Friday, December 09, 2005

Is it really possible?

I know I am not the first person to blog about evolution versus creationism (the doctrine that claims human origins are recent and divine), but I find it impossible to believe the recent findings of a CBS poll. The poll found that 51 per cent of Americans rejected the theory of evolution, believing instead that God created humans in their present form.

Yes – 51% of the dumbos reject the theory of evolution, contrary to the evidence that archaeologists and scientists across the world have found. CBS ran another poll that found that 37 per cent of Americans think that creationism should be taught in schools, instead of evolution.

What???!! Maybe you could say that creationism should be taught as well. For example, I was told the story of God creating the universe in 7 days as part of my religious studies course, but it had far less prominence than the teaching of evolution in science classes.

Maybe it comes a no surprise to find that the an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York celebrating the life of Charles Darwin has failed to find a corporate sponsor because American companies are anxious not to take sides in the heated debate between scientists and fundamentalist Christians over the theory of evolution. The Telegraph reports that "The failure of American companies to back what until recently would have been considered a mainstream educational exhibition reflects the growing influence of fundamentalist Christians, who are among President George W Bush's most vocal supporters, over all walks of life in the United States."

In many ways I think the biggest threat to a harmonious peace in the world is not from fundamental Islam, but fundamental Christians. Literal interpretation of the bible (even if you support the translations referred to) is used to oppose practically all aspects of modern society.

I am sure that this is really just a right-wing minority of fundamentalist, just as suicide bombers represent the fringes of fundamental Muslims. Unfortunately, Bush seems to enjoy their financial support to the degree that he will support their demands. It is perhaps unsurprising that 47% of Bush voters supported teaching creationism instead of evolution in schools versus 24% of Kerry voters.

Thank God (!), I have yet to see a campaign for teaching creationism in the UK. I know that there are some private technology colleges in Britain where this is a concern, but there does not seem to be the widespread public or political support for this movement. Indeed, in April 2002 a group of clerics and scientists highlighted their concerns about the improper teaching of faith based systems in British schools. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the group - which included Sir David Attenborough, Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, and six (count them... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) bishops, expressed concern over the introduction of creationism in British schools, a problem that has in the past been confined to American education. More...

More on the way Bush's administration rejects scientific discussion at:

George Bush Misrepresents Science and Knowledge

A scathing report from the Union of Concerned Scientists