Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Teaching Both the Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Texas is reconsidering the longstanding "strengths and weaknesses" language in their science standards, a new national poll shows that over 78% of likely voters agree with teaching both the evidence for and against Darwin's theory, a trend that continues to grow. Surprisingly, the poll also shows overwhelming support among self-identified Democrats and liberals for academic freedom to discuss the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution.

The number of Americans who support teaching both sides, as the Texas science standards have encouraged for over twenty years, has increased, as more now agree that when biology teachers teach the scientific evidence for Darwin's theory of evolution, they also should teach the scientific evidence against it.

"This represents a dramatic 9-point jump from 2006, when only 69% of respondents in a similar poll favored teaching both sides," said Discovery Institute's Dr. John West. "At the same time, the number of likely voters who support teaching only the evidence that favors evolution dropped 7 points from 21% in 2006 to 14.4% in 2009."

"We need to change Darwin Day to Academic Freedom Day because just when Darwinists are celebrating evolution's triumph, this poll shows that they have been losing the public debate over whether students need to hear both sides," added West. "There appears to be a public backlash against the strong-arm tactics being employed by many Darwinists to intimidate scientists, teachers, and students who want to raise criticisms of Darwin's theory."

The poll results also shatter some preconceptions about who supports letting students hear a balanced presentation on Darwinian evolution, with Democrats supporting teaching Darwinism's "strengths and weaknesses" even more overwhelmingly than Republicans, at 82% and 73%, respectively.

Added West: "Media reports insinuate that a right-wing conspiracy of know nothings and religious extremists is afoot. But the Zogby poll reflects a very broad-based and well-informed constituency for academic freedom that includes liberals, moderates, independents, and people from every race and age group. The Darwin Lobby has really isolated itself from public opinion."

The telephone poll, commissioned by Discovery Institute and conducted Jan. 29-31, surveyed over 1,000 likely voters and has a +/-3.1% margin of error.

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