Saturday, February 14, 2009

Triumph of Superstition

In a comment to yesterday's post, Ross mentioned the polling data and the frightening backwardness of the U.S. population on matters of science and religion. A comment relating that to Tarot seems in order. The numbers and charts below are from a Gallup poll taken in mid 2008.

The upshot is that less than 1/20th of Republicans actually believe in evolution, while less than 1/5th of Democrats and Independents actually believe in evolution. The rest are invested in the supernatural. Considering this overwhelming rejection of rationalism in the general public, it is embarrassing to admit my naivete in being disappointed in Tarot enthusiasts for wallowing in bullshit. They constitute a sub-culture self-selected for extreme gullibility and lack of critical thinking skills.

Ignoring political affiliation, the relative size of the three groups, (rationalists, believers in the supernatural, and primitive believers in the supernatural), is amazing. As of that survey, about 1/7th of the 21st-century U.S. population qualify as rationalists, a mere 14%. More than 2½ times that number believe that "God did it", 36%. And more than 3 times(!) that number, 44%, believe in the literal truth of medieval interpretations of bronze-age mythology!

I guess I'll never grow sufficiently cynical about humanity that I'm not surprised anew each time I encounter such facts... like other true believers, there are some truths I just don't want to learn.

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