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In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins

Americans' views related to religiousness, age, education

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ -- More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.

Trend: Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?

This latest update is from Gallup's Values and Beliefs survey conducted May 8-11. Gallup first asked the three-part question about human origins in 1982.

The percentage of the U.S. population choosing the creationist perspective as closest to their own view has fluctuated in a narrow range between 40% and 47% since the question's inception. There is little indication of a sustained downward trend in the proportion of the U.S. population who hold a creationist view of human origins. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who adhere to a strict secularist viewpoint -- that humans evolved over time, with God having no part in this process -- has doubled since 1999.

Religiousness, Age, Education Related to Americans' Views

Historically, Americans' views on the origin of humans have been related to their religiousness, education, and age.

  • Religiousness relates most strongly to these views, which is not surprising, given that this question deals directly with God's role in human origins. The percentage of Americans who accept the creationist viewpoint ranges from 69% among those who attend religious services weekly to 23% among those who seldom or never attend.
  • Educational attainment is also related to these attitudes, with belief in the creationist perspective dropping from 57% among Americans with no more than a high school education to less than half that (27%) among those with a college degree. Those with college degrees are, accordingly, much more likely to choose one of the two evolutionary explanations.
  • Younger Americans -- who are typically less religious than their elders -- are less likely to choose the creationist perspective than are older Americans. Americans aged 65 and older -- the most religious of any age group -- are most likely to choose the creationist perspective.

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? By education, church attendance, and age, May 2014

Americans Less Familiar With "Creationism" Now Than in 2007

Americans' self-reported familiarity with evolution as an explanation for the origin and development of life on Earth has stayed roughly the same over the past seven years. Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they are very or somewhat familiar with it, leaving 19% not too or not at all familiar.

However, significantly fewer Americans claim familiarity with "creationism" than did so seven years ago. In 2007, 86% were familiar, including 50% who were very familiar. Now, 76% are familiar, with just 38% very familiar. In short, even though the adherence to the creationist view has not changed over time, familiarity with the term "creationism" has diminished.

Familiarity With Evolution and Creationism as Explanations for Origin of Life, May 2014

Sixty-four percent of those who are very familiar with the theory of evolution choose one of the two evolutionary explanations for the origin of humans, compared with 28% among the smaller group of Americans who report being not too or not at all familiar with it. The majority of those not familiar with evolution choose the creationist viewpoint.

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? By familiarity with theory of evolution, May 2014

These relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it. Those with less education are most likely to espouse the creationist view and to be least familiar with evolution, but it's not clear that gaining more education per se would shift their perspectives. Many religious Americans accept creationism mostly on the basis of their religious convictions. Whether their beliefs would change if they became more familiar with evolution is an open question.

Implications

Between 40% and 47% of Americans over the past 32 years have said the creationist explanation for the origin of human life best fits their personal views. These Americans tend to be highly religious, underscoring the degree to which many Americans view the world around them through the lens of their religious beliefs. Those who adopt the creationist view also tend to have lower education levels, but given the strong influence of religious beliefs, it is not clear to what degree having more education or different types of education might affect their views.

A number of states have been embroiled in fights in recent years over the degree to which evolution and creationism should be included in their public school curricula. Residents in the South are more likely to believe in the creationist view of the origin of humans than are those living in other regions, making it clear why the fights to have creationism addressed in the public schools might be an important political issue in that region.

Still, few scientists would agree that humans were created pretty much in their present form at one time 10,000 years ago, underscoring the ongoing discontinuity between the beliefs that many Americans hold and the general scientific consensus on this important issue.

From Think Progress

Three Ways Climate Change Is Going To Ruin Your Beer

BY RYAN KORONOWSKI JUNE 7, 2014 AT 2:23 PM UPDATED: JUNE 7, 2014 AT 2:24 PM

"Three Ways Climate Change Is Going To Ruin Your Beer"

 

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beer can in desert

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Water is beer’s primary ingredient, and brewers are worried about having enough.

In 2011, it took brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev 3.5 barrels of waterto produce 1 barrel of beer. Due to concerns over drought and shrinking water supplies, the world’s largest brewer set a goal to drop that number to 3.25 barrels by 2012. It met that goal, and this week, Pete Kraemer, the company’s vice president for supply said that they has shrunk that number down to 3.15 barrels, with plans to drop it still further. For context, their plant in Houston alone produces 12 million barrels of beer each year.


The drought in California already has breweries that rely on the Russian River for water scrambling to find new sources, like a reverse osmosis system that’d purify groundwater, or picking up stakes and moving to Chicago.

Most of the water used to make beer does not make it into beer bottles — it ends up as wastewater, which in turn requires energy to treat. Matt Silver was a NASA researcher who decided to use his knowledge of life-support systems in space to create a water treatment system that turns industrial wastewater into electricity. The water that comes out of a brewery, for example, contains too much in the way of organic compounds to be dumped down the drain — but those compounds can feed microbes that turn it into methane, which can be used to heat and power a factory. His company, Cambrian Innovations, received seed money from the EPA, NASA, and the Pentagon and has been selling systems that do this to breweries like Lagunitas in drought-parchedCalifornia. The state uses around 20 percent of its total electricity generated to treat, transport, and use water.

Large brewers are also concerned about barley, the second ingredient of beer.

In recent years, heavy rains in Australia and drought in England have damaged barely crops. That pattern of heavier downpours and drier droughts is likely to accelerate as greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the planet, according to the National Climate Assessment. Anheuser-Busch Inbev receives a lot of their barley from Idaho. Howard Neibling, a professor in the University of Idaho’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, told the Houston Chronicle that farmers see less water coming as snowpacks decline, and have tried to become more efficient with their water usage.

