Thursday, 07 June 2012 12:43

Poll: More than Half of U.S. Rejects Evolution Theory

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Despite decades of taxpayer subsidies to preach the theory of evolution in government schools, a recent Gallup survey showed that slightly more Americans believe the biblical account of creation today than 30 years ago when polls on the subject first began. Just 15 percent of respondents thought godless evolution explained the origin of man.

About 46 percent of those polled said they believed in what is known as creationism — that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so. In other words, almost half of Americans support a literal interpretation of the Bible's book of Genesis, which says that the Creator made Adam and Eve after creating the Earth in six days.

When the question was first asked by Gallup in 1982, around 44 percent of Americans held that view. In the last three decades — despite overwhelming emphasis on teaching the theory of evolution in government schools — the number has held fairly constant, bouncing back and forth between 47 and 40 percent.

Meanwhile, around a third of those surveyed said they believed that — with God’s guidance — humans had developed over millions of years, down six percent from 30 years ago. The prevalence of that view, sometimes known as “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation,” reached a new low in 2012 among Americans.

Only 15 percent of those surveyed thought man had evolved from less advanced life forms without any divine intervention. But while still deeply in the minority, that figure has been rising fairly steadily — up from nine percent in 1982. Last year, 16 percent of respondents said they believed the theory.

About seven percent of those surveyed said they either had no opinion or believed in something else, Gallup reported. But overall, eight out of 10 Americans still believe God was ultimately responsible for the existence of man — probably more.

“All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins,” concluded Gallup's editor-in-chief Frank Newport in a statement announcing the survey results.

Unsurprisingly, people who attend church weekly were far more likely to hold biblical creationist beliefs — about two thirds, according to Gallup. Even among those who rarely or never attend church, however, just one fourth believed in godless evolution, with another quarter believing in creation.

The survey results also showed that more Republicans than Democrats believe in creationism, though even Democrats, at 41 percent, were more likely to be creationists than either of the other options. Just five percent of self-identified GOP supporters believed in evolution without God, while slightly less than one in five Democrats did. 

Only Americans with postgraduate education were less likely to believe in creation, with 42 percent choosing God-guided evolution and 25 percent believing in creationism. Among college graduates, almost half were creationists while just 14 percent thought evolution without God explained human origins. Overall, higher levels of education tended to coincide with lower levels of support for creationism.

“Since ‘belief’ in evolution coincides with higher degrees of education according to the poll, evolution adherents would interpret the data as indicating that less educated people don’t believe in evolution,” observed Christine Dao with the Institute for Creation Research, an organization that defends the scientific accuracy of the literal understanding of the Bible.

“However, this interpretation doesn’t acknowledge that evolution is the only origins theory taught in most taxpayer-funded school systems,” Dao continued. “If students are getting only one side of the story and have to accept that one side to make the grade, guess what they’re going to grow up to believe?”

A 2007 Gallup poll that was phrased and conducted differently, however, found much stronger support for the creationist viewpoint. In that survey, USA Today reported that about two thirds of respondents — 66 percent — said they thought God created humans in one day within the last 10,000 years.      

The most recent USA Today/Gallup poll, released on June 1, was based on interviews with a random sample of more than 1,000 adults living throughout America. According to the pollsters, there is 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of error is four percentage points. 

“Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans' views of the origin of the human species since 1982," stated Gallup's Newport about the findings.   

But the debate over evolution versus creation is not raging just in America. According to a report released on June 5 by the journal Nature, education officials in South Korea recently surrendered to public demands and agreed to remove certain controversial pieces of alleged evidence dealing with evolution from textbooks.

Apparently, however, proponents of the theory are set to begin a campaign in the nation to drum up support for evolution while countering skepticism and creationism. Creationists, on the other hand — led by the Society for Textbook Revise — are hoping to delete the “error” of evolution from school textbooks altogether.

Related articles:

The Limits of Evolution

"The Mysterious Islands" Challenges Darwin

Demythologizing Darwin—A Review of Wiker's "The Darwin Myth"

Intelligent Design and Evolution

Teacher Fired for Critical View of Evolution

Texas School Board Debates Adding Books With Alternatives to Evolution

Illustration: The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo

9 comments

  • Comment Link Mark Monday, 11 June 2012 09:41 posted by Mark

    “If students are getting only one side of the story and have to accept that one side to make the grade, guess what they’re going to grow up to believe?” That, in a nutshell, is why Americans are laughed at all over the world. There is only one side to the story and there is no debate about evolutionary theory aside from those people who are associated with superstitious cults. You may as well teach the controversy surrounding astrology. Which star map is the "True" star map?

