The results of a brand spankin’ new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press survey are going to drive our liberal friends positively nuts, Save Jerseyans.
Apparently even in “Blue” Jersey, home of Princeton University and some of our country’s leading yuppies, a full 42% of residents don’t believe in evolution theory as compared to 51% who do.
Not everyone is surprised. Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, says the poll’s results prove “Once again, New Jersey shows itself to be a microcosm of the nation. We’re a little less fundamentally religious, but only just a little. There are pockets of every type of belief throughout the Garden State.”
Here are some of the key findings underpinning Murray’s conclusion…
Overall, 64% of New Jerseyans believe in life after death, 51% believe in the theory of evolution, 49% believe in life on other planets, and 38% believe in astrology. Compared to a similar series of questions posed by the Eagleton-Rutgers Poll 12 years ago, belief in life after death is down by 4 points, evolution by 2 points, life on other planets by 7 points and astrology by 1 point.
Education is a significant factor behind the belief in astrology and evolution, although it has less impact on belief in life after or beyond our earthly existence. Fewer than 3-in-10 New Jerseyans with a college degree believe in astrology compared to more than 4-in-10 of those without a degree. In terms of evolution, more than 2-in-3 (69%) college graduates believe in it, compared to 52% with some college education and 37% of New Jerseyans who never went to college.
New Jerseyans with a Darwinian bent may despair at the 42% of their fellow Garden State residents who cannot countenance the idea that humans may have evolved from lower life forms. However, they may take solace from the fact that recent polls in other places put that number significantly higher. For instance, large majorities of Republican primary voters in Southern states do not believe in evolution – 60% in Alabama and 66% in Mississippi, according to a March 2012 PPP Poll. However, that number was a much lower 43% among Illinois Republicans. Here in New Jersey, 49% of Republicans do not believe in evolution, compared to 41% of independents and 39% of Democrats.
Check out Murray’s data tables and his sample’s responses to similar questions at his Monmouth U. site.
Transitioning from politics to philosophy for a moment, I’ve long thought the entire creationism debate is utterly absurd, Save Jerseyans. It’s just another way for interest groups to create artifical divides between Left and Right where they need not exist.
Frankly, I think a strong majority of American agree with me. They believe (1) evolution is real and (2) is itself an intelligent design!
Think about it for a moment: does a baker snap his or her fingers and presto! A cake appears on the prep table? No, of course not! A baker is, essentially, a chemist. He or she follows a recipe, mixes ingredients accordingly and catalyzes a series of reactioms to create a baked good. God’s relationship to the Universe/evolution is likely no different. Only He was serving up primordial soup, something a little more complex than your aunt’s lemon-flavored bundt cake.
I guess that’s why your Roman Catholic Blogger-in-Chief doesn’t read Genesis literally, but I also refuse to dismiss its contents out-of-hand as “primitive” or wrong by any means. It was an ancient people’s way of using their God-given intellects to understand our world’s development.
Those on the Left who refuse to accept this logical “middle ground” often do so because they instinctively hate religion. They don’t trust black and white moral constructs; for them to accept God’s role in creation, whatever that might be, would undermine their entire belief system (and it’s logical replacement, government-worship). So-called religious conservatives are also often ruled by a reflex; in their case, because they’re tired of being lied to/misled/controlled by the secular media establishment. Call it “trauma-induced hyper-skepticism” if you prefer.
At the end of the day, as a matter of public policy. I’m a big believer in letting people believe whatever they’d like to believe, Save Jerseyans. What a novel concept! Let the market place of ideas sort out whose narrative is superior. Public school indoctrination is, however, much more troubling than whatever happens in private or religious schools since public educators’ wacky ideas are taxpayer-financed. Not good. Classrooms should be a place for informed and respectful debate. Hence, despite my own personal beliefs, I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with public school science teachers setting forth the overwhelming evidence in support of evolution provided alternative viewpoints aren’t stifled by the teacher.
We should be teaching kids how to use their brains… not telling them what to think! Maybe then we’d keep more skilled jobs in the United States.