Another poll

This is, not surprisingly, depressing stuff (not surprisingly because of the subject matter and the source). It’s depressing not just because of the substance but also because of the patronizing stupidity of the writing – the cuddly babytalk, the low (the almost non-existent) expectations.

Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such. Another 5 percent say they follow a non-Christian faith, such as Judaism or Islam.

Note the lightning-fast shift from ‘a specific religion’ to the now more usual familiar cozy reassuring ‘faith’; note the assumption that readers are so feeble and so delusional that they can’t bear to see their own religions referred to as religions, that they have to be somehow soothed and mollified by seeing them called ‘faiths’ instead, and that that putative requirement imposes an obligation on journalism to use such language. If things go on this way, soon baby talk will take over completely. The newspapers will have short pieces about the nice men and ladies in the gov-ern-ment who figure out what is the nicest thing to do for all the mommies and daddies and babies, and the mean men in other places who want to hit the nice men and ladies and take away the mommies’ and daddies’ toys and cars and cookies so we have to hit them first, and then it will be supper time and we’ll all go to sleep and play again to-mor-row.

But, who knows, maybe we are that stupid.

Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact…Although one in ten (10 percent) of Americans identify themselves as having “no religion,” only six percent said they don’t believe in a God at all.

The 34% of college graduates item is pretty scary – but then it’s important to remember that there are a lot of ‘colleges’ in the US and that necessarily a great many of them are, how shall I put this, not very good or very demanding. Many are more like church schools; many are more like not very good high schools; many (most?) are largely vocational schools rather than academies of arts and sciences; many are some of both. In short, being a ‘college graduate’ in the US does not necessarily translate to being educated in the usual sense of the word. (In particular, that 34% does not translate to a finding that 34% of the graduates of any particular college or university accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. At some the percent will be much higher, and at others, mercifully, it will be much lower. There’s no need to go around thinking the 34% applies to graduates of MIT or Cornell or NYU.)

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