(ORDO NEWS) — A new study by an international team of scientists has shown that people who refuse to believe in the theory of human evolution are also more likely to have more prejudice, hold racist views and support discrimination against members of other nationalities and the LGBTQ community.
Moreover, such a relationship is typical for citizens of many countries, regardless of political views, religion and education.
The study is based on sociological surveys conducted in 45 countries, in various population groups and religious circles in different periods of time.
The authors hypothesized that belief in evolution would lead to increased human identification with all of humanity due to common ancestry and would encourage less preconceived notions.
Survey analysis fully supported the hypothesis: disbelief in human evolution is associated with higher levels of prejudice, racist attitudes, and support for discriminatory behavior towards LGBTQ, black, and immigrant communities in the United States.
A similar situation is observed in other countries – 19 states of Eastern Europe, 25 Muslim countries and Israel: a lack of faith in evolution or its denial correlated with higher levels of prejudice within certain groups, biased attitudes towards people in other groups, and less support for conflict resolution.
“People who see themselves as more animal-like also tend to have more prosocial or positive attitudes towards outgroup members or people from stigmatized and marginalized backgrounds,” said graduate student and first author of the study, Stylianos Syropoulos.
“In this study, we were interested in exploring whether the belief in evolution would operate in a similar way, as it reinforces the belief that we are more like animals.”
Testing their hypothesis about the association of different levels of belief in evolution, the researchers took into account the education, political ideology, religiosity, cultural identity and scientific knowledge of the respondents.
However, according to the scientists, they got the same results every time, regardless of which group the interviewee belonged to.
For example, according to an Israeli poll, people with a stronger belief in evolution were more likely to keep peace between Palestinians, Arabs, and Jews. In a study involving countries in the Islamic world, belief in evolution was associated with less prejudice towards Christians and Jews.
And in a study in Eastern Europe, where the majority of the population is Orthodox Christian, belief in evolution was correlated with less prejudice against Roma, Jews, and Muslims.
“This whole effect and pattern seems to be present in all major political systems. This is largely a human phenomenon, no matter where in the world you are, ”concluded Bernhard Leidner, associate professor of social psychology and lead author of the work .
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