Sunday, 17 January 2010

Scientific illiteracy

55% of Australians prefer a God-guided or biblical account of the development of human beings over Darwinian evolution, an Australian science communication researcher was reported in The Otago Daily Times as saying. Now, I lived and worked in Australia for 12 years and I didn't see any evidence that our Aussie friends are a particularly god-fearing bunch, so I can only conclude that the survey was conducted outside the Waggawagga Methodist Church at 11am on a Sunday or that the majority of respondents thought that "Darwinian" referred to residency in the Northern Territory's capital city.

As a Kiwi writing about Australians, I favour the latter explanation, but lest any Americans who might happen upon this post should be feeling smug, the same report says that only 40% of Americans believe the Darwinian account of evolution.

Okay, okay, New Zealanders are not all that rational either. According to a Massey University survey, 39% of Kiwi adults believe fortune-tellers can predict the future. There is no mention, however, of fortune-tellers setting up their tents at racetracks alongside the bookies. Apparently their entrepeneurial skills don't match their fortune-telling expertise.

If the surveys are accurate, my greatest worry is that one day I might have to face trial by a jury of New Zealanders (or Australians or Americans) with my defence depending their ability to digest scientific evidence!

1 comment:

  1. I once went to a"fortune teller" in Wanganui. I would have gone back but she was killed in a plane crash. That has always left me wondering why she never knew, or if she did, why did she get on the plane...