SABMiller, the second-largest brewer in the world, tried brewing with cassava, a widely-available staple crop in Africa and South America. The project in Mozambique was initially difficult because the potato-like root vegetable rots quickly, but through use of a mobile processing plant, the company was able to launch the first commercial-scale cassava-based beer, Impala. SABMillion likes this because it diversifies their product base, insulating them from droughts that have endangered barley cropsin the past. Local farmers also like the commitment to local, sustainable farming.

The third ingredient of beer is hops, which is also facing pressures from a warming world.

study from 2009 suggested that the quality of Saaz hops from the Czech Republic has been falling since 1954 due to warmer temperatures. This is true for hops-growing regions across Europe. “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now,” Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company sustainability director Jenn Orgolini said in 2011. “Craft brewers — the emphasis there is on craft. We make something, and it’s a deeply agricultural product.”

Beyond adapting to the impacts of climate change, however, some breweries are directly trying to lower their carbon emissions that help fuel climate change. Many are finding it’s also saving them money.

Earlier this year, the Outer Banks Brewing Station told the Triangle Business Journal that it was the first brewery in the country to be directly powered by wind energy. It installed a small wind turbine on an 80-foot tower, which will shave off $150-250 per month in electricity costs. EarthTechling points out that though the $50,000 cost would not be earned back until 2020, the PR the purchase granted the small brewery probably paid back the costs already.

Abita Brewing Company last year installed 340 solar panels on its warehouse roof, which was large enough to rank near the top of all commercial solar installations in the state of Louisiana. Solar systems have been popular with craft breweries and hard cider companies, like Woodchuck in Vermont. It offsets their power cheaply or heats their water, cutting emissions and costs.

New Belgium Brewing Company last year was recognized by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council for putting in place systems that allow it to divert 99.8 percent of its waste from the landfill.

From Starts with a Bang

It should be worth noting that, realistically, if planets get close enough for this, they’ll likely merge in short order, at least on geological timescales. But I wasn’t inspired from Rocheworld, which sounds great but which I was ignorant of, but by a more modern, lighthearted source of science fiction: Futurama.

Image credit: KnowYourMeme.com.

Image credit: KnowYourMeme.com.

As always, all glory to the hypnotoad! 

Image credit: Petr Scheirich, 2005, via http://sajri.astronomy.cz/asteroidgroups/groups.htm.

Image credit: Petr Scheirich, 2005, via http://sajri.astronomy.cz/asteroidgroups/groups.htm.

From David Hurn on decaying gravitational orbits: “It is interesting that the moon is slowly spiraling away from us, caused by tidal effects I believe.

See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Iridescent Clouds over Thamserku 
Image Credit & Copyright: Oleg Bartunov

Explanation: Why would a cloud appear to be different colors? A relatively rare phenomenon known as iridescent clouds can show unusual colors vividly or a whole spectrum of colors simultaneously. These clouds are formed of small water droplets of nearly uniform size. When the Sun is in the right position and mostly hidden by thick clouds, these thinner cloudssignificantly diffract sunlight in a nearly coherent manner, with different colors being deflected by different amounts. Therefore, different colors will come to the observer from slightlydifferent directions. Many clouds start with uniform regions that could show iridescence but quickly become too thick, too mixed, or too far from the Sun to exhibit striking colors. Theabove iridescent cloud was photographed in 2009 from the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, behind the 6,600-meter peak named Thamserku.

from 3QD

HOW MUCH DO OUR GENES INFLUENCE OUR POLITICAL BELIEFS?

Edsall

Thomas B. Edsall in the NYT

In “Obedience to Traditional Authority: A heritable factor underlying authoritarianism, conservatism and religiousness,” published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2013, three psychologists write that “authoritarianism, religiousness and conservatism,” which they call the “traditional moral values triad,” are “substantially influenced by genetic factors.” According to the authors — Steven Ludeke of Colgate, Thomas J. Bouchard of the University of Minnesota, and Wendy Johnson of the University of Edinburgh — all three traits are reflections of “a single, underlying tendency,” previously described in one word by Bouchard in a 2006 paper as “traditionalism.” Traditionalists in this sense are defined as “having strict moral standards and child-rearing practices, valuing conventional propriety and reputation, opposing rebelliousness and selfish disregard of others, and valuing religious institutions and practices.”

Working along a parallel path, Amanda Friesen, a political scientist at Indiana University, and Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz, a graduate student in political science at Rice University, concluded from their study comparing identical and fraternal twins that “the correlation between religious importance and conservatism” is “driven primarily, but usually not exclusively, by genetic factors.” The substantial “genetic component in these relationships suggests that there may be a common underlying predisposition that leads individuals to adopt conservative bedrock social principles and political ideologies while simultaneously feeling the need for religious experiences.”

From this perspective, the Democratic Party — supportive of abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the primacy of self-expressive individualism over obligation to family — is irreconcilably alien to a segment of the electorate. And the same is true from the opposite viewpoint: a Republican Party committed to right-to-life policies, to a belief that marriage must be between a man and a woman, and to family obligation over self-actualization, is profoundly unacceptable to many on the left.

If these predispositions are, as Friesen and Ksiazkiewicz argue, to some degree genetically rooted, they may not lend themselves to rational debate and compromise.

More here.

- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/#sthash.dS4YfDYZ.dpuf

Think LHC.

I will soon view a DVD I found at a local public library. It's titled Particle Fever, and a paragraph on the jacket reads:

Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation.

Several months ago I saw reports that the LHC had found evidence of the boson. A few days ago I saw a report that the LHC staff now doubts that they had found it.

Given the cost, how can the original findings be reproduced, whether on another LHC or by other researchers on a different LHC?

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