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Although many religious groups have found reconciliation of their beliefs with evolution, such as through theistic evolution, other religious groups continue to reject evolutionary explanations in favor of creationism, the belief that the universe and life were created by supernatural forces. S.-centered creation–evolution controversy has become a focal point of perceived conflict between religion and science.Several branches of creationism, including creation science, neo-creationism, and intelligent design, argue that the idea of life being directly designed by a god or intelligence is at least as scientific as evolutionary theory, and should therefore be taught in public education.Objections to evolution have been raised since evolutionary ideas came to prominence in the 19th century.
Pope Francis is not the first pontiff to publicly affirm that evolution is compatible with church teachings.
In 1950, in the encyclical “Humani Generis,” Pope Pius XII said that Catholic teachings on creation could coexist with evolutionary theory.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of white evangelicals say that humans and other living things have always existed in their present form, while roughly one-in-ten white evangelicals (8%) say that humans evolved through natural processes.
On the other end of the spectrum are the unaffiliated, a majority of whom (57%) said they believe that life evolved through natural processes.
The observation of evolutionary processes occurring (as well as the modern evolutionary synthesis explaining that evidence) has been uncontroversial among mainstream biologists since the 1940s.