|CREATIONISM and INTELLIGENT DESIGN!|
One branch of pseudoscience has worried scientists and educators far more than any other. Those who believe in ancient astronauts, or pyramid power, or space alien abductions, or quack healing arts, or ESP, or Bigfoot, or the like, are usually content to sit at home and dream their dreams. But there are believers in pseudosciences as crazy as ancient astronauts or homeopathy who are appearing before state textbook committees, state school boards and state legislatures, with one clear goal in mind— to remove general science education from public schools.
Make no mistake, it is science itself these activists have no use for— in this, they make common cause with the so-called Postmodernist academic war against science— and some of them even object to any and all mathematics other than simple arithmetic! But, for tactical reasons, their main target of the moment is high school biology. Schools for children of conservative Christians have long used special “Christian” science texts— there's Christian physics, Christian chemistry, Christian astronomy, you name it. A bastion of Bible fundamentalism, Bob Jones University, produces many of these texts. But the great dream of the activists we are going to discuss here is to have such texts used in every public school science class, and what is more, to have their use mandated by state law!
This movement so far has no real counterpart in any other country on earth. It seems to be a unique creation of the anti-intellectual currents that have been flowing in the US since its early days. Creationism and Intelligent Design have no scientific aspects, are not the result of any scientific research, and do not reflect any actual, existing scientific controversies. Their origins are purely cultural, and it is this cultural background we need to understand to begin with.
In the 1870s some Christian churches in England and the US claimed to feel threatened by new discoveries in geology, biology and “The Higher Criticism,” scholarship aimed at uncovering the literary and historical origins of the Old and New Testaments. In the US, in 1895, the Niagara Bible Conference (not affiliated with any mainstream religious organization) promulgated “Five Points” that all “True Christians” should subscribe to, the first point being the total and perfect inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
Two eccentric millionaire brothers (and eccentric millionaires will play a key role in the story from now on!), Lyman and Milton Stewart, in 1907 founded the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA), mainly to prepare and issue a soon-notorious pamphlet, The Fundamentals (1910). The term “fundamentalist” has been applied ever since to any religionist who takes his Holy Book to be the literal truth on any imaginable topic. So overwhelming a force in religion has fundamentalism become that between 2002 and 2009, we all seemed to be trapped in the midst of a global war between a Christian fundamentalist US government and Islamic fundamentalist “freedom fighters”!
A sociologist named J. H. Leuba in 1916 published a study, Belief in God and Immortality, which seemed to confirm fundamentalism's worst fears. Leuba showed that the more education an individual has, the less likely he is to subscribe to traditional religious beliefs. Fundamentalists quickly focused on biological evolution as their number-one target example of the evils of education and knowledge— the teaching of biology to “innocent children” was blamed for all social unrest, crime, divorce, feminism, liberal politics, and substance abuse.
In 1922, fundamentalist William B. Riley decided (using the crackpot philosophy of science of Sir Francis Bacon as his authority) that “evolution is not actually a science, it is a tentacle of Satanic religion!” His ideas were popularized by William Jennings Bryan in various unsuccessful efforts to attain high political office.
The first recognizable Creationist pseudoscience book was probably The New Geology, (1923) by a Seventh-Day Adventist named George M. Price. Price claimed that all of scientific geology is completely wrong, and that all significant geological features and fossils are due to the mythical flood of Noah. Activists were already at work in state legislatures to ban the teaching of evolution (as indeed they still are today) and the first fruits were a 1925 bill banning the teaching of biology in Tennessee, which led to the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial. Similar acts passed in Mississippi and Arkansas, but failed in ten other Southern states. A lawsuit against the 1928 Arkansas statute prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools was belatedly carried all the way to the Supreme Court in 1968, in the case of Epperson v. Arkansas. In a unanimous decision, the court found the Arkansas statute manifestly unconstitutional. In the 1930s and 40s, so-called “Catholic Intellectuals,” mainly associated loosely with the University of Chicago, formulated a blanket attack on science very similar to current Postmodernist critiques, and biology came in for special abuse. But in all this time, and up to the present date, no mainstream religion has come out in opposition to science and the teaching of science. So far, Creationism and Intelligent Design are still drawing almost their entire support from extreme fundamentalists who are not and never have been a part of any legitimate religious establishment.
