Two recent news items report that creationism is on the rise around the world. The first, a survey conducted by a UK-based market research company, asked 11,768 adults from 10 countries if they thought evolutionary theories should be taught in science lessons in schools together with other possible perspectives, such as intelligent design and creationism. Overall, 54 percent of British, 68 percent of Argentinians, and 51 percent of Americans believed that other perspectives should be taught in science classes; across the 10 countries, the average was 43 percent. India had the highest proportion of evolution supporters, with 49 percent of the population stating that only evolutionary theory should taught in science classes. Many prominent scientists and teachers in the UK have expressed shock at the poll’s findings, and some have said that these results come about due to the polarization of science and religion.

In addition, international academics meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts last month reported that belief in creationism is growing in the Muslim world. However, while creationism is growing, young-earth creationists remain almost non-existent among Muslims, likely because of the clearly metaphorical nature of the creation story in the Koran. However, not all Muslims easily accept the findings of modern biology. Many seem to be joining the ranks of old-Earth creationists, who believe that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, but insist that life is the creation of God, not the chance consequence of random occurrences. The evolution debate, which has not existed in Islamic countries until recently, is growing as education improves and more students are exposed to the ideas of modern biology. Experts have noted that growing rejection of evolution may be in part a result of the rejection of western values. Additionally, the debate varies from country to country, as the quality of science education and religious stringency can differ drastically.

 


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