Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bad news for Darwin, rationality

Are we about to see a repeat of the "intelligent design" debate, this time in the UK? The BBC has recently carried out a survey of the British population, taking opinions on the theory of evolution. The results are profoundly disturbing and depressing:

Over 2000 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.

When given a choice of three theories, people were asked which 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.

The "positive" figure of 70% wanting evolution taught in science lessons masks the obvious fact that nearly a third of the population, by definition, do not want it taught in science class -- the additional fact that 44% want creationism included in science curricula is worrying in the extreme.


bigblue said...

You have a particular spin on the results. Actually:
- 48% of us chose "evolution without god";
- 22% chose "creationism"
- 17% chose "creative design"
- 13% chose "don't know"

Presumably the religious nuts fall into only two of the above categories, which comprise 39%. However the 22% figure presumably include people who believe in some form of "evolution with God". For example most of the established church here believe in evolution, but don't find that incompatible with believing in a god.

In fact we can only be sure that 17% have chosen an unscientific option. As regards 44% wanting creationism to be taught, many of these will be wanting it taught so that it can be rebutted.

Anonymous said...

it is I Yuan. Why not taught it in your school. You need balence between both arguments then people choose themselves which one they want.

A lot of people do believe in evolution but not evolution without god.

As for your remark "The results are profoundly disturbing and depressing" isn't this an insult to these people?

Martyn Amos said...

bigblue, I'm not sure where you got that break-down from, as it wasn't from the source that I quoted. Also, "wanting creationism to be taught so that it can be rebutted" -- in a science class -- is exactly what the proponents of ID want. They are trying to set up a phoney "battle" between evolution and ID, with the implication that both are theories that are subject to the usual mechanisms of scrutiny. This is clearly not the case with ID, and I propose a zero tolerance approach of it being taught in science classes (how it is taught in RE is another matter entirely).

I think this also addresses the first point made by Yuan. As for whether my comment is insulting -- it was certainly not meant to be, but I'm simply professing my personal opinion. I'm sure many evangelical Christians would be equally disturbed and depressed at my unwillingness to embrace their god...