A new poll has indicated that a majority of people in the U.K. reject the biblical account of Creation but a significant number of religious people are still skeptical about the theory of evolution.
A Newman University/YouGov survey has found that only nine percent of people in Britain accept creationism, but 19 percent of religious people in the country found it somewhat difficult, difficult or very difficult to accept evolutionary science.
The study, which was released at the British Science Festival in Brighton, West Sussex, on Tuesday, was part of a wider international research project called "Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum" funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. It was conducted between May 12 and June 12 among 4,000 adults across the U.K. and Canada.
The findings revealed that 71 percent of the respondents in the U.K., including those with religious beliefs, accept evolutionary theory regarding the origin of species. Around 64 percent said they found it easy to accept evolutionary science as compatible with their personal beliefs, while 64 percent of people with religious beliefs found evolution to be compatible with their faith.
Surprisingly, one in five atheists in the U.K. said they were not satisfied with evolutionary theory, saying they agreed that "evolutionary processes cannot explain the existence of human consciousness." Ten percent of atheists in the country said they also felt that evolution cannot explain the origins of human beings.
In Canada, 60 percent said that they accept the theory of evolution and only 15 percent accept the biblical Creation story.
Fifty percent said they found it easy to accept evolutionary science, while 41 percent of Canadians with religious beliefs found evolution to be compatible with their faith. More than one in three Canadian atheists say they were unsatisfied with evolutionary theory, and 31 percent of unbelievers say they felt that evolution cannot explain the origins of human beings.
Other findings have indicated that individuals struggling with evolutionary theory do not have similar doubts about other fields of science. The respondents, which include Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, overwhelmingly accept science as a reliable source of knowledge.
"What these surprising findings highlight for the first time is that concerns about evolutionary science aren't necessarily based solely on individuals' religious identity," said Fern Elsdon-Baker, the study's principal investigator and the director of the project, according to Religion News Service.
"We found a range of people are uncertain of evolutionary science-based explanations for the origin of humans and human consciousness. It appears rejection of or uncertainty about aspects of human evolution is not necessarily an issue of 'religion versus evolutionary science,' but an issue of universal questions around what it is to be human and about the human experience that affect all of us, across those of all faiths and none. This fundamentally challenges the way we tend to think about evolution and creationism," Elsdon-Baker added.