Sunday, 28 November 2010

Surprising survey results: A sizeable percentage of Chinese and Japanese doubt Darwin

Charles Darwin is not very popular in east Asia. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Skeptics often claim that creationism is an American invention that only in recent decades has made its way into Europe. However, a new survey made for Nature and Scientific American shows that surprisingly many people in China and Japan also doubt Darwin.

Conducted as an Internet survey, it asked readers of Scientific American about their views of evolution and the origin of the universe. SA is a typical popular science magazine that markets Darwinian evolution, so one would assume that its readers would take a very positive attitude to Darwinism.

The questions did not deal with the origin of man but on the ability of evolution and natural selection to explain the diversity we see in nature.

The results were to some extent a disappointment for the magazine. According to the survey, a surprisingly large percentage of readers in China (49%) and Japan (35%) doubt Darwinian evolution. This is strange since China is still a communist country (it does have a large Christian minority of probably over 100 million, though) and Shintoism and other Japanese traditional beliefs could well be compatible with Darwinism. Unlike many other faiths, Shintoism does not even have holy texts.

Probably only well-educated people in China and Japan read an American magazine (that however is translated into Chinese and Japanese) so that Darwinists cannot claim that the views of a few only ladies could have distorted the findings.

The real explanation might be very different: in high-tech countries many people know that a computer programme needs to be designed and that DNA resembles an intelligently designed code.


Cyranoski, David. 2010. A Global Survey of the Scientifically Literate Public Reveals a Pacific Divide on Key Issues in Science. Nature 467:7314, 388-389.