at least we're in good company


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59 Responses:

  1. bistronaut says:

    Ha! Take that, you stupid Turks!

  2. d14n says:

    I find this graph easier to read. YMMV.

  3. chuck_lw says:

    That survey is incomplete. They needed to ask people if they believed humans were engineered as a slave race to an alien civilization.

  4. evan says:

    Weirdly, that tickmark at the bottom is not at 50%. Or at least it doesn't line up with the 50% tick at the top.

  5. infamousbat says:

    I knew I loved Denmark and Sweden for a reason!

  6. pvck says:

    From what I hear, the native flora and fauna of Iceland are so weird and awesome that they pretty much insist a belief in evolution. See, e.g., Bjork.

    • lars_larsen says:

      Actually, I think thats exactly why Iceland and other arctic-circle countries are so high on the list.

      Its all about the gulls!

      • rakafkaven says:

        Personally, I find the presumption that so-called "ring species" are evidence of evolution to be a spurious one. The oft-cited gulls, for example, are perfectly capable of breeding with all of their associated species, should they choose to do so. The fact that they do not merely indicates that they find particular traits more pleasing, and possess the mobility to allow them range far and wide in search of such specific traits. It may seem counter-intuitive to believe that they would expend such great amount of energy in search of simple pleasure; however, the incontrovertible authenticity of this postulation is self-evident when one recalls the universally-accepted fact that gulls just want to have fun.

        • lars_larsen says:

          Do you have any evidence that they can breed "if they choose to do so"? Or are you just making that up?

          They dont have to range far and wide in search of mates, the two species even share nesting sites, yet they still cant interbreed.

          Even if they could breed "if they wanted to", that would mean that a bison and a domestic cow are the same species. The definition of a species is a group that can breed IN THE WILD. So even if you're right, which I dont believe, you're still wrong.

    • benediktus says:

      ...on the other hand the gene pool of the icelanders seems to be pretty limited (sorry for the shitty music on that page)

      does that mean inbreeding leads to the "believe" in darwinism?

  7. WTF? Why isn't Canada on that list? Don't tell me the proportion of Canadians who believe in evolution is smaller than that of Americans! *disturbed*

  8. spc78 says:

    Hooray bible belt. Something needs to be done about those people.

    I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    • lars_larsen says:

      I did some digging on the CIA factbook, and Iceland has less than 3 percent atheists, and the US has 10 percent. So thats not it.

      • snitrocket says:

        Religion isn't the problem. Pathological religion in the US (and a few other places) is. It is perfectly possible to accept evidence based science and [religion of choice] at the same time. Assuming monolithic, anti-Enlightenment religious notions need to run the world seems to be a pathology resident in only pockets worldwide. Unfortunately, one of the most powerful pockets of that sort of behaviour is busy creating and/or unifying a large, antagonistic pocket elsewhere.

        • lars_larsen says:

          That makes sense since 90 percent of americans are religious, but only 50 percent didnt believe in evolution or didnt know. I mean, the former POPE said there was evidence for evolution and that it was more than just a hypothesis.

          Turkey is 99.8 percent sunni(sp) muslim. 0.2 percent christian. So I guess that means zero atheists.

        • ultranurd says:

          The full article I saw about this study mentioned that, in addition to fewer people in the U.S. believing in evolution, there is a much higher correlation between that unbelief and your religious and political persuasions than there is in Europe. I interpreted that as saying that Europeans who don't believe in evolution are roughly evenly distributed through the population, whereas in the US it's concentrated among the religious.

  9. rapier1 says:

    I don't know. Its a pretty sweep generalization to make from a relatively small sample size. I'd really like to know more about the statistics and make up of the various groups in each country - especially how well they align. I'd also like to know how they validated the question. Thats just me though.

    • strspn says:

      N=1000 on yes/no/not sure surveys is supposed to put the 95% confidence interval at ±2.2% or so, IIRC.

      • That's about right. Even presidential election polls don't need an n bigger than ~3000.

        Here's what the Science online supplement says about this survey:

        The U. S. data for 2003 were collected online using a sample of 2,066 adults
        from a probability-based national panel maintained by Knowledge Networks, Inc. The
        2003 study was sponsored by a grant from the Foundation BBVA in Madrid, Spain, as a
        part of a larger 10-country study of attitudes toward biotechnology. The U.S. data for the
        years 2004 and 2005 were collected online using samples of approximately 2,000 adults
        from a probability-based national panel maintained by Knowledge Networks, Inc. Both
        the 2004 and 2005 studies were conducted as a part of an evaluation of two NSF-funded
        projects conducted by ScienCentral, Inc. (NSF grants ESI-0201155 and ESI-0206184).
        The U.S. Science and Engineering Indicators data are deposited at the Inter-university
        Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

        A probability-based national panel should be pretty representative of the national distribution of sex, age, and socioeconomic status.

        • rapier1 says:

          Honestly, it still seems small to me. I mean, you have .1% if the population of Malta taking this survey compared to .0005% of the US population. Maybe .1% is overkill on the part of Malta?

          I'm wondering what the responses would be like if you asked the inverse question or provided more options (such as theistic evolution).

          • They asked the inverse question in the same survey. Here's the complete set of questions from the 2005 US poll. The numbers are percentages for true / uncertain / false.

