Poll: Majority of Americans not too confident in Big Bang theory

posted at 4:41 pm on April 21, 2014 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Blogger tries to liven up slow news day by starting culture-war food fight.”

See any trends in this AP data?

bb2

As you’d expect, phenomena that are personally observable, like cancer or mental illness, are more plausible to people. Global or cosmic phenomena like climate change and the Big Bang, where you’re forced to take the word of researchers, are more dubious — especially to religious believers, since claims at that scale implicate origins. Doubts spike about the Big Bang because any theory of origin is incomplete by definition; someone will always reply “but what came before that?” and the answer will always disappoint. Even so, though, The Atlantic notes a 2008 study that found skepticism of the Big Bang and evolution was higher in the U.S. than it is many other western countries despite the fact that Americans’ scientific knowledge generally is comparable to theirs. That’s probably a function of America being more religious.

There’s a partisan bias here too:

The poll highlights “the iron triangle of science, religion and politics,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication…

Political and religious values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.

Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.

I can understand why religious belief would affect views of evolution, the Earth’s age, and the universe’s beginnings, but offhand not why it would affect views of climate change. That’s more a matter of correlation than causation, I take it — conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more religious, so you see religion and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

One interesting outlier in the numbers above: Why is there so much public confidence in DNA? Granted, it’s a personal, not cosmic, phenomenon so people should be more willing to accept it, but it’s not directly observable the way the symptoms of cancer or mental illness are. I think there are two reasons for the buy-in. One: Everyone recognizes that children resemble their parents, physically and otherwise, so there are in fact observable “symptoms.” Science is always on stronger footing when it’s trying to explain something you’re seeing with your own eyes. Two: The insatiable public appetite for crime stories has made DNA familiar in a way that most biological concepts aren’t. When you see the villain of the week on “Law & Order” get life without parole because the DNA on the murder weapon could only be his in a population of seven billion, you’ll believe. Maybe that’s what global warmists should be doing with their time: “Climate Detectives” on Investigation Discovery. The polls will turn around in no time.


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Isn’t there a large speculative aspect to the big bang theory?
Same with the “dark matter” and “dark energy” components to explain unexpected and inexplicable observations?

To help out AP in getting this culture war started – isn’t the invocation of dark matter and dark energy the same as claiming it’s magic?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Alternate headline: “Blogger tries to liven up slow news day by starting culture-war food fight.”

Were Jeb and Marco unavailable?

nobar on April 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Americans aren’t idiots

Garwalf on April 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I have a Ph.D in chemistry. I wish I could say the BBT was absolute fact, but it’s got a big flaw– it can’t be experimentally proven.

Also, the assumptions as to the causation of the Big Bang are laughable, such as that in an infinitely tiny point there was all the matter/energy of the universe. Half of the matter was matter, and half was anti-matter. Then suddenly it shifted to 75% matter/anti-matter and exploded, and then, along the way, it gained mass.

Granted, the universe is expanding from a seemingly singular point. But we are finding galaxies that are too young to have gravitationally formed from Big Bang.

Plus when people show me a pretty model and claim absolute truth without experimental evidence, I tend to laugh at them. And compare them to Palm Readers.

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

I take it — conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more religious, so you see religion and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

Conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more intelligent , so you see intelligence and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

burrata on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Majority of Americans not too confident in Big Bang theory

How could that be?
It’s a great show with great ratings…..

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Given that a minority doubt that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, perhaps the 51% lack of confidence in the title question was the precise 13.8 billion years figure. I know that’s the currently held estimate, but what’s the plus or minus on that? At that scale, does a few hundred million years make a difference?

LancerDL on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Ahem, a dot so small it could dance on the head of a pin was so full of antimatter that it imploded and then exploded and cast all sorts of insta-matter dispersing quazillions of miles and then on one planet a bunch of random elements decided to party together randomly and presto, life!

Makes sense to me. Just add a few billion years. It’s magic.

John the Libertarian on April 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

To help out AP in getting this culture war started – isn’t the invocation of dark matter and dark energy the same as claiming it’s magic?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Yes! There’s a lot of…let’s call it imagination, involved in “science”.

JohnBrown on April 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

This thread will end badly.

