Belief in evolutionary origins of humans slowly rising, however
Americans' views on human origins vary significantly by level of education and religiosity. Those who are less educated are more likely to hold a creationist view. Those with college degrees and postgraduate education are more likely to hold one of the two viewpoints involving evolution.
Most Americans believe in God, and about 85% have a religious identity. It is not surprising as a result to find that about 8 in 10 Americans hold a view of human origins that involves actions by God -- that he either created humans as depicted in the book of Genesis, or guided a process of evolution. What no doubt continues to surprise many scientists is that 4 out of 10 Americans believe in the first of these explanations.
These views have been generally stable over the last 28 years. Acceptance of the creationist viewpoint has decreased slightly over time, with a concomitant rise in acceptance of a secular evolution perspective. But these shifts have not been large, and the basic structure of beliefs about human beings' origins is generally the same as it was in the early 1980s.
Americans' attitudes about almost anything can and often do have political consequences. Views on the origins of humans are no exception. Debates and clashes over which explanations for human origins should be included in school textbooks have persisted for decades. With 40% of Americans continuing to hold to an anti-evolutionary belief about the origin of humans, it is highly likely that these types of debates will continue.
There are many thousands of outright Christians and Creationists in the scientific community and many of them are beginning to be bold enough to admit it, even though it will at times cost them their jobs.
This is relatively good news for truth. The institutions of higher learning do their best to keep Christians and Creationists out of their schools and the standard scientific organizations do the same. Much of University training includes Darwinist groupthink. "Higher Textual" scrutiny of the Bible, which is the result of bad research and a distaste for God, is the basis for most teaching on the Bible in colleges. The more liberal your politics, the more years you have spent being institutionalized in college, the more likely you accept Darwinist views. Yet even now the American public is not sold. About 4 out of every 5 Americans believe God created. Half of those think He did it according to the narrative of Genesis and about half of those think He used evolution to do it. Only 16% accept the pure Darwinist creed.
Now that more and more news stories are breaking about how science is learning from the designs found in nature, now that more and more fossils are found that ruin the old Darwinist timeline, now that gene mapping is declaring Neanderthal to be human and the Chimp to be far removed from mankind and especially now that after all these years Darwinists still have no real evidence for their hypothesis there is going to be a turning point where Darwinists begin shrinking in number and Creationists growing. In fact the more people learn about real science, the less Darwinism is going to be accepted.
Darwinism and liberalism go hand in hand naturally. Socialism and Communism never work, they only produce failed nations or nations where rule is held by tyranny and the majority of people are kept from freedoms Americans take for granted. Eugenics did not go away, it just changed names and kept on working in the guise of UN health programs and abortion clinics.
I noticed so many angry and raving comments on some of my last few posts that I decided to avoid reading them during a time of supposed good will and joy. As I said, ideas have consequences and I got that said and said well before Christmas week and that is that! If you do not like the fact that mass slaughter and racism and so on are part and parcel with Social Darwinism and Eugenics, do not blame me. I didn't think them up and I am diametrically opposed to racism and Darwinism. Take it up with Francis Galton and Charles Darwin and...oh...they are dead. Well, they would tell you that I am right if they could but for them it is too late. For you, it is never too late.
When doing my anniversary post I mentioned that Julius Caesar declared December 25th as the day to celebrate Winter Solstice even though it actually falls on the 21st or occasionally the 22nd of the month. Also later on this celebration was converted into a celebration of the birth of Christ. My research has convinced me that the year of 5 BC is the most likely date of the birth of Jesus Christ but my wife made a very good point and I want to bring it up. During the Hanukkah season it was common for the priests to be placed in charge of the sheep and therefore to be shepherds. Winter in Israel is certainly not as harsh as it is in the northern climes, so perhaps it was during the Festival of Lights, in honor of the dedication of the second Temple, that Jesus was born? He was crucified at Passover, typifying the Passover sacrifice. He was well aware of High Days and Sabbaths and no doubt God had prepared the people to expect the Messianic prophecies to be fulfilled...it was simply that most of them did not expect a Savior and King for their individual lives, they wanted a ruler who would set up a temporal kingdom on Earth and smack down the Romans.
Many Messianic Jews are willing to consider Christmas as a season to celebrate the birth of Christ as not only a day that has coincided with the Hanukkah season by chance, but perhaps because it could in fact be the actual birthdate. Study of Josephus and Ussher and other sources will have you going in circles, for history gets shortened and garbled over time. For instance, how many Presidents did the USA have before George Washington? What State of our 50 States was never officially ratified as a State? What President segregated the US military? Can you go back one or two hundred years and discover these things? Yes. But going back 2,000 years with accuracy is quite difficult. Fortunately the Bible has been proved trustworthy when tested, to the point that Archeologists doing digs in the Middle East typically carry a Bible with them to help them understand what they find, as empires and kingdoms and rulers listed in scripture have proven to be correct.
Why would any intelligent individual prefer to give credit to blind, uncaring, random chance against all statistical odds for our marvelous Universe rather than a Creator God?
