Poll Shows Public Doubts about Evolution

on February 7, 2009

The Telegraph: “Poll Reveals Public Doubts over Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” A poll in Britain reveals widespread doubt over Darwinism—or does it?

A survey conducted by ComRes (to coincide with the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth) asked just over 2,000 respondents whether they agree with the statement, “Evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages.” Just over half—51 percent—of respondents agreed, but 40 percent disagreed; the rest weren’t sure.

"Given the false choice of evolution or God, people are rejecting evolution.”

Regarding the statement “God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years,” 32 percent agreed, with 60 percent disagreeing and the rest unsure.

The Guardian reports that the same survey revealed that 25 percent believe Darwinian evolution is “definitely true” and 25 percent believe it to be “probably true”; 12 percent believe in intelligent design and 10 percent in young-Earth creationism. The rest of respondents were unsure.

Compromising Christian think tank Theos commissioned the poll (we covered another poll commissioned by the group last November). Director Paul Woolley opined, “Darwin is being used by certain atheists today to promote their cause. The result is that, given the false choice of evolution or God, people are rejecting evolution.”

Woolley was joined by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who got a mention in News to Note two weeks back. Carey responded to the poll by arguing against evolutionary atheism: “[That] argument for atheism goes like this: either God is the explanation for the wide diversity of biological life, or evolution is. We know that evolution is true. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.” He added, “I’m an evangelical Christian, but I have no difficulties in believing that evolution is the best scientific account we have for the diversity of life on our planet.” Carey was particularly responding to Richard Dawkins, who cited the survey in calling many Britons as “pig-ignorant.”

LiveScience editorial director Robert Roy Britt takes issue with the survey as a whole, pointing out in his column that some of the survey’s numbers don’t add up: while almost “half” aren’t sure about evolution, only 22 percent actually believe in intelligent design or young-Earth creationism (though those statistics also conflict with reports of 32 percent believing the world was created less than 10,000 years ago).

The Gallup Poll is releasing a series of results on what sets apart the U.S. states.

Britt adds, “The confluence of evolution and religion is a very tricky topic for pollsters to get at, because many people hold multiple views.” He points out that there’s a continuum of beliefs (most of which we refer to as “compromises”) between pure Darwinism and biblical young-Earth creationism. Some believe in evolution except when it comes to humans; others believe God “created” through evolution. Britt also points out that many people (both creationists and evolutionists, we would say) don’t know much at all about evolution. Of course, he spins it with his view that “evolution is one of the most well-supported theories of science.”

AiG–UK’s Paul Taylor was invited to join this week’s edition of BBC One’s The Big Question to discuss both the survey and recent comments by David Attenborough about (alleged) creationist hostility. (We mentioned Attenborough’s comments in last week’s News to Note, and Paul issued a full response.) For those with access to BBC One, the program will air Sunday, February 8, at 10 a.m. GMT.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the well-known Gallup Poll is releasing a series of results on what sets apart the U.S. states. Last week the data was analyzed to reveal the varying religiosity of states, which was unsurprising but nonetheless interesting. Based on more than 350,000 interviews, all states were ranked from most religious (Mississippi) to least religious (Vermont) by the percentage of residents answering yes to the question, “Is religion an important part of your daily life?” (Follow the link above for state-by-state results, with a helpful map breaking the states into five color-coded groups.)

While it may seem encouraging that there are still many out there who reject Darwinian evolution, let’s not forget that the march away from biblical authority continues, with a definite minority (according to all poll results) accepting a recent creation. Both the U.S. and the UK are becoming less Christian, not more. But at the very least, it helps us remember that no matter where you may be, the mission field begins right outside the church doors!

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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