ElectricPhase on April 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM

As I told my child when we got to studying astronomy, the Big Bang occurred, but whether it is the beginning of the universe is the question mark. That is why it is a theory.

But i am a bit worried about the people who don’t think the earth is billion of years old. How old do they actually think the earth is?

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Granted, the universe is expanding from a seemingly singular point. But we are finding galaxies that are too young to have gravitationally formed from Big Bang.

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

What?

DarkCurrent on April 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Political and religious values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.

Okay. So I’m good with evolution, the Big Bang, and the age of the Earth… and I’m still a Conservative Republican.

But… “climate change”? Still folks pushing that sad line?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Turtle317 on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

But i am a bit worried about the people who don’t think the earth is billion of years old. How old do they actually think the earth is?

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM

There are at least a couple creationist types here who are bound to chime in that it’s only 6000 years old.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Maybe that’s what global warmists should be doing with their time: “Climate Detectives” on Investigation Discovery.

NO! Dont encourage them! You ruined it!

the_nile on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

I believe in the big bang and evolution and I’m a Christian
You can be a Christian and believe in both. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing approach.
I do question the Bible accounts on creation to be honest. IMO The Bible is a spiritual book and not a science book so it’s account of creation should not be directly correlated with science.
The Bible is not a science book

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

We see once again that “popular” and “correct” aren’t always the same thing.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

To be honest, I don’t know why religious people would might have a problem with the Big Bang. After all, Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” For a few verses, it is shown that God did this in one day. But of course, God doesn’t say how long a day is to Him. So if anything, the Big Bang and Genesis 1:1 say the same thing: the universe began from practically nothing.

Steve Tsouloufis on April 21, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Most people are supremely stupid.

When you look out into space the oldest light is about 13.8 billion years old. That far back, the background microwave radiation is uniform, which leads to the conclusion there was massive expansion from a single point.

Or you could share the belief of a caveman or tribesman from 1800′s Africa. Difference between you and them, of course, is the Book.

antisense on April 21, 2014 at 4:57 PM

As I told my child when we got to studying astronomy, the Big Bang occurred, but whether it is the beginning of the universe is the question mark. That is why it is a theory.

But i am a bit worried about the people who don’t think the earth is billion of years old. How old do they actually think the earth is?

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Gravity is also a theory but I will advise against jumping of a bridge just to test that theory.

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 4:57 PM

I take it — conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more religious, so you see religion and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

Conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more intelligent , so you see intelligence and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

burrata on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Let’s make sure and get the point out here early on that most conservatives don’t deny that the climate changes – the denial is on the algorian human-caused (AGW) climate change.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Great! What’s Penny’s last name?

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

o_O

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

I’m not saying it was aliens,

But it was aliens.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

There are at least a couple creationist types here who are bound to chime in that it’s only 6000 years old.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

So is there still warranty on the thing?
Big stuff like planets should have long warranties.

the_nile on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

We see once again that “popular” and “correct” aren’t always the same thing.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

So science has really discovered how the universe began?

I’m just a casual follower of this field and even I’m aware of a number of unanswered fundamental questions and the contradictions and conundrums in the field.

But you think much of this is “settled”?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Great! What’s Penny’s last name?

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

*knock knock knock* Penny!
*knock knock knock* Penny!
*knock knock knock* Penny!

Turtle317 on April 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

I will note that it was Saint Augustine of Hippo that first argued for a finite age of the universe, on philosophical grounds, against Pagan philosophers of his age, who held the universe to be eternal. Further, it was Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest and astronomer, who theorized the “Big Bang,” over and against the skepticism of the scientific community, because it disrupted the then current steady-state model, and to some it had certain religious implications, i.e. fiat lux.

David Marcoe on April 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

There are at least a couple creationist types here who are bound to chime in that it’s only 6000 years old.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

6000 years old? I am sure I could dig up tea sets in China that are older than that.

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

What?

DarkCurrent on April 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

To form a galaxy, you need time for the gravitational currents to overcome the speed of expansion from the Big Bang. (BTW, Expansion is another theory “that just happened” in order to explain away the fact the entire universal mass would have collapsed in upon itself via giant singularity (black hole)). In order for that kind of coalescing, you need about 500 million years. We’ve found one that formed 700 million years after the Big Bang. IMHO, it’s just a matter of time before we find one that’s below the 500 million year threshold. In fact, according to Wikipedia, some objects are flirting with the theoretical 500 million year barrier.

