Worldwide Poll on Evolution, Afterlife, Etc.

This news comes from a French market research company called Ipsos. At their website we read Supreme Being(s), the Afterlife and Evolution.

They say that their poll findings are from a survey conducted in 23 countries among 18,829 adults. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A poll conducted by global research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that one half (51%) of global citizens definitely believe in a ‘divine entity’ compared to 18% who don’t and 17% who just aren’t sure.

That’s 51% for a divine entity, and 35% who don’t know or don’t care. Let’s read on:

Similarly, half (51%) believe in some kind of afterlife while the remaining half believe they will either just ‘cease to exist’ (23%) or simply ‘don’t know’ (26%) about a hereafter

Would it be presumptuous to assume that’s the same 51% who not only believe in a divine entity but who also believe in an afterlife? But on this afterlife question, the percentage of those whose who don’t know or don’t care jumps up to 49%. Okay, now we get to the issue that concerns our humble blog:

Lastly, the survey revealed that four in 10 (41%) believe in human evolution compared to 28% who believe in creationism and 31%of the global population who is unsure what to believe.

Ah, 41% are okay with evolution and 59% are either creationists or otherwise clueless. Well, reality isn’t determined by vote, but public opinion surveys are a good way to measure stupidity and ignorance.

There’s not much point in our attempting to restate their findings. Those properly belong in a table or a graph. It’s best for you to read the Ipsos article and then reach your own conclusions. We’ll give you just one more excerpt:

Those most likely to believe in this [evolution] are from Sweden (68%), Germany (65%), China (64%), Belgium (61%) and Japan (60%).

[The highest percentages of creationists come] from Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), Indonesia (57%), South Africa (56%) and Brazil (47%).

Okay, dear reader. Now you’ll have to click over there to read the rest for yourself.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Worldwide Poll on Evolution, Afterlife, Etc.

  1. After reading this I am more confident that the American fundies are no different percentage wise that the rest of the oxen around the globe.
    Those numbers were drastically different than I would have imagined, especially in Islamic countries. Maybe there is hope.

  2. I’m surprised that only 28% of the sample identify themselves as creationists. That’s only a little over half of the population that believe in a divine entity. I think that’s encouraging – it clearly shows that being religious does not automatically mean being a creationist.

    On the other hand, 28% is still a high number, and it is 40% in the US. Ouch. (the detailed tables are downloadable from the site)

  3. One more note. The chart for the US on beliefs, shows that 70% definitely believe in a supreme being, 5% believe in more than one (?), 10% believe sometimes but don’t believe at other times, 9% are agnostic, and 7% definitely do not believe. I think it’s very surprising that only 70% of Americans stated on a survey that they definitely believed in a supreme being.

    The survey shows the normal trends – the prevalence of belief declines with education, fewer young people believe than the older generations, etc. However I was surprised to see a significant different in gender – overall, 65% of men believe, while 75% of women do. Why is that?

    The gender difference in creationists is much less significant – 39% of men and 41% of women are creationists.

  4. Ed says:

    However I was surprised to see a significant different in gender – overall, 65% of men believe, while 75% of women do. Why is that?

    I donno. Maybe it reflects a gender difference in science education?

  5. Gabriel Hanna

    Maybe it reflects a gender difference in science education?

    Over so many countries, with differing gender norms and educational systems? Probably not.

  6. comradebillyboy

    I am surprised and gratified that the United States is not among the top 5 of creationists. What is odd to me is how many people who profess religious belief seem to be clueless regarding the dogma of their chosen faith. An example would be a Roman Catholic who espouses creationism, when the Catholic Church denounces the dangers biblical literalism and specifically rejects the genesis account.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    What is odd to me is how many people who profess religious belief seem to be clueless regarding the dogma of their chosen faith.

    If they really were the blind followers and sheeple that some consider them, this wouldn’t be true.

  8. Science has a creation story too… it is recounted by “Big History” enthusiasts like Bill Gates. However, it is merely a theoretical framework that ties together our (often fallible!) observations about the universe in which we live. In essence, it does the same thing Genesis did for the Ptolemaic/Flat Earth world, albeit with newer data. Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, wrote a beautiful and poetic synthesis of the 19th century scientific understanding of the universe, weaving archaeology, literary classics, mystery/agriculture religions and early ideas about evolution which would later influence his grandson’s own ideas about the same… please refer to my blog for new vistas on the “non-overlapping magisteria” of science and religion, and what it all means in the context of our future as a species:

  9. Gabriel Hanna

    The problems go way beyond people not believing in evolution:

    The survey showed 26% of children thought bacon came from sheep, 29% thought oats grow on trees, while 17% of both children and adults under the age of 30 believed eggs were a core ingredient in bread.

  10. The National Center for Science Education has a page dedicated to various, polling results, including the IPSOS poll SC wrote about :

    After a brief perusal my “favorite” so far has been the poll on attitudes towards banning books. After noting that 16% of respondents favor banning books discussing evolution from school libraries, the authors note that:

    The level of support for banning books that discuss evolution, however, was less than the level of support for banning the Torah or Talmud, the Koran, and books that include vampires, with references to drugs or alcohol, that include witchcraft or sorcery, with references to sex, with references to violence, and with explicit language. Only the Bible fared better, with only 11% of respondents agreeing that it should be banned from school libraries.


  11. I do have to challenge one statement made by SC. Being unsure about the existence of a divine being doesn’t equate to not caring. Usually, the “don’t know or aren’t sure” choice is lumped together on surveys. Perhaps there ought to be a choice of “don’t care.”