Despite the Darwinist community’s long-standing campaign to help the public come to the “correct” view that “evolution and religion are compatible,” public skepticism of evolution remains high. (See this link for documentation.) This would logically lead one to the conclusion that there are other factors besides religion that drive skepticism of evolution. Perhaps, one might even suggest, for many people the issue has a lot to do with science!
Recently I was told about a 1997 article in Scientific American which reported a study conducted by Brian Alters on students’ reasons for rejecting evolution (“What Are They Thinking?: Students’ reasons for rejecting evolution go beyond the Bible,” by Rebecca Zacks, Scientific American, October 1997, pg. 34). The study surveyed over 1200 college freshman, and found that large percentages of students who reject evolution stated scientific reasons for holding their views. Alters claims that all their scientific reasons are wrong, and another educator simply believed that students’ views could be corrected by telling them what to think, i.e., if “misconceptions are countered with specific evidence.”
While some of their reasons may be questionable, some of them are on the right track–i.e., students rejected evolution due to insufficiencies of the mechanism of random mutations or the statistical impossibility of the origin of life. As the article stated, “nearly 40 percent of those skeptical of evolution believe the chance origin of life to be a statistical impossibility”!
These are good reasons to be skeptical of evolution–and this shows that for many people this issue is not a matter of evolution vs. religion, but rather of evolution vs. science.