This article appeared in Science last week, regarding evolution (and it’s “challengers”) on college campuses:
For decades, polls have indicated that close to half of the U.S. adult population is skeptical of the basic tenets of Darwinian evolution. Although more educated people are more likely to endorse evolution, a college degree is no guarantee that the graduate agrees with Darwin.
Provine himself has been surveying his Cornell students since 1986, when he started teaching an evolution course for nonbiology majors. He says that for many years, about 70% of students held views somewhere along the creationist spectrum, from biblical literalism about the sudden appearance of Adam and Eve to the belief that human existence could not have come about without divine intervention. The percentage holding those views declined after agriculture and business students were no longer required to take the course, he says, but not enough to make them stand out from the general population. “Human evolution is a flash point; that’s where the rubber meets the road,” says biologist James Colbert of Iowa State University, Ames. “It’s very common to see students who simply can’t believe humans evolved from apes.”
For the past 3 years, Colbert has surveyed students in his introductory biology class, asking them if they believe God created humans within the past 10,000 years. Last fall, 32% of the 150-member class said they did. Colbert says he finds this percentage particularly unsettling “when one considers that these students are academically among the upper half of high school graduates, and they are students choosing to major in a life science”–often to become doctors or veterinarians.
Sometimes it’s nice being a professor in a graduate school. Though I know those beliefs are there, I have much less dealings with them teaching the courses that I do.
Joe Meert, a geologist, notes that it isn’t just biology:
Most geologists agree with Meert when he says that “it’s time to stop pussyfooting around. â¦ Young-Earth creationism and the ID movement are challenging the foundations of not just biology but also geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and anthropology.”
…a point Phil Plait over at the Bad Astronomy blog has also made recently.