Graph of the Day: This Explains a Lot

November 2, 2011

More brilliant stuff at calamitiesofnature.com

22 Responses to “Graph of the Day: This Explains a Lot”


  1. Yet more evidence the USA is a case apart, where evolution landed as “social Darwinism” thereby alienating a large section of the population : in particular, late XIX century Democrats (it wasn’t a coastal party, at the time).

    The damage (of politicization of science) done, it’ll take a long time to fix it.

  2. sinchiroca Says:

    That’s a really great graph. Honesty requires me to point out that he left out the Islamic nations blessed with lots of oil; they have high GDP per capita but almost zero belief in evolution. I suppose that their omission can be justified by the fact that they didn’t achieve their high GDP per capita by dint of anything other than the luck of sitting on top of all that oil.

    It might be even more useful to graph belief in evolution against years of education.

    • livinginabox Says:

      Re sinchiroca
      ‘Honesty requires me to point out that he left out the Islamic nations blessed with lots of oil; they have high GDP per capita but almost zero belief in evolution. I suppose that their omission can be justified by the fact that they didn’t achieve their high GDP per capita by dint of anything other than the luck of sitting on top of all that oil.’

      That seems likely to be the case. If the ME inhabitants had been sitting on sand without the oil, where would they be now?

      Most probably drinking coffee in tents, surrounded by camels, or migrating to industrialised countries in search of employment.


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  4. I think they only considered Europe for cultural homogeneity plus Japan and the USA.


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  6. Neil Says:

    Yes, the graph is very revealing, but it only says that at least several people (the author of the graph, the author of the post and those who agree with it) received a seriously deficient education with respect to understanding causation vs. correlation. You could draw endless conclusions to prove your points playing this game.

    Here’s a freebie: Compare belief in Darwinian evolution to which country has the most military power. Wow, the U.S. must be right! Case closed, right?

    If the authors of the graphs and the post came from the same educational environment, then perhaps that would be reason to mock that model, but you would also be risking making the same error as the authors.


  7. […] U.S. is directly tied to our per capita GDP.  I saw this at a site that worships secularism plus another site that thought the graph was “brilliant.” Then I Googled it and realized that it […]

    • livinginabox Says:

      Neil,
      I rather believe your example albeit modified to Compare belief in Darwinian evolution to military power by country would show the US as an extreme outlier.

      Would you supply the figures so we can see?

      • Neil Says:

        It is simple: The U.S. is the most powerful nation on earth by any significant military measure — nukes, armies, etc.

        The graph is a triple-fail of cherry-picking data points that (allegedly) support your cause, a confusion of correlation vs. causation and an ironic misreading of the results.

        Here’s what the graph really proves: That people predisposed to cheer on Darwinian evolution (or their pet topic) will be quick to grab something that seems to prove their point. That is something we should all be wary of.

        First, think of some of the Middle Eastern countries left off the list. They have roughly zero belief in evolution and high GDP per capita. That’s odd how the graph’s author forgot those, eh? Deliberately ignoring key data points is cheating.

        Next, the graph shows that the author and those who revel in his work were not taught the distinction between causation and correlation. Just because the U.S. has a lower percentage of belief in evolution doesn’t mean that is what drove our GDP per person (did I really have to just type that?!).

        Again, you could draw endless conclusions to prove your points playing this game.

        Finally, it isn’t like the U.S. trails the pack. We’re #2 after Norway, and I doubt that many people think the only reason Norway is better is because of their evolutionary beliefs. If anything, you should draw the conclusion that we are better off because we don’t drink the Darwinian Kool-Aid.

        • livinginabox Says:

          So you won’t supply the figures. Nice change of subject.

          Most people around here are aware of the correlation & causation difference.

          Try not to be offensive, it does not make your argument persuasive.

          • Neil Says:

            LOL. Are you seriously disputing that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, let alone on that chart? We have the most nuclear weapons of any country on that list, by far.

            “Most people around here are aware of the correlation & causation difference.”

            Good. Then you realize this graph proves nothing.

          • Neil Says:

            “Most people around here are aware of the correlation & causation difference.”

            Apparently the author of the graph didn’t, and the author of the blog thought it was “brilliant.”

        • sinchiroca Says:

          Neil, if you reject evolutionary theory, you’ve already departed the land of reason; I can discuss ACC with deniers because they still have one foot left in the land of reason (perhaps only a toe), but evolution deniers are, to put it simply, beyond the ken of reason. Nevertheless, I shall explain where your claims have gone wrong.

          The graph does not demonstrate that the USA should be poor — it takes per capita income as its input, not its output! What it indicates is that the USA is very different from all other nations. Not better, not worse: just very different. I think that the graph would be more useful if it presented believe in evolution against years of education — as I pointed out earlier. This would be more informative.

          I think we can all agree that a graph of belief in evolution versus average years of education would show results roughly similar to the graph above. Then we would be able to draw some interesting inferences. It would suggest that belief in evolution is concomitant with greater education, which in turn suggests that rejection of evolution is concomitant with ignorance. Note that I use the word ‘concomitant’ here.

          A great biologist once wrote (I’ll mangle the quote, but this is the gist):
          “Without evolution, nothing in biology makes sense. With it, everything makes sense.”

          • Neil Says:

            So we seem to agree that this graph proves nothing except that the alleged “reason” crowd latched onto a nonsensical chart because they thought it was a great dismissal of their ideological opponents, which was my point all along.

