Press Releases


Majority of Physicians Give the Nod to Evolution Over Intelligent Design

NEW YORK, NY, May 23, 2005 – 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 13-15. The study was conducted as part of a continuing investigation of the social, political, and economic issues confronting the U.S. health care 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 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%), 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.

“As our earlier physician studies indicated, religion, culture and ethnic heritage have an impact on their views of science, even from this relatively homogenous group of physicians who share similar education, income and social status,” noted Glenn Kessler, co-founder and managing partner, HCD Research.

To view detailed results for this poll, please go to: http://www.hcdi.net/polls/J5776

Editors/Reporters: For more information on the poll, or to speak with Dr. Mittleman or Glenn Kessler, please contact Sherry Kirschenbaum, JTS Director of Media Relations, at (212) 678-8953 (kirschenbaum@jtsa.edu) or Vince McGourty, M&M Communications, Inc., at (908) 638-5555 or (vinmcg@earthlink.net).

The Finkelstein Institute provides a venue to advance dialogue at the intersection of religion and public affairs. Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond. Visit the JTS website at www.jtsa.edu

HCD Research is a marketing and communications research company headquartered in Flemington, NJ. The company's services include traditional and web-based marketing and communications research. HCD Research is also the developer of readmylipz.com, a political ad testing web site for the 2004 Presidential campaign. For additional information on HCD Research, access the company’s web site at www.hcdi.net or call HCD Research at (908)788-9393.

Contacts:

Sherry Kirschenbaum
JTS
Director of Media Relations
(212) 678-8953
kirschenbaum@jtsa.edu

Vince McGourty
M&M Communications, Inc.
908-713-1267
vinmcg@earthlink.net