Thursday, August 07, 2008

Canadians More Evolved Than Americans

A new poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies has discovered that 58% of polled Canadian citizens accept evolution. Interesting notes from the poll:

A comparison of the different age groups also reveals an interesting trend—the belief in evolution decreases with age, while conviction in creationism increases with age. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents aged 18-34 believe in evolution, compared to a smaller 58 per cent for those aged 35-54 and only half (51%) of those over the age of 55. In turn, while only 17 per cent of younger adults believe that God created humans, the proportion increases to 23 per cent for the middle-aged group and 25 per cent for older Canadians.

Belief in the theory of evolution is also quite prevalent among respondents with household incomes of $100,000 or more (66%). The education analysis is worth noting, as the jump between the different groups is striking. Less than half of respondents with a high school degree or less (47%) are prone to believe that humans evolved over millions of years, compared to a higher 58 per cent for those with a college or technical school diploma. Among those with at least one university degree, evolutionists outnumber creationists by a five-to-one margin (71% to 14%).

What is one to make of this? Comparable polls (here and here) in the United States have the numbers swinging the other way. I suppose if you were a creationist, you might say that the university students have been brainwashed and if you weren't you might say they finally saw the light. Is science education that much better in Canada than it is here? Thoughts anyone?

4 comments:

  1. Michael12:15 PM

    Haven't similar polls in the US shown that the poor and uneducated are more likely to embrace creationism?

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=581

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  2. Hi Jim,
    I don't believe science education is necessarily that much better overall here in Canada. However, I believe that the teaching of evolution in high school may be more prevalent(no, I don't have the data to back that up). 25 years ago, evolution was part of my high school curriculum - and this in a pretty conservative area of the country where probably everyone in the class had an (at least) nominally Christian background. From my understanding, there are lots of places in the US where teachers feel uncomfortable teaching evolution given the local politics (maybe even intimidation) & just gloss over the evolution section in the course. My guess is that this type of problem rarely (ever?) occurs in Canada.

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  3. Oh, one more big difference that in tangenally related here - check out the very next Angus Reid poll regarding Canadians attitude to religion & politics. A vast majority do not want them connected at all - and I would say that most Evangelical Canadians agree with this - or at least agree with this much more than our Evangelical brothers & sisters south of the border.

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  4. I think you are correct. Many of the hot-button issues here are drawn from theological perspectives- e.g. abortion, evolution - and they wind up being inextricable from the politics they inform.

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