Darwin’s theory and American exceptionalism

20150119_differnt_0Source: Calamities of Nature via Zero Hedge.

As this chart shows, we Americans are less likely to believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution than the people of any European nation.

Oddly, though, we are more likely to believe in social Darwinism (although we don’t call it that)—the idea the law of life is survival of the fittest, and society does not exist so that people can cooperate for mutually beneficial ends, but so that the population can be sorted into winners and losers.


Update 1/21/2015.  As I think about it, there are a couple of other noteworthy things in the chart.  That is the significant percentage of people, even in advanced countries such as Denmark, France and Sweden, who are unwilling to say human beings developed from earlier species of animals.

They are rejecting not only Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, but the religious theory of evolution by Intelligent Design.

Also noteworthy is the correlation between national wealth and belief in evolution.  If correlation implies causation in this case, what is the direction of cause-and-effect?

If national wealth results in people being better educated in science, that is one thing, and the unusual inequality in wealth in the United States might, as Dan Allosso suggested in his comment, might explain inequality in scientific knowledge. 

On the other hand, if causation runs the other way, if people being better educated in science is a source of national wealth, that is bad news for the United States.

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One Response to “Darwin’s theory and American exceptionalism”

  1. danallosso Says:

    Maybe the US’s position on the chart reflects wealth inequality. The 1% understand Darwin just fine. The gap in understanding parallels the gap in income/wealth. A new definition of exceptionalism!


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