Saturday, January 31, 2009


Popularity Poll

Now here's an interesting poll conducted in Britain:

More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a "designer" must have lent a hand, the findings suggest.

And one in three believe that God created the world within the past 10,000 years.

The survey, by respected polling firm ComRes, will fuel the debate around evolution and creationism ahead of next week's 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. ...

In the survey, 51 per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement that "evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages"

A further 40 per cent disagreed, while the rest said they did not know.

The suggestion that a designer's input is needed reflects the "intelligent design" theory, promoted by American creationists as an alternative to Darwinian evolution.

Things are somewhat better on the young-Earth creationism front:

Asked whether it was true that "God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years", 32 per cent agreed, 60 per cent disagreed and eight per cent did not know.

There were some predictable reactions:

[Richard] Dawkins expressed dismay at the findings of the ComRes survey, of 2,060 adults, which he claimed were confirmation that much of the population is "pig-ignorant" about science.

"Obviously life, which was Darwin's own subject, is not the result of chance," he said.

"Any fool can see that. Natural selection is the very antithesis of chance.

"The error is to think that God is the only alternative to chance, and Darwin surely didn't think that because he himself discovered the most important non-theistic alternative to chance, namely natural selection."

In a bit of turnabout-is-fair-play:

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, accused Dawkins of evolving into a "very simple kind of thinker".

He said: "His argument for atheism goes like this: either God is the explanation for the wide diversity of biological life, or evolution is. We know that evolution is true. Therefore, God doesn't exist.

"I'm an evangelical Christian, but I have no difficulties in believing that evolution is the best scientific account we have for the diversity of life on our planet."

But this is the worrying part:

Paul Woolley, the director of Theos [a theology think-tank that commissioned the poll] said: "Darwin is being used by certain atheists today to promote their cause.

"The result is that, given the false choice of evolution or God, people are rejecting evolution."

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