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Richard Dawkins releases new book on human evolution

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MARK COLVIN: For nearly three decades, opinion pollsters have been asking Americans whether they believe in the literal truth of the Bible's creation story.

Asked whether God created human beings pretty much in their present form sometime in the last 10,000 years, more than four in every 10 Americans say yes - most recently in a national survey last year.

And yet every year carbon dating produces more evidence that humans have been around for far longer than that and palaeontologists produce more fossil evidence showing how we evolved from apes.

Since the discovery of DNA in the 1950s, even more evidence has been added to the theory of evolution, yet creationism and its sibling, intelligent design, are in some places stronger than ever.

The evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins has a new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, subtitled The Evidence for Evolution.

I asked him first about that American opinion polling.

RICHARD DAWKINS: Well when you think that what they believe is that the world is only 6,000 years old, that is alarming. It might always have been true but maybe Gallup polls didn't bother to ask people in earlier times. Maybe they've just sort of started to get interested in asking the question. Maybe those people simply didn't know and never have really known, and it's just now that they start getting asked the question by Gallup polls.
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