Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans


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COKid

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, an Associated Press-GfK poll found.

 

Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.

 

Rather than quizzing scientific knowledge, the survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.

 

On some, there's broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More ? 15 percent ? have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

 

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.

 

"Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts," said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Rest of article: http://news.msn.com/science-technology/poll-big-bang-a-big-question-for-most-americans?ocid=ansnews11

 

Lol! Just 51%. I'm actually surpirsed it isn't higher. Heck, I can tell you that the percentage of Americans I encounter who are just plain stupid is a lot more than 51%.

 

I'll take science over faith any day. Hubble must be turning over in his grave. Oh well, you can lead a horse to water...

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compl3x

I know why evolution and the big bang are so widely rejected. I don't need to say it, do I?

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User6060

jesus aint never said no nothing bout that big bang /s

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Dot Matrix

Well, being led by grumpy old white men, who can't tell their arse from a hole in the ground, I'm surprised this number isn't lower. But hey, keep telling us science is false, that's your thing, but just keep in mind, science still has 100% more evidence than the Bible does.

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Jim K

Well, you have to agree that the big bang theory is just that...a theory.  While it is very conceivable that the universe has not existed forever, it is also hard for our human minds to wrap around that everything came from a singularity (big bang) 15 billion years ago.  I can also see and understand how it is easier for people to believe in a deity that they believe created all.

 

In other words, as with large distances (i.e. light years) it is hard for us to fully comprehend and gauge something so massive.  I do not think we will ever pin point the exact cause of the universe's existence...but as the years go by we will better understand evolution.

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Dot Matrix

Well, you have to agree that the big bang theory is just that...a theory.  While it is very conceivable that the universe has not existed forever, it is also hard for our human minds to wrap around that everything came from a singularity (big bang) 15 billion years ago.  I can also see and understand how it is easier for people to believe in a deity that they believe created all.

 

In other words, as with large distances (i.e. light years) it is hard for us to fully comprehend and gauge something so massive.  I do not think we will ever pin point the exact cause of the universe's existence...but as the years go by we will better understand evolution.

 

Scientific Theory is a well substantiated claim based off evidence acquired by scientific means. The evidence for the Big Bang is there, and we can see it, but we still don't know what, if anything, transpired.

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123456789A

Do I accept scientific theories? Sure. Does that also mean we can't question them? If we didn't question scientific theories, we wouldn't advance our understanding of anything.

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Fergdog

Whenever someone says something is just a "theory" they usually don't understand what a theory is. A lot of people get hypothesis and theory mixed up. Hypothesis is an idea, theory has actual evidence for it. Even things with humongous amounts of evidence are still a "theory" in science.

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T3X4S

Gravity is just a theory - so ...

The math suggests there are multiple universe(s) because of expansion (not the normal definition of expansion though).  To think that an object the size of a marble with near infinite mass grew to be all the mass in the observable universe is mind-boggling in itself.

In a time it takes a photon of light to travel across the width of a proton the universe doubled in size - think about that...  crazy

Now scientists are saying the cant see past this wall of radiation that is everywhere & about 14 billion light years away in every direction - they are claiming it is the beginning of time !  But, one has to think - if it is a wall - what is on the other side of the wall ?


(Just finished the audiobook of Our Mathematical Universe)

On topic:   My fiance says Im a sociopath, but I just think most people are too stupid to talk to, so I would rather spend my spare time on techie websites "talking shop", and occasionally talking about finding people with the same kind of nerd gene as me who like to talk about space, science, physics, boobs.... 
So I believe it when I read that 50% of Americans think early man lived in same time as dinosaurs -- that doesnt surprise me.

 

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DirtyLarry

I was about to say I am pretty sure that in NJ the number must not be anywhere near 51% and sure enough in the article some guy who is my exact age and who is an architect from Bridgewater, NJ, which is just 1 town over from where I live actually, is quoted as someone who says they are not sure it happened. Truly SMH

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Praetor

Theres' a freighting thing that missed everyone in the article:

 

More ? 15 percent ? have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

 

wth...15% have doubts? And there's people who don't vaccine their kids, no wonder some diseases still won't go extinct, even that we have the vaccines for them.

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theyarecomingforyou

Gravity is just a theory - so ...

Actually, gravity is both a scientific fact and a scientific theory. That's because scientific facts refer to observable behaviour, while theories relate to the principles involved. However, it's unacceptable that anyone would take the word of a religious text over that of scientific evidence. Religion just don't stand up to scrutiny.

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Jim K

Scientific Theory is a well substantiated claim based off evidence acquired by scientific means. The evidence for the Big Bang is there, and we can see it, but we still don't know what, if anything, transpired.

