Flashy graphic illustration of the creationism problem

There have been some recent surveys of attitudes towards evolution and the state of science education in the US, and I’ve mainly used tables in presentations — so it’s nice to see some eye-catching graphical representations of the data. Use these!

One thing surprised me — usually, this datum is presented in a positive light, but it’s always bugged me. 28% of science teachers accept that evolution occurred, and god had nothing to do with it; 47% of science teachers accept evolution, but believe that god guided it. That 47% is typically presented as no problem, these are the teachers on our side. Not in this graph!

Those are teachers who believe in Intelligent Design.

Yes, they are. And complaining that they aren’t those Discovery Institute frauds because they believe it is their god that does the designing doesn’t get them off the hook, it just makes them plain old creationists.

The only difference is that usually the teachers in that 47% aren’t actively trying to undermine the science they present in the classroom, so the situation isn’t quite as dire as the chart implies — but they’re still afflicted with a superstition that is grossly unscientific and an obstacle to embracing the concepts of science. And it’s probably a factor in the graph on the page just above this image, which shows how little time is spent on classroom teaching of evolution: in all of high school, half of the students get less than an hour or two of exposure to the ideas of human evolution.

I can testify to that. Most of my freshman students are remarkably naive about evolution, and from personal experience…I’m one of the percentage of students that had absolutely no instruction in evolution in high school. It wasn’t even mentioned, and I was one of those kids who was largely self-taught in grade-school biology, and was looking for it.