Science vs. Religion in the United States

A recently released Gallup Poll indicates that more Americans accept theory of creationism than the science of evolution.

I have to ask myself, is it because those pesky scientists have been wrong about so many things or because religion has been so particularly good at teaching us about the way the world is?

The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans’ religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend.

I’d be interested if there is also a correlation between those that finish high school and those that trust the science behind the theory of evolution, and again between those that go on to University and if they believe in so called “intelligent design” or evolution.

The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.

Quite frankly, no matter which side of the debate you take, you have to admit the data indicate that about a quarter of Americans are stupid.

The Mormons

“I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.”

-Douglas Adams

Twenty years ago today, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. At this time, I won’t go into any detail how that’s worked out for me.

I will point out though, that a couple of days ago, the American channel PBS aired a documentary titled “The Mormons” which offers at least a relatively fair look at the church, its inspiring history and many of its blemishes. If you’ve ever wondered what the Mormons are all about, this documentary is a good place to start.

The Mormons (PBS Documentary)

I believe the author and producer, Helen Whitney, tries to come off as impartial, however, she did make the impression to one of her interviewees that she really didn’t want to hear any negative comments about the church, even if they are true. In an off camera pre-interview he asked her, “If you love the church so much, why don’t you join it?” She responded, “well maybe if I were younger.” It gives cause to wonder at her true impartiality.

Still the documentary will probably show you whatever you are looking to find, whether it’s support for the church or evidence that Joseph Smith was a con man who was so convincing that he even had himself fooled.

You can view it online in its entirety at pbs.org/mormons/.

Jesus Freaks

Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a “Jesus Movement” in the United States where a lot of young people involved in drugs, rock & roll, and the anti-establishment hippie culture found “salvation in Jesus” and turned to writing music centered on Christ. Pretty soon, there were enough people interested in the genre, that in 1979 Creation Festivals were started as an alternative venue to traditional rock concerts.

[..]Creationfest, [is] a four-day Christian rock show-cum-revival held every summer in Eastern Washington where religion, politics, and music collide. It is here that thousands of eager young Christians gather to worship, save souls, and get “Crunk on Christ”. Jesus Freaks takes you deep into the heart of this contemporary Christian culture where religion and rock n’ roll make strange bedfellows. (25 mins)

Quotable quote: “I betcha Jesus can, like, ya know, he’s the baddest b-boy in the world, ya know what I’m saying—he can do the windmill while doing the robot and the electric boogaloo at the same time, ya know.”

(via Smashing Telly)

The Most Hated Family in America

Who is the most hated family in America? Well it might just be the Fred Phelps family. As a result of their extremist family religion preaching hatred and intolerance, protesting at the funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq, and being all around not nice people, nobody seems to like them.

Louis Theroux of the BBC presents the documentary “The Most Hated Family in America“ (Wikipedia link).

Warning: this video contains offensive attitudes from homophobic nutcases!

Fantastic Louis Theroux documentary about homophobic, anti-semitic religious lunatics (Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church) in the USA. Originally aired on BBC2 (UK). If you can look past the epithets without being offended, it’s a laugh riot. Fred Phelps comes across as REALLY stupid!

Originally aired on BBC 2, UK, April 2007

(via Waxy)

The Rough History of Disbelief

In the “History of Disbelief”, Jonathan Miller goes on a journey exploring the origins of his own lack of belief and uncovering the hidden story of atheism. From the BBC here are all three parts:

The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a “thought disorder”. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st century.