11 August, 2006

Evolution still OK in the UK

People over the pond (see here, here or here) are somewhat distressed by this graph:



It’s from an article in this week’s Science [doi], and combines the results of surveys in the US, 32 EU or soon to be EU countries, and Japan (the latter was in 2001, the others all last year). The participants were asked a straight yes/no/don’t know question about the validity of evolutionary theory. The USA were edged out by Turkey for bottom spot, showing that the Abrahamic faiths can at least agree on one issue.

However, there is good news for us Brits: we might not be as scientifically ignorant as the BBC poll I blogged about earlier in the year suggested. Whereas that poll suggested that only 48% of the population were convinced evolution happened, in this study it’s more like 70-75%. At the time, I hypothesised that the supposed 17% who supported Intelligent Design may have mixed it up with “some sort of ‘guided evolution/God probably had something to do with it somewhere’-type theism”. If this was the case, the two groups would combine in a a less ambiguous poll like this to give us our 70%. A slightly more nuanced 2003 survey in the supplementary material, where more than half of the 69% who err on the side of Darwin only think evolution is ‘probably true’, supports this interpretation. Likewise, only of the 15% who are creationist-leaning only 8% are True Believers. Typical Brit fence- sitting there

So, should I feel smug first, or relieved?

3 comments:

Lab Lemming said...

At least your entire hemisphere wasn't left out of the survey.

CJR said...

Well, as I've commented over at the Panda's Thumb, I think this study was intended less as a survey of worldwide attitudes to evolution, and more an attempt to gain insight into American attitudes using Europe as a 'control'.

Do you know the results of similar surveys in Oz? I thought you generally exported your creationists...

Josh Colwell said...

Feel relieved, and hope you manage to stay near the top of that list. We're just slip sliding away over here.