God, Darwin Decided Internationally

Evolution accepted by the world, according to survey results announced at World Conference of Science Journalists in London today.

A British Council survey into awareness of Charles Darwin and attitudes towards evolution has found that there is a broad international consensus of acceptance towards his theory of evolution.

The British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations, announced the results of its international survey at the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in London on Tuesday 30 June, 2009, as part of its international programme Darwin Now, to mark the publication of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection on 24 November, 1859.

More than 10000 people were surveyed across ten countries included Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Great Britain and the USA.

The results show that the majority of adults surveyed have heard of Charles Darwin and know at least a little about his theory of evolution with the highest levels in Great Britain (71%), the USA (71%), Mexico (68%), Argentina (65%), China (54%) and Russia (53%) whilst 62 percent of adults surveyed in Egypt and 73 percent in South Africa said they had never heard of Charles Darwin or his theory of evolution. Overall, the majority (70%) of adults surveyed across the 10 countries have at least heard of the British naturalist.

In all countries surveyed more people showed some agreement than disagreement that “it is possible to believe in a God and still hold the view that life on Earth, including human life, evolved over time as a result of natural selection”.

The results also show that USA, in South Africa and in India are the most likely to believe that life on Earth, including human life, was created by a God and has always existed in its current form (all at 43%).

But most people in the world take a scientific view, with the majority of adults in China (67%), Mexico (42%), Argentina (37%), Great Britain (38%), Spain (38%) and Russia (32%) believing that life on Earth, including human life, evolved over time as a result of natural selection, in which no God played a part.

“The international Darwin survey has thrown up some very interesting results,” said Fern Elsdon-Baker, Head of the British Council Darwin Now programme, “especially as it includes data from countries not previously covered before. The most encouraging aspect of the survey shows that whilst there are diverse views on Darwin’s theory of evolution, there appears to a broad acceptance that science and faith do not have to be in conflict.”

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