They're Wrong

Poll Finds Support for Pairing Creationism With Evolution

from Religion News Service

Washington - Nearly two-thirds of Americans support teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools, according to a new poll, but there is far less agreement over who gets to decide what is taught.

The poll, released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that three-quarters of Americans believe God created life on Earth, and 64 percent support teaching both evolution and creationism. The poll showed 41 percent of Americans want parents to decide what children are taught, compared with a slightly larger combined group who think the decision should be made by teachers (28 percent) or local school boards (21 percent).

A similar poll conducted last November by CBS and the New York Times, and then another Pew poll last March, found the proportion of people favoring a dual approach has remained relatively steady, between 57 percent and 65 percent.

But advocates of evolution said they were concerned about the new figures, especially the 41 percent of people who want parents to set scholarly standards.

"It's a popularity contest," said Gerry Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association in Arlington, Va. "That's not the way scholarship works."

Wheeler said adding creationism or intelligent design in the interest of fairness is misplaced.

"At first blush, being fair seems to mean, well, we ought to do both of them," Wheeler said. "The challenge is that it's not fair to the students to present a religion in the guise of science."


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