Creation Museum and Public Perception: Tepid Waters

| 22 Comments

The Alliance for Science, a wonderful group of which I am a member, has a link about a survey that examines public perception of the new Creation Museum. Having recently visited the Propoganda Ministry Museum myself, I was very underwhelmed. I will report my experiences there in a future post replete with pictures over at Neurotopia. I feel bad because I haven’t been keeping up on the evolution/science activism side of my life for a very long time now, aside from this post and pushing the Alliance for Science’s Evolution Essay Contest, I have done very little this year to even address the issue. Might have something to do with my dad dying and whatnot, I’m not sure.

The interesting part of the survey is that “white evangelicals” or “fundamentalists” weren’t particularly approving of the intellectual travesty Museum either. Maybe there is hope for America after all. Or, maybe the “Museum” really is such a shoddy, transparent attempt at evangelizing that nobody is fooled.

Do stop by and check it out.

22 Comments

The survey is flawed. The Creation Museum should be listed as simultaneously Bizarre, Biblically Inaccurate, and Scientifically Unsound.

But maybe it’s just PR. After all, seeing a picture of Ken Hamm with that Ahab beard makes my think of some 19th century farmer in a stovepipe hat getting ready to beat his daughter with shovel on the back 40 for being “impure” to the Word of God. No wonder people think it’s bizarre.

The survey certainly highlights the level of belief in creationism in the US. Doesn’t seem like the efforts of evolution supporters are having much effect in turning the tide.

One can only hope that a lot of people were not willing to admit their support for evolution to the survey group.

Don’t give up the fight yet. Just think how much worse the numbers might get… Well actually they couldn’t really get much worse could they?

Young earth creationists, at the 2nd highest level of delusion, lead with 53%. AIG dinos with Noah types, the most deluded of all, are only 6%. Theistic evolutionists get lumped with IDiots and come in at 14%. Only 11% chose the answer supported by the evidence for evolution.

The survey results give a little spin to the 14% who accept evolution as the method employed by god or whatever. It calls this position Intelligent Design and says it is solidly rejected by voters.

I see no categories for Old Earth Creationists. They will have had to choose which “best describes your view on this?”

Looking at the survey choices, it almost seems natural to sum it up as 73% anti-evolution vs. 25% pro-evolution. Kind of uncomfortable for PTers to be sharing a pigeon hole with IDiots, no?

If only the rest of the world could be sure that these anti-science ideas could be kept quarantined in the US. Unfortunately we constantly get all aspects of American culture pushed on us, good, bad and evil.

I wonder if people with stronger delusions are more inclined to answer polls than are people who aren’t in that category?

Henry

Quite shocking!

I always though that believe in a 6000 year old earth is caused by a combination of stupitidy and lack of education.

Either 53% of americans are uneducated AND stupid or there is an underlying problem of a greater magnitude…

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That 53% believe the earth to be only 6000 years old is sad. This is consistent, however, with the recent Gallup poll that shows 20% of all Americans believe the sun orbits the earth.

Very poorly designed survey. There’s no clear choice for TEs. The second choice might correspond with the OEC position, but it’s still vague. It seems to me that the sample size of 800 is also rather small.

Unfortunately, the description of the YEC was crystal, meaning no chance of denial for everyone else. Another reason I’m glad I moved to Europe.

That 53% believe the earth to be only 6000 years old is sad. This is consistent, however, with the recent Gallup poll that shows 20% of all Americans believe the sun orbits the earth.

I think it’s important to keep in mind that these survey results–whatever they might say about the success of anti-scientific ideologues in skewing public opinion about evolution–are quite in line with the general anti-scientific, anti-intellectual ignorance of the American public on many purely objective matters. Significant proportions of the American public are just plain stupid and uninformed: 60% can’t find Iraq on a world map, 31% don’t know who the current Vice President is, and almost 2/3 think “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a quote from the Constitution.

Regardless of the poor design of the other questions, the survey is consistent with other surveys in finding that 12% or so of the public accepts evolution. That’s a pathetic number, and reflects the fact that public schools in this country, regardless of the lip-service paid by science education standards, don’t teach evolution. My own school district is supposed to be the best in Arkansas, and we have been told repeatedly by administrators that the subject is taught. Funny, but my son and daughter are in those classes, and no, it isn’t. In fact, it is ridiculed by teachers.

Regardless of the poor design of the other questions, the survey is consistent with other surveys in finding that 12% or so of the public accepts evolution. That’s a pathetic number, and reflects the fact that public schools in this country, regardless of the lip-service paid by science education standards, don’t teach evolution. My own school district is supposed to be the best in Arkansas, and we have been told repeatedly by administrators that the subject is taught. Funny, but my son and daughter are in those classes, and no, it isn’t. In fact, it is ridiculed by teachers.

In addition to the flaws already mentioned, there is another fundamental problem with this survey, which is highlighted by the fact that 54% have problems with the museum, while 59% (53+6) believe in YEC. There must be some overlap between these two groups which can most likely be explained by the way the questions were asked.

