Gallup: Forty-Two Percent Of Americans Reject The Concept Of Evolution In Humans

sisteen chapel ceilingGallup has released a new poll that shows that Americans still reject the concept of evolution of humans in high numbers. Indeed, twice the number of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their current image than there are those who believe in natural evolution. Indeed, those 42 percent believe that man was created by God in the last 10,000 years. That is a considerable difference even if you focus only on anatomically modern humans which appeared in the Middle Paleolithic period about 200,000 years ago. For those who believe in the science behind evolution, the news is not all bad. Nineteen percent believe in evolution without divine involvement while another 31 percent believe that there was evolution from “less advanced forms of life” but that God directed that process. That is fifty percent. Of course, that does appear to leave eight percent that is still . . . well . . . evolving.

Creationism remains remarkably stable in our society despite the continuing discoveries of ancient bones and archeological sites. In 1982, the first such poll showed 44% believed in the theory.

Conversely, those people who believe in evolution has been growing but at a rate only Darwin would appreciate. Those accepting evolution has risen only ten percent from late 1999. When you look at church-attending Americans, the number believing in Darwinian evolution falls to only one out every 100 church goers.

However, the poll still shows that “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.”

What is striking is the situation with people with less than high school education– 57% believe in a creationist version of human origin while only 10% believe in an evolution without any divine intervention. The biggest change in numbers appears to come with higher education. Once at the college level, only 27% believe that God created humans in their current image while 41% accept Darwin’s theory of evolution of humans.

As we head into another presidential campaign, it will be interesting to see if this again becomes part of the debate as it did when three out of ten Republican candidates proclaimed their faith in creationism. It would seem that evolution remains a bright line division in our society.

As an academic, I find the rigidity of the faith in creationism remarkable given the continuing finds of modern human bones going back over a million years. However, it is the impact of higher education that is particularly fascinating. It is not surprising, given the views of their parents, that high schoolers would continue to hold firm on creationism. It is the extreme shift after exposure to college that seems to bring out the greatest change. Yet, that figure could be skewed in a type of self-selection (as opposed to natural selection) since the percentage of students who believe in evolution going to college may be higher. According to the government, “In October 2013, 65.9 percent of 2013 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities.” That leaves roughly 33 percent who would not be included in the poll sample from the high school pool. Thus, it is not clear what percentage of students actually shift from creationist to secular views of human evolution.

142 thoughts on “Gallup: Forty-Two Percent Of Americans Reject The Concept Of Evolution In Humans”

  1. davidm:

    ” Do you think that all faith-based beliefs are illogical and unsupported?”

    ******************

    They may have some logic to them and some wisdom as well. There is no proof they are divinely inspired or even that they are very original as the sentiments expressed in the Judeo-Christian religion find their genesis in ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. By definition, the beliefs are based on things other than reason which makes them suspect until proven. You may wish to believe the universe was created in 6 days or that angels float among us but until rational proof is presented they remain mere fairy tales to me. I’m not closed to the concept of either belief as new information is always welcome, but religion has done nothing to convince skeptical minds like mine that their core beliefs are anything more than mythology. By the way, I’m in good company on this. As the story goes, even Jesus, that master of faith-based religion, bade Thomas to inspect the proof for himself before believing in resurrection. Oh, he admonished the doubting disciple, but yet he still showed him.

    1. mespo wrote: “the beliefs are based on things other than reason which makes them suspect until proven.”

      Not everyone operates by this premise, that a belief must be suspect until proven through empirical means. I assume that is what you mean by “proven.” Other people accept other forms of proof rather than empirical proof.

      I would say that any belief that is contrary to reason is suspect. If a belief is reasonable, then it might be accepted based upon reasonable reasons and assumptions until evidence shows the belief to be fallacious.

      This is the case with the Theory of Natural Selection. It is a reasonable theory with some supportive evidence, but as more evidence accumulates, it becomes more unlikely to be the explanation of origins.

      1. The Theory of Natural Selection; I believe is an explanation of survival rather than origins. It explains the extinction of weaker species but does not in any way explain or prove the transformation of one specie to another. Changes within a species over generations are; partly due to natural selection as where a more mottled fur increases the animal’s chance of being missed by predators and so is more likely to pass on it’s genetic material than say; a solid colored example of the same species. Natural Selection is actually not exactly an evolutionary force or process.