Two key figures now appeared: Henry M. Morris and Duane T. Gish. They argued that instead of trying to outlaw the teaching of science, activists would have better luck offering an “alternative” to science— religious fundamentalism in the disguise of, say, a high-school science textbook! After establishing his credentials with The Genesis Flood (1961) written with J. C. Whitcomb, Morris joined with Gish to found the “Creation Research Society,” and the “Institute for Creation Research,” organizations that did no research of any kind and had no academic affiliation, but focussed on producing something that could pass superficially as a high school biology text. Scientific Creationism was issued in 1974, edited by Morris. [The ICR went on to sponsor physics, astronomy and general science course materials, all distinguished only by the apparently exceptional ignorance of the course topics exhibited by the authors. There are even Creationist world history textbooks, since many Creationists consider the earth itself to be much younger than the actual beginnings of recorded human history!] A new wave of activism produced a few “equal time” statutes in a few Southern states; the idea of this legislation was a mandate that public school science teachers should spend “equal class time” on science and on religious superstition. The equal-time efforts received a legal death-blow in the crucial 5 January 1982 decision in McLean v. the Arkansas Board of Education, when US District Court Judge William R. Overton found Act 590, “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science,” to be in manifest violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. During the hearing biology teachers testified that in fact no legitimate educational materials could be found supporting “Creation-Science”— that all resources available were Bible-based fundamentalist religious tracts. Mainstream religions continued their practice of opposing Creationism. Individual plaintiffs included not only public school teachers, but representatives of the United Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, and Presbyterian Churches. Also opposing the statute were the American Jewish Congress and the Arkansas Educational Association.
Again there was a change of tactics. New legislation introduced in several Southern states in the 1980s mandated “Balanced Treatment“ of science and Creationism, but did not define what the term “Creationism” was supposed to refer to. The Louisiana case of Edwards v. Aguillard went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1987. The Court's 7–2 decision was that Creationism is an inherently religious concept, and that requiring its teaching in public schools is obviously a violation of the Establishment Clause (First Amendment). Justice Brennan, delivering the Court's opinion, noted that “The Louisiana Creationism Act advances a religious doctrine by requiring either the banishment of the theory of evolution from public schools or the presentation of a religious viewpoint that rejects evolution in its entirety.”
Since the early 1990s, the assault
on science education has had two main prongs: the first is more
political activism among all fundamentalist Christians aimed at
the election of “Christian” politicians, who won't care about
that pesky old First Amendment, much less the Fourteenth, and
will appoint judges who don't care either; the second is to
change the name of the product to be sold from “Creationism” to
“Intelligent Design;” also to bring in some new faces that don't
look to be country hicks, and are willing to find allies
wherever they can be found, even among Marxist humanities
professors. And this two-pronged approach has had some appalling
successes. A third prong is the so-called “Home Schooling
home-schooling parents seem to be arch-fundamentalists who
live in constant terror that their children will somewhere learn
about dinosaurs or other planets. The big successes in the past
two decades have come from influencing state textbook committees
(in states where a single committee chooses the texts for all
public schools in the state) to adopt biology texts that
de-emphasize or even omit evolution; from influencing local and
state school boards of education to write or re-write science
standards or curricula so as to omit or discourage coverage of
evolution, geology, paleontology, astronomy and cosmology; and
from encouraging fundamentalists and home-schoolers to run for
state and local school boards.
Over the decades the Creationist
movement had become embarassingly fractured; dozens of
Creationist sects and cults appeared, differing on almost every
conceivable point of dogma. How about the age of the earth?
There were young earth creationists who claimed on Bible
evidence that the earth is only 5000 years old; others insisted
it was at least 10,000 years old; others allowed it was millions
of years old; a few cults even allowed that it was more than 4
billion years old, as geology, physics, radiochemistry and
astronomy all agree. By contrast, the
Intelligent Design movement is run by a monolithic and
obscenely wealthy organization, the Discovery Institute and its
Center for Science and
Culture. The Institute was founded in 1991 by Bruce
Chapman, a Reagan-era politician. Its Center for Science and
Culture, founded in 1996, is directed by Stephen Meyer, a
historian, and John G. West, whose degree is in “government.”
