A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities – Cambridge Scholars Publishing UK
“The reality of evolution is indisputable and, based on current scientific evidence, all people in the world should accept it. Yet, only 41% of adults worldwide embrace evolution, and they do it under the premise that a deity created humans. One in every three people are strict creationists who believe in religious scriptures concerning the origin of our universe and of humans, and explicitly reject that Homo sapiens is an ape —when, in fact, science informs us that humans’ closest relatives are chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. Indeed, we are all apes.”
Our new book is out. It includes 210-pages, more than 100 data figures, maps, tables and explanatory boxes. In addition, a color-page centerfold (“Image Resources of Didactic Relevance“) is also provided. Below, I summarize information shared by the Publisher, Cambridge Scholars Publishing – United Kingdom, including endorsements, book description, table of contents, exemplar figures (from the centerfold) and text excerpts (Preface). Hope the readers enjoy it! – GPC
“The great contribution of ‘Measuring the Evolution Controversy’ is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution vs. those who accept evolution as science. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England —which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” — Niles Eldredge, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York.
“Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.” — Barbara Forrest, PhD, co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).
Why do people not accept evolution?
“In Measuring the Evolution Controversy, Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C and Avelina Espinosa postulate that the debate over evolution-and-science versus creationism is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation (religion and faith). Belief disrupts, distorts, delays or stops the comprehension and acceptance of scientific evidence. The authors refer to this proposal as the incompatibility hypothesis (IH), the conceptual foundation of this book.”
“Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa explain that the evolution controversy is not only measurable, descriptively, but also testable as in an ordinary field of science. To accomplish this, they examine three predictions of IH. First, chronological-conflict-and-accommodation (i.e. the historical re-emergence of antagonism between evolution and religion when advances in science continue to threaten the belief in supernatural causation; in such situations, creationists’ rejection of and subsequent partial acceptance of the new scientific discoveries are expected). Second, change in evolution’s acceptance as function of educational attainment (i.e. the positive association between acceptance of evolution and level of education). Third, change in evolution’s acceptance as function of religiosity (i.e. the negative association between acceptance of evolution and level of religious beliefs). By relying on an ample assessment of the attitudes toward evolution by highly-educated audiences (i.e. research faculty, educators of prospective teachers, and college students in the United States) the authors characterize their understanding of science and evolution, personal religious convictions, and political ideology.”
“The authors make recommendations for improving science and evolution literacy, as well as evolution’s acceptance. They end the book by forecasting a probable world-socio-cultural landscape in which acceptance of science and evolution will take place.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter One – Why Do People Not Accept Evolution?
Chapter Two – The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation
Chapter Three – A Conceptual Landscape to Depict Acceptance of Evolution
Chapter Four – Educators of Prospective Teachers Hesitate to Embrace Evolution: A National Sample in the United States
Chapter Five – Influence of Political Ideology on Acceptance of Evolution
Chapter Six – Comparisons: Researchers vs. Educators vs. College Students
Chapter Seven – Comparisons: Students at Public vs. Private vs. Religious Institutions
Chapter Eight – Recommendations and the Future of Evolution’s Acceptance: The U.S.
Chapter Nine – Evolution and the Upcoming Challenges of a Predictable Landscape
Appendix A – Survey Methods
Appendix B – Supplementary Figures to Chapter Four
Above: Acceptance of evolution or creationism among educators of prospective teachers in the United States. The majority of educators accept evolution openly; creationism is accepted openly mainly in the South and West of the country.
Above: Science and evolution knowledge have a negative association with religiosity; both decline with increasing religious beliefs, as documented for the New England researchers, educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and New England college students (a-b). Note how evolution knowledge increases with increasing science knowledge in the three groups (c), a positive association of variables.
Above: Science and evolution knowledge among the non-religious (top; religiosity index = 0.0) and the deeply religious (bottom; religiosity index = 3.0). The non-religious New England researchers, educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and New England college students score highest in science/evolution knowledge: values ranging from 2.59 (high) to 1.67 (low). In contrast, the deeply religious, score lowest in science/evolution knowledge: values ranging from 2.0 (high) to 1.35 (low).
Excerpts from the Preface
“In Chapters One to Three, we introduce the reader to the conceptual premises to studying the evolution controversy as a scientific field of investigation. In Chapters Four and Five, we examine acceptance of evolution in our case-study population of educators of prospective teachers in the U.S.; we explore their overall understanding of science/evolution, and the effects of distinctive levels of religiosity on their views about science and evolution. We also discuss the influence of political ideology and conservative thinking on these educators’ perceptions of evolution.”
“In Chapter Six, we compare acceptance of evolution among New England researchers (affiliated with some of the elite universities in the U.S.) vs. the educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and vs. our samples of New England college students. In Chapter Seven, we contrast views about science/evolution among college students at public vs. private vs. religious institutions. And, in Chapter Eight, we provide recommendations for improving science and evolution literacy, as well as evolution’s acceptance, by each of these populations. We close, in Chapter Nine, with a forecast of a probable world-socio-cultural landscape in which acceptance of science and evolution will take place in the future.”
The Future of Evolution’s Acceptance
“Because the U.S. is projected to become slightly less religious and more unaffiliated by 2050 (primarily due to faith switching and secularization of the “nones” –non-believers, agnostics and atheists), we speculate that acceptance of evolution in this nation will increase during the next four decades. However, America’s fascination with reinventing variants of creationism (e.g. theistic evolution, creation science, young earth creationism, Intelligent Design, BioLogos, evolutionary creation) to challenge evolution, or insert a Creator or Designer in the background of causality (distant creationism), shall probably continue in the future, although in an improved, more-favorable-to-evolution landscape. A forecast that we make with cautious optimism.”
Above: The U.S. will experience substantial population growth during the next forty years, from 310.4 million, in 2010, to 394.4 million by 2050 (a 21.3% increase). The current Christian majority will decrease by 2050 (from 77.4% to 65.8%) and the unaffiliated will increase during the same time period (from 17.1% to 25.6%). The fertility rates (2010 – 2015) will continue to be higher among the religious vs. the unaffiliated (Muslims 2.7, Christians 2.1, Hindus 2.1, Buddhists 2.1, Jews 2.0, and unaffiliated 1.6). The U.S. shall become less religious primarily due to the rise of the unaffiliated. Thus, public acceptance of evolution —excluding humans— will increase in the U.S. above its current ≈40%.
Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance. — GPC — EvoLiteracy 2016.
How to cite the book:
Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.
Suggested Readings and Related Links
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“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.
“Paz-y-Miño-C is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.