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Poll: 46% Of Americans Are Creationists

According to a new Gallup poll, 46% of American adults hold what can basically be called creationist views of the origin of man:

PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

Gallup has asked Americans to choose among these three explanations for the origin and development of human beings 11 times since 1982. Although the percentages choosing each view have varied from survey to survey, the 46% who today choose the creationist explanation is virtually the same as the 45% average over that period — and very similar to the 44% who chose that explanation in 1982. The 32% who choose the “theistic evolution” view that humans evolved under God’s guidance is slightly below the 30-year average of 37%, while the 15% choosing the secular evolution view is slightly higher (12%).

Indeed, as this graph shows, the support for the idea of what Gallup calls “theistic evolution” has declined in recent years:

Not surprisingly, of course, the poll finds that one’s opinion on this issue is heavily influenced by the extent of one’s religious beliefs:

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. Still, those who seldom or never attend church are more likely to believe that God guided the evolutionary process than to believe that humans evolved with no input from God.

And I don’t think any of OTB’s regular readers will be surprised by how this breaks down on political lines:

And, there’s a high correlation between education and one’s opinion on evolution:

This is why, as I noted the other day, I am skeptical of the argument advanced by Richard Leakey that increased discoveries in the field of anthropology would lead to an end to the evolution debate in the near future. The creationist position has little to do with evidence, and everything to do with faith and culture. It’s not going away any time soon, at least not in this country.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    “Poll finds 46% of Americans are morons.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  2. legion says:

    In the words of Professor Farnsworth, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Good blog post.

    Blind faith isn’t merely the name of a classic band. For many it’s a way of life. That won’t change at any point during any of our lifetimes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. John Peabody says:

    I contend that many people answer the question inaccurately, thinking it’s ‘bad luck’ to deny God. They just can’t shake off their sunday-school years, and still say they believe in creationism, when they only think about it when a pollster asks the question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I have got to get the hell out of this country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. PJ says:

    I don’t see high correlation between education and the opinion on evolution.
    The differences between “College graduate”, “Some college”, and “High school or less” are within the margin of error. The last subgroup “Postgraduate” is pretty small group which gives it a higher margin of error, so a lot of the difference may be due to that.

    The only thing I’d argue from that poll is the difference between Independents and Democrats, and Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Rob in CT says:

    @PJ:

    True. But even the Dem/Indy numbers are terrible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Hey Norm says:

    Look out!!!!
    Phew…that Apatosaurus almost stepped on you!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. al-Ameda says:

    More evidence of America’s decline.

    About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance;

    So God guided the evolutionary process?
    What a failure that experiment has become.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. PJ says:

    @Rob in CT:

    True. But even the Dem/Indy numbers are terrible.

    I’m in total agreement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. gVOR08 says:

    At least Gallup has the good sense to not force it into a false dichotomy of religion v/ evolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. rudderpedals says:

    Reason wept

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Commonist says:

    The result of a lesser culture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    Is there a similar pole from Europe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    @Ron Beasley: Never mind – a Goggle found this. The US is next from the bottom ahead of only Turkey. (snark) Makes you so proud to be an American(/snark)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Elise McMann says:

    46% of college graduates still believe in unadorned creationism!

    Is biology 101 no longer a part of the general curriculum?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. MarkedMan says:

    Hmmm. I’m a pretty skeptical guy but I read this poll differently. I would add the numbers for unguided and guided evolution together. I view the first question as essentially “Areyou and Atheist and do you accept science?” and the second as “Do you both believe in God and accept science?”. There is no choice for someone like me: an agnostic who very much accepts science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Ron Beasley: The grass isn’t greener. The North Koreans, for example, are quite secular. They also starve to death. Often. Sometimes you’ve got to pick your poisons. It’s not a coincidence that so many people around the world still queue up in line to get in here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. mattb says:

    And in related news, North Carolina is proposing legislating how much Ocean Levels are going to rise — or rather they are legislating how in-state scientists are allowed to build models for predicting changes in Ocean Levels.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2012/05/30/nc-makes-sea-level-rise-illegal/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I remember getting asked once whether I believed in God and my response was “what’s your definition of God?” “Well, um, you know, God!” “Is your deity a self-aware entity?” (I was going through a Taoist period.)

    …at which point she yelled over to the other person taking the survey: “hey John! What do we mean by this question?!”

    Still makes me smile.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0