THE ECONOMIST, FEBRUARY 12, 2019
COVERAGE FOR PUFFIN BOOKS
Many people still reject Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution
Creationism retains a broad appeal
Today is Darwin Day, a date when people are invited to celebrate the achievements of a British biologist who provided modern science with one of its guiding axioms: the principle that all species of life evolved through a process of natural selection over many millions of years. In the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, the ideas of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) have been established and indeed reaffirmed by all subsequent investigations into the nature of life. And, at least in all liberal democracies, children are generally taught by their science teachers to understand the emergence of life through a Darwinian lens.
Still, there have always been substantial minorities who, whether on religious or other grounds, refuse to accept the Englishman’s ideas. Take the United States, long seen as a stronghold of ideas that challenge Darwin head-on (by insisting that the Biblical account of a six-day creation is literally true) or in a more indirect way by insisting that the process of evolution must have been guided by some higher, intelligent power. Some court decisions have effectively barred the teaching of theories other than evolution in public schools. But clearly many Americans grow up with very different ideas, imbibed through faith-based educational establishments, home-schooling or Sunday school.