|Evolution, the Muslim world & religious beliefs
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Evolution, the Muslim world & religious beliefs
November 18, 2009 5:50 PM, by Razib Khan
In the post below I pointed to an article which claimed:
It's hard to say exactly how much support the theory of evolution enjoys in the world's Muslim countries, but it's definitely not very much. In one 2006 study by American political scientists, people in 34 industrial nations were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the idea that human beings evolved from earlier life forms. Turkey, the only Muslim country in the survey, showed the lowest levels of support - barely a quarter of Turks said they agreed. By comparison, at least 80 percent of those surveyed in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and France agreed. (The United States ranked second lowest, after Turkey, at 40 percent.) Turkey is widely seen as the most culturally liberal Muslim nation, and on attitudes about evolution, other polling has borne this out: A recent study of religious attitudes found that only 16 percent of Indonesians, 14 percent of Pakistanis, and 8 percent of Egyptians believed in evolution.
I asked the reporter for a citation, and I received one, On being religious : patterns of religious commitment in muslim societies*. You can download the PDF at that link (bottom of the page). It has a nice breakdown of religious beliefs, including attitudes toward evolution. But the sample is non-representative:
As you can see the sample is strongly skewed toward the more educated segments of society. On the other hand, they did try and include religious professionals as well, though I'm unclear as to the proportion within the samples. The N's are large, so probably only a few percent. But keep in mind the biases in the sample above when looking at the data below.
So what's the breakdown for evolution?
The graphic is small, so here are the percentages for those who think that evolution is certainly or probably true:
Indonesian = 6%
Pakistan = 4%
Kazakhstan = 37%
Egypt = 8%
Malaysia = 11%
Turkey = 23%
The graphic is small, so here are the percentages for those who think that evolution is certainly or probably false:
Indonesian = 72%
Pakistan = 72%
Kazakhstan = 28%
Egypt = 67%
Malaysia = 61%
Turkey = 63%
And those who have never thought about the question:
Indonesia = 2%
Pakistan = 14%
Kazakhstan = 35%
Egypt = 25%
Malaysia = 28%
Turkey = 15%
So reporting those who believed that evolution was true is somewhat misleading insofar as a substantial minority simply hadn't thought of the issue. But it is rather disturbing that these are cultural elites, more or less, not the masses. 86% of the Pakistanis have a post-secondary education. Some more data:
I know Allah exists and have no doubt about it:
Indonesia = 97%
Pakistan = 97%
Kazakhstan = 31%
Egypt = 97%
Malaysia = 96%
Turkey = 88%
Iran = 85%
Only those who believe in the Prophet Muhammad can go to Heaven: (Completely true + probably true)
Indonesia = 74%
Pakistan = 81%
Kazakhstan = 30%
Egypt = 62%
Malaysia = 75%
Turkey = 49%
Iran = 29%
The data for Iran is curious to me. Though the author notes that Iranians are Shia, and that tends to influence the nature of their orthopraxy, I wonder if the low value for belief in Muhammad has to do with the supplementary role of Ali in Shi'ism.
Finally, here is a last result which i think is noteworthy, Would you agree that a person who says there is no Allah is likely to hold dangerous political views?
There are three options here, agree, disagree and uncertain. Weighting these as 1, -1 and 0, and multiplying out the proportions, here are the results:
Indonesia = 0.77
Pakistan = 0.60
Kazakhstan = -0.31
Egypt = 0.78
Malaysia = 0.63
Turkey = 0
Iran = 0.16
1 = 100% agree that those who say there is no Allah holds dangerous views, while -1 would be 100% disagreement. The Suharto era Pancasila ideology in Indonesia mandates a belief in a monotheistic God. So the connection between theism and patriotism might have a easy particular explanation in that case.
Note: In multi-religious societies it seems that the survey was limited to those who self-identified as Muslims.
* On being religious : patterns of religious commitment in muslim societies.
http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2009/11/ev ... ld_rel.php
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