Creationism Is Declining in Australia

Look at this from PhysOrg: 32-year Australian study reveals steep decline in student belief that God created humans. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Australian university students give far more credit than the previous generation to the science of human evolution and far less to creationism or divine guidance, according to a landmark new study.

Wow! What happened? They say:

In an overview of the last 32 years of annually-assessed student opinions, it is clear that belief among students that a god is the ultimate or contributing cause of human origins has steeply declined from being a majority view in 1986 to being a small minority view in 2017. Conversely, conviction that humans evolved without divine involvement of any kind rose steeply over the same period to become the dominant view among students.

Something’s going on down there — but what? PhysOrg tells us:

Every year since 1986, the researchers polled first-year biology students at UNSW Sydney about their views on evolution and creationism. In 1986, 60% of students believed a god had something to do with the origin of humans, while only 29% held this view in 2017. In contrast, the percentage of students convinced that a god had nothing to do with the origin of humans increased from 25% in 1986 to 62% in 2017.

Here’s a link to the published paper on this research in Evolution: Education and Outreach: Thirty two years of continuous assessment reveal first year university biology students in Australia are rapidly abandoning beliefs in theistic involvement in human origins. You can read it online without a subscription.

The researchers’ first data is for 1986. For the next 31 years there was a precipitous decline in creationism. Aha! We’ve figured it out! According to the Wikipedia article on Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else:

Ham moved to the United States in January 1987 to engage in speaking tours with another young Earth creationist organization, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).

That’s it! Don’t you see it? Every year since Hambo left his native Australia, creationism declined. His departure could be the cause! But let’s not leap to unwarranted conclusions. Correlation doesn’t establish causation. We need more evidence. Wait! There is more evidence: PhysOrg says:

The extent and pace of decline in the Australian students’ commitment to religious views about divine creation, especially creationism, is in distinct contrast to the corresponding beliefs among American students and the American public. “In the USA, belief in creationism, while slowly declining, appears to have remained in the 40% range, four times that seen in our Australian survey,” Professor Archer says. [Michael Archer is the lead author of the study.]

So there it is. Hambo leaves Australia, and creationism declines there. He comes to America, and we’ve remained up to our ears in drooling creationists. The Hambo Hypothesis is confirmed!

It would be interesting to see what would happen if Hambo were to leave the US, but he’s got his museum and his ark here. He’s not going anywhere. Ah well, we’re happy for Australia.

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14 responses to “Creationism Is Declining in Australia

  1. Well, he could take his ark to ‘Strilia, couldn’t he? I mean, it’s a boat after all.

  2. Our Curmudgeon considers:

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if Hambo were to leave the US, but he’s got his museum and his ark here. He’s not going anywhere.

    You’re overlooking the fact that Hambo has an exact replica of the Ark. What would be really interesting would be if he were to attempt to set sail in it to return to his native Oz.

    He’d still have an easier time of it than Noah; his stuffed animals need neither feeding nor mucking out…

  3. Bugger–screwed up on the HTML tag thingies yet again… 😦

    [*Voice from above*] As expected from the world’s best exemplar of the Gaseous Ape Theory. But have no fear. All is well.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Here’s my PR move for Ham. His ark is a metaphor for all the sin of Materialism weighing down Christianity. If only faith were restored, his ark would float like Noah’s.

  5. I believe that Hambo’s creationism skills would be best utilized if he moved to Kryzykstan or Tajkistan. In fact, any ‘stan country would be a good place for Hambo.

  6. Michael Fugate

    As creationism wanes in the US, Ham will move to a place where his views have even less chance of being ridiculed.

  7. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    From the Ken Ham wiki “In 1979, he resigned his teaching position and, with his wife, founded Creation Science Supplies and Creation Science Educational Media Services, which provided resources for the teaching of creationism in the public schools of Queensland, a practice allowed at the time.” So creationism could be taught in schools, which is what Ken Ham did for four years from 75 to 79.

  8. Uncanny, isn’t it? The timing fits perfectly.

    When Hambo finally departed these shores, the entire country gave a vast collective shout of relief, as if we’d just passed a giant kidney stone. A public holiday was declared: “Mostly Hamless” Day, as a nod to Douglas Adams, and we looked forward to a further exodus of the country’s remaining creationists. Many of them did leave; they flourished in the New World.

    Meanwhile, back in Australia, national IQ levels began to climb. But deep down, there was a real sense of shame over what we’d done to the Americans, who were, after all, our friends and allies. So we tried to expiate our guilt. We bought tickets to Adam Sandler movies, and invited Rob Schneider onto morning radio. We forced ourselves to laugh, as if in penance. IQ levels dropped once again.

    We exported the finest fruits of our culture, all to appease the Americans. We gave them jars of Vegemite, and Rupert Murdoch, but this only seemed to make them more angry.

    Life went on. America began to forget about us. Their people went back to shooting one another, just like in the Old West. The creationists grew bigger, fatter, more powerful. None more so than Ken Ham.

    Today, Australia lives in fear. Fear of the wrath of the Great God we betrayed. When the god turns on us, will it send back the likes of Ken Ham and Andrew Snelling as a punishing scourge? A vicious, warped parody of the Second Coming? Or is America now too dependent on them, like a host that somehow thrives, in spite of its parasites?

  9. “We bought tickets to Adam Sandler movies”

    Now that is some serious guilt….

  10. Dave Luckett

    If you wanted to spread a particular religion, you’d go where there are many non-believers, right? You have to give Paul of Tarsus credit. For not much else, perhaps, but he did that. But if you wanted to make a modest (or immodest) screw from plugging one, you’d go to where the suckers, sorry, the faithful are thick on the ground, and preferably thick everywhere else.

    So Ham heard the voice saying, “Go forth, Daddy! Go and spread the message on a wider screen!” and he shook the dust of Ipswich, Queensland and moved to rural Kentucky.

    Now Ipswich is sort of Dogpatch with coal mines, a place where a family sport is working out how many different ways you’re your own cousin, but even thirty years ago Ham was prescient enough to discern the direction the wind was blowing in Australia. Did he lead a crusade to reverse the national slide into godlessness? Was he a voice crying in the wilderness?

    Was he hell. He went to where the money was.

  11. @ChrisS: “When Hambo finally departed these shores, the entire country gave a vast collective shout of relief, as if we’d just passed a giant kidney stone.”

    Or turd.

  12. “I mean, it’s a boat after all.”
    The “original” ark (which was a fantasy) was described as being a box (ark literally means a wooden box or chest, *not* a boat) and Ham’s version is even less seaworthy.

  13. Ross Cameron

    We have a government in turmoil at present (no, Australia, not the U.S.A. though it probably applies), brought on by the god-botherers and their wacko ideas. When we find the cure, do you want us to export it to America?

  14. Techreseller

    To Ross Cameron

    If you find the cure down under, please do send it up here.