The following article is one of the most significant things I havce read in a long time. Why? Because it expresses succinctly what I have often vaguely thought. That belief in Evolution, Creationism, or even Cryptozoology is often not a belief at all, but a Cultural Signifier. I had never heard that term before, but it is a good one. I have often thought that when someone says to me that "I believe in the Loch Ness Monster", they don't mean that at all. They mean "I am not narrow minded" or "my mind is open to a host of different possibilities", or sometimes "look how unconventional I am" or even "I take drugs, me". Very seldom do they mean that they have studied the problem in depth, read all the available literature, and them made a conscious decidsion based on a deep stufy of all the empirical evidence.
I have said this on a number of occasions and pissed off quite a few people in doing so. But I never considered that a professed belief in Creationism is equally a cultural signifier. Read this article carefully; it opens a whole slew of cans of worms. And by the way, yes I do believe in God, and no I am not a Creationist.
...THE fact is that belief in evolution has virtually no real-life impact on anything. That's why 46% of the country can safely choose not to believe it: their lack of belief has precisely zero effect on their lives. Sure, it's a handy way of saying that they're God-fearing Christians — a "cultural signifier," as Andrew puts it — but our lives are jam-packed with cultural signifiers. This is just one of thousands, one whose importance probably barely cracks America's top 100 list.