A growing number of biology and medical students are rejecting the very basis of their chosen subject in favour of creationism.
A few years ago I had an operation to repair a hernia. In that I shared the experience of about one in four British men of my age, in whom a section of intestine breaks through the body wall to form an unpleasant, and potentially dangerous, bulge in the groin. The job was done quickly and efficiently by a surgeon who had, no doubt, done it hundreds of times before.
Hernias, then, are the result of the imperfect process of evolution, of the slow accumulation of successful mistakes and of the inevitable pressure of compromise. A surgeon may not need to know that and the first hernia operations were carried out well before The Origin of Species by people who had no idea why the problem arose; and (although I doubt it) perhaps my own doctor was equally ignorant.
Now, though, we have evolution, the grammar of biology. More and more, students do not like it. I no longer teach medics but I do have a lot of contact with biology undergraduates and go to many schools and to student conferences. Over the past decade there has grown up a determined denial by many people of the truths of modern science.
At University College London we have numbers of Islamic students, almost all dedicated, hard-working and able. Some, unfortunately, refuse to accept Darwin’s theory on faith grounds, as do some of their Christian fellows; and just a couple of years ago a Turkish anti-evolution speaker (a Dr Babuna, as I remember) was invited on to campus to give an account of why The Origin is wrong. He was the scion of an extraordinary – and very rich – anti-evolution organisation based in his native land that has sent out thousands of lavishly illustrated creationist books and has linked Darwinism to Nazism and worse.