The theory of evolution may face greater resistance in the United States than most of Europe, but creationist belief is strong in European nations than many might think. From the February 27, 2009 Science:
News coverage of the creationism-versus-evolution debate tends to focus on the United States, where surveys consistently show that less than half of Americans accept the theory of evolution. But in the past 5 years, political clashes over the issue have also occurred in countries all across Europe. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi's government briefly tried to halt the teaching of evolution in schools in 2004. In 2006, a deputy Polish education minister called the theory of evolution "a lie." In 2007, the education minister of a major German state courted controversy by advocating that creationism and evolution be taught together in biology classes. . . .Survey data also shows that anti-evolution sentiment is particularly strong among Muslims in Europe.
Even the birthplace of Charles Darwin is struggling with evolution, despite the myriad celebrations for the 150th anniversary of his On the Origin of Species. "Creationism is on the rise in the U.K.," says James Williams, a lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex. "Creationists have adopted the attitude that if you get to children young and early, you can indoctrinate them before they even start talking about evolution in schools." Williams cited a December 2008 Ipsos Mori poll of 923 primary and secondary school-teachers in England and Wales: 37% of the respondents agreed that creationism should be taught in schools alongside evolution. Even among biology and science teachers, the number was 30%.
While Europe has its share of anti-evolution sentiment, what it seems to lack is the organized, active resistance to evolution. Is this simply because European nations tend to be less religious than the United States? Are Europeans, as a whole, just more scientifically literate? Or is there some other reason Americans have been more likely to accept the (erroneous) notion that evolutionary theory is inherently incompatible with religious belief?