Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

August 3

Saint Manaccus and Saint Waldef are among the saints who celebrate their feast day today.

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Evolutionary War

John T. Scopes, the young teacher at the center of the infamous 1925 Scopes Trial, was born on this day in 1900. He died at the age of 70 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), who represented Scopes, was accused during the trial of being an agnostic. He responded, "I do not consider it an insult, but neither a compliment, to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure--that is all that agnosticism means."

"Mainstream U.S. Results of a Gallup Poll conducted in 1991 (and true still in 1999): Overall, about half the people polled believe that people evolved, and half believe instead that people were created by God in the last 10,000 years. American men are more likely than women to believe in evolution, 57% to 43%. Younger people, 18-29, are more likely to believe in evolution than people 50 and older, 59% to 37%. College graduates are more likely to believe in evolution than people who didn't finish high school, 70% to 28%. And belief in evolution varies depending on the religion one practices, 78% among those who practice no organized religion, 28% among evangelical Protestants, 43% among other Protestants, and 56% among Catholics."

Gallup Poll
(Just Shoot Me)

The following are results taken directly from the Gallup site:

When Americans are asked to identify the country from which America gained its independence, 76% correctly name Great Britain. A handful, 2%, think America's freedom was won from France, 3% mention some other country (including Russia, China, and Mexico, among others named), while 19% are unsure.

Probing a more universal measure of knowledge, Gallup also asked the following basic science question, which has been used to indicate the level of public knowledge in two European countries in recent years: "As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun or does the sun revolve around the earth?" In the new poll, about four out of five Americans (79%) correctly respond that the earth revolves around the sun, while 18% say it is the other way around. These results are comparable to those found in Germany when a similar question was asked there in 1996; in response to that poll, 74% of Germans gave the correct answer, while 16% thought the sun revolved around the earth, and 10% said they didn't know. When the question was asked in Great Britain that same year, 67% answered correctly, 19% answered incorrectly, and 14% didn't know.

While half of Americans have read a Hemingway book, his novels are not universally r cover ecognized. Only 29% of respondents could correctly identify Hemingway as the author of The Old Man and the Sea, and only 18% recognized A Farewell to Arms as one of his novels. This compares to 72% who know that Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat, 48% who stated that Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens wrote Huckleberry Finn, and 42% who recognize Stephen King as the author of The Shining. Hemingway's contemporary, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was recognized as the author of The Great Gatsby by only 15% of respondents, and only 12% knew that Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick.

Do Americans really believe in witches and ghosts? Some do. In the most recent poll, 33% of Americans said they believe in ghosts, and 22% said they believe in witches. These numbers represent increases from 20 years ago, but we are unsure what that change really means, although one clue may be found in the fact that belief in ghosts is much higher among younger Americans than among older Americans. In fact, over half -- 54% -- of those 18-29 say they believe in ghosts, compared to only 8% of senior citizens 65 and older.

Harper's Index

Harper's Magazine has a list of interesting well-documented statistics in each issue. Here is a sample:

March 2000

Ratio of major party presidential primaries to be held before April this year to those held before April in 1984 : 3:1
Percentage of major party delegates to be chosen by March 21 this year : 70
Percentage who were chosen by March 21 in 1976 : 22
Factor by which on-line campaign contributions to Al Gore last year exceeded on-line contributions to George W. Bush : 5
Ratio of the combined value of AOL and Time Warner last January 11 to the annual budget of France : 4:3
Number of companies that controlled over half of all U.S. media outlets in 1983 : 50
Number that controlled over half of all U.S. media outlets last year : 6
Percentage of committee members advising the U.S. on WTO forest-issues negotiations who are lumber executives : 100
Percentage of the WTO protesters arrested in Seattle last year whose charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence : 92
Damages awarded this year to prisoners who "suffered reprisals" after the 1971 Attica prison uprising, per prisoner : $6,250
Damages awarded Pizza Hut last winter after it sued a competitor whose ads claimed it made "better" pizza : $467,620
Ratio of Kmart's U.S. sales in 1998 to the estimated budget of the Russian military : 1:1
Ratio of the average size of a Tokyo residence to that of a U.S. two-car garage : 4:3
Factor by which average air-pollution levels inside a moving car on an L.A. highway exceed those outside the car : 10
Average percentage change in East Coast air pollution between Mondays and Thursdays : +24
Average percentage by which the amount of East Coast rainfall on a Saturday exceeds the amount on a Monday : 22
Minimum number of miles of West Virginia streams buried by mining waste since 1986 : 470
Chance that a U.S. nuclear power plant's indoor waste-storage facility is full : 1 in 5
Estimated percentage change since 1979 in the number of birds killed annually by U.S. communications towers : +186
Percentage of the senior editorial staff of Talk magazine that has resigned since the magazine's debut last summer : 26
Estimated amount the BBC paid for noise-producing software last year after workers complained of the quiet : $1,600
Percentage change since 1997 in the number of Britons waiting to get on the National Health Service's waiting list : +100
Number of Parisians who break bones or are hospitalized each year after slipping on dog feces : 650
Percentage of the residents of Northern Ireland who report being happy : 92
Percentage of the residents of the rest of Ireland who do : 90
Fine levied on a California man last fall for shooting an owl with a slingshot, then beating it : $10,000
Percentage of Hawaiian bird species that have become extinct since 1778 : 49
Percentage change since the 1970s in the number of salmon in the Atlantic Ocean : -90
Number of states that introduced legislation forbidding discrimination against motorcylists last year : 8
Number of people in North Carolina killed by automobiles since 1998 after lying in the middle of the road : 66
Number of rented 40-foot refrigerator trailers the LAPD uses to house biological evidence : 4
Percentage change since 1993 in the number of criminal cases dismissed each year in New York City : +132
Percentage of "born again" New Yorkers who have said they will vote for Hillary Clinton for senator : 44
Number of times Elizabeth Dole mentioned Ronald Reagan in her endorsement of George W. Bush last winter : 5
Number of federal fraud charges of which former Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie was found guilty in 1998 : 9
Percentage of major U.S. recording labels that use the parental warning stickers advocated by Tipper Gore in 1985 : 100
Years after Frank Zappa called Gore's campaign "extortion" that his daughter recorded a single featuring her on drums : 14
Rank of Adam Sandler and Bill Gates among the most popular role models with male college freshmen : 1,2
Number of Playboy centerfold models since 1959 whose bios claimed their favorite book was by Ayn Rand : 12
Number of British women killed last fall by lightning conducted through their underwire bras : 2

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Marilyn Jones 2001-2008