The rate of discovery suggests we’re going to find objects that are older than that, and when we really approach the hypothetical Big Bang start date, it’s going to be really hard to explain how gravity overcame velocity to form those objects.

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

If I told you I knew everything there was to know about the city of Atlanta, the people, the architecture, the landscape, you might find it interesting. If you then asked me how I came to know all that and I said I had a one hour layover at the airport there once, you might be skeptical of my assertions, no?

We can only look at the universe from our own perspective and we’ve only been doing it for a few hundre years. We do not have the technology to actually get out there and study it up close. Given that, can we really trust what we’re being told about it?

Grammar Nazi on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

‘someone will always reply “but what came before that?”’

Astronomers also believe that the universe itself is moving. Moving into WHAT?????????

MaiDee on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

“I can understand why religious belief would affect views of evolution, the Earth’s age, and the universe’s beginnings…”

Indeed. So why the disconnect? The Big Bang is predicted by the Book of Genesis (and its cause is still supernatural) while evolution and the geological age of the earth aren’t. Maybe liberals are still bitterly clinging to the Steady State theory?

pat buchanatar on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Scientists like to explain the unexplainable with unverifiable things.
Hawking is a prime example of this. He comes up with grandiose arguments about things that no one can observe today not could they observe within a few thousand years.
Hawking radiation. Radiation that escapes a black hole, black holes being black holes because radiation does not exit them of course. The event horizon of a black hole is the point at which an object must have velocity in excess of the speed of light in order to escape, and what is the speed of radiation?

So, excuse me if I do not believe in some scientific claims.

The big bang, I can understand the concept and I can see how it might function. An extremely large mass of energy compacted into an infinitesimally small space reaches a critical mass and ejects everything in one huge explosion. While everything is in pure energy form the laws of physics are different than for a material universe. Thus the energy is capable of spreading at speeds thousands of orders of magnitude faster than the current speed of light thus getting the material that builds a vast universe spread wide in short order, before the energy starts to cool and become physical objects with things like mass. I can understand that.
What gets me however is that these very same people who just told me that the laws of physics and the universe are mutable allowing a big bang to occur and do what it did, but that ever since .00000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds after the big bang occurred the laws of physics have been totally immutable and that they can tell me everything about the universe from near the beginning using the current set of laws of physics. That there is no possibility that time for instance has not been changing through these 13.8 billion years.

astonerii on April 21, 2014 at 5:02 PM

To form a galaxy, you need time for the gravitational currents to overcome the speed of expansion from the Big Bang. (BTW, Expansion is another theory “that just happened” in order to explain away the fact the entire universal mass would have collapsed in upon itself via giant singularity (black hole)). In order for that kind of coalescing, you need about 500 million years. We’ve found one that formed 700 million years after the Big Bang. IMHO, it’s just a matter of time before we find one that’s below the 500 million year threshold. In fact, according to Wikipedia, some objects are flirting with the theoretical 500 million year barrier.

The rate of discovery suggests we’re going to find objects that are older than that, and when we really approach the hypothetical Big Bang start date, it’s going to be really hard to explain how gravity overcame velocity to form those objects.

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Red matter! Or is it Red Energy?

I’ll need to go back and watch Star Trek again.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

There are at least a couple creationist types here who are bound to chime in that it’s only 6000 years old.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

6000 years old? I am sure I could dig up tea sets in China that are older than that.

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

I could go dig up Grammy. I KNOW she’s older than that….

Turtle317 on April 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

So is there still warranty on the thing?
Big stuff like planets should have long warranties.

the_nile on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

As I recall, when the Magrathians built the Earth, they expected it to run about 10 million years….

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM

So…

Yeah. This one is pretty well nailed down. You’re free to disbelieve it, of course…

Nice thing about it? No policy implications.

Prufrock on April 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM

The Hebrew word for day in the Genesis account is “yom” and in the rest of the Bible always means a 24 hour day. In Hebrew there are other words for day to denote a figurative day. It would be inconsistent to apply another meaning for day to the Genesis account.

