Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit
Chapter 3: Believers and disbelievers in evolution and climate change
Roughly half of all Americans do not believe that humans evolved from earlier species, while a third or more doubt that human activity is warming the climate, making the United States the most skeptical among industrial nations about these scientific positions. These views underpin the creationist movement and undercut federal policy to control greenhouse gases. There is only slight overlap in these disbeliefs; for the most part, evolution and climate change each has its own constituency of deniers. Low education increases these disbeliefs, but religious or political ideologies have greater effects. Fundamentalist religiosity, the result of family socialization, is the strongest reason for denying evolution. Apart from religion, political conservatives are more likely than liberals to deny both evolution and the science of climate change. In view of the ideological underpinnings of beliefs at odds with science, they are unlikely to be significantly changed by improved science education.
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