Friday, February 03, 2006

Britons unconvinced on evolution #1

News items about a poll in Britain (perhaps the first outside the USA?) which found that less than half (48%) accepted "evolution theory" and a total of 39% indicated either "creationism" (22%) or "intelligent design" (17%) as "their view of the origin and development of life." My comments are bold and in square brackets. Because of its size, I have split this into two parts.

Britons unconvinced on evolution, BBC, 26 January 2006 ... Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll. Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons. [This Ipsos MORI poll adapted the three USA Gallup poll categories:

"1. The `evolution theory' says that human kind has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process. 2. The `creationism theory' says that God created human kind pretty much in his/her present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. 3. The `intelligent design theory' says that certain features of living things are best explained by the intervention of a supernatural being, e.g. God."

However, it has substituted the "intelligent design theory" for the Gallup poll's `God-guided evolution' category, "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process." So the 17% for ID is inflated. The high "don't know" (12%) presumably reflects this confusion (e.g. God-guided evolutionists who don't agree with ID).]

The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI for the BBC's Horizon series. Its latest programme, A War on Science, looks into the attempt to introduce ID into science classes in the US. [There was no (and never has been any) "attempt to introduce ID into science classes in the US." The simple fact is that the only school board which ever got taken to court for allegedly attempting "to introduce ID into science classes in the US" is the Dover School District board, and all it did was require (against the policy of the ID movement) a 1-minute statement to be read before one science class each year, informing the students (what they probably all knew anyway) that: 1) there were problems with evolution; and 2) there was alternative ID material in the library!]

Over 2,000 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. [The 48% who selected "evolution theory" is about four times, and the 22% who chose "creationism" is about half the USA Gallup poll result. It should be no surprise that evolution is stronger and creationism weaker in the UK than the USA, it is a surprise that slightly more half the UK public reject "the standard scientific theory [of evolution] that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis)! So presumably Richard Dawkins (the Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science) thinks that more than half his `constituents' are "ignorant, stupid or insane ... or wicked":

"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." (Dawkins R., "Put Your Money on Evolution," Review of Johanson D. & Edey M.A,, "Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution", in New York Times, April 9, 1989, sec. 7, p.34)

(Actually we will see in part 2 what Dawkins does think of it.) The UK science educators are worried that less school students are considering science as a career but is it any wonder when Dawkins has declared virtual war on half the British population.]

Intelligent design is the concept that certain features of living things are so complex that their existence is better explained by an "intelligent process" than natural selection. [This is one of the best definitions of ID that I have seen in the media. It suggests that it is slowly sinking in to the media's and the public's consciousness that, Darwinist disinformation notwithstanding, "ID ... is a secular scientific theory that intelligent causation is necessary to explain certain features of the natural world; and the evidence of that intelligent causation is empirically detectable."]... Andrew Cohen, editor of Horizon, commented: "I think that this poll represents our first introduction to the British public's views on this issue. "Most people would have expected the public to go for evolution theory, but it seems there are lots of people who appear to believe in an alternative theory for life's origins." [Ironically, Cohen's blurb for his Horizon program ends with the usual European looking down their noses at the USA on this issue:

"However, as history shows, law suits have little effect on the support for creationism in a country where over 50% of citizens believe that God created humans in their present form, the way the bible describes it"

when his own poll shows that he lives "in a country where 22% of citizens believe that God created humans in their present form!]

When given a choice of three descriptions for the development of life on Earth, people were asked which one or 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. [This is misleading. It was not 41% + 69% = 154%! There were in effect three questions to the same sample group, asked about 1. "Evolution theory"; 2. "Creationism theory" and 3. "Intelligent design theory," "whether ... they should or should not be taught in school science classes?" And in response to the question about whether "Evolution theory" should be taught, 69% of the same sample said it should be, with 15% against and 17% unsure. This is surprising that only slightly more that 2 out of 3 Britons are in favour of evolution being taught in science classes, given that it already is. Even more surprising is that to the questions whether "creation theory" and "intelligent design theory" should be taught in science classes, the responses were 44% and 41% in favour, respectively. This is less than the 64% of the USA public who want "creationism" (which may include "intelligent design") taught alongside evolution, but it is still surprisingly high.]

Participants over 55 were less likely to choose evolution over other groups. [It does not say how much "less likely," so it is unclear what significance this is. Anyway, the three questions were not asking the respondents to choose any one of the theories over the others.]

"This really says something about the role of science education in this country and begs us to question how we are teaching evolutionary theory," Andrew Cohen added. [Evolutionists always say this. They just cannot accept that the majority of the public have understood the main tenet of evolutionary theory, e.g. "human kind has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process" (my emphasis) and they have made a conscious, informed decision to reject it.