            Over periods of millions of years, some species of plants and animals adjust and survive while other species die and become extinct. T: 78% U: 16% F: 6%

            More than half of human genes are identical to those of mice. T: 32 U: 47 F: 21

            Human beings have somewhat less than half of the DNA in common with chimpanzees. T: 15 U: 48 F: 38

            The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs. T: 28 U: 22 F: 51

            Human beings were created by God as whole persons and did not evolve from earlier forms of life. T: 62 U: 2 F: 36

            Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. T: 40 U: 21 F: 39

            • dougo says:

              So 2% answered both of the last two questions as true? Or is that just the margin of error?

              • deviantq says:

                To be pedantic, it's possible that the "as we know them today" allowed some people wiggle room to believe in homo erectus et. al. But I'd bet margin of error, or just inconsistency.

        • wfaulk says:

          Huh. I'm a Knowledge Networks respondent. I'm probably represented in that poll.

    • lemonkey says:

      A few months ago (last year maybe?), Scientific American had a big data crunch comparing the relative levels of secularism between countries and it pretty much jives with this graph.

  10. snitrocket says:

    I've always loved the Nordic countries. Sweden, Norway and Finland are amazing even if you don't have money, and Iceland is fun if you do. (Never done Danemark, sad to say.)

    That is, if you go in for cold, which I do. Finnish is an absurd language and Icelandic is weird, but if you know German (or another germanic, but German is the easiest baseline for picking up the others) most of the others (including Dutch) aren't that hard to pick up. And if you want to immigrate to Finnland, Swedish is sufficient.

    Finnland looks most appealing, in terms of governmental policy and opportunity. Iceland looks most interesting, but harder both requirement-wise and language-wise. Also, we'd be doing tech, and they're weak there, so moving our company/jobs would be more difficult.

    Of course, none of this matters for the topic at hand, because we ain't gonna spawn, so I don't care directly what kind of superstition they cram kid's head with, more than abstractly. I'm keeping my genes to myself.

    • strspn says:

      Sweden is #1 in the world on life span, infant mortality, poverty rate, literacy, and something else that I can't remember. They have their national debt, inflation, and cost of living well under control these days. However, a lot of people are put off by their two-bracket income tax system (0% on whatever you make under about 10% above the median wage, and, in Stockholm at least, 57% on everything above that.) People point to the Nordic country's suicide rate, but that is commensurate with sunlight in all the arctic regions, not the government or economy.

      • luserspaz says:

        Sweden is pretty much awesome. I spent the summer there, and it's certainly the nicest country I've ever visited. I did miss a few (admittedly materialistic) things, but overall a great place to be. I'm not sure how I'd deal with the lack of sun in winter, however.

      • dougo says:

        They're #1 in the world on hot blondes.

  11. It's just another example of the wretched Left-Wing Media trying to make the US look stupid. We wouldn't look so bad if they'd included the Vatican.

    • prog says:

      Actually, Catholics tend to be cool with evolution too, so.

      In was as a Catholic school student, in fact, that I not only learned about evolution but was informed (by a priest!) that the early Genesis stories were creation myths. That was pretty world-shaking for wee prog, right there.

      • artlung says:

        I can vouch for that. Evolution is the real deal. Catholicism may have given Galileo a hard time, but it got over it, you know, eventually. As always in everything, there's a wikipedia article

      • Priests are weird. I went to an Episcopalian high school, and the most religiously tolerant and sensible person there was the priest. He was also the only one who, in four years of exposure to doctrine and practice, gave my rebellious (read: defensive) atheist self any glimmer of what it meant to be religious and why anyone would want to do it.

        Anyway, you're right... I was making the highly insulting error of confusing Catholic doctrine with Fundamentalist Protestant beliefs. Last I heard, the Vatican was okay with evolution, but believes God stepped in at the moment when humans emerged. Now that I think about it, I don't know whether that would result in a "yes" or a "no" to the poll question as it was phrased.

  12. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that Turkey is supposed to join the EU in the next couple of years.
    No mention of the fact that more than 50% of turks are raving creationists.

    • sherbooke says:

      Every time Turkey tries to join, some other country raises an issue. France said "non" to the EU constitution because of Les turques. Austria was the last country to make a big deal out of it. Not sure about the Finns - they currently hold the EU presidency. It maybe a while before they join the EU; I hope they so. I've remodeled de Gaulles definition of Europe "Atlantic to the Urals" to "Atlantic to Alaska" just for this occasion.

      One of the reasons that Iceland maybe so cool about Evolution is that they recently surveyed the entire population for DNA so, in effect, they've been exposed to a huge public information program about evolution. I should speak to my mate Dicky Dawkins - well, he's more a friend of a friend really - about making a big BBC 10 part series about Evolution (along the lines of Life On Earth). They could sell it to PBS. Done right, I'm sure that would change the figures.

      As a side-thought, I'm sure the American Christian Right would want to have "balance" by producing their own version. Roffles will ensue!

  13. ultranurd says:

    The Bible also says π = 3.

  14. sweh says:

    I was starting to wonder why Britain was so low (6th place) and then I remembered that my (well educated, smart) mother also believes the moon landings were faked. Then I stopped wondering!

  15. susano_otter says:

    I find it bizarre that such an enduringly superstitious and unreasonable culture could boast such a string of scientific and economic successes. You'd think that Americans would have a lot of difficulty engaging the real world productively, but that seems not to be the case. What gives?

  16. phreddiva says:

    I am taking this moment to cash in on my German citizenship.