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A recent flurry of polls in the U.K. points to a general lack of knowledge about the creation-evolution controversy.
Not many opinion polls have been conducted in the U.K. on peoples’ attitudes to creation and evolution. Recently, there seem to have suddenly been quite a few. The newspaper headlines that accompany such polls are often fascinating.
We recently reported on research conducted by ComRes, which suggested that 51% of the U.K. public had, at the very least, doubts about evolution. Last week, a new poll came to light, commissioned by the liberal theological think-tank Theos. The headline in the Daily Telegraph suggests that “Four Out of Five Britons do not believe in Creationism.”1 The impression is given that this is in opposition to the previous poll. It is not. Even at face value, the new poll suggests that 20% of Britons actually believe in creation!
There are, however, some other interesting factors involved in the new research. For example, more than half of those questioned did not know that On the Origin of Species was written by Charles Darwin. Indeed, 3% of respondents thought that the book had been written by Richard Dawkins!
This suggests a lack of engagement with the issues by many people, which is not surprising. The media in the U.K. has not usually encouraged debate on the subject of Darwinism. Even when it does, the debate tends to be one-sided, with questioning of creationists becoming hostile. It is significant that with little information behind them, so many British people are unconvinced by evolution. It is common for evolutionary scientists to speak of a “law of evolution” akin to the law of gravity. The difference is obvious. There is no significant movement in the U.K. disbelieving in gravity because its effects are there for all to see. The British public seem instinctively to understand the speculative nature of Darwinism.
The new research shows that 40% of the U.K. public believes that “human beings are uniquely different from other living things and so have unique values and significance” compared with only 14% who believe that “human beings are just another species of animal and have no unique value or significance.” The book of Genesis makes clear the unique and valuable position of human beings and our need for a Saviour because of our fallen sinful status before a perfect, holy God.
The research also points up some regional variations. The eastern part of England is the most atheistic, according to the survey. The greatest percentage of theistic evolutionists is found in Wales, while Northern Ireland holds the greatest percentage of those who believe in creation.
Encouragingly, the main lesson about the recent opinion polls is that creation and evolution are at last being discussed openly in the U.K. As Ken Ham has been visiting the U.K. this week, we are in the middle of our best opportunity in years to get the true message of the Bible out to our nation. Please pray that the Lord will work through us and in this and that many lives will be changed.