A new Research 2000 poll has found that nearly half of all Republicans don't accept the scientific fact that North America and Africa were both once a part of the same continent, called Pangea.
Another 29% said they were not sure.
Only 16% of Democrats and 23% of Independents said no. By region, the American south is once again taking a public beating: nearly 2-in-3 Americans living in the south either don't believe that America and Africa were once a part of Pangea, or aren't sure.
While this is somewhat disturbing it is not generally all that surprising. The south gets a bad reputation as being full of poor, uneducated rednecks.
This is one of the many reasons why.
Republicans and conservatives love to talk up the supposed liberal war on religion, which the press loves obsess over, but gives little attention to the conservative/Republican war on science. Evolution (more accurately Darwin's original theory on the origin of species) is the foundation upon which much of modern science has been built. The study of viruses, DNA, an entire specialty called evolutionary biology has all been made possible by the validity of Darwin's theory.
The overwhelming world and scientific consensus on climate change has also been a sticking point with Republicans.
Just about one month ago, Pew Research Center revealed that only six percent of scientists identify themselves as Republicans.
The problem is systemic. It's not that Republicans are excluded from scientific institutions, it's that Republicans don't like science at all. A great number of them, according to these polls, lack even a basic education on well understood principles governing the formation the Earth's continents.
The real problem here isn't exclusion or elitism, it's a conservative culture that shuns education, intelligence, and an appreciate for humor and the arts. There seem to be roughly an equal number of Republicans in Hollywood as there in our institutions of higher learning and research, and that's by their choice. It has become institutional within the GOP to reject intellectualism and enlightenment in favor of embracing ignorance and stupidity.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a culmination of the philosophy of stupid that has been festering and growing within the Republican party for decades, but the only visible result of that is one lost election (and perhaps a few more down the road).
The real damage being done to our country is the intentional infection of our children with this passion for ignorance. These conservatives aren't ignorant because of our schools - which surely could use a lot of work anyway - they are ignorant because their parents were ignorant and that legitimized it for them, but the difference is that their parents made a conscious choice to be that way because that's how their conservative political institutions trained them to be.
And imagine how hard it must be for kids who want to grow up to be scientists who end up shut out of an entire world of wonder and learning simply because their conservative parents thought it would be better to teach them to hate the natural world instead of embracing a way to understand it, precisely because the ultimate result of that understanding is the explicit destruction of many Republican political issues.
That's not the fault of the child but the child pays the price when they grow up not knowing that Africa is a continent and not a country (Palin), or that Africa and America were once the same land mass (47% of Republicans).
A significant number of southern conservatives don't believe that the President of the United States was actually born in the United States. Many, probably most of them, don't believe in evolution. 47% don't know that America and Africa were linked as a part of Pangea.
And only 6% of them across the entire country are actually scientists.
And we wonder why this country is falling behind the rest of the world? Thank the GOP.