Science and religion is a big issue in the United States, and increasingly in other developed countries such as Australia, Canada and the UK. In other countries of the European Union, it was until recently a non-issue. During the early years of John Paul II's pontificate, the well known evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould who described himself as agnostic Jew, was invited to give a talk in the Vatican for priests who do science. He was the only layman non-Catholic billeted in a seminary within sight of Saint Peter's with two elderly Jesuits who asked him "Why is evolution STILL an issue in America?" Gould who stereotypically believed that Catholic priests are anti-evolution, was dumbfounded. Thus even in the center of the Vatican, evolution is a non-issue. Darwinian Theory is the litmus test to gauge acceptance of science in society.
Thus in America, many studies have tried to gauge acceptance of science and strength of religious belief. A recent issue of Scientific American estimates acceptance of evolution in the USA as around 33%, the lowest among OECD countries. The USA is a paradox. It is the most scientifically advanced nation but has the least acceptance of scientific truth. While the courts have struck down attempts of religious groups to give "equal time" to creationism and intelligent design in school as violative of the separation of church and state principle, the movement to do so continues.
In the Philippines, we do not have any quantitative and published data to show acceptance of science in society. If I recall correctly, the Ateneo de Manila once had a project to survey the misconceptions in science teaching in basic education. The intersection of religious belief and acceptance of scientific principles was part of this project. I don't know if the results have been released.
The Astronomical League of the Philippines and the Rizal Technological University (RTU) Astronomy Department sponsored a study to measure acceptance of scientific principles in astronomy among basic education teachers. The study conducted by Professor Jesus Rodriguez Torres surveyed 102 teachers' attitudes to certain astronomical concepts. In the question "Is the Earth the center of the universe" 31.37% of respondents said the "earth was immovable as stated in the Psalms" and 32.35% said that the writer of the Biblical passage couldn't have known that the Earth moves. Only 6.86% said the Bible was erroneous.
Prof. Torres was disturbed by respondents answer to the question "How long was the process of the formation of the universe?" 20.58% responded "six days" and 46.07% responded "6000 years based on 2 Peter 3:8"
The reader can download the pdf file and read the findings in their totality. What should make science teachers like me think about is that there is this reluctance TO CHALLENGE RELIGION when it comes to science. There is this reluctance to SAY THE BIBLE AND CHURCH ARE wrong when it comes to scientific fact.
There was a time when a student organization invited a creationist to speak at the Ateneo. The university allowed it but the Jesuit scientists lead by Fr Dan McNamara conducted a talk on science the next day and the day after explaining what the Catholic position on science is. A Catholic can say the Church is wrong when it says something scientific since the Church is not in the business of determining what is scientific or not even if it has priests who are scientists!
Readers may have misgivings on how the questions were framed but Torres' study is the first one published to tackle a previously "untouchable" subject in Philippine education. Even at the secular University of the Philippines, science professors are loathe to confront students' religious beliefs and how this affects their understanding of science. However once I had to warn a student that he will get a grade of 5.0 if he insisted on using religious explanations to answer a science exam and in oral reports in class. I warned him that preaching of a religion in class is inadmissable at UP and I won't hesitate to lodge a complaint. He dropped the course accordingly. But this case is extremely rare.
The one thing that disturbs me is that Torres' subjects are science teachers. Some students who belong to fundamentalist sects tell me that they are instructed by their ministers to just keep quiet, answer the questions as needed to pass the course and not to believe. Science teachers cannot impose belief but should be able to teach students to consider scientific concepts as plausible hypotheses. With a Bible Christian biology student, we came to this position after she talked to me about her quandaries. If she doesn't accept evolution as a hypothesis, then it is her own lookout for after she has logically considered the arguments, this affects how she understands nature.
However while Professor Torres and I are loathe to confront fundamentalism directly, there are instances when we have to do so.