Monday, June 4, 2012

New Gallup Survey: American Views of Creation and Evolution

Charles Darwin
The Gallup organization just conducted a new survey which asked respondents in the United States how they view both creation and evolution. Here is the link.

It appears that the numbers remain statistically level for creationists, at about 46% (up from 44% from 1982) of those surveyed, who do not believe in evolution. This group believes in some special creation mythology, usually though biblical interpretation, regarding all existence - including human existence.

Those who believe that humans were divinely created but also believe in the mechanics of evolution as a god-engineered biological process was 32% (down 6% since 1982). Those who accept evolution without divine creation was up to 15% of those surveyed (from 9% in 1982). A statistically significant 6% increase in overall opinion regarding science and natural selection.

However, I don't think we can say that the rise of non-believers and the loss of those folks who believe in god-inspired evolution, each changing 6% after twenty years of survey taking, necessarily correspond. Meaning that the 6% did not just move to the full evolution side of the spectrum.  But that we're seeing a general rise in non-belief in the nation as religious belief remains somewhat stagnant.

The survey found that those who go to church or attend religious services more frequently as less likely to believe in evolution.  Hence, they are more likely to believe in creation.  The survey notes:

"Two-thirds of Americans who attend religious services weekly choose the creationist alternative, compared with 25% of those who say they seldom or never attend church. The views of Americans who attend almost every week or monthly fall in between those of the other two groups."

In addition, the he survey found that those who are more likely to vote Republican are more likely to be creationists. The survey data indicates:

"Highly religious Americans are more likely to be Republican than those who are less religious, which helps explain the relationship between partisanship and beliefs about human origins. The major distinction is between Republicans and everyone else. While 58% of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, 39% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree."

Finally, the survey found that the more formally educated one becomes, the more likely they will reject creationism in favor of accepting evolution and natural selection:

"Americans with postgraduate education are most likely of all the educational groups to say humans evolved without God's guidance, and least likely to say God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The creationist viewpoint "wins" among Americans with less than a postgraduate education."

But it's the conclusions and implications of the survey which should be concerning for researchers, business, medicine, scientists, academics, and the general population. Especially if the U.S. is to remain a competitive nation in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The author's write:

"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. The 46% of Americans who today believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years is little changed from the 44% who believed this 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question.
Most Americans are not scientists, of course, and cannot be expected to understand all of the latest evidence and competing viewpoints on the development of the human species. Still, it would be hard to dispute that most scientists who study humans agree that the species evolved over millions of years, and that relatively few scientists believe that humans began in their current form only 10,000 years ago without the benefit of evolution. Thus, almost half of Americans today hold a belief, at least as measured by this question wording, that is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature."
Editor's note: A special "Thank you" to Dr. Diane Phillips, a long time friend and colleague, who shared the survey and link with me today. 


  1. " .... as religious belief remains somewhat stagnant. ...."
    Somewhat stagnant ???
    Surely you jest, kind sir.
    Religious beliefs are virtually totally as stagnant as that puddle at the curb near your car. And just as muddled as after some stray dog made his contribution to the puddle.
    What amazes me is how so many puddle dwellers can appear to think clearly on some other subjects and actually close the velcro straps on their shoes without help.
    Charlie Jensen

    1. I think its our fear of death that keeps alive our lust for afterlife.. and religion with its promise of an eternal afterlife(no matter an an infernal one) will keep commandeering our fears and consuming our intellects.