Science and scientists are very thin upon the ground at either
the Institute or the Center, and no actual scientific research
of any kind is funded. Most of the funding for the Institute,
according to the New York Times, comes from “some of the same
Christian conservatives who helped Bush win the White House.”
The major contributors are those good old eccentric,
fundamentalist millionaires who have been reliable supporters of
religious extremism since 1900— today, such luminaries as Howard
and Roberta Ahmanson write the checks. Speaking of eccentric
millionaires (or billionaires) some of the Institute's cash
comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The
Institute's founder and president, Bruce Chapman, spent almost
all his time fundraising, and it definitely shows....
It is probably correct to state that there are no research scientists who have ever been associated with either the Creationism or Intelligent Design movements, or who have written any books expounding the wonders of these pseudosciences. Quite the contrary. Among the old-timers, Henry Morris is an engineer and Duane Gish has a chemistry degree. Among the newer chaps, we have Phillip Johnson (lawyer), William Dembski (theologian), William Lane Craig (theologian), and Michael Behe (biochemistry degree). What all these individuals have in common is that they are fundamentalists; that's the bottom line.
The first important court test of the new “Intelligent Design” malarky was the Pennsylvania case of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. In December, 2005, Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones III found the attempted insertion of Intelligent Design propaganda into the high school biology curriculum to be unconstitutional, found the Intelligent Design dogmas to be without scientific merit or scientific support, and in very strong terms scolded the local proponents of Intelligent Design for blatantly and repeatedly lying about their purely religious motivations.
It doesn't seem to bother either the Creationists or the Intelligent Designers that there is no creation myth in Genesis that directly accounts for the origin of the human race. God, perhaps in a fit of senile forgetfulness, is said to have created only one female, Eve, so that her only surviving children, Seth and Cain, unless they married chimpanzees, or unnamed and unknown sisters, died without issue. Nevertheless, God in a fit of anger destroyed all living things on earth a while later, apart from an assortment of animals Noah (a human-chimp hybrid?) was able to fit into his ark. After the Flood, it was left to Noah and his long-suffering wife to somehow re-create the human race. [An expanded version of the myth more thoughtfully gave Noah three married sons to help out with the repopulation.] Anthropologist Eugenie Scott points out that to produce the currently observed genetic diversity of the human race, Mrs. Noah and the other three girls would have had to birth a minimum of 8.5 children per day for 350 years, but the odds would not have been favorable unless the birthrate were around 25 children per day! It's a good thing there was apparently no incest taboo in those days, since the offspring of the Noah clan would have had only one another to marry! The other animals faced similar inbreeding problems.
Let's see why the concept of creation or a creator could never be a part of science. Suppose I have a divine revelation to the following effect: Space Monkey created the world and all that is on it, three years ago today. Your objection might be that you can remember back more than three years, there are things obviously more than three years old, and so on... but, oh, you pitiful amonkeyistic fool! Don't you realize that Space Monkey created everything just the way it is? He created those memories, those things, he created it all. Now we can see the problem with this concept. It is not a scientific theory, it is not even a pseudoscience scenario— it is a completely empty phrase. Translated into ordinary english, it is, “The way things are is the way things are.” When I ask for evidence for or against Space Monkey and his creation, the problem is that no matter what I point to, and no matter what it signifies logically or scientifically, it means nothing, because Space Monkey could have created it any way He wanted to. The Intelligent Designers merely replace the word “created” by the word “designed,” a replacement which actually makes things even more confused, since the verb or noun “design” has no known relevance to any system or process in nature. Having creation or design occur 4.6 billion years ago or 13.7 billion years ago, instead of 3 years ago, also changes nothing. Recently evil, misguided followers of the Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster have clashed in several southern and midwestern cities with the divinely-inspired worshipers of Space Monkey, I am sad to report.
