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Intelligent design in Canada?: Canadians pretty evenly split

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Recently, Decima polled Canadians on the origin of humans – God dunit? God neverdunit? Dunno?

Here are the Canadian responses to the 2007 question by percentage, along with the US figures to a similar series of questions in brackets:

 Less than one in three Canadians (29%) believe that God had no part in the
creation or development of human beings. (US: 13%)
 Fewer still (26%) believe “that God created human beings pretty much in their
present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so”. (US: 46%)
 A plurality, but still only 34%, say that “human beings have developed over millions
of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process”. (US: 36%)

None of this surprises me particularly, … but there are some surprises when you break the figures down.

Canada is more secular than the United States, so far more people would say God had nothing to do with it and far fewer would be creationists in the sense of choice 2.

Choice 3, you will notice, is chosen by about the same numbers of Canadians as Americans. Notably, more Canadians than Americans seem not to have chosen any of the options (11% vs. 5%).

Indeed, all this confirms the view I took last year when Montreal-based Darwin lobbyist Brian Alters was turned down by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for a grant to “study” the dangers that intelligent design theory represents to Canada (as a precursor, of course, to wringing further funds from the taxpayer to “combat” the menace he has discovered).

At the time, I identified key reasons why the ID controversy never flares up much in Canada. Among other reasons, we have neither a functional Christian Right nor groups that are the equivalent of American Civil Liberties Union. So, apart from Brian himself and his friends, there are not many people who can hope to get either private donations or government grants from sponsoring a big public fight on the subject. I concluded,

Look, Canada is the kind of place where gays can marry each other and Catholics can start each day with the Hail Mary in tax supported schools if they want to. That’s just how things are here. Everyone here finds something to hate. Not everyone expects to be paid for it.

What did surprise me is that Decima, the polling firm, did not ask for the religious affiliation of the respondents. Here’s why I think that was an oversight:

In a trend that also departs very much from the American scene, the people who intend to vote Liberal were much more likely than those who intended to vote either Conservative or NDP (leftist) to choose a “theistic” option – God either created humans or guided the process. Only 22% of Liberals thought God had nothing to do with it, but 31% of Conservatives thought that, as did 31% of leftist voters.

This is quite different from the United States, where most Republicans “doubt evolution”but most Democrats do not. I believe that data on religious affiliation would shed some light on reasons for the cultural difference that this illustrates.

The social breakdowns they do provide are interesting, however. In Quebec, 40% think God played no role, significantly higher than anywhere else. Men are about 50% more likely to think that than women, and people with higher incomes are 50% more likely to think God played no role than people with lower incomes.

I am quoted here on the poll.

[…] countries have just avoided these wars, saving the taxpayer time, grief, and money. Some fellow tried starting anti-creationism up in Canada yay years back, but he couldn’t get public funding at that time for starting a big […] Sneaking creationism into the schools | Uncommon Descent
We live close and love the beauty of BC--though I must say the libertinism of its cities sometimes surpasses all understanding. And so, yes, it’s interesting that fewer liberals (22%) as opposed to conservatives (31%) thought that God was uninvolved in our being here. It just goes to show that the conservative label is meaningless unless you know what’s being conserved. The American heritage was antistatist, antielitist, and predicated on individual responsibility and the role of religion at the grass roots. The idea was not to harness the individual but to free him to innovate and excel whether in commerce or in science or in the arts or however. I don’t know about Canada, but conservatism in the old world is generally elitist and statist and irreligious (Thatcherism being the exception). When working abroad and called to task over what is hot button at home, I like to point out that it doesn’t much matter what the folks do in a small country. It’s what we do in the USA that has the most impact on the world. Therefore it is appropriate that Americans debate these things vociferously and not just roll over for the latest leftist fad. Maybe they sense this in both the materialist and traditionalist camps, and thus the battle royal here. But no one stands alone! As ID grows and adapts abroad it is greatly strengthened, and all of us everywhere are encouraged. Rude
I was trying to post several scenic places with corresponding links, but I think it got clogged in Moderation. All I will say is Alberta is THE place for mountains, beef (if it ain't Alberta, it ain't beef), canyons, glaciers, etc. Denyse, regarding your raccoon problem, have you tried raccoon repellant? JJS P.Eng.
The Toronto Zoo also has (had?) ligers! (hybrids of lions and tigers) It was worth the entry fee just to see them. But anyway, IMHO Canada, like the USA, has too many cool places to visit to mention in a blog. Joseph
PS I've been to the Toronto Zoo Joseph
Less than one in three Canadians (29%) believe that God had no part in the creation or development of human beings. (US: 13%) This would hold true if the designer wasn't "God". As Gonzalez told the AP you don't have to believe in "God" to be an IDist. You can be an atheist and still be an IDist as ID has nothing to do with religion. These polls need to refine their questions to better reflect reality. Joseph
Gore has always been part Canadian, as far as I know. You are all welcome to invade, but bear in mind that most Canadians live within 100-150 miles of the US border. You can meet most Canadians without venturing farfrom the US. A climate map will help explain that fact. Scenery? Well, I am partial to the view from the CN Tower, but then I am a Torontonian, and a downtowner even. If all you want is mountains, go to British Columbia. If you want lots of water, come here to Ontario (the province of which Toronto is the capital). We are to fresh water what Arabia is to oil. If you want polar bears, go to the Toronto Zoo. If you want raccoons, come to my place and trap some and DON'T bring them back, EVER. O'Leary
Vancouver BC in general and the Sunshine Coast in particular. A 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver to Langdale/Gibsons gets you to some of the most amazing Pacific Northwest scenery imaginable. While your in the area check out Whistler Village. It's an hour north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway. y-guy
Before Gore invades, I'd like to visit Canada. Where is a good place to stay to take some scenic photography? Acquiesce
Didn't you know Gore is planning to invade Canada?!?!! It's Gore emergency survival plan for America, before the global warming crisis really hits hard. bornagain77
Al Gore is planning to invade Canada? jb
Yeah, as a Canadian, I have to tune in to the States to get my Evolution/ID fix. Nothing exciting here, kinda like the programming on the CBC. Viva la world wide web, eh! I wonder what would happen if some high school biology teacher began "teaching the controversy" in a Canadian classroom. Maybe it already is happening and the Canucklehead NDE's haven't noticed yet! Shhhhhhhhhhh! Not so loud! This will give Al Gore the reason to invade us! ;) JJS P.Eng.

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