Class Warfare Blog

April 22, 2014

Poll Shows Lack of Public Support for “The Big Bang”

Aw, c’mon, pollsters. This is stupid. A recent Associated Press (AP)-GfK poll came up with the following two responses (among others):

“The universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang.” 51% of the respondents answered with: “Not too/Not at All Confident” that this statement is true.

“The universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation.” 54% of the respondents answered that they were Extremely/Very Confident that this statement is true.

According to many in the commenting class these responses say a lot about Americans. But they don’t really say what. I am not so timid.

The Big Bang Theory is a relatively young theory and if an adult were not a fan of popular science programming on TV, just where would they acquire any information about what that theory was and whether it were true? The vast majority of Americans are not in a position to access or evaluate the data supporting this theory. So, for Americans to believe that “the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang” would require an act of faith, faith that many scientists believe it to be so, which must make it so.

On the other hand, many, many Americans are brought up in schools, in churches, and summer camps, and colleges wherein the message is repeated over and over that “in the beginning, God created, etc.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that phrase, but it is a very large number. You can also see this reinforced on TV programs, even on “science” channels.

So, what would you expect ordinary people to believe?

Is there any serious discussion of the contrast between these two “messages?” Does anyone ever ask why the phrase “in the beginning” is used when clearly God is already there? Does anyone ever ask why God addresses no one in particular and uses the word “us” when he creates Adam and Eve? There is no public discourse on the contrast between these two opposing memes, so is it any surprise that the message hammered home over and over and over is the one people favor?

It is somewhat dismaying, though, to hear the trite comments fostered by creationist apologists coming from educated people. For example, in the AP story they say:

Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, “I feel the change. There must be a reason.” But when it came to Earth’s beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because “I wasn’t there.”

Did anyone ask the gentlemen about his belief in “in the beginning, God created, etc?” I do believe he could also state that he wasn’t there either.

Until there is some rational discourse in this country, those with the best marketing will dominate public opinion. It seems to be true in our politics and it is certainly true in our religions.

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6 Comments »

  1. “According to many in the commenting class these responses say a lot about Americans.”

    Actually I think the wording of the questions says a lot about who put this survey together. These are very loaded questions leading most people to fall back what little they know, which as you have pointed out, comes from their religious upbringing.

    But it would interesting to see how the same people would respond if the questions were designed differently. Such as:

    The technology we possess today can date the earth back to13.8 million years and from forces that cannot be fully ascertained at this time. There are those who think it was created about 5000 years ago based purely on ancient scriptures when people thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. Which time frame do you think is likely?

    Though the universe is complex it is also chaotic. Is this indicative of a someone who is in control of everything?

    :-)

    Comment by lbwoodgate — April 22, 2014 @ 11:54 am | Reply

    • Yeah, the “universe is complex” therefore there must be an intelligence behind it is perplexing. Human beings do not handle complexity at all well. Intelligence is not a key factor. Even very intelligent people make up mental shortcuts all of the time, so as to not have to deal with real complexity. We can’t even hold two thoughts in our minds at one time, for Pete’s sake.

      On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 22, 2014 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

    • By the by, the Earth is only about 4.5 million years old, it is the universe that is roughly 13.8 million years old.

      A fascinating thing is we can see out to the edge of the universe, a universe that is still expanding. What is out there just beyond that edge? Apparently nothing: no time, no space, no public restrooms. Weird.

      On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 22, 2014 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

      • “By the by, the Earth is only about 4.5 million years old, it is the universe that is roughly 13.8 million years old.”

        To the yokels who answered the survey it would make little difference to them but shame on me for missing that point.

        Actually though, is it millions or billions of years old for the universe. I was watching the Discovery Channel episodes of “How the Universe Works” and I remember being blown away when they said it was nearly 14 billion years old

        Comment by lbwoodgate — April 22, 2014 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

        • I do not mind that there are people who don’t care about science, do not “follow” science, and do not understand science; it is an acquired taste, shall we say. But where is the grace? Instead of saying “I prefer what I was taught in church” or some such trivial truth, the wing nuts have to be going around claiming that “them pointy-headed scientists is wrong; people and dinosaurs lived together” (Alley oop, doop, Alley oop, …) and insisting their churches teachings should be in schools.

          On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 2:31 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

          >

          Comment by Steve Ruis — April 22, 2014 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  2. It’s so odd how people think that “the argument from my personal disbelief” is relevant to a scientific discussion. They should be admitting that they don’t know enough to give an informed opinion.

    Comment by linnetmoss — April 23, 2014 @ 12:09 pm | Reply


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