Everything is Bigger in Texas Except…

Michael Louie


brains? Well, that’s probably not an entirely fair assessment. But according to a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, nearly 33 percent of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs once roamed the Earth at the same time. Not only that, but 51 percent don’t believe in human evolution and a shocking 14 percent "don’t know" what to believe. To be fair though, I also asked the human/dinosaur question in first grade, and though I can’t recall the exact response from Sister Susan Louise, it was along the lines of "Don’t you ever ask that question again." Granted, the article wasn’t conducted to show what cavemen Texans ostensibly are, but rather to see how religion influences politics. Below is an excerpt from the poll results and for the full article check it here.

The differences in beliefs about evolution and the length of time that living things have existed on earth are reflected in the political and religious preference of our respondents, who were asked four questions about biological history and God:

• 38 percent said human beings developed over millions of years with God guiding the process and another 12 percent said that development happened without God having any part of the process. Another 38 percent agreed with the statement "God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago."

• Asked about the origin and development of life on earth without injecting humans into the discussion, and 53 percent said it evolved over time, "with a guiding hand from God." They were joined by 15 percent who agreed on the evolution part, but "with no guidance from God." About a fifth — 22 percent — said life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

• Most of the Texans in the survey — 51 percent — disagree with the statement, "human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." Thirty-five percent agreed with that statement, and 15 percent said they don’t know.

• Did humans live at the same time as the dinosaurs? Three in ten Texas voters agree with that statement; 41 percent disagree, and 30 percent don’t know.

The questions were devised by David Prindle, a University of Texas government professor who authored a book called Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution, about the late evolutionary biologist. "The end in mind … is to establish the relationships, not just to get raw public opinion," he says. "We can do some fancy statistical stuff. … Is it religion driving politics or is politics driving religion? My hypothesis is that religious views drive politics."



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