Survey: Most Britons Reject Creationism, Intelligent Design

LONDON – A new survey from theology think-tank Theos has found that 80 percent of people in the United Kingdom do not believe in creationism and intelligent design.

At the same time, almost half of British people did not know who wrote "On the Origin of Species," in which Charles Darwin introduces evolution.

Interestingly, the poll found that five percent of adults believed Darwin to be the author of "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking, another three percent thought he wrote Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion," while one percent thought him to be the author of cookery book "The Naked Chef."

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The survey of 2,060 people was prompted by the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the naturalist who penned the theory of evolution. The think tank published its results on a "belief map" which show the breakdown of results in each area of the UK.

Notably, the survey showed that nearly half the population believe that Christianity and evolution do not clash.

Almost half of those questioned said that the theory of evolution challenged Christianity, but said it was possible to believe in both.

According to the survey, most people in the UK reject ideas like creationism and intelligent design, with 83 percent rejecting the former and 89 percent the latter. The two theories about the origins of mankind contend that God created man in the last 10,000 years.

London is shown to have the highest percentage of people believing in creationism. While 17 percent of people across the UK believe human beings were created by God in the last 10,000 years, in London the average is 20 percent. Paul Woolley, director of Theos, said the difference may lie in the growth of Pentecostal churches in London.

The survey also found the Northern Ireland had the highest percentage of people who believe in intelligent design (16 percent) and creationism (25 percent).

"The research clearly indicates there is a great deal of confusion about what people believe and why they believe it," Wolley noted. "There are two lessons in particular that we can learn from Darwin. The first is that belief in God and evolution are compatible. Secondly, in a time when debates about evolution and religious belief can be aggressive and polarized, Charles Darwin remains an example of how to disagree without being disagreeable."

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