Attitudes toward evolution and creationism show little change in Canada

Three in five Canadians think that human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years, according to a new poll — but less than half think that creationism should not be part of the public school curriculum.

Asked, "Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view regarding the origin and development of human beings on earth," 40 percent of respondents preferred "Human beings definitely evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years; 21 percent preferred "probably evolved"; 7 percent preferred "God probably created human beings in the present form within the last 10,000 years"; and 16 percent preferred "God definitely," with 17 percent not sure.

Asked, "Do you think creationism — the belief that the universe and life originated from specific acts of divine creation — should be part of the school curriculum in your province?" (decisions about curriculum in Canada are generally made at the provincial level, by the province's ministry of education), 18 percent of respondents said that it definitely should; 20 percent said that it probably should; 14 percent said that it probably should not; and 25 percent said that it certainly should not, with 23 percent not sure.

For both questions, support for evolution was slightly lower and support for creationism was slightly higher than they were in a similar survey conducted in Canada in 2018, when 44 percent of respondents preferred "definitely evolved" and 14 percent preferred "God definitely," while 17 percent of respondents said that creationism should definitely be included in the school curriculum and 28 percent said that it should definitely not be included.

The poll was conducted online by Research Co. from November 4 to November 6, 2019, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender, and region. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.

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