Poll shows Americans not confident in Big Bang, OK with smoking science

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A new poll shows a rift in Americans’ thinking when it comes to basic concepts of modern science.

Americans overwhelmingly accept the scientific evidence that smoking can cause cancer. However, as CBS News and the AP report, a “bigger portion of Americans still question some of the basic concepts of modern science, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.”

In the survey, respondents were asked to rate their confidence in several statements involving science and medicine. A representative sample of 1,012 U.S. adults, ages 18 and up, were polled.

The survey results may be surprising to some. In some areas of scientific study, Americans were skeptical. For example, U.S. respondents showed “more skepticism than confidence in the scientific concept that a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.”

Other areas of doubt? The science behind global warming and the age of the Earth.

On the other hand, the most broadly accepted scientific statement was that “smoking causes cancer, with a whopping 82 percent of respondents saying they were extremely or very confident that it did.”

To read the full survey details and take a closer look at the numbers, click here.


  • Caoimhin Miller

    Title should say that Americans are undereducated sheep who believe politicians and religious leaders instead of understanding simple science. We need better education in our schools.

    • watcher

      Could just as easily say “Lost author doesn’t understand God’s design and the impact of Christ’s followers on his study so fails to separate their impact. Bad science strikes again, while trying to prove bad understanding of science”

      not all things that matter can be counted and not all things that can be counted matter

    • Nivek Yentrouc

      Real science is verifiable and repeatable, junk science is not. The hubris of those that claim theory as fact are a detriment to true scientific inquirey and need to accept that what they don’t know far exceeds what they think they know. Simply bashing theists as people that don’t understand science underscores how little you know, even about your fellow man. Arrogance is no replacement for intellect.

      • Say What

        The American taxpayers are spending billions of dollars in Huntsville on research to find other planets to run away to when we destroy Earth!

    • Terence Conklin

      Yours was by far the most relavant response. Often such polls are more a poll on their own wording. As a scientist myself, I can not say boldly that the “Big Bang” started the universe (except the presently viewed “edition” of it. 14 million years seems like a very long time but I doubt it is ALL the time there has ever been. We may be seeing only one wink of a blinking universe coming and going. “Theory” is used quite correctly. Sadly, no one ever seems to add the word theory to global warming, which carries a lot of good science but also tries to define the very name like religeous dohma.

    • Tyko Mäkitammi

      Most people don’t can’t distinguish fact from fiction, but most people also don’t know the difference between a theory (1) and a scientific theory (2).

      1. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation. [dictionary.com]
      2. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine. [dictionary.com]
      A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. [wikipedia]

  • USF83

    Findings like this is the result of years of dumbing down the school systems and the teaching of unscientific creationism.

  • watcher

    Could just as easily say “Lost author doesn’t understand God’s design and the impact of Christ’s followers on his study so fails to separate their impact. Bad science strikes again, while trying to prove bad understanding of science”

    not all things that matter can be counted and not all things that can be counted matter

  • John Spaur

    But, ES, if you choose to totally discount this “theory”, what would you propose to consider to be the fact? And then, based on what evidence?

  • Machobunny

    Being a very educated non-conformist atheist who hates our government, I disagree with +Caoimhin Miller. There is evidence for and against the effect of humans on global climate change and substantial controversy among scientists. The Big Bang allows our present mathematical evolution of quantum mechanics to work, and sometimes for hypothesis to match experimental evidence. But the big bang is, by no means, the final answer. Its a step along a devious path. And carcinogenicity of tobacco tars and byproducts, has been repeatedly proven by every interested lab on the planet.
    Moreover, since I do agree that Americans are generally poorly educated and apparently a large percentage still cling to moronic religious myths, collectively, and surprisingly, they called this one pretty much right on.

    • john

      You people are so rabid about religion. It should make the “ignorant masses” wonder why. What do you want to bet that its not because of your vast intellect or your deep understanding of science.

      • Saved

        God says that everything you need to know is in the Bible. Science is the work of the Devil trying to destroy His word! It is good that people are turning from science and showing their faces to the Lord! The poll shows that America is on a Godly path to Heaven!

    • Branko Pezdi

      No. They were sampling Obama voters.

      See? Others can climb down to your level of liberal maturity too.

      • paul

        this from a “guy” that believes God is an American and Jesus was born in Alabama. to late for most of these christian conservatives

  • Bubba

    Genesis 1:1. God rules Supreme. Big Bangs don’t “Create”, they “Destroy”. Just ask the good folks in Hiroshima Japan.! Enough said!

  • Bubba

    The Bible is the ultimate authority whether you believe it or not! “Science” hasn’t even scratched the surface of “Real knowledge”. Psalms 14:1 says, “Afool has said in his heart, there is no God”. So read and heed The Word Of God or be Damned for all eternity.

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