As Henry Morris writes in Scientific Creationism, “Creation... is inaccessible to the scientific method. It is impossible to devise a scientific experiment to describe the creation process, or even to ascertain whether such a process can take place.” As for Duane Gish (Evolution: The Fossils Say No!) “We do not know how the Creator created... for he used processes not now operating anywhere in the universe.... We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by the Creator.” How do we know about it, then? As Michael Behe writes, “We don't need science to tell us that the universe and life are designed, any more than that we need science to tell us that they had a beginning.... Through his personal revelation... God has told us that he designed life.” Or as William Dembski puts it, “The conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ.” This is the same Dembski, by the way, who writes elsewhere that there is no Constitutional objection to teaching Intelligent Design in schools because it is based on hard “science and presupposes neither a creator nor miracles.” Scientists, whose job it is to figure out and describe how nature works, are apparently supposed to sit down, shut up, retire, and learn how to play checkers, chess or bridge to pass the days. Those lucky few who have been vouchsafed “personal revelations” from Space Monkey or some ancient has-been competitor are the ones we have to turn to for all knowledge and all wisdom. Even when they appear to be just making it up on the spot, remember, they are Inspired!
The depths to which the Creationist
attack on science and Western civilization have sunk is probably
well illustrated by the career of Kent Hovind,
who has made millions since 1989 from an extensive lecture
circuit that hits K-12 schools, church schools, and even
accredited universities. Hovind's presentations are so primitive
and ignorant (his only degree, from a diploma mill called
Patriot Bible University, is in “Christian education”) that
essentially all of what he says and claims follows Wolfgang
Pauli's model of “not even being wrong.” It is probably not a
coincidence that the far more sophisticated approach of
Intelligent Design was concocted shortly after Hovind achieved
national prominence. Hovind's lectures gave almost equal time to
various brands of medical quackery, pitched in between his
pseudoscientific scenarios of various (and non-Biblical) global
catastrophes! He currently languishes in prison, convicted
on a variety of counts.
The 1970s creationist books were Fortean tomes of supposedly anomalous “facts” tending to demonstrate that everything biologists know is wrong. The net was widely cast, too, because in these books “evolution” could refer to the origin of matter in the early universe, the origin of stars and galaxies (today directly observable), the origin of planets and solar systems (also directly observable), the origin of the earth, the origin of life on earth, the origin of species, the origin of hominoids, or even the origin of urban civilization! Apparently everything any scholar knows is wrong. The Intelligent Design advocates, instead of making such sweeping, entirely negative and generally entirely erroneous indictments of all reliably-established physics, astronomy, biology, paleontology, anthropology and geology, tend to concentrate on arcane details of biochemistry or anatomy (which they generally get completely wrong or deliberately misrepresent) and argue (without evidence) that such details will “never be understood.” Well, the very rapid progress in all scientific fields today is the subject of daily headlines, and has been for more than two centuries. There is no reason to think that any observable natural process cannot be described and understood, and as time goes on the descriptions and understanding always grow more and more detailed and complete. So the IDers are, like the Creationists before them, simply wanting and wishing for science to stop, to quit, to give it all up.
The modern Intelligent Design movement is probably most accurately characterized as yet another revival of the ancient mystical philosophy of vitalism, which is largely based on the claim that living, organic systems are not describable in terms of the physics and chemistry of atoms, but contain some transcendent aspects that science cannot describe, understand or even study. Histories of philosophy invariably claim that vitalism was struck a death blow during the 19th Century as chemists showed they could synthesize various organic substances, such as urea, from inorganic chemicals. However, no belief held entirely on grounds of faith, without any support from the real world, has ever been affected negatively by anything learned about nature. The Intelligent Design movement's beliefs are a fairly straightforward re-tread of the old dogmas of Vitalism. Organic chemistry itself is no longer held to be mystical, only certain special, obscure and arcane aspects of biochemistry are arbitrarily singled out to serve as containers of the “mystery.” The Intelligent Design dogmas are more obviously and directly inspired by the familiar 17th-19th Century “argument from design,”— a bogus “proof” of the existence of God based on some specific observed aspect of physical phenomena that seems to be convenient somehow for living things. As philosophers point out, the argument from design works logically in only one direction— if you know of a specific designer, with specific trademarks, to begin with, it makes sense to look for his specific handiwork. But you obviously cannot pick random and almost certainly accidental details of some situation, and argue backward to “prove” that some unknown someone somehow arranged those details. True Believers also seem never to notice that by pointing to the innumerable instances of obviously bad or even horrifyingly crazy “design” to be found in zoology, one could use the argument to “prove” that the designer is evil, careless, insanely cruel or utterly stupid. An equally serious problem is that in our real world, “design” doesn't get the job done. I make detailed paper plans for a custom-made desk. I purchase the wood and metal fittings. I stack up the raw materials and put the plans on top and wander off. No matter how long I stay away, the desk will not appear! Where is the workshop with millions of elves? That's got to be there, at the North Pole or somewhere, or Santa has no toys to deliver to every child on earth on Christmas eve! Where (and what) is the enormous labor force that is needed to carry out the “Designer's” plans throughout the observable universe? It can't be repeated too often that, in terms of our real universe, the concepts of “design” and “create” inherently do not in any way describe, or have any relevance whatsoever to, any observable aspect of any process or system in nature, and quite simply could never have any place whatsoever within a scientific, meaningful and usable description of such processes and systems.
