06.21.2016

According to a recent survey by PayScale, there is a giant gap between how millennials view themselves in the workplace and how they are viewed by their managers. Media fretting about how this alleged “slacker generation” is faring in adulthood often manifests in articles decrying the number of millennials who still live with their parents.

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Cards, showing all four suitsImage by Enoch Lau, via Wikimedia Commons under a CC-BY-SA license. Take a card deck (no jokers). Pull out a card. What’s the probability that you’ll see a spade?

25%, right?

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Pope FrancisOn Thursday, June 18, 2015, Pope Francis is due to deliver his first encyclical, a major document laying out an interpretation of Catholic doctrine. His theme will be the environment, and especially climate change.

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Let it be known that I love, love, love Tobin Grant’s work at Religion News Service. The political scientist at Southern Illinois University examines the role of religion in politics (and vice versa) using beautiful and informative data visualizations. I’m particularly enamored of this graphic, showing how members of different denominations fall out in terms of belief that the government should provide more services, compared to the degree to which they believe the government should promote morality.

I love it so much, in fact, that I decided to make my own version, exploring church memberships’ views on evolution and other scientific topics.

So I downloaded the 2007 version of Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey (a new version of this survey was just published, but the raw data aren’t available, nor have results from any questions on evolution been published), and broke it down the same way Grant did.

Plot of religious groups’ attitudes on the environment vs. evolution

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Were you lying all the time? Was it just a game to you?
But I’m in so deep. You know I’m such a fool for you.
You got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha.
Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to,
Do you have to let it linger?

—The Cranberries, “Linger” from the album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

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While discussion of Israeli elections has largely (and reasonably) focused on the different parties’ views on the occupation of Palestine and the prospect of war with Iran, the ongoing effort to craft a coalition government may carry risks for science education, too.

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BioLogos, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting evolution within evangelical circles, recently released a large survey examining how and why people develop their views on evolution. There’s a lot to mine there, though you can read the highlights in NCSE’s news item. I’m especially fascinated by the survey’s work to separate out different stances in the public conversation on how evolution and religion intersect.

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The issue of whether Sherlock Holmes is science literate led to some fascinating discussion in the comments section, though not, I fear, to a consensus. But let’s turn to a matter closer to my own heart and examine what we can learn about someone’s science literacy based on whether they reject evolution.

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