This year, as in prior years, the Gallup Organization has conducted a public opinion on evolution and creationism. They announce at their website that In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins.
We discussed the previous Gallup poll on this subject here: Aaaargh!! New Gallup Poll on Creationism.
Gallup’s article on the latest poll begins with news that will either thrill you or chill you — depending on your point of view. They say, with bold font added by us:
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.
Forty-six percent of Americans are young-earth creationists (YECs). That’s almost half of the population! Another 47% or so accept evolution, but that includes 32% who are theistic and 15% who are non-theistic about it. We recall from somewhere that about 15% of Americans are atheists or agnostic, so that figure makes sense.
They give you the precise question they asked:
Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings”
1. Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process.
2. Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.
3. God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.
The question is flawed, because the two versions of evolution (with and without God) both refer to “millions of years,” but the creationism part of the question says “within the last 10,000 years or so.” There’s no option for old-earth creationists. If those folks answered, they probably opted for theistic evolution, because it’s godly and old-earth, although they may have gone flat-out for the young-earth form of creationism. There’s no way of knowing.
Then Gallup presents a chart showing the answers to that same three-option question that they’ve asked eleven times since 1982. The full-blown, young-earth segment has bounced around within a narrow range. It’s 46% now, but it was as high as 47% back in 2000, and it was only 40% in 2010. The non-theist evolution segment has actually shown a steady rise, starting at 9% in 1982 and more or less increasing each year to today’s 15%. Theistic evolution (over millions of years) has occupied the space between those two, from a low of 32% this year to a high of 40% in 2000.
Gallup also reports that the more religious one is, the more likely he is to be a young-earth creationist. No surprise there. Sixty-seven percent of the YECs were weekly church-goers. Those who seldom or never attended church were 26% of the atheist evolution responders, and they were 38% of the theistic evolution responders. In other words, whether theistic or not, 64% of those who accept evolution tend to stay away from church.
They also broke it down by political party. 58% of the YECs were Republicans, but another 41% were Dems. In other words, there’s a substantial percentage of both parties who are YEC, but the percentage is higher in the GOP. Actually, the numbers make no sense, because if you add up both of those groups you get 99% of the responders, yet another 39% of the YECs are independent. It’s either a miracle, or we’re not reading properly.
They also break it down by education, into four groups: high school or less, some college, college graduate, and postgraduate. As expected, the YEC responders are the least educated (52% of them are in the high school or less group), and the atheist evolution group have the most education (42% have postgraduate degrees). But a surprising 25% of the postgraduate group are YECs. Perhaps they have divinity degrees, but we don’t know.
You can read the reaction to this by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) here: The latest Gallup poll on evolution.
So what do we conclude? Well, we’ve been through this before, so we’re not surprised. If half the population is YEC, it’s good to remember that half the population is also below average in intelligence too. Anyway, that’s America — creationists, from sea to shining sea. Half of us, anyway.
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