Not Only In America – Evolution Science Endangered Worldwide Tuesday, April 24, 2007Posted by h3nry in anti-creationism, anti-ID, atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Europe, evolution, intelligent design, Japan, rationality, religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, science, Turkey, United States, world.
The scientific theory of evolution is under attack – and not just in the United States alone – but on a global scale.
Firstly, the result of a study published last year shows conclusively that the adult populations of US and Turkey are the least likely to believe in theory of evolution. The study was conducted over 34 countries which include Japan, US and 32 European nations. A question “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” was asked, in which correspondents could respond with true, false or unsure.
Remarkably, but unsurprisingly, only a paltry 14% of the adult US population actually believes in evolution, completely outnumbered by the one-third who firmly rejects the idea.
Turkey, where 99% of its population is Muslim, represents another worrying trend. Using the result of this study, we can probably safe to conclude that the Muslim population, in general, reject the theory of evolution strongly. In fact, looking at the graph, one could also say that the ratio of rejection is quite high in comparison to US and the rest of surveyed countries.
A second article written recently also adds worry that the anti-evolution movement is gathering pace worldwide. It lists a couple of examples of how evolution is being attacked. One case is that in Kenya, a bitter dispute is taken place as the plan of exhibiting a prehistoric human skeleton is being opposed by local religious forces. Another example involves a well-funded Turkish publishing house mass-distributing anti-evolution books to French speaking schools and universities across Europe. The article also shows an example from Russia, and of course, there is the well-known Intelligent Design movement that is currently taking place in the US.
Apart from being attacked geographically around the globe, Pope Benedict, head of millions of faithful Catholics followers, has also recently spoken out unfavourably against evolution (here is my own blog entry on this issue). This is almost a complete reversal of the position the Vatican took during the papacy of the late Pope John Paul II, when he publicly endorsed evolution.
I cannot help but feel the scientific theory of evolution is under attack worldwide. What can we do?
Lately, the plethora of atheist books written have gained soaring popularity, and atheism has being making lots of noises – so much that terms such as “second coming of atheism” and “new atheism” could be read in many articles. Well-known atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens are seen as the leaders of this sudden rise of atheism. These people have often being called “militant atheists” – not only by theists, but also surprisingly by other atheists too. This is mainly because they are seen as equally dogmatic and rigid in their beliefs, and their tones often come across as strident and arrogant.
I think offence is sometimes the best defence. When evolution is under such attack, we need someone to speak out, and actions must be taken. Fortunately, Dawkins, Harris and the like have bravely taken the lead in educating the public and raising general awareness. I think the next step is to have a more systematic way of dealing with anti-evolution ideology – whether at legal courts, class rooms or on the Internet. I am as vague as your are in what I mean by systematic – this is yet to be seen…