Only 20 percent of Americans surveyed believe in Big Bang

Scientists express dismay at an Associated Press/GfK survey that suggests skepticism of science is still strong. Only 20 percent of Americans believe in the Big Bang. Less than one-third of Americans said they thought climate change was real.

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They'll watch a TV show about it, of course. CBS screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We Americans adore science when it gives us the iPhone or that little robot that cleans our floors all on its own.

But please, please don't force us to believe big, fat scientific theories.

We're not ready for that. We're still too young. We're still too enthralled by Hollywood movies, fast food, and instant cures for our spiritual ills.

There's no reason, therefore, to be surprised or pained by an Associated Press/GfK survey that suggests a mere 20 percent of Americans believe in the Big Bang.

We need a little more convincing to believe a random bang in outer space was the beginning of our Earth. We're still happy to think it was the waft of a wand by an old man in a gray beard.

To change our minds, we want evidence. We want proof. Oh, alright, sometimes we just want a good slap.

But this survey delved deeper into our convictions about science. Less than a third of the 1,012 alleged adults surveyed last month thought climate change was a real thing caused by real humans.

A mere 27 percent would stand behind the peculiar notion that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Naturally the minute the AP contacted scientists to seek their opinion, they heard mostly the gurgling of angry craniums.

Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, who managed to win a Nobel Prize in medicine last year, offered: "Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts."

Oh, Randy. I've had girls tell me they love me and that it's an actual fact. It turned out to be a temporary actual fact.

Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale Project on Climate Change Commission was equally hurt. He said the poll indicated evidence of "the iron triangle of science, religion and politics."

Naturally, I am tempted to ask him for the scientific proof behind such an assertion.

Still, this isn't the first survey that suggests Americans aren't impressed by scientists' claims to righteousness.

A few months ago, a Pew survey revealed that 33 percent of Americans positively reject evolution. Which might explain why so many Americans never change at all.

There were a few tinges of hope tossed toward scientists by these AP/GfK respondents. Only 4 percent doubted that smoking causes cancer. A mere 8 percent questioned whether our cells contain a genetic code.

It's easy to declare, as scientists do, that beliefs are all that stand between Americans and enlightenment.

Perhaps, though, scientists themselves don't do quite enough to explain their theories in ways that people can embrace.

It's sometimes hard for those who just know they're right to communicate their truths to those who think scientists are just politicians with bow ties.

 

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