Yet when the AP interviewed laymen about their cosmological confidences, they received such answers as “But when it came to Earth’s beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because ‘I wasn’t there’” and “when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. She explained: ‘It could be a lack of knowledge. It seems so far’ away.”
These don’t sound like Bible-thumping religious fundamentalists; they actually sound more like skeptical empiricists. Truth be told, relatively speaking almost no one in the United States is competent to judge the physics that go into judging the Big Bang’s credibility. For the rest, blue state scientific adherents as much as red state fundamentalists, it’s a leap of faith, or at least a trusting in the judgment of others. The Origin of Species has almost no relevance to the everyday life of a person, the age of the Earth even less so. Whether the Big Bang tests out and multiple universes are the logical result, absolutely none. It makes scientific prophets comforted to see their creeds affirmed by the masses, but such popular affirmation has little relevance to the priests of science making measurements in the laboratories.
We all do have a stake in the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the resulting superbugs that threaten to defeat any of the remedies we have come to rely on, the treatments that allow us to safely cut people up for surgeries. In that case, we should be quite heartened that at the more practical level, 88 percent of Americans are at least somewhat confident that the overuse of antibiotics causes these superbugs. That indicates they should be more receptive to messaging to curb antibiotic overuse. Prophets of science, direct your sermons in that direction.