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← Teach both evolution and creationism say 54% of Britons

Teach both evolution and creationism say 54% of Britons - Comments

Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Comment 1 by Follow Peter Egan

Just been reading about this in the Daily Mail (which is obviously all for it).

So, it just goes to show how deeply ignorant the majority of the public is. But enough stupid people shout loud enough for long enough, they'll probably get their way.

Depressing. For fuck's sake, read Richard's book, you 54%ers. Or even *any* book.

EDIT: Ooooh, first post!

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:24:00 UTC | #408586

Mbee's Avatar Comment 2 by Mbee

I think this just shows that we need more education for people on what ID and creationism is. I don't think most people care or think about the questions before they answered.

If they do want to teach ID and creationism in school it should be in religious classes - NOT science. If they can come up with some evidence (required by science) for their ideas (NOT theories) then, and only then, can it be discussed in a science curriculum. The evidence comes first - the theories come later!

And what on earth does 'All Your Minds Are Belong to Us' mean?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:26:00 UTC | #408589

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 4 by mixmastergaz

Not being a statistician I wouldn't know if 973 is large enough to be a representative sample. I think something may have gone awry here. I teach religious studies. Most of my students are Christians of one sort or another and less than 10% of them would agree that creationism should be taught in science lessons.

Perhaps the pollsters were surveying outside an evangelical church at 'turning out' time on a Sunday...

Or maybe there really are that many halfwits in the UK.

EDIT: - Alarming that such a percentage figure should emerge in this double anniversary year.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:30:00 UTC | #408591

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 3 by Colwyn Abernathy

All Your Minds Are Belong to Us.

Friggin' memes....tho I'm certainly guilty of spreading them too. I must say tho that this one is getting rather old, especially since so few people played Zero Wing.

EDIT: The All Your Base Meme...set to Queen

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:30:00 UTC | #408590

mattincinci's Avatar Comment 5 by mattincinci

95% of all poll results ever stated are made up

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:31:00 UTC | #408593

sdando's Avatar Comment 6 by sdando

Am I the only one who finds this question to be leading?

I think one can (and pollsters often do) design questions to get almost any result one seeks.

I wish I could see the entire set of poll questions in the order in which they were asked to really clarify this.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:31:00 UTC | #408595

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 7 by chewedbarber

Community Cohesion?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:32:00 UTC | #408596

RedBarchetta's Avatar Comment 8 by RedBarchetta

54% !!!! FFS. Surely a great proportion of these people don't know what ID is - or rather that it's just creationism with big words?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:33:00 UTC | #408599

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 9 by PrimeNumbers

Perhaps it's time to only allow people to vote after solving a simple quadratic equation.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:33:00 UTC | #408600

j.mills's Avatar Comment 11 by j.mills

About 54% of the 973 polled Britons agreed with the view: “Evolutionary theories should be taught in science lessons in schools together with other possible perspectives, such as intelligent design and creationism.”
This is a deeply, and I can only assume intentionally, stupid way of phrasing the question. Saying 'no' suggests that you don't think evolutionary theories (whence the plural??) should be taught at all. The results are meaningless, since the question is formulated in a way that a positive (or negative) answer could arise from very different and even polarised views. The pollsters should be ashamed.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:41:00 UTC | #408608

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 10 by Chrysippus_Maximus

To quote Kent Brockman (and Plato): "Democracy does not work." *grinds teeth*

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:41:00 UTC | #408607

Veronique's Avatar Comment 12 by Veronique

Agreed sdando, I would want to look at the questions' structure and the way the raw scores were dealt with.

Not enough information to make an educated comment at this stage.

Off the top of my head, I am not convinced that such a high percentage of the British population would respond positively to teaching creationism and ID in science classes.

So I will not throw up yet!

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:42:00 UTC | #408609

henrod's Avatar Comment 14 by henrod

Aside from the other concerns listed here, is this a statistically significant sample? I ask this seriously, not having studied research methods since grad school 20 years ago.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:46:00 UTC | #408612

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 13 by Ignorant Amos

These polls are a load of old pish....we don't even know where the polls take place. Ask people outside a church on a Sunday to see what percentage or ask people outside a pub on a Saturday and see what the percentage is, an inner city slum or an leafy, affluent suburb. They didn't send the pollster to over 900 different locations the length and breadth of the country so its all bollocks.

Still, 54% of anyone is ridiculous, 1% is something ya morons!!!

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:46:00 UTC | #408611

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 15 by TIKI AL

I don't see where handing the students a paperback with "complete theory of intelligent design and creationism” on the cover, and "God did it" on it's 1 page inside is a big deal.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:53:00 UTC | #408614

eno's Avatar Comment 16 by eno

971 out of 60 odd million? Oh please. This is pointless and sloppy journalism.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:55:00 UTC | #408617

Veronique's Avatar Comment 18 by Veronique

The following comes from IPSOS Mori’s web site:

New research, conducted by Ipsos MORI for the British Council, investigating awareness of Charles Darwin and attitudes towards evolution, has found that there is a broad international consensus of acceptance towards his theory of evolution.

The British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations, announced the results of its global survey at the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in London on Tuesday 30 June, 2009, as part of its international programme Darwin Now, to mark the publication of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, on 24 November, 1859.

The research surveyed over ten thousand adults across ten countries worldwide including Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Great Britain and the United States.
Technical Note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 973 adults across Great Britain [England, Scotland and Wales] aged 18 and over on behalf of The British Council.

