Feeling smug about not being American is, of course, practically a national sport her in the UK. And one of the best things to be smug about is ridiculously high percentage of Americans who think that creationism (or “intelligent design”) is a reasonable way to explain the creation of the universe. People in the UK have moved far beyond those medieval beliefs – or so we like to think.
But where the US goes, the UK is bound to follow. And the BBC is reporting a survey that MORI have recently undertaken for the BBC’s programme Horizon. The results make grim reading.
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
39% of people believe in creationsism in one of its forms and only 48% of people believe in evolution. Those are very worrying numbers.
And one less reason for feeling smug about not being an American.
Update: Smylers rightfully points out some loose thinking on my part – which actually stmes from some loose questions on MORI’s part (or maybe loose reporting of the questions on the BBC’s part). The point is that evolution does nothing to explain the origin of life. It only considers the development of life. So if you’re asked what best describes your view of the origin and development of life then evolution shouldn’t really be considered a possible answer.
Personally I don’t think that most people would have considered the question that deeply. And most people see it as a binary choice – evolution or creationism. So I’m still very surprised and worried by the data.