We’ve posted about several different polls on creationism, but the most influential is probably the poll by the Gallup Organization. The last time we reported on one of their polls was the 2012 Gallup Poll on Evolution. They poll the same questions every two years, and now they have the results of their latest survey.
At the Gallup website their article is titled: In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins. That figure sounds horrendous, and of course it is, but in historical context, it’s been worse. In their first such poll, back in 1982, that figure was 44%, and it’s been fluctuating in all the later polls. It was as high as 47% in 2000, and as low as 40% in 2010. It shot back up to 46% in 2012, and now it’s down to 42%.
As before, these are the precise questions 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.
As we mentioned at the time of their last poll, the first two questions both involve millions of years, either with or without God’s guidance. But the “God guided this process” question doesn’t really describe what we know as old-Earth creationism, because it says that humans evolved. It sounds more like what we call theistic evolution. Those who are both old-Earthers and creationists don’t have a clear option in this poll. The third question asks about hard-core young-Earth creationism, and there’s no ambiguity about that one.
The article presents a chart showing the results for those same three questions for every poll since 1982. The percentage who selected the straight scientific option of old-Earth evolution with no divine involvement has been steadily rising (with minor bounces) from only 9% back in 1982, where it stayed (with a few jiggles) through 2000, but it’s up to 19% in the latest poll. That’s a new high. Before that, it got as high as 16% in 2010, dropping to 15% in 2012. Now, as we said, it’s 19%. There must be wailing and moaning in certain creationist organizations. That ol’ devil is making progress!
Gallup summarizes the situation like this, with our bold font:
The percentage of the U.S. population choosing the creationist perspective as closest to their own view has fluctuated in a narrow range between 40% and 47% since the question’s inception. There is little indication of a sustained downward trend in the proportion of the U.S. population who hold a creationist view of human origins. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who adhere to a strict secularist viewpoint — that humans evolved over time, with God having no part in this process — has doubled since 1999.
Then they break the results down according to religion, age, and education. Regarding religion, you won’t be surprised to learn:
The percentage of Americans who accept the creationist viewpoint ranges from 69% among those who attend religious services weekly to 23% among those who seldom or never attend.
There’s no surprise regarding education either. Gallup says:
Educational attainment is also related to these attitudes, with belief in the creationist perspective dropping from 57% among Americans with no more than a high school education to less than half that (27%) among those with a college degree.
As for age, once again, the results are probably what you expected:
Younger Americans — who are typically less religious than their elders — are less likely to choose the creationist perspective than are older Americans. Americans aged 65 and older — the most religious of any age group — are most likely to choose the creationist perspective.
There’s a chart with the article that has specifics for all of those factors. The hard-core young-Earth creationist option was chosen by only 28% of those whose age was 18 to 29 (which is still embarrassingly high), and by only 27% of college graduates (that’s a scary number), and by only 23% of those who seldom or never attend church.
Unlike the 2012 poll, this article doesn’t provide a breakdown of results by political party. That may be in their more detailed data, but we haven’t looked at that.
So there you are. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s not quite so bad among the young and the educated, but for the uneducated old droolers, it’s crocoducks all the way down.
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.