The belief that science has replaced religion as the major judge or truth and falsehood has become a staple of education, both higher and lower. The Enlightenment brought the sovereinty of reason and spawned the empirical method. That big bang set off a juggernaut tht has reshaped Western civilization.
Yet it doesn't work out that way under real life conditions. Note two recent findings from reputable polls: one, from Pew that 40 percent of Americans fit the description of "creationists," thereby rejecting key features of evolution; two, that 48 percent think global warming is "exaggerated," dismissing the assessment of climatologists.
About four in 10 Americans, therefore, are using measuring sticks other than reason or demonstrated results to decide what they think.
Well, you might say, those polls include lots of "uneducated" people. Sure, creationists are 47 percent among high school graduates or less, and 10 points lower for college graduates, but that still leaves between a third and two fifths of college graduates who think Darwin got it wrong. And the biggest gap was between Republicans (52 percent) and Democrats (34 percent).