Imrahil on April 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Red matter! Or is it Red Energy?

I’ll need to go back and watch Star Trek again.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

If they had just called it “The Plot Device”, I would have been happier.

:D

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

So…

Yeah. This one is pretty well nailed down. You’re free to disbelieve it, of course…

Nice thing about it? No policy implications.

Prufrock on April 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Give me 1 trillion dollars and I’ll prevent the heat death of the universe!

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Prometheus.

rukiddingme on April 21, 2014 at 5:06 PM

There are at least a couple creationist types here who are bound to chime in that it’s only 6000 years old.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM

They’re usually counterbalanced by those who believe that:

Homosexuality is normal.
Bradley Manning is now a woman.
Man Made Global Warming is real.

sentinelrules on April 21, 2014 at 5:07 PM

For those of us knuckle-draggers who actually consider the Bible to have some relevance as a historical document the age issue and the climate change issue go hand in hand. If there was a total upsetting of the geologic/climatic apple cart with a catastrophic flood some thousands of years ago, of course climate will be very unstable since then with significant warming and cooling periods and dramatic regional shifts within recorded history. We don’t expect climate to be static. It has never been static, which anyone who has an awareness of history knows. Change is part of the definition. So rallying against climate change makes about as much sense to me as campaigning against gravity.

ndalager on April 21, 2014 at 5:07 PM

In order for that kind of coalescing, you need about 500 million years. We’ve found one that formed 700 million years after the Big Bang. IMHO, it’s just a matter of time before we find one that’s below the 500 million year threshold. In fact, according to Wikipedia, some objects are flirting with the theoretical 500 million year barrier.

Nethicus on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Oh, I didn’t realize you were a cutting-edge astrophysicist.

DarkCurrent on April 21, 2014 at 5:07 PM

skepticism of the Big Bang and evolution was higher in the U.S. than it is many other western countries despite the fact that Americans’ scientific knowledge generally is comparable to theirs. That’s probably a function of America being more religious.

You do know that a priest came up with the theory, right?

Physics Geek on April 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

So science has really discovered how the universe began?

I’m just a casual follower of this field and even I’m aware of a number of unanswered fundamental questions and the contradictions and conundrums in the field.

But you think much of this is “settled”?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

We’ve got a ton of evidence that all points in the same direction and none that points to an age of only a few thousand years. The Big Bang Theory made predictions that have been borne out by later experiment (gravity waves are the most notable recent example that comes to mind) and they all serve to buttress the theory. Science is never “settled” because new evidence can always arise that points to something new but for the time being all the evidence points to the events in the Big Bang theory being correct.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

6000 years old? I am sure I could dig up tea sets in China that are older than that.

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Just wait til davidk shows up and starts posting links to the Creationist Museum web site……

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

I blame the teaching of creationism in schools.

Skywise on April 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM

All this hullaballoo about a TV show?

How queer.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Given what we know today vs. what we will know 10 years from now, what are the odds of any theory like this is remotely accurate.

I believe they call the big bang a singularity(translated: we really have no clue)

jmtham156 on April 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM

The Big Bang is an effect. It’s not a cause. The cause of a physical description which the Big Bang illustrates would have to come from something like Genesis 1:3.

anuts on April 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM

We’ve got a ton of evidence that all points in the same direction and none that points to an age of only a few thousand years. The Big Bang Theory made predictions that have been borne out by later experiment (gravity waves are the most notable recent example that comes to mind) and they all serve to buttress the theory. Science is never “settled” because new evidence can always arise that points to something new but for the time being all the evidence points to the events in the Big Bang theory being correct.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Who said anything about a few thousand years? I’m just talking about the theory.
Some predictions have been borne out but others have not.
Hence the creation of the idea of “dark matter” and “dark energy” – a mystical explanation for something we cannot directly observe but can only see the effect of as a means of explaining why some previous prediction didn’t pan out.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM

sentinelrules on April 21, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Oh ya – we do have some good ones in here….
These types of thread – big bang, evolution, etc usually get pretty wild….

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Great! What’s Penny’s last name?

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

*knock knock knock* Penny!
*knock knock knock* Penny!
*knock knock knock* Penny!

Turtle317 on April 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

What’s the word hummingbird?

