By Vexen Crabtree 2016
Religious groups have represented the most serious and prolonged opponents of the theory of evolution1 and preach and teach at great length against it, putting off many believers from researching the topic and leaving them only with misinformation1. This is especially damaging in countries with poor public education. Many highly religious countries have banned it (although not always everywhere), such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the United States, Nigeria, and Turkey, "to the point where a significant percentage of their populations are firmly against it without even knowing what it is"2. In the developed world, the USA has the highest percept of creationists3 and is also the most religious highly developed country, whereas Iceland, Denmark and Sweden have the strongest belief in evolution, and are some of the least religious countries in the world3,4,5. Needless to say, education in the Muslim countries of the Middle East are heavily and horribly biased against evolution, with understanding of science even amongst teachers being poor6.
Further information and statistics:
Religious groups have represented the most serious and prolonged opponents of the theory of evolution, and many religious leaders say "that evolution is an evil philosophy"1, and preach and teach at great length against it, using rhetorical and emotional arguments rather than factual ones, putting off many believers from even researching the topic and leaving them with only misinformation 1. This is especially damaging in countries with poor public education.
“The fact that so many believers are misinformed about human evolution is partly the fault of religion's continual attack on science education. [...] Highly religious nations such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the United States, Nigeria, and Turkey, for example, have banned or avoided the teaching of human evolution in schools to the point where a significant percentage of their populations are firmly against it without even knowing what it is.”
"The proportion of western European adults who believed the theory 'absolutely false' ranged from 7 percent in Great Britain to 15 percent in the Netherlands", whereas in the USA about one third "firmly reject" the idea of evolution. Inside the USA, belief in evolution is inversely correlated with religious beliefs. Only 14% of American adults say they definitely believe in evolution. Europe is much lessreligious, and "in European countries, including Denmark,Sweden, and France, more than 80 percent of adults surveyed said they accepted the concept of evolution". Quotes and data from the National Geographic (2006)3.
“In the United States a Gallup poll conducted last year found that only 15% of people agreed with the proposition that 'humans developed over millions of years', up from 8% in 1982. Acceptance of evolution varies around the world, with the most ardent believers being in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden. [...] A country's belief in evolution is inversely correlated with its belief in God.”
Within the Christian world, national religiosity is inversely correlated with belief in evolution. This trend is even stronger in heavily Muslim countries.
“The high level of acceptance of creationism in the Islamic world was the focus of research conducted by McGill's Evolution Education Research Center, presented by Anila Asghar. An extensive study involving more than one hundred Muslim scientists and teachers and five thousand student surveys across Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan revealed that while the reconciliation of faith and evolution was possible for scientists, exposure to American creationist materials and religious messages produced conflicted responses from students.”
Reported by Kylie Sturgess (2002)6
The Church of the FSM was founded as an argument against letting Christian Fundamentalists teach 'Intelligent Design' (creationism) in schools8. The Church of the FSM used the same evidence-free arguments to posit that Pastafarianism should also be taught and that evidence-based teachings such as evolution would have to share the limelight. The true argument is clearly that religions (Pastafarianism included) should not be taught at all and that the whole concept of teaching religious beliefs in science education classes is ridiculous and inappropriate.
“The popularity of Intelligent Design over the past decade has been profoundly depressing for anybody who cares about science and rational thought. ... Perhaps the low point came a year ago when the Kansas Board of Education endorsed a new science curriculum that put the theories of evolution and ID on a par. [...]
Fortunately, rationalists have begun to fight back, none more so than Bobby Henderson. He wrote to the Kansas Board of Education pointing out that under their new dispensation teachers must also teach his own theory of creation, namely that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
His theory had as much logic as Intelligent Design, so he argued that it deserved its fair share on the school timetable: 'One-third time for Intelligent Design, one-third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one-third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.'
It was a masterstroke, which underlined the absurdity of Intelligent Design.”
Simon Singh in Simon Singh (2006)8
The Church of the FSM acknowledge this parody on their website, also making fun of the way some religions dismiss large and well-proven branches of science:”
“Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken - The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. [...]
Religious texts tell us that humans evolved from Pirates. Consider that so-called "science experts" would have us believe humans evolved from primates, pointing towards the shared 99% shared DNA between humans and primates. But humans and Pirates share upwards of 99.9% of DNA. [...]
We believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world much as it exists today, but for reasons unknown made it appear that the universe is billions of years old (instead of thousands) and that life evolved into its current state (rather than created in its current form). Every time a researcher carries out an experiment that appears to confirm one of these "scientific theories" supporting an old earth and evolution we can be sure that the FSM is there, modifying the data with his Noodly Appendage. We don´t know why He does this but we believe He does, that is our Faith.”
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster9
Current edition: 2016 May 21
Last Modified: 2017 Jan 05
Parent page: Human Religions
Evolution and the Unintelligent Design of Life: Inherited Traits, Genetic Dysfunction and Artificial LifeBelief in the Theory of Evolution Versus Religious FaithWhat the Worst and Most Horrible Genetic Diseases?The Evolution of the Human Eye, Complete With Its Inside-Out RetinaCreationism and Intelligent Design: Christian FundamentalismScience and Religion
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Skeptical Inquirer. Magazine. Published by Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, NY, USA. Pro-science magazine published bimonthly.
National Geographic. Magazine. Published by National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, USA.
The Daily Telegraph. UK newspaper. See Which are the Best and Worst Newspapers in the UK?. Published by The Telegraph Media Group. National broadsheet. It is one of the UK's many right-wing and traditionalist papers..
The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See vexen.co.uk/references.html#Economist for some commentary on this source..