Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
Results of a national survey of 1,472 physicians revealed that more than half of physicians (63%) agree that the theory of evolution is more correct than intelligent design.
The study was conducted by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Social and Religious Research at The Jewish Theological Seminary and HCD Research in Flemington, New Jersey, from May 13 to May 15, 2007. The study was conducted as part of a continuing investigation of the social, political, and economic issues confronting the US healthcare system. The margin of error for the study was plus or minus 3% at a 95% level of confidence.
The responses were analyzed based on the respondent's religious affiliation. Among the findings:
- When asked whether they agree more with intelligent design or evolution, an overwhelming majority of Jewish doctors (88%) and more than half of Catholic doctors (60%) said they agree more with evolution, while slightly more than half of Protestants (54%) agree more with intelligent design.
- A majority of Catholic doctors (67%) agree with the statement that God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings, while 11% believe that "God created humans exactly as they appear now." By contrast, less than half of Protestant doctors (46%) believe that God initiated and guided an evolutionary process, while 35% believe that God created humans as they appear now. The majority of Jewish doctors (65%) agree more with the statement that "humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement."
- The majority of all doctors (78%) accept evolution rather than reject it and, of those, Jews are most positive (94%), and Catholics are next (86%), followed by Protestants (59%).
- Half of the doctors (50%) believe that schools should be allowed (but not required) to teach intelligent design.
- More than half of Catholic doctors (62%) feel that schools should be allowed (not required) to teach intelligent design conversely, more than half of Jewish doctors (59%) believe that schools should be prohibited from teaching intelligent design.
- When asked whether intelligent design has legitimacy as science, an overwhelming majority of Jewish doctors (83%) and half of Catholic doctors (51%) believe that intelligent design is simply "a religiously inspired pseudo-science rather than a legitimate scientific speculation," while more than half of Protestant doctors (63%) believe that intelligent design is a "legitimate scientific speculation."
"Sympathy for the idea of intelligent design comes primarily from Protestant members of the medical community, although openness to consideration of intelligent design as a legitimate speculation is strong among Catholics but completely lacking among Jews," said Alan Mittleman, director of the Finkelstein Institute.