SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND SOCIETY: THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION IN AMERICA
Version of Record online: 17 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 66, Issue 8, pages 2654–2663, August 2012
How to Cite
Coyne, J. A. (2012), SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND SOCIETY: THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION IN AMERICA. Evolution, 66: 2654–2663. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01664.x
- Issue online: 26 JUL 2012
- Version of Record online: 17 MAY 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 17 APR 2012 01:28PM EST
- Received December 29, 2011 , Accepted March 27, 2012
- evolutionary biology;
American resistance to accepting evolution is uniquely high among First World countries. This is due largely to the extreme religiosity of the United States, which is much higher than that of comparably advanced nations, and to the resistance of many religious people to the facts and supposed implications of evolution. The prevalence of religious belief in the United States suggests that outreach by scientists alone will not have a huge effect in increasing the acceptance of evolution, nor will the strategy of trying to convince the faithful that evolution is compatible with their religion. Because creationism is a symptom of religion, another strategy to promote evolution involves loosening the grip of faith on America. This is easier said than done, for recent sociological surveys show that religion is highly correlated with the dysfunctionality of a society, and various measures of societal health show that the United States is one of the most socially dysfunctional First World countries. Widespread acceptance of evolution in America, then, may have to await profound social change.