Chapter

Why Don't Americans Accept Evolution as Much as People in Peer Nations Do? A Theory (Reinforced Theistic Manifest Destiny) and Some Pertinent Evidence

Michael Andrew Ranney

in Evolution Challenges

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730421
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949557 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0011
Why Don't Americans Accept Evolution as Much as People in Peer Nations Do? A Theory (Reinforced Theistic Manifest Destiny) and Some Pertinent Evidence

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Prior speculations about why Americans don't embrace evolution — as much as comparable nations’ residents do — are generally dated and not well assessed. Reinforced Theistic Manifest Destiny (RTMD), introduced in this chapter, represents a more obviously predictive theory that focuses on spiritually-linked feedback regarding the U.S.’s military (and industrial) prowess. RTMD joins analyses of (a) individuals’ motivations, emotions, and epistemologies, with (b) intra- and inter-national historical narratives. Many of RTMD’s empirical hypotheses are discussed and from the U.S. and Canada. The North American findings largely cohere with the relevant set of RTMD’s predictions, given the variety of associations observed among beliefs regarding afterlife, theism, nationalism, global warming, and the origins of species. These encouraging experimental and survey studies offer further implications regarding how evolution might be better conveyed in both formal and informal settings — and why we should teach evolution in the first place (e.g., preserving Earth’s biosphere).

Keywords: evolution; origin of species; theism; nationalism; teaching evolution; evolutionary theory; manifest destiny; reinforced theistic manifest destiny

Chapter.  17055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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