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Old April 22 2014, 03:07 PM   #1
Yminale
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51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/poll-...most-americans

Sigh, America proves once again that it is special and not in a good way.
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Old April 22 2014, 05:38 PM   #2
B.J.
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

I don't doubt that the numbers are high, but I'm wondering how the poll was worded. In my experience, most people accept the Big Bang theory in general, but then again I don't exactly hang out around many lesser-educated people.

If it was a religious objection to the theory, you'd think it would help if they knew the theory was put forth by a Catholic priest.
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Old April 22 2014, 05:45 PM   #3
YellowSubmarine
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Well, this poll results are useless without a question. A year or two ago, I read a poll saying that a majority of Americans reject evolution. I read the question in the poll, and indeed, I rejected evolution because I couldn't agree that men evolved from monkeys (which is what the poll was asking).
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Old April 22 2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Well, it is just a theory. None of us were alive however many billions of years ago.
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Old April 22 2014, 06:05 PM   #5
gturner
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

In polls, a large fraction of Americans support protecting the endangered Canadian rhinoceros. What pollsters don't like to say is that most people will say almost anything in response to a question. And no, the Big Bang isn't true. Sheldon, Leonard and Penny are just actors.
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Old April 22 2014, 06:13 PM   #6
YellowSubmarine
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Here are what seem to be the actual poll questions.
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Old April 22 2014, 06:24 PM   #7
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
Well, this poll results are useless without a question. A year or two ago, I read a poll saying that a majority of Americans reject evolution. I read the question in the poll, and indeed, I rejected evolution because I couldn't agree that men evolved from monkeys (which is what the poll was asking).
This is the biggest problem with the article. We're only getting generalizations in it. We don't know know what question or series of questions was asked to produce these results for any of the categories.

I was a preacher's kid, so religion was an important foundation into who I am. But we also had science books and Encyclopaedia Britannica in the bookshelf at home. I read Time and Newsweek in high school. I enjoyed some science classes, though I was never any good in it. I was highly interested in the space program during the 60s. I never finished college.

There's no reason why religion and science have to be mutually exclusive to a person's way of thinking, and I don't understand the ignorance of some of these people.
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Old April 22 2014, 06:36 PM   #8
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
For many scientifically literate Christians the way the question was asked takes God out of the equation and IMO they lose confidence.

Had the question been asked separately as well, " ~ 13 billion year ago, God started the big bang and the universe unfolded and man came about through natural selection...," the number of respondents who agreeed would have been higher.

The Catholic church for example embraces a 13 billion year old universe, the big bang and natural selection. They just also believe that God lighted the match that started the whole process with the intent for man to be eventually created.
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Old April 22 2014, 07:07 PM   #9
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Honestly, I'm more worried that only a bit over half the respondents are confident that childhood vaccines are safe. Doubt over the origins of the universe isn't great, but it doesn't actually endanger people the way the anti-vaccination movement has.
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Old April 22 2014, 07:37 PM   #10
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Starbreaker wrote: View Post
Well, it is just a theory. None of us were alive however many billions of years ago.
Yeah it's just a guess or something. Who knows! Astrophysicsts just put in a couple hours a day tossing ideas around then go play minecraft.
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Old April 22 2014, 07:40 PM   #11
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

DarthTom wrote: View Post
YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
For many scientifically literate Christians the way the question was asked takes God out of the equation and IMO they lose confidence.

Had the question been asked separately as well, " ~ 13 billion year ago, God started the big bang and the universe unfolded and man came about through natural selection...," the number of respondents who agreeed would have been higher.

The Catholic church for example embraces a 13 billion year old universe, the big bang and natural selection. They just also believe that God lighted the match that started the whole process with the intent for man to be eventually created.
But with the question as asked

"The Universe began 13.8bn years ago, with a big bang"

Does it matter if a person thinks God started the universe 13.8bn years. If they think 13.8bn years ago God started the universe with a Big Bang they could still answer in the affirmative. Isn't a negative answer basically saying I don't believe a big bang occured (no matter how it started)?
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Old April 22 2014, 08:25 PM   #12
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Does it matter if a person thinks God started the universe 13.8bn years. If they think 13.8bn years ago God started the universe with a Big Bang they could still answer in the affirmative. Isn't a negative answer basically saying I don't believe a big bang occured (no matter how it started)?
In my experience conversing with scientifically literate Christians, not putting God into the equation and the way it's worded in the poll labels them atheists. Just sayin.
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Old April 22 2014, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Actually the poll doesn't even include a clear "disagree" option. It's just "Very confident," "Somewhat confident," and "Not very/Not at all confident." That last doesn't necessarily mean "I don't believe it," it could just mean "I'm not sure" or "I have no opinion." So it's very misleading to say that all of those people "don't accept" the theory.

Anyway, what's that Neil De Grasse Tyson likes to say? "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
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Old April 22 2014, 08:41 PM   #14
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

MacLeod wrote: View Post
DarthTom wrote: View Post
For many scientifically literate Christians the way the question was asked takes God out of the equation and IMO they lose confidence.

Had the question been asked separately as well, " ~ 13 billion year ago, God started the big bang and the universe unfolded and man came about through natural selection...," the number of respondents who agreeed would have been higher.

The Catholic church for example embraces a 13 billion year old universe, the big bang and natural selection. They just also believe that God lighted the match that started the whole process with the intent for man to be eventually created.
But with the question as asked

"The Universe began 13.8bn years ago, with a big bang"

Does it matter if a person thinks God started the universe 13.8bn years. If they think 13.8bn years ago God started the universe with a Big Bang they could still answer in the affirmative. Isn't a negative answer basically saying I don't believe a big bang occured (no matter how it started)?
Yes, actually it does matter. Take me, for example. I'm a scientist who spent many years in graduate school earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I also have more than a passing interest in physics and other sciences relevant to the survey. Yet I am also quite religious and firmly believe that the universe was created by God. I am most decidedly not a young-earth creationist. When I read that question I was brought up short and I don't think I would have answered that question as "Extremely/very confident", and possibly not even "Somewhat confident". That is not because of some belief in a literal interpretation of the Biblical account of the creation (I don't), but for a couple of other reasons.

First, the way it is worded strongly implies a God-less creation, at least to someone who does believe that God had a hand in it. I would have difficulty answering the question at all because it seems to setup a false dichotomy of either a God-less creation or a young-Earth creation.

Second, as a scientist, I don't "believe" anything of a scientific nature. I accept or reject hypotheses based on data available. Regarding the Big Bang, I don't "believe" it, but I do accept it as the best available hypothesis with the data currently available. Saying that, though, there's still a bit of faith there because I'm not a physicist; I'm only basing that acceptance on the word of those who have the data and the expertise to analyze it. That wouldn't be true of topics in my own field because I am capable of looking at the data and interpreting it for myself and deciding whether or not I accept the conclusions offered, but on the topic of the Big Bang, I only have their word to go on. I can't say I believe it, or even have high confidence in it; I can only say that it sounds good to me because those who do have the expertise say it's the best explanation and I have to take their word for it. Since I don't have any better ideas or data to contradict theirs, I go with theirs. That's really all anyone (other than those who do have the expertise, anyway) can say, so anyone who does say they are "Extremely/very confident" doesn't understand science and is putting more faith in scientists than they should.
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Old April 22 2014, 08:55 PM   #15
Yminale
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

God has no part in science simply because God is unfalsifiable. Saying that God created universe is equivalent to saying magic unicorns or Major League Baseball created the universe. Plus inserting faith which is inherently irrational in to science which tries to be rational is counterproductive.
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