Doublethink in Religious America

42% of Americans in general reject the notion that life on earth evolved and believe instead that humans and other living things have always existed in their present form. However 65% of white evangelical Protestants, most of whom regard the Bible as the inerrant word of God, hold this view.*

21% of those surveyed say that although life has evolved, these changes were guided by a supreme being.*

26% of those surveyed say that they accept evolution through natural processes or natural selection alone. *

87% think that scientific developments make society better. *

87% the same number, among those who describe themselves as being very religious, share the opinion. *

(62%) say that they believe that scientists agree on the validity of evolution. *

* 2006 Pew poll

64% or nearly two-thirds of Americans say they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept any contrary scientific finding.**

81% say “recent discoveries and advances” in science have not significantly impacted their religious views.**

14% say that these discoveries have actually made them more religious.

4% say that science has made them less religious.**

**October 2006 Time magazine poll.

Many of the people who reject natural selection also recognize that scientists themselves fully accept Darwin’s theory.

How can Americans say that they respect science and know what scientists believe and still disagree with the scientific community on some fundamental religious questions?  Much of the general public will simply pick and choose and not believe the scientific theories and discoveries that contradict any important long-held religious or other beliefs.

The data from these two polls shows that in the minds of most people in the United States, there is no clash between science and religion. When the two realms offer contradictory explanations, religious people, who make up a majority of Americans, rely primarily upon their faith, rather than reason, for answers.

Parts adapted from: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Say What ?

Doublethink: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. George Orwell’s 1984


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