Fieldwork took place between 3rd April and 9th April 2009 using an in home face to face data collection methodology. A quota sampling approach was adopted, encompassing 180 sampling points across Great Britain.

Survey data were weighted back to the true population proportions.

I have found the raw British data and the weighted base numbers for Britain. The research was undertaken in April this year and results published July this year. It was an international survey over 10,000 respondents.

Anyone interested in perusing the table go to:


Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:57:00 UTC | #408619

Affront's Avatar Comment 17 by Affront

I've always thought that the subjects of surveys like this should be required to pass a short test before their opinion is recorded. As others have pointed out, many people simple won't know what 'intelligent' design is and those that do probably don't understand evolution.

Re. testing, the same principle could be applied to elections of course. Before you're allowed to cast your vote you have to demonstrate that you have at least a vague idea of the policies of the party you hope will be elected.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:57:00 UTC | #408618

Veronique's Avatar Comment 19 by Veronique

No henrod - the sample isn't big enough to make the sweeping conclusions that appear to have been made.

Sensationalism always sells, hahaha.


Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:05:00 UTC | #408621

boogerjames's Avatar Comment 21 by boogerjames

I agree with j.mills about the wording of the question. Reading seems to imply that the other theories are taught already and the actual question regards whether evolution should be taught as well. This is easy to see if you flip the sentence around.

"Intelligent design and creationism and other possible theories should be taught in science lessons in schools together with evolutionary theories."

I hypothesize that you would see a higher percentage of "no" if the question was asked this way instead.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:09:00 UTC | #408624

rustylix's Avatar Comment 20 by rustylix

Thank God Carl Sagan, science is not a democracy.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:09:00 UTC | #408623

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 23 by GalacticAtom


I think this just shows that we need more education for people on what ID and creationism is.

I think we need more education on what science is. Then it becomes more likely that people will recognize non-science when they see it.

I don't remember being explicitly taught about scientific method in school at all.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:16:00 UTC | #408626

Sciros's Avatar Comment 22 by Sciros

971 out of 60 odd million? Oh please. This is pointless and sloppy journalism.
No henrod - the sample isn't big enough to make the sweeping conclusions that appear to have been made.

Sensationalism always sells, hahaha.

>_> Why do I have to do this every time there is a statistic brought up along with a sample size?

Assuming a random sample...

Britain's population as of mid-2008: 59608000
Sample size: 973

54% plus/minus 4.12% at 99% confidence.

So you can conclude with 99% confidence that between 50% and 58% of Britons think "other theories, like ID" should be "on the curriculum" alongside evolution.

Alreet dudes now quit bitching about sample size, and talk about whether the sample size is truly random or not. If not, then it isn't representative of the population. But if it is, then you have to go with what the numbers tell you.

EDIT: question wording of course matters a lot. So you can only really conclude that X% of Britons said 'yes' to that question as it was worded. Whether they would say 'yes' to a reworded "so you want to teach religion and science in Biology class?" can't be determined from this survey.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:16:00 UTC | #408625

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 24 by Dr. Strangegod

Bad data (leading question, sample size, etc.). Ignore.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:17:00 UTC | #408627

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos

18. Comment #426881 by Veronique

Thanks for the figures....kinda says it all really.

Just over a fith said they have a different thought on how it all started or had no comment/view at all.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:20:00 UTC | #408628

SteveN's Avatar Comment 26 by SteveN

I agree with others on this thread that the question is worded in such a way to get a positive answer. One inference is "Evolutionary theories should (now) be taught in science lessons in schools together with other possible perspectives, such as intelligent design and creationism (that are already taught)" Someone who deplores ID and creationism might vote 'yes' if unaware of the current curriculum. It boggles the mind that people who are paid good money to conduct polls such as this make such a cock-up.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:21:00 UTC | #408629

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 27 by Alternative Carpark

Just one more reason why I could never move back to the U.K.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:23:00 UTC | #408630

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 28 by Border Collie

First off, creationism and ID are not theories or science. Secondly, most respondents probably don't even know what evolution, creationism and ID really are. That is, I doubt that they could write a paragraph on each that would be a remotely adequate explanation. Thirdly, there are zillions of churches across the globe that can teach creationism and ID if someone really wants to learn about such, i.e., go to church if you're interested. I'm sorry that the UK is becoming more and more like the hillbilly, well plainsbilly, state in which I live.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:25:00 UTC | #408632

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 29 by Ignorant Amos

Sciros, looking at it, do you think it is representative. There is no Northern Ireland included so how can it be representative and with the nutjobs around here...the figures would be shoved further up the left. The First Minister is a member of the largest political party who are creationists, believe the giants causeway is 6,000 years old, want shops and leisure facilities closed on Sundays and are a bunch of homophobic, anti abortionist, free presbyterian cretins.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:29:00 UTC | #408634

AtheistJon's Avatar Comment 30 by AtheistJon

Recalls a good joke I read:

After having dug to a depth of 1000 meters last year, Scottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 1000 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Scots (or Americans), a few weeks later English scientists dug to a depth of 2000 metres;

'English archaeologists have found traces of 2000 year old fibre-optic cable and have concluded that their ancestors must have had a high-speed digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the Scots'.

A month later an Irish newspaper reported the following:

'After digging to a depth of 5000 meters in County Maobog, Irish scientists have found absolutely nothing.

They have therefore concluded that 5000 years ago Ireland's inhabitants were already using wireless technology.

For how long will proponents of Intelligent Design (neo-creationism) continue to infer God's existence from copper wires and watches?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:33:00 UTC | #408635