The Toronto Sun is reporting on a new poll finding that “58% of Canucks think humans evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years, and 22% believe God created people in their present form within the last 10,000 years.” The article thus proudly asserts that “[a] majority of Canadians believe in the theory of evolution.” But what about those Canadians who accept the conventional geological age of the earth but are skeptical of neo-Darwinian evolution? Obviously they don’t accept the young earth creationist view, but contrary to what the pollsters and newsmedia suggest, they also might not “believe in the theory of evolution.”
Or what about those Canadians who believe in some form of God-guided evolution, where God’s guidance doesn’t just mimic natural processes but involves tangible action in the real world (i.e. God didn’t use purely neo-Darwinian material processes to create life)? Again, those folks, whose views, under a scientific translation, would be quite compatible with intelligent design, are given no place in the poll.
A recent article in The Scientist proposes that “public discontent with classical evolution as an inclusive theory stems partly from an intuitive appreciation of its limits.” (Eric Smith, “Before Darwin,” The Scientist, June 2008:32-38.) If only pollsters would craft polls designed to measure the actual level of “public discontent with classical evolution,” rather than create poll questions designed to overinflate public support for evolution by portraying many Darwin-skeptics as Darwin-proponents.