The Pew Research Center released some interesting findings regarding the ongoing fight over Darwinism:
Recent public opinion polls indicate that challenges to Darwinian evolution have substantial support among the American people. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 63 percent of Americans believe that humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being. Only 26 percent say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection.
So if evolution is an accepted theory (at least in scientific circles), why does the debate rage on? According to Pew:
The answer lies, in part, in the possible theological implications of evolutionary thinking. For many, the Darwinian view of life — a panorama of brutal struggle and constant change – goes beyond contradicting the biblical creation story and conflicts with the Judeo-Christian concept of an active and loving God who cares for his creation. (See Religious Groups’ Views on Evolution.) In addition, some evolution opponents argue that Darwin’s ideas have proven socially and politically dangerous. In particular, they say, the notion that more resilient animals survive and thrive (“survival of the fittest”) has been used by social thinkers, dictators and others to justify heinous crimes, from forced sterilization to mass genocide.
But while theologians, historians and others argue over evolution’s broader social impact, the larger and more intense debate still centers on what children in public schools learn about life’s origins and development. Indeed, the teaching of evolution has become a part of the nation’s culture wars, manifest most recently in the 2008 presidential campaign, particularly in the attention paid to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s statements in favor of public schools teaching creation science or intelligent design along with evolution. And while evolution may not attain the same importance as such culture war issues as abortion or same-sex marriage, the topic is likely to have a place in national debates on values for many years to come.