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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/07/03

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A survey of opinions on evolution from ten countries was released. And
paleontologists took a trip to the Creation "Museum" and were dismayed
by what they saw.


A recent international survey conducted by the British Council
investigated awareness of Darwin, acceptance of evolution, and
attitudes toward evolution and faith. In a June 30, 2009, press
release, Fern Elsdon-Baker, the head of the British Council's Darwin
Now program, commented, "The international Darwin survey has thrown up
some very interesting results, especially as it includes data from
countries not previously covered before. The most encouraging aspect
of the survey shows that whilst there are diverse views on Darwin’s
theory of evolution, there appears to a broad acceptance that science
and faith do not have to be in conflict. Whilst the results show that
there is some way to go in communicating the evidence of evolutionary
theory to wider audiences, it is evident that there is clear space for
dialogue on this sometimes complex area of debate."

The survey was conducted in April and May 2009 in ten countries:
Argentina, China, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Russia, South
Africa, Spain, and the United States. For the question "Have you heard
of Charles Darwin?" Russia led the list with 93% of respondents saying
yes, with Great Britain and Mexico tied for second at 90%, and China a
close third at 90%; the United States was fifth at 84%. For the
question "To what extent do you agree or disagree that it is possible
to believe in a God and still hold the view that life on earth,
including human life, evolved over time as a result of natural
selection?" India led the list with 85% of respondents agreeing, with
Mexico second at 65% and Argentina third at 62%; the United States was
fifth at 53%, just behind Great Britain, Russia, and South Africa,
which tied for fourth at 54%.

For the question "To what extent do you agree or disagree that enough
scientific evidence exists to support Charles Darwin’s Theory of
Evolution [sic]?" -- posed to respondents who had heard of Charles
Darwin and knew something about the theory of evolution -- India led
the list with 77% of respondents agreeing, with China second at 72%
and Mexico second at 65%. The United States was ninth at 41%, just
behind South Africa at 42% and well ahead of Egypt at 25%. In keeping
with reports on previous international surveys on public attitudes
toward evolution, such as Miller, Scott, and Okamoto's article in
Science in 2006, the United States was also conspicuous for the level
of disagreement with the theory of evolution: 30%, second only to
Egypt's 63%. Only 29% of respondents in the United States indicated
that they neither agreed nor disagreed or didn't know.

Respondents were also asked which of the following was closest to
their own view: "life on earth, including human life, evolved over
time as a result of natural selection, in which no God played a part";
"life on earth, including human life, evolved over time in a process
guided by a God"; and "life on earth, including human life, was
created by a God and has always existed in its current form."
(Respondents were also offered the response, "I have another view on
the origins of species and development of life on earth, which is not
included in this list.") The first view was preferred in China by 67%
of the respondents, in Mexico, Great Britain, and Spain by 38%, in
Argentina by 37%, and in Russia by 32%; the third was preferred in
Egypt by 50% of the respondents, and in India, South Africa, and the
United States by 43%. In no country was the second view held by a
plurality of respondents.

For the press release (PDF), visit:

For information about Darwin Now, visit:

For NCSE's report on the 2006 Science article, visit:


Paleontologists took a trip to Answers in Genesis's Creation "Museum"
-- and were dismayed, unsurprisingly, by what they saw. The Ninth
North American Paleontological Convention was held June 21-26, 2009,
at the University of Cincinnati, attracting several hundred
paleontologists from around the world to present their latest
research, as well as to attend a plenary session on evolution and
society featuring NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott. The
organizers of the convention also offered a side trip to the nearby
Creation "Museum," explaining that "it is essential for professional
paleontologists to become better aware of how their work and their
roles in society are portrayed by creationists, themes that are
conveyed vividly at the museum."

Reporters accompanied the bemused paleontologists on their excursion,
with stories subsequently appearing in the Cincinnati Enquirer (June
24, 2009), The New York Times (June 30, 2009), and Agence
France-Presse (June 30, 2009). A few representative reactions from
those stories: "I'm not offended, just annoyed" (Julia Sankey of
California State University, Stanislaus); "I think they should rename
the museum -- not the Creation Museum, but the Confusion Museum" (Lisa
Park of the University of Akron); "This bothers me as a scientist and
as a Christian, because it's just as much a distortion and
misrepresentation of Christianity as it is of science" (Daryl Domning
of Howard University).

Scientific criticism of the Creation "Museum" is nothing new. When it
opened in 2007, over 800 scientists in the three states surrounding it
-- Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio -- signed a statement sponsored by NCSE
expressing concern about the effect of the scientific inaccuracies of
its exhibits on local students. Shortly thereafter, the Society for
Vertebrate Paleontology issued a press release contending that "the
museum presents visitors with a view of earth history that has been
scientifically disproven for over a century" and accusing it of
"undermining the basic principles of science, eroding the public's
confidence in science, and causing a general weakening of science
education in the country."

For the announcement of the trip, visit:

For the stories, visit:

For the NCSE-sponsored statement, visit:

For the SVP press release, visit:

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch 
Deputy Director 
National Center for Science Education, Inc. 
420 40th Street, Suite 2 
Oakland, CA 94609-2509 
510-601-7203 x310 
fax: 510-601-7204 

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism -- now in its second edition!

Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

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