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Half of Brits aren't sure Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is real, a shocking poll reveals



Almost a third of Brits people STILL don't believe Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, survey finds (and some have confused him with Charles DICKENS)

  • A third of Brits didn't know Charles Darwin was famous for evolution
  • Nearly one in ten people surveyed have no idea who Charles Darwin is 
  • Seven per cent thought he was the author of The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
  • Young people are more likely to believe in Creationism than older people

By Yuan Ren For Mailonline

Published: 05:53 EST, 12 February 2019 | Updated: 10:21 EST, 12 February 2019

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It may be Darwin Day today, but half of the British population isn't even 'certain' that his theory of evolution is correct, a survey has found.

The poll revealed that nearly a third of Brits did not believe in Darwin's theory, as laid out in his most famous body of work, On the Origin of Species, published in 1859.

Young people were also more likely to believe in Creationism, which claims everything in the universe was made by God through direct divine acts.

Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of Brits didn't know Charles Darwin was famous for evolution. 

Nor could they tell the difference between Darwin and Charles Dickens, as 14% of those surveyed misidentified the famous biologist for the famous author.  

A significant number thought instead that he was the author of the best selling book and Hollywood film franchise starring Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code.  

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It may be Darwin Day today, but half of the British population isn't even 'certain' that his theory of evolution is correct, a survey has found. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire found that nearly a third of Brits didn't know Charles Darwin (pictured) was famous for evolution
It may be Darwin Day today, but half of the British population isn't even 'certain' that his theory of evolution is correct, a survey has found. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire found that nearly a third of Brits didn't know Charles Darwin (pictured) was famous for evolution

It may be Darwin Day today, but half of the British population isn't even 'certain' that his theory of evolution is correct, a survey has found. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire found that nearly a third of Brits didn't know Charles Darwin (pictured) was famous for evolution

Fourteen per cent misidentified Darwin as Charles Dickens (pictured), the author of Great Expectations. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire from Puffin Books found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of British people didn't know Charles Darwin was famous for evolution.
Fourteen per cent misidentified Darwin as Charles Dickens (pictured), the author of Great Expectations. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire from Puffin Books found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of British people didn't know Charles Darwin was famous for evolution.

Fourteen per cent misidentified Darwin as Charles Dickens (pictured), the author of Great Expectations. Adding insult to injury, the questionnaire from Puffin Books found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of British people didn't know Charles Darwin was famous for evolution.

Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press when he published his 'Origin of Species'. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings are descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it (artist's impression)
Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press when he published his 'Origin of Species'. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings are descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it (artist's impression)

Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press when he published his 'Origin of Species'. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings are descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it (artist's impression)

The survey was carried out by Puffin Books for a new, illustrated children's adaptation of On the Origin of Species. 

Only half of all surveyed were actually 'certain' that evolution was real. 

Nine per cent of those surveyed hadn't even heard of the great British biologist and 44 per cent did not know it was Darwin who said we shared ancestors with apes.

Nine per cent also thought he was behind physicist Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, published decades after Darwin's death in 1882.  

A third of those under 29-year-old were not aware of evolutionary theory compared to only 16 per cent of those over 60.

The survey found that 12 per cent of respondents believe in Creationism, rising to 17 per cent for those aged under-29. 

The Natural History Museum said: 'Evolution theory is accepted as fact by the scientific community, on a level with the theory of gravitation or the round-Earth theory.' 

A significant number of those surveyed thought that Darwin was the author of the best selling book and now  Hollywood franchise starring Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code. The actual author is the American Dan Brown, pictured (file photo)
A significant number of those surveyed thought that Darwin was the author of the best selling book and now  Hollywood franchise starring Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code. The actual author is the American Dan Brown, pictured (file photo)

A significant number of those surveyed thought that Darwin was the author of the best selling book and now  Hollywood franchise starring Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code. The actual author is the American Dan Brown, pictured (file photo)

The Da Vinci Code was made into a major film featuring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou
The Da Vinci Code was made into a major film featuring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou

The Da Vinci Code was made into a major film featuring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou

Perhaps even more shocking is that seven per cent thought Darwin had penned the book The Da Vinci Code, whose author is the American writer Dan Brown. 

Two thirds couldn't recognise the famous, long bearded picture of him widely used to depict the evolutionist. 

The new picture book of On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva is the first ever illustrated version of the book and is 48 pages compared to the over 500 pages in the original text.

Ms Radeva added: 'Darwin's radical ­theories caused a stir from the time the book was first published.

'I wanted to create a retelling of this hugely important book that I would have loved to read as a child but that I would still appreciate today as an adult.'

WHO WAS CHARLES DARWIN?

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the fifth of six children of wealthy and well-connected parents.

One of his grandfathers was Erasmus Darwin, a doctor whose book ‘Zoonomia’ had set out a radical and highly controversial idea, that one species could 'transmute' into another. Transmutation is what evolution was then known as.

In 1825, Charles Darwin studied at Edinburgh University, one of the best places in Britain to study science. 

It attracted free thinkers with radical opinions including, among other things, theories of transmutation.

Darwin trained to be a clergyman in Cambridge in 1827 after abandoning his plans to become a doctor, but continued his passion for biology.

In 1831, Charles' tutor recommended he go on a voyage around the world on HMS Beagle.

Over the next five years Darwin travelled five continents collecting samples and specimens while investigating the local geology. 

With long periods of nothing to do but reflect and read, he studied Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which had a profound impact.

The trip also began a life of illness after he suffered terrible sea sickness.

In 1835, HMS Beagle made a five-week stop at the Galapágos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. 

There, he studied finches, tortoises and mockingbirds although not in enough detail to come to any great conclusions. 

But he was beginning to accumulate observations which were fast building up. 

On returning home in 1838, Darwin showed his specimens to fellow biologists and began writing up his travels. 

It was then that he started to see how 'transmutation' happened. 

He found that animals more suited to their environment survived longer and have more young. 

Evolution occurred by a process he called 'Natural Selection' although he struggled with the idea because it contradicted his Christian world view. 

Having experienced his grandfather being ostracised for his theories, Darwin collected more evidence, while documenting his travels, until 1851.

 He decided to publish his theory after he began to suffer long bouts of sickness.

Some historians suggest that he had contracted a tropical illness while others felt that his symptoms were largely psychosomatic, brought on by anxiety.

In 1858, Darwin received a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace, an admirer of Darwin's from reading about his Beagle Voyage.

Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it
Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it

Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it

Wallace arrived at the theory of natural selection independently and wanted Darwin's advice on how to publish.

In 1858, Darwin finally went public giving Wallace some credit for the idea. 

Darwin's ideas were presented to Britain's leading Natural History body, the Linnean Society. 

In 1859, he published his theory on evolution. It would become one of the most important books ever written.

Darwin drew fierce criticism from the Church and some of the press. Many people were shaken by the book's key implication that human beings descended from apes, although Darwin only hinted at it. 

In 1862, Darwin wrote a warning about close relatives having children, he was already worried about his own marriage, having married his cousin Emma and lost three of their children and nursed others through illness.

Darwin knew that orchids were less healthy when they self-fertilised and worried that inbreeding within his own family may have caused problems. 

He worked until his death in 1882. Realising that his powers were fading, he described his local graveyard as 'the sweetest place on Earth'.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey. 

 

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