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#3 of Our Top Stories of 2016: Poll Shows Broad Support for Teaching Evidence For and Against Darwin

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The following was originally published on February 1, 2016:

Just in time for Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12, a new nationwide survey reveals that 81 percent of American adults believe that “when teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, biology teachers should cover both scientific evidence that supports the theory and scientific evidence critical of the theory.”

Only 19 percent of Americans believe that “biology teachers should cover only scientific evidence that supports the theory.”

“Americans agree by an overwhelming margin that students should learn about all of the scientific evidence relating to Darwinian evolution, pro and con,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. “This is a common-sense approach. Most people understand that it’s not good education to present a one-sided review of the data, especially in science.”

“There is growing peer-reviewed research that questions the adequacy of the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural selection,” added Discovery Institute biologist Ann Gauger. Gauger holds a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington, and she has served in the past as a post-doctoral Fellow at Harvard University.

Support for teaching the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory is overwhelming regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, geography, party affiliation, and household income.

  • 79 percent of men and 83 percent of women support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin’s theory.
  • 85 percent of theists, 65 percent of atheists, and 79 percent of agnostics support this approach.
  • 79 percent of Democrats support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin’s theory, and so do 82 percent of independents and 85 percent of Republicans.
  • 85 percent of middle-aged Americans (ages 45-59) support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin’s theory, and so do 81 percent of young adults (ages 18-29) and senior citizens (ages 60 and older).

The poll was conducted by Discovery Institute using SurveyMonkey Audience, which randomly sampled the adult members of its nationally representative panel of more than 6 million U.S. residents. Survey responses were collected from January 5-9, 2016, and the survey included 2,117 completed responses for this question.

The SurveyMonkey platform has been utilized for public opinion surveys by NBC News, the Los Angeles Times, and other media organizations. More information on how SurveyMonkey Audience recruits respondents is available here.

Image credit: Patche99z (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

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