September 10, 2003

Poll: Texans Overwhelmingly Favor "Teaching the Controversy"


By Mark Hartwig

By almost a five-to-one margin, residents of Texas think their state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach both Darwin's theory of evolution and the scientific evidence against it, according to a new poll released by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute today.

The statewide poll, conducted by Zogby International between August 25 and August 27, surveyed 601 randomly chosen adults. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percent.

Among other questions, the pollsters asked respondents the following:

Which of the following two statements comes closer to your own opinion?

A: The state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach only Darwin's theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.

B: The state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.

Fully 75 percent of respondents said they agreed with statement B, compared to 16 percent who agreed with statement A and nine percent who were not sure.

High numbers of respondents also agreed with statements that Texas state board members should bring biology textbooks into line with state law. In particular 71 percent agreed with the statement:

Texas law requires that textbooks be (quote) “free from factual errors.” Should the state board of education apply this standard to how biology textbooks present Darwin’s theory of evolution?

 An even greater number, 82 percent, agreed with the statement:

Texas law requires students to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information. Should the state board of education apply this standard to how evolution is presented in textbooks?

The poll mirrors results of polls conducted nationwide and in Ohio, which showed overwhelming support for “teaching the controversy” about Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwinists have typically dismissed such results, arguing that “science isn’t determined by polls.” That is correct, of course, but entirely irrelevant. Although the truth about origins cannot be decided by popular vote, Texans have every right to decide how the subject will be taught to their kids. And it’s more than a little ironic that they have shown a more scientific attitude toward the subject than the self-appointed gatekeepers of science.

The Zogby report is available in Microsoft Word format here. Complete crosstabs are available as a PDF file here.

Copyright 2003 Mark Hartwig. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 9.10.03