On this, the 6010th anniversary of the World’s supposed creation, the Barma Group releases a poll saying that 60% of Americans believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis. At least, they say they do. The problem with this and most religious polls is that they suffer from the Halo Effect.
Americans are raised form the time they are toddlers to say they believe in God because Saying You Believe in God is a signifier. It’s like a Galactic Hitchhiker’s towel; if you have a towel, most people will assume you also have a toothbrush, soap, space suit, etc, or had them at one time and simply misplaced them and so will gladly lend you whatever you’re lacking. Say You Believe in God and most Americans will assume, without any evidence, that you are a good and decent human being who sends their mother Birthday cards and is kind to puppies and children.
So, most people say they believe the Bible, Jesus, God or whatever will make you think they are a good person. They tell pollsters what they think they want to hear, not what is true. Truth is, most Americans don’t really believe any of these things. They just say they do. Probably about 20-30% really do believe these things to some degree but if pressed on the matter, will admit that OK, yeah, a talking snake is a little far fetched and maybe Geologists have a point and the Earth is really 4.5 Billion years old but still they Believe! Every other Sunday. For an hour. Maybe an hour and a half if the Sermon runs long.
The fact that + or – 25% of the population still believes this nonsense is anything but bronze age poetry is a problem and means that we nasty, vociferous atheists aren’t being loud enough. Thing is, it doesn’t take much to convince most people. You just have to ask questions gently, get them to think about how absurd religion is, which most people have simply never bothered to do and they’ll come around on their own. That little hard knot of Fundies and True Believers, well, they’re never going to learn, which is why we make fun of them. because it’s easier than breaking your forehead on a brick wall.
Via: PZ at Pharyngula.