  • Comment Link Joseph Ulicki Saturday, 09 June 2012 13:08 posted by Joseph Ulicki

    Erroneously, Warren Mass wrote:
    "if the Earth were created less than 10,000 years ago, we would not be able to see any galaxy more than 10,000 light years"

    Scripture tells us it is God who 'stretched out the heavens":

    Isaiah 45:11-12 (NIV1984Bible)
    11 “This is what the Lord says -
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: ...
    12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind upon it.
    My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.'

    Einstein's general theory of relativity (GR), indicates that gravity distorts time.
    "Clocks at the top of tall buildings, where gravity is slightly less, run faster than those at the bottom, just as predicted by the equations of general relativity (GR).
    ... Clocks at the edge would be running at different rates to clocks on the earth. In other words, it is no longer enough to say God made the universe in six days. He certainly did, but six days by which clock? (If we say “God's time” we miss the point that He is outside of time, seeing the end from the beginning.)
    ...
    If the universe is not much bigger than we can observe, and if it was only 50 times smaller in the past than it is now, then scientific deduction based on GR means it has to have expanded out of a previous state in which it was surrounded by an event horizon (a condition known technically as a “white hole” - a black hole running in reverse, something permitted by the equations of GR).

    As matter passed out of this event horizon, the horizon itself had to shrink - eventually to nothing. Therefore, at one point this earth (relative to a point far away from it) would have been virtually frozen in time. An observer on earth would not in any way “feel different.” “Billions of years” would be available (in the frame of reference within which it is traveling in deep space) for light to reach the earth, for stars to age, etc. - while less than one ordinary day is passing on earth."
    Partial quote from the article:
    How can light get to us from stars which are millions of light-years away
    in a universe which the Bible claims is only thousands of years old
    See: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c005.html

  • Comment Link Warren Mass Friday, 08 June 2012 16:28 posted by Warren Mass

    Most discussions and reports about evolution limit themselves to the two positions at opposite ends of the belief spectrum (i.e., the "Young "Earth" creationist belief of fundamentalists who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible vs. the Godless, spontaneous evolution believed by agnostics and atheists). I am glad this article mentions the middle ground that is the logical option for those who believe that faith and science can never contradict each other. Since God is the author of al truth, both Biblical and scientific, the Bible must be interpreted in a manner consistent with proven scientific knowledge. That was the problem in the Church's initial rejection of Galileo's teaching, a position that was changed as the Church came to accept scientific knowledge as a logical proof for Biblical teaching. The article's description of "a third of those surveyed said they believed that — with God’s guidance — humans had developed over millions of years, down six percent from 30 years ago. The prevalence of that view, sometimes known as 'theistic evolution' or 'evolutionary creation,' ..." coincides with my own beliefs. Yes, as a Christian believer, I acknowledge that God created everything, the universe, the oceans, the Earth, man, and every creature, but that does not mean it had to happen in during the metaphorical six days. As for the "young Earth" believers, if the Earth were created less than 10,000 years ago, we would not be able to see any galaxy ore than 10,000 light years away, since the light would not have had the time to reach us. Everything we have is a gift from God. Disagreeing about the timetable during which God gave us His gifts does not put theistic evolutionists in the same category as atheistic evolutionists, because they are also evolutionary creationists and believe that God created all things, just on a slower timetable than the "young Earthers" believe.

  • Comment Link charles ballus Friday, 08 June 2012 05:09 posted by charles ballus

    and yes man could create a society in which no one kills or robs or commits any other crime, go back to the lab buddy, it isn't going to happen, Father YHVH does not use evolution, the things you mention (6 toes 2 heads etc) are the results of the curse of sin on this world, when man goes back to the Torah and obeys the Father then we will see true restoration one life at a time.

  • Comment Link James Friday, 08 June 2012 02:56 posted by James

    @Bob H.

    Your comment is so entirely nonsensical. I will not address it any further.

  • Comment Link Bob Hurt Thursday, 07 June 2012 22:26 posted by Bob Hurt

    Well, I used to believe in creation instead of evolution. Then I realized that God creates through evolution.

    We see proof of this every time a child gets born with two heads, hermaphraditic, savantism, ESP, 6 toes instead of 5, and Down Syndrome. All we have to do is encourage it by, for example establishing a high-intensity procreation colony for Down people, or just put them together without supervision for a while. All of those characteristics are genetic, as are RACIAL characteristics. And all evolved through a single generation of sudden change where offspring differ from parents in some main trait.

    Society could cultivate those characteristics to create a new race of people, just as scientists do with animals and food crops.

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