How people in various countries view evolution
This is from the Economist.
It is 150 years since the publication of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which suggested that all living things are related and that everything is ultimately descended from a single common ancestor. This has troubled many, including Darwin himself, as it subverted ideas of divine intervention. It is not surprising that the countries least accepting of evolution today tend to be the most devout. In the most recent international survey available, only Turkey is less accepting of the theory than America. Iceland and Denmark are Darwin's most ardent adherents. Indeed America has become only slightly more accepting of Darwin's theory in recent years. In 2008 14% of people polled by Gallup agreed that “man evolved over millions of years”, up from 9% in 1982.These surveys appear all the time, especially on science-oriented websites, accompanied by a lot of boo-hoo about how scientifically illiterate Americans are. I certainly won’t disagree with the assertion, but I think we are missing something if we just attribute doubt about evolution to a literal belief in creation stories.
The main reason people doubt evolution is that it posits a universe without plan, order or purpose. Physicists do the same thing, but ordinary people are so confused about curved space-time, string theory and uncertainty principles that they can ignore what physicists say.
Many people, on the other hand, say they feel the hand of God in their lives, that prayer seems to work for them and that they can’t feel comfortable with a random world. If we want to spread understanding of evolution – or string theory – we need to deal with that. People may say they doubt evolution because it conflicts with Genesis, but that’s just a convenient way of avoiding the real sticking point. Pointing out the logical flaws in Genesis is talking to the shadow, not the substance. The real question is, does science have anything hopeful to say to people who are yearning for meaning in their lives?