There are many important differences in strategy between the old-line Creationists and the new Intelligent Designers. For one thing, the IDers are aiming to gain support from organized religions, and in particular have courted the Southern Baptists and the Roman Catholics. Indeed, the current Pope, an arch-conservative, was expected by some, who observed his courting by IDers, to announce his support for Intelligent Design by December of 2006, but he did not. For another thing, the Creationists, like almost all fundamentalists, were resolutely opposed to other pseudosciences and New Age ideas in general, but the IDers are by contrast often openly supportive of other pseudosciences, particularly astrology. Indeed, as many have noticed, Intelligent Design differs very, very little in its arguments and scenarios from the Ancient Astronaut pseudoscience of Erich Von Dänikin and Zecharia Sitchin. The Raëllian UFO religious cult, which uses Sitchin's mythology, has lately adopted almost all the nomenclature and rhetoric of the ID movement. At the root of both Creationism and ID is the usual, infantile confusion generally found in all pseudoscience, between observed physical processes and the descriptions of those processes provided by science. One wonders how the Creationists and IDers understand the need to get a new, different flu shot every winter. You need a theory of gravity because gravity itself is an observable, universal part of the physical universe. We need a theory of evolution because evolution is the observable, basic underlying process producing the overwhelmingly-huge varieties of life on earth. Like children who pretend the world vanishes when they shut their eyes, Creationists and IDers seem to think that if they make it more difficult to produce scientists, the realities of nature will somehow vanish. It is hard not to think that Creationists and IDers are actually beating a dead horse. A number of different international surveys over the past decade have shown that US 4th, 8th and 12th graders consistently rank dead last or tie for last place in comparison to equivalent students in half a hundred other countries, with functional school systems, based on their lack of general knowledge and understanding of basic science and math. Currently less than 30% of US high school biology teachers teach science; the remainder completely ignore the courts and either teach creationism (13%) or give equal time to science and to fundamentalist religious fantasy (60%!). As Walt Kelly's Pogo used to say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
There are also a large number of small fundamentalist groups which still “keep the true faith” by maintaining that the earth, if not actually flat, is certainly at the center of the universe, with everything revolving around it, in a universe only a few light minutes across, containing no worlds whatsoever other than the earth itself. See some typical such groups' webpages here, and here and here. The success of the ID movement has them coming out of the woodwork! They don't get million-dollar contributions from Bill Gates, but their arguments are precisely as valid, or invalid, as those the high-profile ID con-men provide... and just as firmly based on some goofy translation or mistranslation of some old Book. [Alas, it has been at least a decade since true, stereotypical Fundamentalist flat-earth believers have been heard from. I suspected they had been all called to their immortal reward in Valhalla, until they suddenly reappeared in 2011.] A huge change in the situation has arisen since about 2009, with the rapid rise throughout the Southern US of the so-called Tea Party movement. This very-far-right-wing political movement, funded and largely organized by the infamous Koch brothers, unites almost all religious fundamentalists, and enough Tea Party stalwarts have been placed into state legislatures, and into the US Senate and House of Representatives, to have potentially dire consequences for science and science education, at both federal and state levels. Previous Creationists and Intelligent Designers concentrated on the K-12 educational system, having enough residual sense to leave the state universities alone to teach and do science. The "Tealiban" seem no longer to have the slightest trace of sense... and assaults on science teaching and science research at public universities in the Red States are as of now to be expected with ever-increasing frequency.
