Stirring up thoughts of death may influence people's support of intelligent design and evolution, according to new research.
Led by researchers at the University of British Columbia, the paper details the results from five studies in the journal PLoS ONE. The team found that existential thoughts, or those in which people were reminded of their own mortality, led subjects to view the theory of intelligent design more positively.
In line with the scientific community, the authors state that evolution, especially descent with modification through natural selection, is largely accepted as a way to study biological change over time.
Intelligent design, as defined by the authors, "proposes that naturalistic accounts are insufficient to explain complex organic phenomena and that therefore an intelligent and presumably supernatural ‘designer' is responsible for the origin of all life." This theory is not the same as creationism.
Despite the fact that 43 percent of Americans favor teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in classrooms, the theory lacks scientific support for its claims, the authors write. This too is in line with scientific consensus.