that L. Summers wanted to talk about distribution in Q based on sex and not based on genetic markers for obesity?

      The moment you start subdividing humanity into sub-groups, one sub-group is going to have a slightly different bell curve for a particular attribute over another. But last I checked, no one was arguing that being right-handed meant that you were inferior.

      (The silence is especially shocking since righties so clearly are sub-optimal. Why, in the days of coin-operated toll booths I had a huge evolutionary advantage.)

      • herr doktor bimler

        Or BIRTH ORDER. Feckin’ first-borns, you just can’t trust the smug entitled bastidges.

      • Why use “race” as the second variable? Why not height, or hair color, or eye color, or handedness, or relative finger lengths?

        Why not use political beliefs?

  • Todd

    More and more I am reminded of the history of Byzantium when thinking about recent U.S. history/politics/culture.

    • Byzantium had people on its borders trying to destroy it. The US has people on its borders trying to become it.

      • Lurker

        I disagree. The people on the borders of the Roman empire very much wanted to become part of it, both before and after the fall of the Western Empire. In cases where it was militarily possible, the neighbouring peoples made incursions into the Empire, and even settled down permanently, but they still wanted to become Romans, at least to some extent.

        On individual level, the most visible migration of barbarians was in the form of “mercenaries” as we like to call them. Most of them were not really “mercenaries” in the current sense of the word but young men who enlisted the regular Roman auxiliary units reserved for non-citizens. Getting 20 years under the belt and being discharged as a Roman citizen was a very important motivator. The barbarians who enlisted were probably no less loyal to Rome than the green card holders who enlist in the US armed forces (and who get citizenship as a result) are loyal to the US.

        Second, even when the invading barbarians managed to gain a permanent foothold, they adopted a lot of Roman culture. Mostly, they tried to fit their tribes into the imperial power structure: for example, Theoderic the Great ruled as a King of Goths, (formally a Roman ally) but also held the office of magister militum from the Roman Emperor, and tried to retain as much Roman administration as possible in his kingdom. Similarly, when the Franks rebelled against Maximian at the behest of Carausius, even the contemporary authors remarked that the Frankish army, although barbarian in theory, was virtually indistinguishable from a Roman army, because it was made up of barbarians who were Roman auxiliaries and had lived a long time in the Empire.

        Third, it is clear that the Roman Empire had a lot of prestige. The invading barbarian chiefs and kings really wanted the emperor to bestow a Roman title on them. You don’t do that if you want to destroy the Empire. You do it when you want to exploit it.

        • I disagree. The people on the borders of the Roman empire very much wanted to become part of it

          Byzantium had a somewhat different history.

          • Lurker

            Byzantium is anachronistic. When I say “Roman Empire” I mean both Eastern Roman Empire and its predecessor, the umdivided Empire. The East Romans never called themselves Byzantines.

            This should be clear from my reference to Theoderic the Great who was a magister militium and a Roman Consul because the Roman Emperor reigning in Constantinople gave these ranks to him.

          • Lurker

            I disagree with you also on the substance. The Eastern Rome remained at least until the eleventh century the most prestigious state in Western Eurasia. It routinely recruited barbarians from near and far to its armies, and was hallowed for its riches in stories told even in the Northernmost Europe. Most people who came to contact with it wanted to get a piece of those riches and enjoy its culture, not to destroy it. (With the exception of Parthians, who had a similar level of culture of their own.)

            Even the Arabs who conquered Syria and Northern Africa eventually adopted almost all of the architecture, fine art and science that Rome had to offer. (They did not bother adopting the religion or administration, which likely was the greatest reason for their success. The heavy-taxing, heretic-hunting Roman Empire was really an awful burden to its mostly heretic Syrian and African subjects and getting conquered by Arabs eased the plight of the population considerably.)

            • I dunno that wanting their stuff necessarily involves them as a model for the neighbours who would happily conquer them, except in the magical sense that the consumption of a noble enemy might imbue you with his properties/prestige. And they still end up destroyed. Mind you there are 1000 years of cherry-picking among the enemies for me to do, and your arguments are worth thinking about.

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    I used to believe in evolution, until I saw the Democratic Party operate this past 45 years…

    Now I believe in political stasis.

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