The sad fact is that if it came to
a national vote on the issue of teaching religion in place of
science in public schools, science would almost certainly lose
studies indicate that around 2/3 of Americans do not have
even the vaguest comprehension of what science is, or what
scientists do. This is hardly surprising, since the same surveys
indicate that only about 1/2 of all Americans even know that the
earth orbits the sun, taking one year to do so. While science
will survive in the nation's universities, in many states it may
well vanish from the K-12 public school curriculum... leaving us
to wonder where the college students majoring in science are
supposed to come from.
The religious war against science so far characteristic mainly of the US may very soon expand worldwide. The fastest growing single religious movement in the world today is that which sociologists euphemistically refer to as “evangelical” or “pentecostal”— code words for “Christian fundamentalist.” These new yellow, brown and black fundamentalists are just as resolutely opposed to science, Western civilization and culture, and the advancement of knowledge, as their redneck American counterparts. In most non-Western countries in which the evangelicals are expanding explosively, their converts are being gained at the expense of Islam. The situation is ripe for religious total war, with science one of the inevitably many innocent-bystander casualties.
Links on Creationism and "Godly Science":
http://www.natcenscied.org/ is the home page of the National Center for Science Education, a watchdog organization that keeps track of the continued attack against high school biology by various extremist, science-hating individuals, cults and sects. See also: http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/gish.html
The Skeptic's Dictionary website has good, long and constantly updated write-ups on the pseudosciences of Creationism and Intelligent Design.
Creation Science 101!
15 Bogus Creationist Attacks on Science, from Scientific American magazine.
The Creationist/Intelligent Design movement is actually fractured into a huge number of competing cults and sects, whose beliefs split virtually every Fundamentalist hair! Here's a web page that offers a brief discussion and summary of the various anti-science cults and their beliefs, as well as links to the websites of each crackpot organization. See also Creationism and Cult Archaeology
The fatal attraction between religious fundamentalism and pseudoscience or crackpot science.
A Fordham Foundation-sponsored survey of the (sad) state of high school biology courses in the US is here.
An article by Paul R. Gross on the Intelligent Design movement. (PDF format)
See also Frequently Asked Questions about Creationism.
The Straight Dope on levels of belief in Creationism.
A webpage on Creationism from an organization promoting religious tolerance.
“Intelligent Falling” is an amusing Onion parody of “Intelligent Design.”
How about Intelligent Math? It's easier, since 1 + 3 can be either 4 for hellbound secularists, or 6 for fundamentalists.
A conservative news columnist looks at Intelligent Design.
The NEW YORKER on Intelligent Design; why is everything either green, blue or brown, honey?
Another great parody of the Discovery Institute and its franchise, Intelligent Design.
A good article in which advocates of Intelligent Design state their case and then biologists reply with the actual facts.
An example of a critique of Intelligent Design and Creationism by a religious organization, the ADL.
Is insanity taking over religion in the US?
Legal aspects of the latest attempts to put religion into public school biology.
Rush Holt, as far as I know, is the only physicist in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here's his recent article on ID pseudoscience.
The official stand of the American Geophysical Union, the organization to which all geologists belong, on Intelligent Design.
The offical stand of The American Physical Society, the organization to which all physicists belong, on Intelligent Design.
A recent article on the famous Kansas lawsuits.
The “Why Files” entry on Evolution and the attack on it by the religious extreme right.
The Wikipedia entry on Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, (Fall 2005).
Curiosities of Creationist Mathematics!
The religious war against reason actually has roots in European civilization going back to the 12th Century and beyond, as pointed out here.
Your average complete idiot can easily be converted to belief in Intelligent Design, or, wait, is it classic Bible Creationism? ... very hard to tell the difference in such cases.
Trends in International Math and
The U.S. educational system has been in a perpetual state of crisis since 1957, and each year sees further deterioration. In terms of student knowledge of basic math and science, U.S. schools have placed dead last or tied for dead last in comparison to equivalent students in many dozens of randomly selected countries, in a number of separate studies, up to 2003. [These studies were originally called the First, Second and Third International Math and Science Surveys.] Also included is a link to results of an independent international study covering the same sorts of questions.
Summary of current results 2003 Study, results announced in 2005.
An independent international study from 2003
For Further Reading—
Play with evolution! This java applet starts with a random string of characters, like s#iNe*,2dgfl4b4z5!, and makes random changes until a target sentence, "methinks it is like a weasel," is evolved! You can also use any other target sentence you desire. It may surprise you to see how few changes are required! Try the famous Weasel Applet!