Australia “a nation of creationists” according to Australasian Science April 2011. Researchers at the University of Newcastle have carried out a survey of beliefs in origin of the universe and life. The survey was conducted on the Internet with participants recruited by “e-mail requests, advertisement on the University of Newcastle website, and distribution of advertisement leaflets in community settings (e.g. churches, universities, letterbox drops)”. Participants were asked to choose from four options (Text in brackets in original):
“creationism (God created the universe, including all life, fully developed and similar to how we see it today);
the Big Bang and evolution without any supernatural being accounting for our origins;
theistic evolution (i.e. evolution guided by God);
some other explanation”.
They were also asked about their religious affiliation. Of the 850 Australian participants 443, i.e. 52 percent, claimed to believe in creationism. All of these identified themselves as Christians. The researchers combined their results with Australian census data about religious beliefs and came to the conclusion: “Therefore, the majority of Australian adults believe that God, or a supernatural being, was behind our origins. Of the 17 million adults in Australia in 2011, just under one-third (31 %) believe in creationism, just over one-quarter (27%) believe that God used the process of evolution, and the majority of the remaining 42% of adults in Australia believe in natural evolution without any divine involvement”.
Editorial Comment: These researchers could be accused of stretching a point by drawing conclusions about 17 million Australians on the basis of 850 survey responses. However, the large percentage of survey participants who believed in creation, and were prepared to say so on a university based survey, indicates that creation is not the marginal lunatic fringe belief that sceptics and politicians would like to claim it is. A few years ago the BBC found similar results from a survey in Britain, causing Richard Dawkins to accuse the British public of being “pig ignorant”. We wonder what he will say about Australia? (Ref. world views, philosophy, politics)
Evidence News 9 June 2011