In the post below I pointed to various differences in regards to acceptance of evolution by demographic. One of the issues is that just because X correlates with Y, does not entail that X causes Y (and of course, if X correlates with Y, and Y correlates with Z, that does not entail that X correlates with Z). You can use the GSS to run some regressions and see what the strongest predictive variables. Because of this I know that the variable BIBLE is very predictive of skepticism of evolution. Additionally, even smart people with college educations who have a literal inerrant view of the Bible are skeptical of evolution. To show the power of Biblical fundamentalism I thought it would be useful to plot differences in regards to the Index of Creationism by various demographics for both Fundamentalists and non-Fundamentalists. So below I have a set of charts which have two series, one for Fundamentalists, and one for non-Fundamentalists, of a given demographic. So for example one chart has Fundamentalists and non-Fundamentalists separated by attainment or non-attainment of college educations.
The primary variables are BIBLE & SCITEST4.
Which of these statements comes closest to describing your feelings about teh Bible? 1. The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word. 2. The Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word. 3. The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men.
I recoded so that responses 2 and 3 are classed as non-Fundamentalist.
For each statement below, just check the box that comes closest to your opinion of how true it is. In your opinion, how true is this? d. Human beings developed from earlier species of animals.
I created the Index of Creationism = (% “definitely not true”) X 3 + (% “probably not true”) X 2 + (% “probably true”) X 1, from three of the four responses to SCITEST4.
In the charts below the blue squares = Fundamentalists. The red diamonds = non-Fundamentalists. I rescaled so that 1 is the minimum for the Index of Creationism on all charts.
Reminder: blue squares = Fundamentalists, red diamonds = non-Fundamentalists. A few notes. For stupid, average and smart, I simply recoded the WORDSUM vocabulary test. Stupid = 0-4, Average = 5-7 and Smart = 8-10. For region, it’s pretty self-explanatory, though do note that I placed Texas and such in the South, not the West. The West are the Pacific & Mountain regions only. Those with no college degree includes all those without bachelor’s degrees (non-four year degrees).
Do you notice the counterintuitive pattern when it comes to intelligence and Creationism, and income and Creationism? The sample size for SCITEST4 isn’t that hot, so you could chalk it up to noise, but I’ve done enough poking around the GSS to trust this. There is a pattern where very intelligent and/or high socioeconomic status Fundamentalists adhere to the viewpoint which in the general population is correlated with lower intelligence and socioeconomic status. I think the dynamic here is partly the same one when it comes to political polarization: stupid and lower status people tend to be less ideologically coherent because they don’t spend much time thinking about abstract questions. From what little field investigation I’ve performed dull human tends to fixate on sensory or interpersonal questions, not intellectual ones. In other words, very stupid Fundamentalists may not even understand what they’re being asked. Very stupid people also tend to agree that they’re political moderates more often than the intelligent; moderate seems like a good thing to say for someone who never thinks about politics. I think this issue to some extent explains the lack of effect among Roman Catholics. Unlike Protestants views about the Bible are less emphasized in Roman Catholicism traditionally, so many Catholics may not have well thought out opinions on the topic. Those who answer that they believe the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God may not really even know what this really should mean. The question is geared toward those with Protestant presuppositions.
There may also be the secondary effect of self-selection when it comes to intelligence and income for Fundamentalists. Fundamentalism tends to correlate with lower intelligence and income, and those who choose to remain Fundamentalists despite higher intelligence and income may self-select for the most extreme and rigorous subset of this class. More theologically liberal and lax Protestant denominations tend to be biased toward wealthy and well-educated individuals, some of whom have switched denominations as they go up the class hierarchy. Those who refuse to switch as they ascend the class ladder may be a peculiar subset. By contrast, lower class status denominations may include more lax individuals in relation to belief or practice who would not feel comfortable in a liberal denomination because of their class status.
This pattern of social sorting probably explains the fact that region still has a significant predictive power even controlling for Fundamentalism. Northeastern Fundamentalists are equivalent in skepticism toward evolution as Southern non-Fundamentalists. I have seen similar tendencies among black Americans in relation to social issues and religion; secular individuals who are black are invariably more socially conservative that secular individuals who are white. I think this is a function of the fact that secular blacks are embedded in a more socially conservative cultural milieu. Similarly, non-Fundamentalist Southerners are embedded in a more Creationist culture, as Fundamentalists are numerically more preponderant in the South than non-Fundamentalists. New Englanders exhibit the inverted tendency. Someone who is a conservative, Fundamentalist or Republican in New England may actually be liberal, theologically moderate and a Democrat in the South.
Variables: Region, Wordsum, Relig, Income, Degree, Scitest4