22044 on April 21, 2014 at 5:12 PM

How queer.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM

NOT that there’s anything WRONG with that…

Had to be said……

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:12 PM

They left out the main factor which is “Who gives a crap?” People beliefs tend toward things which help them, like faith, not simply knowledge for it’s own sake. What practical purpose does the age of the universe have? If tomorrow they said it was 120 billion and the day after 1.2 what difference would it make?

Rocks on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Climate change is a competing religion.

BKennedy on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
-Steven Wright

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

All this hullaballoo about a TV show?

How queer.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Great, trying to get teh ghey & teh religion in the same thread?
We’re gonna break the intertubes…

22044 on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Let’s see:

1. The entire universe appears spontaneously from a random Planck-scale quantum fluctuation, followed by a convenient bout of inflation, and throw in a lot of invisible dark matter and dark energy to explain certain mysterious phenomena we observe today.

- or –

2. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.

Which one is a miracle and which one is science? Which one should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism and which one should be accepted on faith?

ZenDraken on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Not surprised. Polling these days are all deliberately ambiguous in wording. This is done to achieve a desired result.

For every question, ask a clarifying follow up and then you get workable numbers.

nobar on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

But you think much of this is “settled”?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

As far as I know, globull warming is the only science that is really and truly totally settled.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I’m a religious person, and I don’t have a problem with the big bang theory. Or evolution. Of course neither have been proven, so to persecute people for not believing in them is crazy. They’re theories not facts.
Since I don’t belong to a fundamentalist sect, I don’t have a problem acknowledging the universe is 13.8 billion years old. I believe God to be one of truth and love. I don’t see him messing with people showing us the universe is 13.8 billions years old when its only 7 thousand. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a sense of humor (exhibit A: the Giraffe) but for the most part the universe is an orderly place, whose mysteries we’ve been given the faculties to uncover.
And let’s not forget how fast 13.8 billions years is to go from basically nothing to intelligent life in the universe. The only way to get anything bigger than hydrogen and helium is for stars to explode. And stars can last a good 3-5 billion years. So many things have to go just right, from the creation of the elements, to the flow of time, to the force of gravity, etc. and then to see how beautiful it all is, its very hard to believe that the universe is just an accident.

Iblis on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

*polls

nobar on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

They left out the main factor which is “Who gives a crap?” People beliefs tend toward things which help them, like faith, not simply knowledge for it’s own sake. What practical purpose does the age of the universe have? If tomorrow they said it was 120 billion and the day after 1.2 what difference would it make?

Rocks on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

It is a litmus test for allowing or disallowing an individual from participating in the public sphere by the “rationalists.”

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Who said anything about a few thousand years? I’m just talking about the theory.

Do you have anything better to replace it with?

Some predictions have been borne out but others have not.

Science is how we learn and no one claims to know everything. If we did there would be no reason for science. Don’t think that because a picture isn’t complete that it never will be.

Hence the creation of the idea of “dark matter” and “dark energy” – a mystical explanation for something we cannot directly observe but can only see the effect of as a means of explaining why some previous prediction didn’t pan out.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM

It’s a complicated subject but the fact it’s to understand doesn’t mean it’s not true.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I love these threads.

Bishop on April 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Who would have guessed AP would put up an opinion poll?

He’s the guy whose screensaver is a spreadsheet so it always looks like he’s working if the boss strolls by.

Adjoran on April 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM

As far as I know, globull warming is the only science that is really and truly totally settled.
dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

It is the only one that gets billed that way but express any skepticism about some scientific theory (or even point out that the field of study is still seeing a lot of fluctuation on an issue) and you’ll get people bringing up straw man arguments about “the world not being 6000 years old”.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM

So if anything, the Big Bang and Genesis 1:1 say the same thing: the universe began from practically nothing.

Steve Tsouloufis

Nailed it.

Ms. Contrarian Scientist on April 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM

As far as I know, globull warming is the only science that is really and truly totally settled.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

other settled science

There are 9 planets in our solar system-wait Pluto gone-there are 8 planets in the solar system and a bunch of dwarf planets that don’t count(for now)

jmtham156 on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

They left out the main factor which is “Who gives a crap?” People beliefs tend toward things which help them, like faith, not simply knowledge for it’s own sake. What practical purpose does the age of the universe have? If tomorrow they said it was 120 billion and the day after 1.2 what difference would it make?

