Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

A Nation of Creationists

Most Australian adults believe in divine creation over Darwinian evolution.

Most Australian adults believe in divine creation over Darwinian evolution.

By David Wilson

A survey of beliefs in the origin of life and the universe has found that the majority of Australians believe in creationism and theistic evolution.

David Wilson is Head of the Surveillance and Evaluation Program for Public Health at the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of NSW. He carried out this study while at the University of Newcastle.

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Questions about the origins of our existence are among the most significant that a person may face. From where we came is, for many of us, crucial to understanding who we are and where we are going.

The question of whether the world was created by a supernatural being or came into existence and evolved from purely natural processes has been a source of controversy in philosophy, religion, science and politics for the past 250 years. A literal biblical perspective of humans as God’s creature, made in his own image, has influenced human notions of dignity, liberty, rights, political systems and many other areas of culture and society.

In contrast, a humanist view that humans are merely another species that has evolved through natural processes, and not made in God’s image because there is no God, could imply that there is no fundamental difference between humans and bacteria, only a gradual evolutionary difference. This implies that there is no dignity, liberty or right to exist for humans beyond that which humans themselves determine.

Because the debate inevitably includes morality it has engendered intense emotion from both religious and scientific people. The question of whether or not we were created raises larger questions of whether society should be modelled on Biblical guidelines (e.g. the Ten Commandments) or secular guidelines. Thus, the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.