About half of Britons doubt Darwin
More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a "designer" must have lent a hand, the findings suggest.
And one in three believe that God created the world within the past 10,000 years.
The survey, by respected polling firm ComRes, will fuel the debate around evolution and creationism ahead of next week's 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.
Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, said the findings revealed a worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons.
In the survey, 51 per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement that "evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages"
A further 40 per cent disagreed, while the rest said they did not know.
The suggestion that a designer's input is needed reflects the "intelligent design" theory, promoted by American creationists as an alternative to Darwinian evolution.
Asked whether it was true that "God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years", 32 per cent agreed, 60 per cent disagreed and eight per cent did not know.
The findings – to be published tomorrow in a report by Theos, a theology think-tank – follow a row over the place of creationism in education.
A recent poll of science teachers found that one in three believe creationism should be taught in science classes alongside evolution and the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.
However, Michael Reiss, a biologist and Anglican cleric, was forced to resign as the Royal Society's director of education after suggesting that creationism should be discussed in lessons "not as a misconception but as a world view".
Darwin-doubting is even more widespread in predominantly Moslem countries -- the National Center for Science Education gives the following figures for predominantly Moslem countries: “Only 16% of Indonesians, 14% of Pakistanis, 8% of Egyptians, 11% of Malaysians, and 22% of Turks agree that Darwin’s theory is probably or most certainly true.”