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April 23, 2019

College educated conservatives are divided on evolution

Filed under: Intelligent Design — Razib Khan @ 10:27 am

A few years ago an academic friend of mine mentioned offhand that it must be difficult for me to be an evolutionary biologist (of sorts) and a conservative (of sorts). As someone in touch with many “elite conservatives” (people who work at think-tanks and the like), that’s not true at all. Though Creationism has substantial support at the grassroots (the only time I have encountered evolution-skepticism in the last ten years has been from people who grew up fundamentalist), the reality is that at the elite levels in the conservative movement it is not a widespread position.

But, conservatives are still divided. Looking at the General Social Survey EVOLVED variable, and limiting to non-Hispanic whites, you see that while there is nearly total unanimity among self-identified liberals with college educations or higher that humans developed from animals, college-educated conservatives are split.

If you run some regressions you will see a lot of this is due not to politics, but to what politics is correlated with. Self-identified conservatives are much more likely to be religious conservatives. Those conservatives who are not religious conservatives are not very skeptical of evolution.

But one issue that I am wondering about: if most elite conservatives have no issue with evolution, and even college-educated conservatives are split down the middle, why is there so little “balance” at conservative publications? That is, periodically there is a report or opinion favorable to Intelligent Design published. But there is rarely a counter-response, even though attitudes amongst the readership are surely mixed?

I may personally attempt to change this a bit by submitting “pro-evolution” pieces here and there. We’ll see how that works out.

March 28, 2010

Intelligent Design & idiocy

Filed under: creationism,Intelligent Design — Razib Khan @ 11:57 am

idiotsguidIDI am consciously aware that the “Idiot’s Guide” series are not parodies. But when Josh Roseneau introduced me to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design I simply assumed that this was a parody or gag-gift. This illustrates the lack of unity of cognitive process. On the one hand as I note above I was aware of the reality that this was a well-known brand of introductory books, but my prejudice against Creationists and Intelligent Design folk, and my perception that they’re stupid, led to me infer reflexively that this was an ironic parody. After all, it seemed mean to point out that those looking to understand Intelligent Design may be somewhat duller, on average, than those who would find the enterprise laughable.

For your information, here are the mean WORDSUM scores for various evolution related questions on the General Social Survey (WORDSUM is a vocabulary test, with scores from 0 to 10).

“Human beings developed from animals”

True = 6.36
False = 5.87

“View about origin & development of man”

God created = 6.02
Evolved, god guided = 6.36
Evolved = 6.71

“Humans evolved from animals”

Definitely true = 7.02
Probably true = 6.11
Probably not true = 5.59
Definitely not true = 5.84

“Human beings developed from an earlier species of animal”

Definitely true = 6.91
Probably true = 6.33
Probably not true = 6.14
Definitely not true = 5.92

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