A new nationwide poll has revealed that 79% of Americans believe that creation should be taught in its public schools. The results were released on Friday, March 10 by the liberal group People For the American Way, who commissioned the poll (reported in the New York Times, March 11).
Encouragingly, about half of the 1,500 respondents also believed that evolution “is far from being proven scientifically.”
There were flip-sides, though, to this generally welcome news. About 68% said that it is possible to believe in both evolution and God (who directed evolution). This compromise view, called “theistic evolution,” is a poor alternative because it makes no sense logically, scientifically, and biblically: why would an all-powerful God use such a cruel and wasteful process of “survival of the fittest” (i.e., creatures tearing each other up over millions of years) to bring about higher forms of life? Theistic evolution goes against God’s very nature; furthermore, the evidence for macro-evolution is lacking anyway. Therefore, the whole idea of God-directed evolution should not be embraced by those who claim to believe in a Creator.
Another “flip-side” to the poll is that almost one half of Americans believed that while creation should be taught in public schools, it should be presented in nonscience classes. In other words, creationism is not a scientific model and thus should be taught in a course like social studies rather than a science class. The liberal PFAW group that commissioned the poll thus gleefully proclaimed in a headline for its March 10 news release: “Public wants evolution, not creationism.” (By the way, the People For the American Way incorrectly reported in its news release that Kansas had “dropped” evolution from its public school science curriculum; no such thing happened—evolution is found in many sections of the standards that were approved last August.)
The polled revealed that 83% generally supported the idea that evolution be presented in science classes. AiG agrees that evolution should be learned, too, but that it be taught “warts and all.” We point out that science teachers already possess the academic freedom to present the grave problems with evolution theory. Furthermore, they have the choice to present evidence that the universe is designed, and that it is not the product of chance, random processes (i.e., Darwinian evolution). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (1987) that competing theories of origins can be taught in public schools as long as no particular religion was was being established.
In the 1990s, two Gallup polls were taken that revealed similar findings (although the questions were framed differently). In both, almost one half of Americans believed in creation and that it took place less than 10,000 years ago, which is essentially the biblical model. Therefore, with the new poll, it was not all that surprising to discover that Americans: 1. see the serious scientific problems with evolution theory and 2. believe in academic freedom, i.e., that a competing view to the dogma of evolution (creation) should be taught to young people.
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