51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Yminale, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Democratically Liberated America
  2. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    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.
     
  3. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    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).
     
  4. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Well, it is just a theory. None of us were alive however many billions of years ago.
     
  5. gturner

    gturner Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    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.
     
  6. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    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.
     
  8. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    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.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.
     
  10. Stoo

    Stoo Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Location:
    circle of the tyrants
    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.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    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)?
     
  12. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    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.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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."
     
  14. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    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.
     
  15. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Democratically Liberated America
    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.
     
  16. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Then scientists will always lose the argument with the faithful. God is more powerful to many people and in their lives than a belief in a godless universe where the universe spontaneously happened.
     
  17. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Democratically Liberated America
    Oh here is an interesting irony. There are NO randomized control trials proving that smoking causes cancer (it's all based on case studies and epidemiology). That makes the link between smoking and cancer WEAKER than Big Bang theory (which is both predicted by general relativity and backed up by astronomical observation)
     
  18. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Evolution isn't a theory.
     
  19. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Democratically Liberated America
    Evolution IS a theory. It's the mechanism for the origin of species.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    How does it imply that? It just says "The Universe began... with a big bang," without saying anything about the mechanism of its creation one way or the other. I can talk about Star Trek without mentioning Gene Roddenberry. I can talk about making a phone call without stopping to remind people of Alexander Graham Bell. But that doesn't mean I'm claiming they didn't create those things. I'm just not bringing it up.

    And it would be inappropriate for a statement about science to mention God in any case, because science is only about testable hypotheses, and the involvement of a deity in the creation of the universe is a matter of conjecture or belief. Leaving it out of a discussion of science is not a rejection of the possibility, merely an acknowledgment that it's a matter which science does not address one way or the other.


    It doesn't appear to me that the survey uses the word "believe." It's phrased in terms of the respondents' confidence in the statements given.

    Of course, it's a badly worded statement, saying the universe began "with a big bang" without defining what that means. Of course, it did not begin with a literal big bang, but with a burst of inflation; "Big Bang" is just a facetious nickname. So that phrasing itself may have confused people and increased the percentage of "not confident" results.


    Evolution is an observed phenomenon. Evolutionary theory is the body of laws explaining how and why it works. In the same way that the theory of gravitation is a body of laws and equations explaining the observed phenomenon of gravitation, music theory is a set of principles explaining how the observed phenomenon of music works, etc. The problem with saying "Evolution is a theory" is that it confuses the thing itself for the model that explains it. Evolution is a documented reality, and it is codified and explained by evolutionary theory.

    The lay belief is that theory is something less than fact. But it's the other way around in scientific terms. A fact is merely an observation, a data point. A theory is something that encompasses a body of facts and explains the reasons behind them and how they fit together.