The headline for this should at least attract some intrigued readers! Anyway, while we are waiting for the first intention polls of the year (by normal timetables the first we should expect is Populus, which would normally be due tomorrow) there are chance to look back at some of the less time sensisitve findings that were released over the Christmas period.

Firstly ICM carried out a poll for the BBC’s World At One on the single currency, presumably to test out the idea that support for British entry might rise in response to the falling value of the pound and the present economic woes. The response was pretty clear – 71% said they would vote against joining, 23% would support it. 15% said that the fall in the pound’s value made them more supportive towards joining the Euro, but 14% said it made them less so.

Moving on, MORI have released their monthly questions asking about the public consider to the most important issues facing the country here. The economy is ever more dominant, 66% of people now mentioned it as as major issue, 49% mentioned it as the one single most important issue. On top of that, alongside crime and immigration the top five issues also included the associated issues of inflation (17% mentioned, 6% as the most important) and unemployment (15% and 4% respectively).”Soft” public service issues have dropped right down the agenda, the NHS was mentioned by only 12% and education by 10%. To put that in context, it is the lowest score MORI have recorded for the NHS, which up until around 2004/5 was normally seen as the most important issue.

Finally, MORI are also reporting a poll of teachers on the issue of teaching creationism in science classes. MORI headline it as “Teachers Dismiss Calls For Creationism To Be Taught In School Science Lessons” – and indeed a majority do – but I was rather more surprised by the size of the minority who didn’t.

37% of teachers thought that creationism should be “taught” alongside evolution “in science classes”, including 29% of teachers in the sample who identified themselves as science teachers. A majority agreed that it should be discussed – the difference between the two wasn’t made explicit in the questions. Asked whether they agreed with the statement “Creationism is completely unsupportable as a theory, and the only reason to mention creationism in schools is to enable teachers to demonstrate why the idea is scientific nonsense and has no basis in evidence or rational thought” 26% agreed and 54% disagreed.


34 Responses to “The Euro, the economy and creationism”

  1. Oh my Lord! Of all the scary results to polls you’ve ever posted on here that last one fills me with most fear. 54% of teachers disagree that Creationsim is scientific nonsense?! I think we need to replace about 54% of our teachers.

    Presumably the question was somehow related to that professor who was sacked for quite sensibly suggesting that Creationism should be discussed in science lessons when it was brought up by a student. But to have 54% disagreeing that it’s nonsense and 37% saying it should be taught in science lessons!

    God help us all!

    PS Happy New Year everyone – hope you all enjoyed the Christmas break.

  2. Euro:-
    Not surprising I think -Brits seem pretty set against.
    I suspect they are much less in tune with the reality of the “Project” than those living on mainland Europe-which is Political Union & all that that implies.

    Important Issues:-
    Crime & Immigration much higher than Unemployment !. Is this why BNP seem to be making inroads?
    Inflation at number 4-ahead of unemployment-is this complacency or knowledge of the real world where deflation is just something the Government believes exists ?

    Creationism:-
    Bloody hell!
    Q1-37% agree-disturbing
    Q2-65% agree-if anything even more disturbing.
    Q3-54% disagree-if there was some confusion here about discussing the topic in Comparative Religon studies-fair enough. But if this is a reflection of the views of our Science teachers then it is astounding.

    No wonder we are tumbling down the international league tables on science education, and children have no interest in it if our Science teachers don’t even know what constitutes Science.

    It’s the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth this year-presumably that will be ignored completely by our so-called “Science” teachers?

  3. I know some science teachers who want to teach it in science- to show why it is a laughable theory. This option was not explored by the poll.

  4. hey, come on – creationism relies on blind faith and a refutation of empirical evidence. Remind you of anyone? ;-)

  5. The creationism figures are incredibly disturbing. I can only imagine that this is a reflection of how debased the teaching profession has become, no longer attracting the brightest and the best and also deformed by government emphasis on social engineering and “citizenship” rather than hard learning.

  6. government emphasis on social engineering and “citizenship” rather than hard learning.

    ————

    other countries seem to manage to produce bright enough staff and students – and from what I’ve seen (living and working in Sweden for 5 years and France for 6) they also emphasise what you might call social engineering and citizenship over the 3 Rs.

    is it that the british peculiarly dumb and must be strapped to a chair to learn? they have no deductive reasoning powers? cant extrapolate?

    or is it that the fault lies elsewhere?

  7. Anthony , you should perhaps also note the results of the ICM poll for Greenpeace on the Heathrow 3rd runway which also included a voring intention question in 6 Labour/Con West London marginal seats .
    FWIW this indicates a 4% swing from Labour to Conservative from the last GE , mildly encouraging for Labour IMHO .
    The detailed data is on the ICM website .

  8. Very interesting polls.

    It is my sentiment that it is good that most teachers oppose the teaching of Creationism but support it being taught in Science Classes (37%), evolution is by fact the natural order and therefore takes much greater precedent.

    However, I do believe that if the issue of creationism is raised in the classroom then it should be thouroughly discussed. As they all say there is always one side to an argument.

    I am extremely surprised at the low down the priority list the NHS is, but am not at all surprised at the very high importance placed on the economy.

    The latter depending on the particular views of the electorate on the best approach and or perception of the recession has the potential to be able to be exploited either by both Labour or the Tories or maybe even both of the two Party’s by how much on each side is the big question.

    As a Euro-Sceptic I am extremely pleased to see the 71% who said that they would vote against the Single Currency. I reckon that barring a sea change in the views on this issue among the British electorate then the Euro being adopted in the e Country is as good as a ‘Dead Duck’. Hurrah for the British people!

  9. There’s a fair bit of overreaction to the creationism poll. Teachers were not asked if they thought creationism was nonsense, but instead were asked if they thought that the only mention of it should be to dismiss it as nonsense. Most teachers don’t think it is their business to demolish sincerely held religious beliefs, and a broad definition of creationism – the belief that the universe came about through the action of a creator god – is not incompatible with either evolution or the big bang. I suspect the question “Should young earth creationism be taught as a valid scientific theory?” would get much less assent. Right now at least one GCSE specification includes creationism in a historical context as a discarded theory for explaining the fossil record. Unfortunately this survey is ill-suited to exploring subtleties like this.
    Personally I think it is a sign of strength, not weakness, that creationism can be discussed in a scientific context in our schools. The more extreme forms of creationism only thrive when they are shielded from the light of scientific scrutiny.

  10. “Creationism” can either mean belief that the Universe was created by God – which is a perfectly reasonable belief shared by many leading scientists (see eg http://www.questionsoftruth.org) or the belief that God did this without using the laws of science about 6000 years ago (known more specifically as “young earth creationism”) and this idea is fundamentally mistaken, for reasons that can easily be explained. Mixing the two up probably causes this odd-looking pol result.

  11. Teachers were asked in Q1 & Q2 whether “Creationism” should be taught or discussed in Science lessons.

    Clearly an idea which denies all scientific evidence of the true age of the earth, cannot be taught as science.

    Equally, we need to be very careful in allocating “Intelligent Design” the label science, since it not only denies science, but mis-states scientific evidence for the gradual evolution of complex organs.

    As to the origin of life, and Creationism, the two should not be taught , or discussed together as science.

    Science is constantly moving forward in it’s quest for the answer to this ultimate conundrum , and discoveries about extremophile bacteria are being placed into the context of Pre-Cambrian fossils to take the genesis of life on earth back to within a few hundred million years of it’s birth.In turn the ability of prokaryote organisms to travel throughout space & survive is opening up new thoughts on the origin of life on earth.

    Beside this constant search for scientific truth, the assertion of the role of a Creator God is static and un-scientific. The place for discussion of the latter is not in science classes, but in studies of comparative religion.

    It’s study there should ideally cover the dozens of Creation Myths from around the world, and through history, which anthropologists have uncovered.

  12. well as a 100% evolutionist who is also a catholic who goes to church I always find the creationists a bit odd.

    I believe in god but have no problem with the idea that good used evolution or indeed the laws of physics to make the world as we see it.

    For me a better term for creationists would be literalists people who believe in the literal interpretation of the bible and that it ha primacy over all other texts and sources.

    In this respect i don’t have an issue with discussing creationism in schools as what we want to teach in science isn’t fact or indeed even theory but analysis, the ability of students to evaluate all the evidence and decide the merits of the sources available.

    On that basis as most people here have made clear evolution wins hands down as the types, volume and quality of evidence it brings to bare blows the bible away.

    For me the clincher is that when you look at the debate in the US overwhelmingly the people backing evolution are scientists based and trained on empiricism, while creationism tends to be argued by lawyers trained in undermining argument by introducing doubt.

    But that isn’t a decision that should be made here for students or pupils on their behalf but by students themselves by looking at the case for both theories.

    Keeping creationism out of the class won’t make it go away and in truth whether it be this, alien abduction, racial superiority, angels or astrology, large numbers of the public will believe lots of things even if the scientific evidence seems all but non-existent.

    Just look at the 9/11 theories doing the rounds on the net shows what lots of people will believe, but is anyone seriously saying that peoples freedom to suggest or circulate these theories should be suppressed.

    I have no worries about creationism being discussed in schools and indeed I have a feeling that it’s advocates are probably encouraged by the fact that it is opposed as it fits with their belief that the godless atheists that have taken over are trying to suppress gods truth.

    I have no time for the BNP but I am more than happy that in modern studies or history kids get to learn and discuss the likes of Das Kapital or Mine Kampf so that they can make a judgement on them and understand what their proponents believed.

    I want my kids to leave school equipped and able to make sense of the world, understand events and way up the evidence in an objective open minded way not indoctrinated in to one point of view to the exclusion of alternatives.

    Having said that I’d probably draw the line at them supporting anyone but Celtic…..

    Peter.

  13. The question which got the 54% disagreement is poorly worded. It’s really two questions:
    “Creationism is completely unsupportable as a theory”
    and “the only reason to mention creationism in schools is to enable teachers to demonstrate why the idea is scientific nonsense and has no basis in evidence or rational thought”.

    So the 54% could easily be a coalition of: those who disagree with the first statement (i.e, anyone who thinks creationism is true, or non-falsifiable); those who disagreed with the second statement (i.e. anyone who thinks there are different reasons for mentioning creationism, or anyone who thinks creationism shouldn’t be mentioned at all). Overall, I think the question just muddies up the waters.

  14. “For me a better term for creationists would be literalists people who believe in the literal interpretation of the bible”

    But the creation myth of the Bible is but one of many stories about a God Creator.

    To study “creationism” in any meaningful sense, you have to include those from other religions & cultures across the world.

    Also there is a rich history of Creation Myths from the past-the Sumerian ones were probably the pre-cursor to the the Biblical ones.

    There is one way in which study of these stories can be a positive force for good.By fostering an understanding of comparative religious beliefs in a way which accords them all respect for human faiths, the terrible sectarian strife which religion causes might be lessened.

    But the place for this study is in Humanities-not in Science.

  15. I would suggest you log on to http://www.answersingenesis.org for scientific evidence of creation.

    It is not so laughable as you may think.

  16. Didn’t think it would be long before that sort of thing appeared!

  17. This from the website we are urged to read as “scientific “:-

    “According to evolutionists, the dinosaurs “ruled the Earth” for 140 million years, dying out about 65 million years ago. However, scientists do not dig up anything labeled with those ages. They only uncover dead dinosaurs (i.e., their bones), and their bones do not have labels attached telling how old they are. The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old”

    This is why Science in schools must never be open to the people who peddle this stuff.

  18. Colin,

    “This is why Science in schools must never be open to the people who peddle this stuff.”

    No, it’s exactly why science in schools should be opened up to this kind of stuff, because it wouldn’t last five minutes under scrutiny.

    I don’t have any undeniable evidence that my house doesn’t vanish as soon as i drive away in the morning, but I am not about to accept that it therefore does.

    Peter.

  19. Well I have some sympathy with the “examine & expose” approach-though wonder how many “subjects” we should introduce to hard pressed science timetables in order to expose their lack of scientific credibility….the natural history of Fairies?-the physics of Flat Earth?-the chemistry of Alchemy?

    Trouble is Peter-Creationism is introduced into Schools in order to oust science. The people you correctly describe as “biblical literalists” have an agenda-and it sure isn’t rational debate. :-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/nov/27/controversiesinscience.religion

    This is why the Poll results Anthony showed us are disturbing.

  20. Oh dear, I seem to have ruffled a few feathers.

    The reason why people will not accept the clear scientific evidence for creation is because if they did, then they would have to acknowledge that there is a God to whom they must give account.

  21. Bob:

    Not true. God is unfalsifiable, so one can keep on believing in him (or indeed, the flying spaghetti monster, or a pink fluffy unicorn, or santa claus, or the tooth fairy, or whom-so-ever one wishes) even after science has explained every single last thing about the universe. Of course, a God who does nothing will probably end up with much fewer followers than a God who manifests his power through things like miracles.

  22. ZX-your wasting your time.

    I know-I have tried logic & science with these people.

    I’ts hopeless.

  23. Reply to “Colin”. Yesterday at 1.10pm I posted an item which encouraged people to look up the answers in Genesis web site. At 1.37pm you posted a comment critical of this. Am I to understand that in the 27 minutes interval in between the two posts you went through the said web site and carefully evaluated it? Or did you simply take a quote and dismiss it altogether because it challenges your prejudices against creationism?

  24. BON HUTTON: as you advised, I went straight to the website in question. And I agree – 27 minutes does seem remarkably quick to pull out one single sentence of drivel from a site that swam in madness, intellectual knuckle-dragging and complete and utter rubbish. But then again, Colin is one focused guy . . .

    I particularly liked the pages which dealt with humans and dinosaurs living at the same time – with the quite brilliant explanation as to why no human fossils have been found in the same rocks as dinosaur fossils being (and I quote): “Think about It—Would You Want to Live with Dinosaurs?”. Priceless . . .

    Oh – and don’t miss the pages about the world being 6000 years old, along with the lines which nicely confine thousands of years of Egyptian civilisation to the historical scrapheap: apparently, the Pharaohs ruled concurrently not consecutively. Oh silly us!

  25. As you say “silly us”. Those who believe in the evolution fraud are indeed silly.

  26. On a more serious note this thread does demonstrate quite eloquently what are science teachers are up against.

    On the one hand there’s a huge temptation to simply dismiss the sort of objections that Bob/AiG have made because they are of no scientific value but then again if we refuse to debate in a civilised manner when someone courteously raises an objection like Bob haswe grant the Creationist anti-science lobby a victory because it looks like science is blinkered.

    Bob,

    As for your point about scientists not believing in creationism because of a lack of belief in God – it simply isn’t true.

    I’m a scientist and I believe in God. I work with lots of scientist and although I don’t know all of their religious beliefs I know that many of them are very serious about their faith.

    Our problem with young-Earth creationism has nothing to do with God. Our problemis that it is in direct conflict with the evidence we have gathered by examining the world around us. In my opinion, it is only by looking at the world God has created that we can understand God. We can not to do it simply by relying on one text – no matter how well venerated that one text is.

    As for AiG – (I’ll try not to rant too much here) – time after time again they have been shown to be deliberately manipulating, obfuscating and ignoring the evidence in order to gather people to their cause. Even if you agree with their ultimate aim of converting people to their narrow version of Christianity you must deplore them deliberately lying to do so.

    Anyway, welcome to the site – I realise you’re unlikely to believe much of what I’ve said but I hope that doesn’t stop us having a respectful conversation about it anyway. :)

  27. I am reminded of that great piece of car crash TV that was Louis Theroux: The Most Hated Family in America.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6507971.stm

    No matter how polite and enquiring Louis was in asking these people to explain there belief their response was to accuse him of being blinkered or not seeing the evident truth that they patently refused to explain.

    It really was the dialogue of the deaf because they wouldn’t engage in a rational explanation of what they felt was a self evident truth. For them if you didn’t believe you were wrong and to be pitied and they had nothing to explain.

    Peter.

  28. STEVEN: fair point and sorry if I came across as uncivilised. I guess that’s going to be a problem, though, as we have only had 6,000 years to evolve human thought processes . . .
    ;-)

  29. I am grateful to Steven for his thoughtful post; it should be said that not every creationist holds to a literal 6 day creation or 6k year old earth.

    However, the problem is that the evolutionist rejection of creation is so intense that many won’t even allow for Intelligent design and any attempt to discuss this scientifically is met with the rejoinder that creationism is nonsense etc. There is much going for the belief that we were created. How else can one explain the marvels and intricate design (whoops, there’s that word again) of the human body, the solar system, undersea life etc.

  30. “How else can one explain the marvels and intricate design (whoops, there’s that word again) of the human body, the solar system, undersea life etc.”

    Quite rationally, and easily & credibly-if you open your mind, read relevant scientific literature, go to reputable Science Museums, examine Paleontological collections & the fossil record,consider the true age of the earth & the scope it provides for physiological complexity from multiple small changes, ,consider the distance between galaxies, think about the effects of 4bn years of Global Climate change on earth, assimilate Plate Tectonics, read about the properties of DNA and the science of Genetics, put the Book of Genesis into it’s proper editorial & historic context-but most of all open your mind to these things without fear that doing so in any way invalidates your faith in your version of God.

    Bob I just had to respond to your question , but really don’t want to open a debate on this here with you, because I know from experience that it will be long & probably inconclusive…..and we are deviating from the purpose of this website and need to stop now.

    Best wishes

  31. Osbak,

    My comment wasn’t addressed at you in particular. I know from my own conversations (usually with my sister who is a creationist) that it’s very easy to get a bit overheated about these things – I just thought I’d try to cool things down a bit.

  32. It is perfectly possible not to believe in creationism and still believe that a) it should be taught, and b) that it should not be discussed in school purely to debunk it.

    I regard creationism as flat wrong, but I would still have difficulty agreeing with proposition b).

    Science method says: what is the evidence that your theory is better than alternative theories – and are you prepared to change your mind if the evidential balance shifts. Remember, what was once taught as science is sometimes found to be wrong.

    Given this, even a science teacher is entitled to be concerned at shutting discussion out completely.

  33. To equate Creationism and Darwinian Evolution as scientific theories is quite innapropriate.

    Creationism offers no science based evidence for it’s ideas. It merely asserts that Biblical texts provide the literal truth of the origin & development of life on earth.

    As a faith based position I suppose that is at least worthy of discussion-though not in science classes for obvious reasons.

    But Creationism goes further and attempts to offer “proof” that the panoply of scientific discovery in the sciences of the History of Earth & Life upon it are “wrong”. Some of these “proofs” are risible-eg the age of the earth.Some of them are simply a priori assertions-eg that the subjective notion of complexity in living forms is “evidence” of a creator’s hand.

    By contrast scientific postulations are based on empirical evidence which is the very antithesis of a priori assertion.

  34. Not really about creationism but in connexion with the Obama fest a US economist implied that the conclusion the US drew from the Great Depression was the need to make wars on the rest of the world as the Second World War was the path to true recovery for the US.Makes sense to a lot of people.