About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory.
Those results depress and upset some of America’s top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.
Those results also depress and upset laypeople like myself who have never practiced science professionally. Here are all the statements evaluated by the poll:
- Smoking causes cancer
- A mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain
- Inside our cells, there is a complex genetic code that helps determine who we are
- Overusing antibiotics causes the development of drug-resistant bacteria
- The universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation
- Childhood vaccines are safe and effective
- The average temperature of the world is rising, mostly because of man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gases
- Life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection
- The Earth is 4.5 billion years old
- The universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang
Here are the results in a single graph, sorted from most confidently accepted claim to least:
The hypothesis of cosmic intelligent design by a transcendent mind is the only one here that doesn’t have any scientific backing, and it is vastly outperforming highly validated scientific theories about the age of the universe, the age of the Earth, and how life evolved. If anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up in a fetal ball, weeping for the future.