I am behind on my reading already, but I will need to read Modern Physics and Ancient Faith before long. I can hardly resist the summary.
Questions about our origins can be asked at three distinct levels: 1) the origin and operation of the physical universe; 2) the origin of life; and 3) the operation of living systems. Looking at our book catalog and news stories at ARN some would conclude that question #3 is the only one we are interested in. Not true. While our understanding of the complexity of livings system has mushroomed over the past generation bringing renewed interest to the Darwin or Design debate in the biological realm, some are convinced that the most compelling arguments for design are to be found in physics and cosmology (question #1). In that spirit we are making a concerted effort to enhance our catalog offerings in this area.
Our first selection is by Stephen Barr, a particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, who is not only a practicing scientist, but a proven communicator on topics related to science, philosophy, and theology. A rare bird, who is our kind of guy.
As a Roman Catholic, Barr has always been troubled by what he perceives as the false impression that some scientists and the media often give that science is at war with religion or that science somehow disproves religion. Like Phillip Johnson, he traces this thinking to the unnecessary marriage of the practice of science with the philosophical doctrine of materialism--that all things must have a naturalistic, materialistic explanation. Barr goes on to show with great effectiveness that materialism is an unsubstantiated faith among physicists. He proceeds to illustrate how the great discoveries of physics in the 20th century actually serve to confirm a belief in a designer or creator god more than they do a belief in materialism.
Barr clearly separates out the Cosmic Design Argument from the Biological Design Argument in his book. Although he has serious doubts about the power of Darwin's theory of natural selection and random mutation to explain the design of living systems, he points out that even if common descent is conceded for the sake of argument (or proven to be true in the future), it does not have an impact on the independent Cosmic Design Argument which is his focus.
While Barr covers some of the standard arguments for design in physics including the big bang, the anthropic principal, and the laws of nature, he also addresses one topic that is seldom addressed in intelligent design literature: quantum mechanics. Quantum theory is the discovery that subatomic particles act very differently than particles in our observable world, which are described by Newtonian physics. Reductionism and materialism are severely challenged in the quantum world where concepts such as uncertainty, unpredictability, wave/particle duality, instantaneous communication, and the need for an observer reign. The reader should be aware that while Barr holds to a traditional or orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, he does address some of the alternatives to traditional quantum theory. There are more scientific proofs of quantum theory than almost any other area of science, but the philosophical implications fly in the face of materialistic philosophy to such an extent that many physicists simply choose to ignore them or invent questionable alternatives. If you are looking for an introduction to the implications of quantum mechanics for design theory, chapters 24 and 25 of Barr's book are a good place to start.
While our current understanding of physics and quantum theory appear to point away from materialism and toward design, like all good scientists, Barr holds his ideas loosely: Of course, no one knows what the future of science will bring. Perhaps quantum theory will itself be overturned. We can only talk about the implications of the science we have.
Table of Contents
Part I - The Conflict between Religion and Materialism
1. The Materialist Creed/1
2. Materialism as an Anti-Religious Mythology/4
3. Scientific Materialism and Nature/19
Part II - In the Beginning
4. The Expectations/33
5. How Things Looked One Hundred Years Ago/36
6. The Big Bang/ 38
7. Was the Big Bang Really the Beginning?/47
8. What If the Big Bang Was Not the Beginning?/58
Part III - Is the Universe Designed?
9. The Argument from Design/ 65
10. The Attack on the Argument from Design/71
11. The Design Argument and the Laws of Nature/76
12. Symmetry and Beauty in the Laws of Nature/93
13. "What Immortal Hand or Eye?"/105
Part IV - Man's Place in the Cosmos
14. The Expectations/115
15. The Anthropic Coincidences/118
16. Objections to the Idea of Anthropic Coincidences/138
17. Alternative Explanations of the Anthropic Coincidences/149
18. Why Is the Universe So Big?/158
Part V - What is Man?
19. The Issue/167
20. Determinism and Free Will/175
21. Can Matter "Understand"?/190
22. Is the Human Mind Just a Computer?/207
23. What Does the Human Mind Have That Computers Lack?/220
24. Quantum Theory and the Mind/227
25. Alternatives to Traditional Quantum Theory/245
26. Is a Pattern Emerging?/253
Appendix A - God, Time, and Creation/257
Appendix B - Attempts to Explain the Beginning Scientifically/268
Appendix C - Godel's Theorem/279
Stephan M. Barr is a professor of theoretical particle physics at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware.
Free to Think is also on my list. I think it ironic that George Mason University should dismiss Dr. Caroline Crocker on trumped-up charges and fraudulent procedures, thus inspiring her to write a book and help form an organization designed to make the little minds intent on censorship to have to give up their right to stifle discussion, dissent and discovery in science.
"Caroline Crocker is President of American Institute for Technology and Science Education (AITSE), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating to increase scientific understanding and integrity so that science will be based on evidence, not mere consensus."
Take THAT, Darwinists! Integrity. A word the world of science needs badly right now. No more Haeckel, no more Pakicetus, no more censorship and lying and cheating!