Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Big Band and Big Foot

I love a good study, but all too often I'm left at a loss as to the results. This time, I'm just dismayed...

Chapman University ran a study on fears, but also gauged respondents beliefs on paranormal and scientific questions. Sadly, what they found wasn't encouraging.

Believe that positive thought can influence the physical world: 69%

Sure, positive thought can drive one to do better and try harder. But actually cause things to happen on their own? I don't think so...

Believe in advanced civilizations like Atlantis: 63%

History does tell of actual civilizations that were quite ahead of their time, so I have no problems going that far. Maybe an advanced city of Atlantis did exist, but I would say that the popular stories of how advanced they supposedly were are quite embellished and exaggerated.

Believe that dreams foretell the future: 58%

Given how vague dreams can be, and how difficult they can be to remember clearly it's no surprise that a person's cognitive bias could lead them to believe that their dream actually did come true. But do dreams really predict the future? I know that none of mine have, and I've never heard of any convincing cases of it actually happening.

Believe in haunted houses/ghosts: 54%

With how many ghost shows are on TV I'm surprised this number isn't higher. That said, it's still far too high since there has still been no evidence uncovered that ghosts are actually real.

Confident that vaccines are safe and effective: 53%

Less people trust vaccines than believe in ghosts? That's just sad. The truth is that vaccines work. They have eradicated or devastated many sicknesses that were once common and also deadly. From my experience, those that side against the safety of vaccines are often misinformed, misunderstanding things, or relying on dangerously outdated info.

 Believe Satan causes most of the evil in the world: 47%

Guess these people didn't read the Bible, because God is far more evil. But seriously... Almost half of respondents are afraid of a boogie man that hasn't ever been shown to even exist? That's just sad. Even sadder... at least one Supreme Court justice is a member of that group.

Believe that UFO's are spaceships: 41%

Do I believe that there is probably extraterrestrial life out there somewhere? Sure. The sheer number of galaxies, stars and planets make it mathematically likely that there is more life somewhere. That said, I don't think aliens have ever come to Earth. Also, we shouldn't forget that the vast majority of UFO sightings/videos have been easily explained.

Confident that human activities are causing global warming: 33%

This is sad... The vast majority of scientific studies have come to the same conclusion. Climate change is real, and we are playing at least a big part. Those that side against the science are almost always funded by big oil, or dangerously misinformed. This is an important issue, because the very future of humanity may hang in the balance.

Confident that life evolved by way of evolution by natural selection: 31%

Even more dismaying than the global warming news is this. While the average person understanding evolution may not be as important to our continued survival, the overwhelming evidence that life did evolve by way of natural selection should make this a no-brainer. And we have known this fact for quite some time now. What's more, what's with 53% of people trusting in a flu shot when only 31% 'believe' in evolution? Evolution is why you need a new flu shot every year!

Confident the Big Bang theory is correct: 21%

This is far, far too low. Why? Because just like evolution, all the evidence shows us that the big bang happened. Sadly, far too many people choose to ignore the evidence and blindly accept a religion's claim to 'creation'. This is important because if they are willing to ignore these mountains of evidence in favor of theology, what won't they ignore.

Believe Big Foot is real: 21%

That's right... Just as many people 'believe' the Big Bang theory, a scientific explanation rooted in a huge mass of evidence as believe in Big Foot... a monster who has never been shown to exist, and every claim of a body has been found to be a fraud. 

Believe fortune tellers can tell the future: 17%

I'm actually surprised to see this so low, when future telling dreams rank so high on this list. This one is a positive though, because every person claiming psychic abilities has been shown to be a fraud when scientifically tested.

Believe in astrology: 13%

To tell the truth, I'm actually relieved to see so few people actually believe in astrology. Astrology is undeniably a laughable idea that has been shown to be bunk.

As you can see, there are some real problems here. Most stem from Americans being far too superstitious. But education also seems to be a real problem when acceptance of the Big Bang, evolution, climate change and vaccination rate as low as they do.

-Brain Hulk

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