Britons unconvinced on evolution
By BBC NEWS
Added: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Ole for the link.
Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll.
Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI for the BBC's Horizon series.
Its latest programme, A War on Science, looks into the attempt to introduce ID into science classes in the US.
Over 2,000 participants took part in the survey, and were asked what best described their view of the origin and development of life:
- 22% chose creationism
- 17% opted for intelligent design
- 48% selected evolution theory
- and the rest did not know.
Andrew Cohen, editor of Horizon, commented: "I think that this poll represents our first introduction to the British public's views on this issue.
"Most people would have expected the public to go for evolution theory, but it seems there are lots of people who appear to believe in an alternative theory for life's origins."
When given a choice of three descriptions for the development of life on Earth, people were asked which one or ones they would like to see taught in science lessons in British schools:
- 44% said creationism should be included
- 41% intelligent design
- 69% wanted evolution as part of the science curriculum.
"This really says something about the role of science education in this country and begs us to question how we are teaching evolutionary theory," Andrew Cohen added.
The findings prompted surprise from the scientific community. Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, said: "It is surprising that many should still be sceptical of Darwinian evolution. Darwin proposed his theory nearly 150 years ago, and it is now supported by an immense weight of evidence.
"We are, however, fortunate compared to the US in that no major segment of UK religious or cultural life opposes the inclusion of evolution in the school science curriculum."
In the US, a recent high profile court case ruled that the intelligent design movement is motivated by a desire to introduce God into the classroom.
This came after parents in Pennsylvania took a school board to court for demanding that biology classes should not teach evolution as fact.
Horizon: A War on Science was broadcast on BBC Two at 2100GMT on Thursday, 26 January 2006
David Catchpoole - Creation... Comments
Neutrality is impossible in the creation/evolution debate
Zack Kopplin - Repealing the... Comments
Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program Before Governor Romney Takes it Nationwide
Adam Rutherford - New Humanist Comments
A recognised creationist tactic involves scoring minor victories against the teaching of evolution, and recent controversies over free schools and the Giant’s Causeway suggest it is succeeding in the UK. It’s time the strategy was exposed
- - British Humanist Association Comments
Free School due to open in September 2012 will ‘teach creation as a scientific theory’
- - UTV Comments
An exhibit in the new Giants' Causeway Visitors' Centre acknowledges the creationist view of how the world-famous stones were formed.
Katha Pollitt - The Nation Comments
The worst thing about the recent Gallup poll on evolution is that the proportion of college graduates who are creationists is exactly the same as for the general public.
MORE BY BBC NEWS
BBC News - BBC News website 30 Comments
Letters from 1966 between the then Archbishop of Canterbury and a bishop show the Church agreed that a convicted paedophile should be ordained
BBC News - BBC news website 89 Comments
Mr Bhatti, the cabinet's only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws.
BBC News - BBC News website 98 Comments
In his World Communications Address on 24 January, [the pope] said it was not a sin to use social networking sites
BBC News - BBC News website 28 Comments
The Vatican's centuries-old secrecy over the way it handles its money will no longer be an excuse to avoid its obligations under international and Italian criminal law to combat money-laundering operations by third parties, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.
BBC News - BBC News website 95 Comments
The Pope gives the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step towards moralisation", even though condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection".