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Concerning Evolution and Creation being taught in public schools, is there a disparity between the majority opinion and the extent that each is taught?

This web site says:

Fifty studies were reviewed that surveyed opinions on teaching origins in public schools. The vast majority found about 90% of the public desired that both creation and evolution or creation only be taught in the public schools ... In America, about 15 % of high school teachers teach both evolution and creation ... Although the vast majority of Americans desire both creation and evolution taught in school, the evolutionary naturalism worldview dominates, revealing a major disparity between the population and the ruling élite.

The article quotes a number of polls and makes the claim directly and indirectly that the majority of Americans are creationists of some sort and that the majority of Americans would prefer that both creation and evolution be taught in schools.

Are these polls accurate and is it reasonable to make the conclusion that there is a disparity between the majority opinion and what is actually being done?

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There are no shortage of polls more recent than that 1999 article showing that a majority of people from North American would support creationism being taught in school.

Here are a couple:

  • Gallup, Aug 2005 showed 54% thought creationism should be taught in school science classes.

  • Pew, 2005 showed 64% were in favour of teaching it along with evolution.

So, that part of the claim is accurate.


However, this is not necessarily an area where a simple majority wins.

For example:

  • There are legal implications, including from the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  • There is general ignorance around the subject. For example, the Pew poll shows that 33% of people do not believe that scientists agree on evolution. Asking experts in biology to teach mistruths about their subject, because of the population's ignorance of science, would put them in an unethical position. [See esp. St Augustine's view.]

Teachers in history, English, math and other subjects are expected to correct popular misconceptions and errors about their fields, not bow to ignorance over evidence. Biology is no different.

Teachers in general are expected to not enforce their religious views upon students. Biology is no different.

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    Does the second half have no citations (apart from the Pew poll) because it's an opinion rather than answering the question? – Andrew Grimm Apr 19 '13 at 6:26
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    Yes please add reference to that part. I like the answer, but I am generally anti to religion, and have no high opinion of creationism. I agree with the answer, but it's subjective. – Wertilq Apr 19 '13 at 7:31
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    Andrew, I've added some more references. We do have precedents in answers of first addressing the literal claim, and them putting that claim in context, so we can understand that the surprisingly true claim may not be as astonishing or impactful as it initially seems. If you think I have gone too far here, please say so. If you would like to challenge that practice in general, let's take it to Meta. – Oddthinking Apr 19 '13 at 9:15
  • This is good. Plus one. I think the last part is mostly good, but I am hesitant to select because I think you are misrepresenting the populace wanting creation taught along side evolution and not in place of it. Both intend to explain origins and the American populace wants both taught in schools. I'm not sure, but I think generally, they would prefer them side by side, not in the biology classroom, but a hybrid. – fredsbend Apr 20 '13 at 4:21
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    @fredsbend: I did consider including more complex info here, but hoped the links would suffice. For example, Pew showed (only?) 38% were in favour of creation being taught instead of evolution, while 49% were against that - so not an overwhelming majority against. The Gallup Poll was about creationism being taught in the science class. (Teaching it in religious classes, in non-government schools, is a different, far less controversial, matter.) 41% thought parents should have the final say about what is taught at school (over teachers or the school board). – Oddthinking Apr 20 '13 at 4:43

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