The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)  in partnership with the Religion News Service has released the results of a study, the results of which should

Why spend money on education with so many intelligent spend thrifts knowing what's best for America?

come as no surprise to those people who are well aware of the intellectual limitations of some of the most outspoken people engaged in the American national dialogue.

According Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director, “Americans who identify with the Tea Party and white evangelical Protestants strongly reject evolution.  In fact, roughly one-third of these groups believe humans and other living things were created within the last 10,000 years.”

Not surprisingly, the study shows that most Republicans who identify as evangelical Protestants and, as members of the “Tea Party,” do not believe in either evolution or climate change.

The good news is that a clear majority of Americans do not subscribe to “the Earth is flat” reasoning:  69% of all Americans believe that the Earth climate is warming.  57% of Americans believe that humans and other living species have evolved over time.

These results suggest that Republican Presidential candidates need to address these issues in such a way as to not sound foolish to a majority of Americans without turning off their less sophisticated base.

Other findings of the study include:

  • More than 6-in-10 political independents (61%) and Democrats (64%) affirm a belief in evolution, compared to 45% of Republicans and 43% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party.
  • Nearly two-thirds (66%) of white mainline Protestants, 61% of Catholics, and 77% of the unaffiliated believe humans and other living things evolved over time, compared to only about one-third (32%) of white evangelicals. African-American Protestants are evenly divided on the question, with 47% affirming a belief in evolution and 46% affirming a belief in creationism.

It’s not surprising that in a nation where teacher salaries and expenditures for education are often given the same priority as general infrastructure maintenance in many communities, 53% of all Americans indicated that whether or not a candidate believes in evolution, would have little or no impact on their selection of whom to they vote for.  54% said their voting preference would not be impacted by a candidates rejection of scientific theories related to climate change.

57% of all Americans believe that God gave human beings the responsibility to be caretakers of the planet and live in harmony with plants, animals and the environment.

The Koch brothers and other mega-Republican industrialists will be comforted to know that 36% of all Americans are sure that the sole purpose of all animal and plant life and all the resources of the Earth were placed here by God for humanity to use as it sees fit.

This results of this study affirm a frightening postulate that political pollsters have been telling us for years:  Many Americans elect officials to high office based on who they would want to have a beer with, or invite to the family barbecue as opposed to who is the most intelligent, sophisticated, experienced, capable leader.

ou can review the methodology of the study and the results more closely at: http://publicreligion.org/research/climate-change-evolution-2012/