However, if there is something wrong with how evolutionary theory is taught, it is the evolutionists refusal to allow rival explanations (e.g. creation and ID) to be taught alongside evolution, so the students can hear the best evidence and arguments for each theory. But then the main problem would still remain, namely the evolutionists' insistence that "God had no part in this process," in a population where the majority are still theists. As David J. Young, an evolutionary biologist at Melbourne University pointed out in an Australian science journal, "if someone says `my science shows that your religion is bunk', the natural reaction is `well then there must be something wrong with your science'":

"There is an additional factor that needs to be taken into account here. The recent growth in the creationist movement has been matched by an increase in the number of popular science books on evolution, often written by authors who are openly hostile to religion. Some indeed have used their account of evolution to build an atheistic worldview at odds with any concept of creation or providence. Stephen Jay Gould, for example, has done this in his well-known books and essays (e.g. Wonderful Life, Dinosaur in a Haystack). He makes it clear that he believes humans are merely an accidental outcome of evolutionary history, the product of an uncaring Universe and not in any way created in God’s image. This view is not put forward as a personal opinion but is presented as a definite conclusion that science compels us to accept. It may seem like a small point but Gould, in the name of science, is dismissing a concept that is central to the Jewish and Christian religions. Small wonder, then, that the creationists rise up in protest. For the growth of the creationist movement has been fuelled by a sense of outrage at the way atheist beliefs and secular values are often presented as if they were part of biological science. To put it in the vernacular: if someone says `my science shows that your religion is bunk', the natural reaction is `well then there must be something wrong with your science.'" (Young D.J., "The Evolution of Creationism," Australasian Science, Vol. 23, No. 3, April 2002, pp.20-21)]

[Continued in part #2]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

2 comments:

defender said...

Regardless of whether humanity truly evolved from blobs of jelly and monkeys, Creationists cannot prevail in the ongoing debate about our origins. Their position is fatally flawed. You see, the Creationist position fundamentally relies upon the premise that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the Word of God. If it’s not; if the Bible is just a book, then there is no Creationist position. Recently, a lawyer embarked upon a mission to become the greatest Christian on the planet. In his quest he made a profound discovery. He discovered that the Bible is unequivocally not the Word of God. His argument is compelling. After reading his thesis, I am both shocked and embarrassed that I spent my whole life as a Christian and a Creationist. And while his thesis does not invalidate the so-called theory of “Intelligent Design,” it absolutely dismantles the theory of Biblical Creationism. You can read his Thesis at http://www.InDefenseOfGod.com/

Stephen E. Jones said...

defender

D>Regardless of whether humanity truly evolved from blobs of jelly and monkeys, Creationists cannot prevail in the ongoing debate about our origins.

Well, if it is *not* true that "humanity truly evolved from blobs of jelly and monkeys" then some form of creationism is *necessarily* true.

D>Their position is fatally flawed. You see, the Creationist position fundamentally relies upon the premise that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the Word of God. If it’s not; if the Bible is just a book, then there is no Creationist position.

Agreed with the second part, but not the first.

D>Recently, a lawyer embarked upon a mission to become the greatest Christian on the planet.

Sounds like a false prophet/false Messiah (Mt 24:24). Jesus said, "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-45. So he was starting off with a non-Christian premise, and concluded the circle where he started.

D>In his quest he made a profound discovery. He discovered that the Bible is unequivocally not the Word of God.

He had already decided that at the outset of his "mission to become the greatest Christian on the planet." (see above).

D>His argument is compelling.

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Pr 18:17). If we were on my now-terminated Yahoo list, I would ask you what books (if any) you owned/had read on the Christian doctrine of the Bible being the Word of God. And then I would ask you to quote from them where you disagree with their evidence and arguments, and why, so we would not be debating a straw man.

But we are not, and after 10+ years (1994-2005) debating all comers on Internet discussion lists, I decide to not waste my time anymore debating. So I started this blog and terminated my list (http://tinyurl.com/ab8rf; http://tinyurl.com/cvtcj) in order to have more time to write my book, "Problems of Evolution" (http://tinyurl.com/bw24m; http://tinyurl.com/ba5wd).

D>After reading his thesis, I am both shocked and embarrassed that I spent my whole life as a Christian and a Creationist.

If you are now not a Christian, then the Bible teaches that you never were (Mt 13; Jn 10:28; 1 Jn 2:19).

If Christianity is in fact true, then you would agree that will be *infinitely* more "shocked and embarrassed" when you discover your mistake in thinking it was not.

D>And while his thesis does not invalidate the so-called theory of “Intelligent Design,”

Why the "so-called"? Unless you rule out a priori that there even *could* be a theory of Intelligent Design?

D>it absolutely dismantles the theory of Biblical Creationism.

That's *if* his (and your) fundamental premise is true, that the Bible is not the Word of God and therefore Christianity is false.

But of course, as an Old-Earth Creationist, I agree that not *every* version of "Biblical Creationism" (e.g. Young-Earth Creationism) is true, .

D>You can read his Thesis at http://www.InDefenseOfGod.com/

Sorry, I haven't got the time to waste anymore on someone who "embarked upon a mission to become the greatest Christian on the planet"! Nor on those who are so gullible as to be taken in by him.

Stephen E. Jones