MORE than half of Britons believe beliefs such as creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school science lessons, a survey reveals.
And almost one in ten say they do not think evolution should be taught in science classes at all, according to the British Council's poll.
The survey, which questioned nearly 1,000 Britons as part of a worldwide study of 10,000 people, found that three-quarters of those polled believe children should be taught the theories of evolution in science lessons.
But of those, 54 per cent said it should be taught together with ideas about intelligent design and creationism.
Supporters of creationism reject the concept of evolution.
Intelligent design is a more modern version which argues that life is so complex it cannot be explained by evolution.
The findings show that a fifth (21 per cent) of Britons believe that only evolutionary theories should be taught in science classes.
Worldwide, the survey reveals just over four in ten (43 per cent) believe that evolution should be taught alongside other theories in science lessons, while a fifth (20 per cent) say only evolution should be taught.
Among the British respondents, 9 per cent say either no theories about the origins of the species and the development of life on earth should be taught in science, or that children should learn about other theories but not evolution.
Worldwide, this figure is 17 per cent. Some 16 per cent of Britons answered "don't know" to the question.
Out of the 1,000 Britons surveyed, six in ten of those who said they had heard of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution said it should be taught alongside other beliefs, with a quarter (24 per cent) saying children should only be taught about evolution.
The British Council conducted the poll as part of its Darwin Now programme, marking 150 years since the publication of his work On the Origin of Species.
Members of the public in Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the United States were also questioned.
The findings show that almost two-thirds of respondents in Argentina (65 per cent) believe that evolution should be taught along with other theories.
In the US, almost a quarter of those questioned (23 per cent) say other theories but not evolution should be taught, or that no theories should be taught. In China, this figure is 28 per cent and in South Africa 21 per cent.
The British Council, which promotes cultural relations, has launched a package of educational resources on Darwin and evolution for schools, museums and science centres.
Head of the Darwin Now programme, Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker, said: "The British Council is more than ever globally active in education programmes that stimulate inter-cultural dialogue that is respectful of faith and belief.
"The Darwin Now education resources are freely available and designed to encourage open debate and discussion around Charles Darwin's theories."
• The British survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori, questioned 973 people aged 18 and over between 3 and 9 April.
LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING EXPLAINED?
CREATIONISM and intelligent design are two concepts used by religious theorists in an attempt to establish the existence of God.
The theory of intelligent design is more scientific than creationism and claims that certain features of living things can only be explained as the result of an intelligent cause, not a random process such as natural selection.
It uses science, such as biology or geology, to try to determine whether natural structures are the product of chance, natural law or intelligent design.
Creationism is a belief in the literal creation of heaven and earth as described in the Bible. Creationists deny the theory of evolution and believe science denying the biblical interpretation of creation is anti-religious propaganda.
This theory is supported by the Institute for Creation Research in the US.