Re: Is this correct ?

From: Doug Hayworth (
Date: Fri Nov 03 2000 - 11:16:27 EST

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    At 04:28 PM 11/3/00 +0100, you wrote:
    >I'll give a quote from a letter in a newspaper
    >in Norway.
    >"Among American scientists today there is
    >a great division in the approach to the question
    >about the origin of life and the complexity of nature".
    >This doesn't initially seem to be a serious statement, but I
    >think the meaning is that the scientists in USA
    >are divided about the issue of evolution. I assume this
    >since the whole letter is an anti-evolutionist argument.
    >So my questions to you Americans are this.
    >Are the American scientists divided in the issue of evolution ?
    >Are there any statistical figures about how many scientists -
    >let's say in geology, biology, paleontology or other diciplines -
    >that are supportive of evolution. Evolution is here understood in
    >very broad terms. I am here thinking about scientists that hold
    >PhD degrees and work at accredited universities, colleges or
    >research institutions. I know that scientists may disagree about
    >details, but do they agree about the main aspects of the theory
    >or evolution ?
    >My guess is that the number of scientists supporting evolution
    >is very high - maybe more than 95%. Thus I think that the statement
    >in the newspaper is wrong.
    >But if we take this statement from the newspaper more literal.
    >Is there a great division in the approach to origins of life studies
    >or the study of the complexity of nature,
    >and if so - how would that count for or against evolution ?

    The problem here is in the use of the term "American scientists". I
    suppose if you took a poll of all scientists of any field, the numbers
    supporting evolution in the U.S. would be considerably less than 95%
    (perhaps even as low as 60%?). Certainly most computer scientists,
    materials scientists, electrical engineers, and the like are probably not
    anymore likely to understand and support evolution than the average
    nonscientist (and perhaps even less so than a well-read academic in the
    humanities). Even medical doctors, although biologists of a sort,
    generally are not well educated about evolution and would probably not
    yield numbers much different from the nonscientific population.

    Thus, a critic of evolution can "truthfully" characterize "American
    scientists" as being split over the issue of evolution. But this type of
    statement is only a deception. I think your number (about 95%) is probably
    accurate for scientists of the biology(genetics, ecology,
    etc.)/physics/geology related disciplines which involve some component of
    historical inference.


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