 

Well yea, I know that.  Point being that theories change as data is gathered which can tip evidence which in turn generates a brand new/modified theory.  Theories contain strong evidence (as you mentioned) but not absolute truth/fact/law.

 

In other words, just because there is a big bang theory doesn't imply that there isn't a better explanation or another "this is what happened".  There could be other reasons that the universe was created but we, as humans, haven't come up with the technology or understanding for such discovery.  There was a steady state theory but as evidence emerged for the big bang it became obsolete...who is to say that will not happen with the big bang theory?

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Mordkanin

Actually, gravity is both a scientific fact and a scientific theory. 

 

As is evolution. Doesn't stop people from blathering on about it being "just a theory".

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+Red King

I approve of people questioning validity of vaccines. I also approve of stupid people dying off.

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primexx

Well yea, I know that.  Point being that theories change as data is gathered which can tip evidence which in turn generates a brand new/modified theory.  Theories contain strong evidence (as you mentioned) but not absolute truth/fact/law.

 

In other words, just because there is a big bang theory doesn't imply that there isn't a better explanation or another "this is what happened".  There could be other reasons that the universe was created but we, as humans, haven't come up with the technology or understanding for such discovery.  There was a steady state theory but as evidence emerged for the big bang it became obsolete...who is to say that will not happen with the big bang theory?

 

You still don't get it. Theories are overarching models of how things work, supported by facts & laws, etc. (wtf is "truth" supposed to be?), they don't somehow graduate into a law one day because some magical threshold is met.

I approve of people questioning validity of vaccines. I also approve of stupid people dying off.

unfortunately, it affects herd immunity and drags down innocent children along with them.

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zhangm

unfortunately, it affects herd immunity and drags down innocent children along with them.

It also creates a breeding ground where pathogens can explore mutations that evade immunity conferred by existing vaccines, as well as produce strains that are resistant to treatment.

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Hum

You still don't get it. Theories are overarching models of how things work, supported by facts & laws, etc. (wtf is "truth" supposed to be?), they don't somehow graduate into a law one day because some magical threshold is met.

unfortunately, it affects herd immunity and drags down innocent children along with them.

No one dies without intending to do so.

 

There are no 'accidents'.

 

You are only seeing the surface of events.

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Ian S.

Funny thing, Science and Evolution + Big Bang takes faith. You really can't deny that.

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Raa

Do I accept scientific theories? Sure. Does that also mean we can't question them? If we didn't question scientific theories, we wouldn't advance our understanding of anything.

I agree with you, but there's a big difference between questioning something, and being ignorant of it.

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mudslag

Funny thing, Science and Evolution + Big Bang takes faith. You really can't deny that.

 

 

There is a huge difference between blind faith (religion) and evidence based faith (science). One believes based on no evidence while the other believes based on the evidence at hand.

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compl3x

Do I accept scientific theories? Sure. Does that also mean we can't question them? If we didn't question scientific theories, we wouldn't advance our understanding of anything.

 

 

Questioning is great. Having an inquisitive mind is what makes a scientist in the first place. This article isn't an example of questioning, it is an example of people rejecting things they don't understand and no doubt have no interest in understanding. If you reject evidence because it contradicts your views or beliefs you're not questioning anything.

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tiagosilva29

I would be surprised if there was no questioning.

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Jim K

You still don't get it. Theories are overarching models of how things work, supported by facts & laws, etc. (wtf is "truth" supposed to be?), they don't somehow graduate into a law one day because some magical threshold is met.

 

What don't I get?  Theories can and have been disproven.  The steady state theory was a good scientific theory that made definite predictions and could be tested by observation.  As technology and more data was gathered, and the discovery of the microwave background radiation, the steady state theory was then rejected.

 

So yea, I accept the big bang based on all current evidence...but once again...as data and discoveries keep pouring in...who knows what will be found?

 

What is more alarming is that 1 in 4 Americans don't know the earth orbits the sun.  http://phys.org/news/2014-02-americans-unaware-earth-circles-sun.html

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DocM

Re: Big Bang - not settled.

In the last few years there have been several papers by non-woo-woo's about how the Big Bang is not necessary to explain current observations.

If large segments of the public are sceptical of the Big Bang it may well have nothing to do with the 'R-word' but a reasonable resonse to cosmology's own growing internal debate, which has made it into mass science media.

Also, religion does not inherently dismiss the Big Bang, only a very few (loud) literalists.

The FACT is that the Big Bang was first proposed by Monseigneur George Lema?tre, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, in his "hypothesis of the primeval atom." Einstein was at first skeptical, but later supported his proposals. Lema?tre was ahead of the curve on many things usually ascribed to others.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII said that the Big Bang and the Catholic concept of creation were compatible. That has not changed, and the vast majprity of Christian denominations agree. Even many conservative denominations. Even many Evangelicals, like we Evangelical Lutherans.

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