Californians Say Teach Scientific Evidence Both For and Against Darwinian Evolution, Show New Polls

Staff
Discovery Institute
May 3, 2004

For Immediate Release

SEATTLE, MAY 3 – Recent California voters overwhelmingly support teaching the scientific evidence both for and against Darwin's theory of evolution, according to two new surveys conducted by Arnold Steinberg & Associates. The surveys address the issue of how best to teach evolution, which increasingly is under deliberation by state and local school districts in California and around the nation.

The first survey was a random sample of 551 California voters living in a household in which at least one voter voted in the November 2002 general election and the October 2003 special election for governor. When asked: "Which statement is closest to your view about what biology teachers in public schools should teach about Darwin's theory of evolution," 73.5 percent replied, "Teach the scientific evidence for and against it," while only 16.5 percent answered, "Teach only the scientific evidence for it." (7.9 percent were either "Unsure" or gave another response.)

The second survey was a random sample of 605 California voters living in a household in which the first voter in the household was under 50, and in which at least one voter voted in the November 2002 general election and the October 2003 special election for governor. When asked: "Which statement is closest to your view about what biology teachers in public schools should teach about Darwin's theory of evolution," 79.3 percent replied, "Teach the scientific evidence for and against it," while only 14.7 percent answered, "Teach only the scientific evidence for it." (6 percent were either "Unsure" or gave another response.)

"Although recent voters in California as a whole overwhelmingly favor teaching both sides of the scientific evidence about evolution, those under 50 are even more supportive of this approach," said Bruce Chapman, president of Discovery Institute. "These California survey results are similar to those of states like Ohio and Texas, as well as a national survey undertaken in 2001. The preferences of the majority of Californians are also in line with the recommendations of Congress in the report of the No Child Left Behind Act regarding teaching biological evolution and a recent policy letter from the U.S. Department of Education that expressed support for Academic freedom and scientific inquiry on such matters such as these."

The margin of error for each survey was +/- 4 percent. Both surveys were conducted by Arnold Steinberg & Associates, a California-based polling firm, and released by Discovery Institute, a national public policy organization headquartered in Seattle, Wa. whose Center for Science and Culture has issued a statement from 300 scientists who are skeptical of the central claim of neo-Darwinian evolution.

"The only way the Darwin-only lobby can spin these kind of survey results," added Chapman, "is to claim that the public is just ignorant. But that view is untenable in light of the more than 300 scientists who have publicly expressed their dissent from Darwinism, to say nothing of the many scientific articles that have been published critiquing the theory."