They have two YEC categories, one that has dinosaurs with Adam and on the Ark and one that doesn’t. Their question about the museum is clearly aimed at casting doubt on the dinosaurs+man idea. So, there must be a group of YECs who don’t believe dinosaurs co-existed with man. This group is either very confused (a true YEC doesn’t leave room for any other conclusion than dinosaurs+man) or the survey led them into this contradiction.

If, against all odds, the results of this survey are actually true, it gives hope that there are some YECs who could be shown the inconsistency of their beliefs. Perhaps this is the kind of “wedge” that the pro-science folks need.

It makes more sense if you realize that most people who put stock in the Bible aren’t all that fixated on Creation vs. Evolution. For them it’s pretty much about Jesus and salvation and sin, which for them are more immediate in their lives. At a site like this or the opposition’s UD, etc., you can get so immersed that you forget, the average Christian might spend 15 minutes in a decade comparing creation & evolution.

There are also huge masses of people out there who aren’t especially religious but are skeptical all ‘round, and don’t regard science as sole possessor of the truth, just as another opinion in a democracy of ideas. And don’t forget the ones who are plain ol’ lazy. For many, believing the Biblical account is a handy short-cut because it isn’t something they care to spend a great deal of time trying to understand.

poll - DEFCON - Lake Research Associates

there are several defcons. I think you mean this one.

Lake Research Associates is evidently Lake Research Partners.

It looks like Americans are voting with their wallets, too. I’ve been tracking the attendance numbers that AiG has published in their press releases, and attendance has dropped drastically since the opening week. Here’s a summary chart of the numbers released by them, showing an average daily attendance of as low as 375 people per day!

The full spreadsheet, with references and all data, is available here.

According to these numbers, if the average customer is paying full entry price without any discounts (senior, children, coupons, etc.), the museum is currently grossing less than $13,000 a day on entry tickets. At that rate, it would take over 2,000 years to pay off the principle on the initial cost of the museum, probably well after the purported Second Coming… Let’s hope for their sake that they’re not paying too high an interest rate on that note and all the employees are volunteers!

Correction! I found a calculation error in the spreadsheet referenced in my previous comment – I would like the opportunity to correct the mistake. Can you please reject the comment and allow me to rewrite it?

wicker:

Quite shocking!

I always though that believe in a 6000 year old earth is caused by a combination of stupitidy and lack of education.

Either 53% of americans are uneducated AND stupid or there is an underlying problem of a greater magnitude…

… ever heard the George Carlin observation about the average American?

I’ve been tracking the attendance numbers at the Anti-Museum based on their press releases.

Here’s the info charted out, showing the average daily attendance during each period between announcements.

Here’s the data, along with references, that went into creating the above chart.

Even at the lowest attendance levels of 800 people per day, and assuming no discounts, that’s nearly $16,000 a day, or $5.8M a year gross ticket sales. This does not take into consideration planetarium sales, gift shop sales, nor food concessions.

Actually, I think that one must lack any form of intelligence at all to believe in evolution. How can you seriously sit back and muse upon the miracles of sight, smell, being able to breathe and communicate and think that it happened by chance? Apes have more sense!!! Unfortunately some people just don’t get it, but one day you will have a quick and powerful education.

“I always though that believe in a 6000 year old earth is caused by a combination of stupitidy and lack of education.”

That quote is really funny since there is no evidence of macro-evolution to be found, where is the missing link???? (besides the space between your ears) try musing on the miricale of reproduction, if you can.

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for demonstrating that believing in a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, in conjunction with denying reality, not only takes gross stupidity, and a pernicious lack of education, but also profound arrogance.

Bill Moore rants… Actually, I think that one must lack any form of intelligence at all to believe in evolution.… Unfortunately some people just don’t get it, but one day you will have a quick and powerful education.

Um, yeah.

Look, here’s a bit of advice.

When you’re in a discussion with technical people who are dealing with a complicated subject all day long, and you’re trying to make a convincing argument that the hard evidence they handle constantly really doesn’t mean what they think it means, you probably don’t want to use an argument that boils down to “You guys all have to be wrong because this stuff is so complicated I just can’t visualize it.”

That’s um, a less than convincing rhetorical point there Bill.

try musing on the miricale of reproduction, if you can.

That’s exactly what biologists have done, and the conclusion that they reached from that musing was that evolution happened, and that it is a direct (and pretty much inevitable) result of the way reproduction works.

Henry

Bill Moore said:

Actually, I think that one must lack any form of intelligence at all to believe in evolution.

The problem is that all the evidence says otherwise. The more educated people are, especially with regard to the relevant science, the more likely they are to accept evolution. There is a reason that battles over evolution happen almost exclusively in backwoods churches, and not top universities.

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This page contains a single entry by Ethan Rop published on July 10, 2007 11:48 AM.

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