Rocks on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

How could you ask that?
That’s huge – makes a all the difference in the world for how much we need to be taxed to fix globull warming, of course.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Give me 1 trillion dollars and I’ll prevent the heat death of the universe!

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Sellout…

the_nile on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Turtle317 on April 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

We built a wall (we built the pyramids)!

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

I have to say I am a skeptic on everything. Including cigarettes causing cancer. I don’t think they are good for you but I’d like to see the real percentages of people who smoked that actually got cancer. These guys have been all over the map on so many things over the years that I don’t know what it would take for me to think anything was definitive. Except Global Warming. That is total Bull Hockey Puck.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Big Bang. Posited by a Catholic priest and praised by Einstein.

Yet its mention supposedly touches off a culture war skirmish.

What better proof that we are society of idiots?

StubbleSpark on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Do you have anything better to replace it with?

Science is how we learn and no one claims to know everything. If we did there would be no reason for science. Don’t think that because a picture isn’t complete that it never will be.

It’s a complicated subject but the fact it’s to understand doesn’t mean it’s not true.

alchemist19 on April 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Something better to replace it with? That’s not how real science works.

I also didn’t say it had been shown to be false but it has a long way to go to be shown as absolutely correct.

If science is how we learn and no one claims to know everything then how do you explain your reflexive revulsion to skepticism of “scientific claims” when skepticism is a core part of science?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM

We can’t directly observe dark matter or dark energy, but they must exist for our models to be correct; ergo, they obviously exist.

We can’t directly observe God, but He must exist for our theology to be correct; ergo, God obviously exists.

One of these specious arguments is thought to be valid by very intelligent, credentialed individuals. The other one is laughed at as the magical delusions of cavemen.

So…which is which?

Good Solid B-Plus on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM

The theory and supporting evidence of the Big Bang is somewhat esoteric. For the average person, unless they have a specific interest in astronomy and cosmology and can understand how and why the theory has been pieced together over the last 80 years, accepting the Big Bang is nothing more than an article of faith. It’s not as if our everyday experience screams at us that the origin of everything we see around us comes from an infinitesimal sized speck of near infinite density some 13.8 billion years ago.

An alternative form of this question might be: Do you accept on faith the theory of the Universe’s origin advanced by the high priests of science? As someone who does believe the Big Bang is the best theory so far at explaining our origins, it doesn’t surprise me that a fairly large percentage of the population is not so confident in the theory. It’s simply not something they have learned or cared much about.

mpthompson on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

It is the only one that gets billed that way but express any skepticism about some scientific theory (or even point out that the field of study is still seeing a lot of fluctuation on an issue) and you’ll get people bringing up straw man arguments about “the world not being 6000 years old”.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM

To borrow from Don Rumsfeld – I’m of the mindset that there are far more unknown unknowns than any brand of knowns…..

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Give me 1 trillion dollars and I’ll prevent the heat death of the universe!

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Prevent the heat death first, then I’ll pay.

jdpaz on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

I do like the television show though.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Which one is a miracle and which one is science? Which one should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism and which one should be accepted on faith?

ZenDraken on April 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

They should both be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism.

DarkCurrent on April 21, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Reminds me of my favorite little riddle:

The last man in the universe sits alone in a room.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door.

Bishop on April 21, 2014 at 5:23 PM

This poll is tilted towards the ‘progressive’ answers by offering three ‘YES’ choices (extremely, very, somewhat), and only two ‘NO’ choices (not too, and not at all).

Anyone that knows the science of polling will see this immediately. Simply by having more YES choices, more people will select YES. This is the same reason Democratics try to load up ballots with their candidate under multiple parties.

The ‘issues’ are also posed as positive assertive statements, which relies on a respondent’s natural agreeable demeanor to get the response they want.

slickwillie2001 on April 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM

We can’t directly observe dark matter or dark energy, but they must exist for our models to be correct; ergo, they obviously exist.

We can’t directly observe God, but He must exist for our theology to be correct; ergo, God obviously exists.

One of these specious arguments is thought to be valid by very intelligent, credentialed individuals. The other one is laughed at as the magical delusions of cavemen.

