TABLE Responses to the proposition that the earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs

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Such experiences are common throughout the United States, but also, though I am loath to admit it, becoming so in Britain. In February 2006 the Guardian reported that 'Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin's theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.' The Muslim leaflets are produced by the Al-Nasr Trust, a registered charity with tax-free status.* So the British taxpayer, too, is subsidizing the systematic distribution of a major and serious scientific falsehood to British educational institutions.

In 2006 the Independent reported Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, as saying:

It's a real social change. For years, I've sympathised with my American colleagues, who have to cleanse creationism from their students' minds in their first few biology lectures. It's not a problem we've faced in Britain until now. I get feedback from Muslim schoolkids who say they are obliged to believe in creationism, because it's part of their Islamic identity, but the people I find more surprising are the other British kids who see creationism as a viable alternative to evolution. That's alarming. It shows how infectious the idea is.

The polls, then, suggest that at least 40% of Americans are creationists - that's dyed-in-the-wool, out-and-out, anti-evolution creationists, not believers in 'evolution but God sort of helped it along' (there were plenty of them too). The equivalent figures for Britain, and much of Europe, are slightly less extreme, but not much more encouraging. There are still no grounds for complacency.

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