The White House and science educators are currently criticizing the US National Science Foundation (NSF) severely, for a less-than-usual editorial decision. In its latest report for the government, the federally funded agency failed to list polls showing how Americans viewed highly sensitive issues such as the beginning of the Universe and the theory of evolution. A last-minute edit saw the datasets, which contained numbers showing Americans' knowledge of the two issues being removed from the final version of the document.
It's no longer a secret to anyone that the United States are one of the most peculiar cases in the world when it comes to religion. Generally, as countries evolve and its citizens gain more money, they tend to leave superstitious views behind, and embrace science. However, the US fails to do that, and actually shows a reverse trend on the issue. Most respondents in the country feel their lives are being run by deities daily, and really believe that mythical creatures such as angels and demons exist. Rates of belief in the supernatural in America are as high as those in the most underdeveloped countries of the Third World, where superstition reigns supreme.
The National Science Board, the organism that oversees the NSF, gave its own explanations for why the polls were removed. Its representatives said that the 2010 edition of the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators document was presented without that particular segment because otherwise people would have had to choose between factual knowledge and religious beliefs. But these reasons left experts at the White House gasping for air, ScienceNow
“The Administration counts on the National Science Board to provide the fairest and most complete reporting of the facts they track,” White House Office of Science and Technology Policy analyst Rick Weiss explains. “Evolution and the Big Bang are not a matter of opinion. If a person says that the Earth really is at the center of the Universe, even if scientists think it is not, how in the world would you call that person scientifically literate? Part of being literate is to both understand and accept scientific constructs,” Michigan State University science literacy researcher Jon Miller says. He explains that the document is “a nonsensical response” that echoes “the religious right's point of view.”