So…which is which?

Good Solid B-Plus on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM

+1

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Prevent the heat death first, then I’ll pay.

jdpaz on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

But I can’t build my heat redistribution machine without the funding.
Why do you stand in the way of heat justice?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM

I have to say I am a skeptic on everything. Including cigarettes causing cancer. I don’t think they are good for you but I’d like to see the real percentages of people who smoked that actually got cancer.
Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Yup – I fully agree that it’s bad for you, but everyone is different and reacts in different ways to things.
My dad smoked his whole life – and when he needed heart surgery (in his late 70s) they found, to our surprise, that he had NO signs of lung cancer or emphysema. Shocked the he11 out of the family. So he would be one of those statistics that says smoking does not cause cancer – but he had lots of other problems.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM

I can understand why religious belief would affect views of evolution, the Earth’s age, and the universe’s beginnings, but offhand not why it would affect views of climate change. That’s more a matter of correlation than causation, I take it — conservatives are more skeptical of climate change than liberals and conservatives are also more religious, so you see religion and climate skepticism overlap even though the former’s not really driving the latter.

One interesting outlier in the numbers above: Why is there so much public confidence in DNA?

There’s a big distinction between theories based on science of what may have happened in the past, but can’t actually be observed, and things that are real, current, observational science.

DNA operates in the here and now, and lends itself readily to scientific study. But once you start talking about events that occur 65 million years in the past, I would be very disappointed if there were not more skepticism.

Just because two different branches of study are both called science does not put them on an equal footing. The theory of evolution can’t be observed or proven by the scientific method, while genetics can.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Whatever Neil deGrasse-Tyson says.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM

The theory and supporting evidence of the Big Bang is somewhat esoteric. For the average person, unless they have a specific interest in astronomy and cosmology and can understand how and why the theory has been pieced together over the last 80 years, accepting the Big Bang is nothing more than an article of faith. It’s not as if our everyday experience screams at us that the origin of everything we see around us comes from an infinitesimal sized speck of near infinite density some 13.8 billion years ago.

An alternative form of this question might be: Do you accept on faith the theory of the Universe’s origin advanced by the high priests of science? As someone who does believe the Big Bang is the best theory so far at explaining our origins, it doesn’t surprise me that a fairly large percentage of the population is not so confident in the theory. It’s simply not something they have learned or cared much about.

mpthompson on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Do you choose to dismiss scientific theories you don’t like or you dismiss all scientific theories because of the word “theory”.
Do you also dismiss gravity too?

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM

So if anything, the Big Bang and Genesis 1:1 say the same thing: the universe began from practically nothing.

Steve Tsouloufis

Nailed it.

Ms. Contrarian Scientist on April 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Almost every creationist story the world over says the same thing. In the beginning there was nothing.

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Prevent the heat death first, then I’ll pay.

jdpaz on April 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Done.
Pay up please.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Do you choose to dismiss scientific theories you don’t like or you dismiss all scientific theories because of the word “theory”.
Do you also dismiss gravity too?

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Gravity isn’t a theory. There are laws of gravity and some theories to how it operates but it’s one of the least understood forces in the universe.

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Almost every creationist story the world over says the same thing. In the beginning there was nothing.

coolrepublica on April 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM

What about the creationist stories that don’t say “In the beginning there was nothing?”

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Now my dad smoked all his life and did have both lung cancer and emphysema but he was 80 years old and had worked in the coal mines of West Virginia as a youth. He far outlived the average lifespan of a paraplegic. I’ve never smoked but I think I can put to bed the second hand smoke theory being trapped in vehicles with two or more chimneys most of my life.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM

A flat Earth was once all the rage, I’ll bet those were good times.

Bishop on April 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM

As far as I know, globull warming is the only science that is really and truly totally settled.

dentarthurdent on April 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Only science that protects its raw data too.

Cant have that leaking out and unsettle the consensus research…

the_nile on April 21, 2014 at 5:33 PM

But I can’t build my heat redistribution machine without the funding.
Why do you stand in the way of heat justice?

gwelf on April 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM

I see….so you’re going to bring heat in from an adjacent universe. Universal Warming! Brilliant!!

jdpaz on April 21, 2014 at 5:33 PM

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