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Culture, Religion, science

Religion and Scientific Illiteracy

It’s not just America that’s suffering from the impact of religiostupidification™.  Economist online reports that the problem is actually worse in much of the Middle East.  Egypt is in particularly bad shape.  According to recent surveys, barely a third of Egyptians have even heard of Charles Darwin, and only 8% believe there’s any credibility to his theory.

In Saudi Arabia, approximately 31% of classroom time is devoted to the study of religion.  Only 20% is used for the study of math and science.  More Saudis are majoring in Islamic studies than engineering, medicine, and science combined.

This trend is not limited to these two countries, either.  Across the board, Islamic countries in the Middle East are suffering dearly for their devotion to religious studies.  In the 2007 report by Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), all twelve Islamic countries fell below the international average of advanced science and math achievement.

At present, America ranks poorly as well, with only 10% of the population receiving advanced training in math or science.  For comparison, Singapore boasts a whopping thirty two percent.   We Americans would do well to take a lesson from those who have gone farther into religious extremism than we have.   Most Islamic countries are losing competitiveness in international job markets, and it’s not going to improve so long as their college graduates are better informed in the etiquette of afternoon prayers and ritual beheadings than Planck’s Law.



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