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GOP beliefs seem to be evolving

Posted: January 5, 2014 - 12:06am

Do Republicans have a problem with science?

That is apparently the implication from a recently released study by the Pew Research Center, which indicates that fewer Republicans accept one of the basic precepts of biological science – that living things, including humans, have evolved from other forms over time.

That’s right. I’m talking about that radical idea known as evolution, which was first proposed more than 150 years ago by Charles Darwin and his less-famous colleague, Alfred Russel Wallace.

Since that time, the ideas of these two men have been examined, developed and enhanced by thousands of other scientists in fields ranging from geology to genetics. It has become one of the basic foundations for how scientists study and understand the natural world.

Among the general population, however, it has been slow to take hold. According to the Pew study, about 60 percent of Americans accept the idea that living things have evolved. That hasn’t really changed since the last time they did a study in 2009.

What has changed since 2009, however, is that fewer Republicans are in that group. According to the study, among people who described themselves as Republicans, only 43 percent accept the ideas of evolution – down from 54 percent in 2009. Democrats crept up slightly from 64 percent in 2009 to 67 percent, and Independents fell a couple of points to 65 percent. But both of those variations fall within the study’s 3 percent margin of error, so there seems to be no real difference in those groups.

I know many reject the idea that humans and other creatures have evolved and changed over time, based on their religious beliefs. Just last year, U.S. Rep Paul Broun was quoted calling the ideas behind evolution “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

I will not criticize another man’s religion, but I will say that I don’t understand this sort of thinking.

I don’t consult the Bible when seeking scientific information, nor do I crack a biology book when I want to learn more about my relationship with God. That would be like picking up a phone book when I need a dictionary.

So, why are Republicans abandoning this basic scientific concept?

I doubt that many individual people are changing their minds about evolution, so perhaps the party itself is changing. Perhaps people who accept the tenets of evolutionary theory are less likely to support the Republican party.

Another Pew study released in October indicated that Republicans also were more likely to reject scientific evidence for global climate change.

Is it education?

Is it ideology?

Are certain areas of scientific pursuit becoming a political test of sorts?

Is this a symptom of a more deep-seated problem?

Whatever the reasons, it is a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed and not ignored. We need to ask: Which direction is the Republican party going? Where is it bound?

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Comments (5)


ah, a true believer

believing in global warming isn't belief in science, but belief in certain government funded scientists... my goodness there are so many actual scientists that doubt and refute the current faddish theories on global warming... perhaps an actual journalist could find a bit of skepticism useful?
and "evolution" too... that word hasn't "evolved" sufficiently to keep up with all the scientific data, especially cellular data, gained since the 1850's. It has become too small a word for all the questions it seemingly answers. But if you believe, perhaps you could explain how it explains the concept of irreducible complexities. Perhaps you could explain its correlation with racist theories, and refute those theories while keeping your belief?
really, most product use instructions are written on a 6th grade reading and comprehension level, must our editorials be the same?
and perhaps Republicans are just a bit smarter than you've been deceived into believing?
"I will not criticize another man’s [cognitive skills], but I will say that I don’t understand this [lack] of thinking."


Beliefs of Republicans and Democrats

Throwing global warming into your point opens the whole editorial to debate of fact vs. fiction. But back to the issue of fewer Republicans believing in evolution than Democrats, I believe it’s because more Republicans are religious. Many religions reject the theory of evolution. Thus any survey that polls Republicans will have more religious people answering. A study polled Democrats-liberals whether they have a positive view of socialism and found 53 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of liberals do. Many find the concept of socialism to be a scientifically flawed economic system as evidenced by history. So why do Democrats favor this unscientific concept? Is it something based on feelings and beliefs and not science?

Little Lamb


This must rank up there as the snarkiest C C News-Times editorial ever. I must say that I don't understand this sort of thinking from Steve Crawford:

Another Pew study released in October indicated that Republicans were more likely to reject scientific evidence for global climate change. . . . Is this a symptom of a more deep-seeded problem?

To address the initial statement, one must ask, “More than what?” The most logical way to understand that statement and make any sense out of it is:

Republicans are more likely to reject scientific evidence for global climate change than Republicans who reject scientific evidence against global climate change.

There are scientists on both sides of the issue, and they both approach the subject with filters, because "global climate change" is something that requires belief in uncertainty, whichever side one is on.

One group of scientists says 2013 was the warmest year in the history of the world, and another group of scientists, looking at the same data, says 2013 was way cooler than entire epochs in the past, not to mention that it was cooler than some years in the recent past. Thank goodness for us, such assertions are meaningless.

Little Lamb


How deep must the seed be planted? Is the seed so deep that its sprout dies before reaching the surface? Or is the word "seeded" used as it is in a tennis tournament?

Why in the world would the beliefs of people who identify themselves as Republican matter when the belief in question is "global climate change?" Why would the beliefs of Democrats matter when the subject is global climate change?

As George Washington said, “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force! Like fire, it can be a troublesome servant or a fearful master.”

We need to be concerned about what our politicians believe about taking peoples’ earnings, property, livelihoods, and other characteristics of liberty. Global warming is a pesky gnat compared to loss of liberty.

Little Lamb


Theories about origins of species cannot be demonstrated, they cannot be replicated. Those theories are not science. They are beliefs. It makes no difference whether one believes in Darwinian evolution or whether one believes in Biblical creationism. They are both matters of faith. The methods used to study them are identical — wonder and conjecture followed by faith.