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Horizon survey: Britons unconvinced about theory of evolution

Category: Factual & Arts TV

Date: 26.01.2006
Printable version

A survey for the Horizon science strand on BBC TWO suggests that over half the population of Great Britain do not believe in the evolution theory.


Furthermore, more than 40% of those surveyed believe that alternative theories to evolution - such as creationism and intelligent design - should be taught in school science classes.


The survey - conducted by Ipsos MORI - was conducted to coincide with the transmission of Horizon: A War on Science (Thursday 26 January, 9.00pm, BBC TWO).


The programme examines attempts in the United States to introduce the controversial theory of intelligent design into school science classes.


A recent high profile court case in the US ruled that, despite claiming not to be a religious group, the intelligent design movement is motivated by a desire to introduce God into the classroom.


Participants in the survey were read three statements and asked which best described their view of the origin and development of life.


The statements were:


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;


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;


and the 'intelligent design' theory says that certain features of living things are best explained by the intervention of a supernatural being, eg God.


Of those surveyed, 48 per cent said evolution theory most closely describes their view; 22% chose creationism; and 17% chose intelligent design.


A further 12% said they did not know. This brings the total percentage of those not choosing evolution to 51%.


When asked if the theories should be taught in school science classes, 69% agreed that evolution should be taught; 44% that creationism should be taught; and 41% that they believed intelligent design should be included on the science curriculum.


In terms of socio-economical grouping those at the lower end of the scale are less likely to believe in evolution - 58% in AB group versus 34% in DE group - but are more likely to accept creationism, 15% in the AB group versus 30% in the DE.


The AB categories were only slightly more likely to choose intelligent design (20% of ABs chose intelligent design versus 15% in the DE group).


In groupings of age, those over 55 are less likely to believe in evolution than other groups whilst either end of the age spectrum (under 25 and over 55) are more likely to think that intelligent design should be taught in school science classes.


Notes to Editors


A nationally representative quota sample of 2,112 adults was interviewed by Ipos MORI throughout Great Britain.


Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 5 and 10 January 2006.


Data weighted to be representative of the adult (15+) population.







Category: Factual & Arts TV

Date: 26.01.2006
Printable version


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