            A pre-emptive ad hominem about not being from the land of reason prove nothing as well, other than that you don’t know how to debate properly.

            Said another way: “D’oh! I should have been the first to say that my opponents were without reason if they didn’t agree with me. Then I would have won the debate without even addressing their arguments!” Thanks for the debating tip; I’ll be sure to use that from now on.

            “Without evolution, nothing in biology makes sense. With it, everything makes sense.”

            Really? Like “junk DNA” made sense? Oh, wait, that was a failed hypothesis that set science back years because of faulty presuppositions. I recommend following the facts where they lead and not blindly following Darwinistic dogma.

          • sinchiroca Says:

            Neil, I certainly agree that the graph proves nothing; I don’t think that anybody believes that it proves anything other than the fact that the USA is an outlier when it comes to belief in evolution.

            I won’t bother debating evolution with you because

            1. My experience is that all evolution deniers are crackpots who never engage in good faith discussion.
            2. It’s way off topic.
            3. You’re so completely wrong that there just isn’t any point to engaging you in discussion, just as there’s no point in arguing with somebody who believes that the earth is flat.

  8. livinginabox Says:

    The reality is that the US economy relies upon advanced technology and that in-turn relies upon science. Yet the US population have a deep-seated distrust of science, despite relying extensively upon science for many everyday things they take for granted. This disconnect is a product of an abysmal education system and the influence of religion. Added to this the US has a world-class denial industry. Believe it or not science needs scientists and the US will need to continue to recruit more. But with a home-grown denial industry and the widespread distrust of scientists, the pool from which home-grown scientists of the future are drawn, seems likely to shrink. Other countries will benefit at the US’ expense.

    Failure to appreciate the benefits and the lessons of science will lead to a decline in the future prosperity of the US economy. With a faltering economy, the wealth required to fund military budgets will also decline.

    I suspect the person drinking the Kool-aid is Neil, except he doesn’t realise it.

    • sinchiroca Says:

      Mr. Box, we don’t need a lot of scientists; a million good scientists would serve us very nicely. That’s only about 0.3% of the population. Thus, we could end up with a majority of ignorant fools and a sufficient supply of scientists and still be just fine as far as scientific *capacity* goes. However, a polity with a large population of ignorant fools will likely cut funding of science and education, with the long term effects you describe.

      The backlash you describe is really a backlash against modernity. Let’s face it, just about everybody is in some way disconcerted about some of the new-fangled changes in our society, and those changes all seem to be interconnected. People search for some fundamental underlying cause. Some in America point to the loss of religious belief; others attribute it to big business; others blame it on liberals. IMO, it’s the entire system as a whole: Alvin Toffler nailed it 40 years ago with “Future Shock”. Change comes faster and faster and the culture’s ability to respond to change is fixed at a few generations’ duration. As time goes on, our adaptation to reality falls further and further behind. And what does Darwin say about a species that fails to adapt to its environment?

    • Neil Says:

      “I suspect the person drinking the Kool-aid is Neil, except he doesn’t realise it.”

      Ah, another fact-free personal attack that ignored my critiques of the graph. Thanks for the concession speech.

    • Neil Says:

      You forget that if your hypothesis is true then Darwinian evolution is 100.00% responsible for the alleged denial industry, religious belief, distrust of science, etc. If you really believe what you claim to it is irrational to lament the output of your mechanism.

  9. Neil Says:

    “Neil, I certainly agree that the graph proves nothing;”

    Yea! So you agree with my points. I appreciate that. I’m not sure why you got off track then.

    “I don’t think that anybody believes that it proves anything other than the fact that the USA is an outlier when it comes to belief in evolution.”

    I think you are being too generous. Why did this blog say it was brilliant? (That’s rhetorical.) Google the title of the graph and see how awesome others thought it was.

    “I won’t bother debating evolution with you because

    1. My experience is that all evolution deniers are crackpots who never engage in good faith discussion.
    2. It’s way off topic.
    3. You’re so completely wrong that there just isn’t any point to engaging you in discussion, just as there’s no point in arguing with somebody who believes that the earth is flat.”

    I didn’t come here to debate evolution, so no problem there. You are the one who brought it up and then told me why you wouldn’t discuss it with me. Uh, whatever.

    I was just pointing out how ridiculous the graph was and how ridiculous evos are for cheering it on. I’m glad you can admit how meaningless it was, so good for you on that point.

    Re. your list of reasons, you just keep re-proving my point. If all I have to do is change “evolution deniers” to “evolutionists” to be able to use the same arguments on you, then there is something wrong with your argument. Again, it is a concession speech on your part. Anyone in any debate on any topic could use your same 3 points and cry victory, and they would be deservedly mocked.

    The fact that you use the “never engage in good faith discussion” pejorative is major hypocrisy on your part, because your 3 reasons are the opposite of good faith discussion.

    Again, thanks for agreeing that the graph proves nothing. I’ve accomplished my goal here!

    Cheers,
    Neil

  10. crikeyd Says:

    I guess you don’t expect much of a discussion about simple evolutionary basics at Kindergarten.

    But most Kindergarten graduate have yet to make a commitment to filling the coffers of .religious orders. Such commitment seems to bind more than the pocket it seems.

    They have a chance still of accepting reason.

    C D


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