  2. Byron’s perspective of evolution is not Lamarckian. He is talking about the evolution of the population, not any specific individual. That is why he mentioned the short generation time of the fruit fly.

  3. Byron,

    “You know why you say that? Because you think everything is equal, nothing is better than anything else. You have no standards.”

    This is not true. I’m just not willing to give up hard-gained knowledge, (as a species), on your, or davidm2575’s say so.

    As a civil engineer I would think that you would respect this perspective.

    But, hey, if posts and lintels float your boat then carry on.

  4. Samantha:

    Sure. I will not denigrate the belief that we are guided best by our reason – no matter how flawed – than by the first century musings of people whose knowledge of the world would pale in comparison to that of most any bright seventh grader of today.

  5. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
    Thomas Jefferson

  6. Byron,

    “I love Mozart, Chucky and Brahms and Bach . . .”

    You should give Vivaldi a go.

  7. Byron,

    “I love Mozart, Chucky and Brahms and Bach and I love a beautiful voice and Opera.

    Now you are learning, if it doesnt benefit me, I dont have any use for it. Why would I listen to some new age moron when I can listen to Mozart? Why would I read Catcher in the Rye when I can read Les Miserables? Why would I stare at Picasso when I can gaze on a Vermeer?

    Why would you waste your time if it didnt benefit you? That is the stupidest thing I have read and your ilk writes some pretty stupid things.

    You know why you say that? Because you think everything is equal, nothing is better than anything else. You have no standards.”

    Who are you talking to?

  8. Byron,

    “Why do you read if you cant [sic] relay the essence of Lamarckian inheritance?”

    It’s possible that I am leaving the interpretation up to you; allowing your mindset to make sense of this laughable, yet still perceived as valid, perspective.

    “Reading without doing is about like being a vegetable.”

    I have no desire, inclination, nor obligation to educate you.

    “I do read but more importantly, I do.”

    As do most of us; maybe it’s possible that you feel that your, “I do” has more value than anyone else’s? Maybe you feel that you are above the fray?

    “So forgive me if I think Lamarckian [sic] inheritance a terrible waste of time.”

    It is.

    This is why I called you on holding this perspective — given by your “[w]hy don’t fruit flies turn into mosquitoes or other insects?” question. It is a view of evolution that has been discredited since the early 1800’s, yes before Darwin’s publication — yet it persists in questions such as the one you asked.

    I have no idea why — perhaps you could shed some light on this perspective. Ah, but then you would have to read about Lamarckian inheritence — too much work!

    1. Chuck wrote: “It is a view of evolution that has been discredited since the early 1800′s, yes before Darwin’s publication — yet it persists in questions such as the one you asked.”

      Problem with an anachronism here. Darwin himself believed in the inheritance of acquired characteristics. He called it Pangenesis. Lamarckism and Darwin’s theory of Pangenesis was discredited after Darwin’s publication, not before.

    1. samantha wrote: “mespo, can you give me one belief that you do not denigrate?”

      Good question. Another one along these lines that I would like Mespo to answer is: Do you think that all faith-based beliefs are illogical and unsupported?

  9. Davidm:

    I don’t denigrate believers. I denigrate beliefs — the unsupported, illogical, faith-based ones upon which all superstition rests. You have the uncanny knack for twisting most every obvious truth into some sort of semantic dance. Most folks understand that when you assert you must also prove. You however say that when you denigrate you must prove. Who’s logic is that? Why are some beliefs worthy of belief simply because they bear a label that appeals to emotion or nationalism or religious piety. That’s the “logic” of the obfuscator, the obscurantist, or the propagandist. I’ve long thought you have more agenda than insight, but this little A is really not A argument over the angryman quote proves it quite clearly to me.

    1. mespo wrote: ” I denigrate beliefs — the unsupported, illogical, faith-based ones upon which all superstition rests. … Most folks understand that when you assert you must also prove. You however say that when you denigrate you must prove.”

      To take a position against a statement is an assertion. You really don’t see that? This is NOT a semantic argument. If you want me to develop this further for you, I can, but I think you are smart enough to understand this without me showing you all the logical steps to arrive at this understanding.

  10. I love Mozart, Chucky and Brahms and Bach and I love a beautiful voice and Opera.

    Now you are learning, if it doesnt benefit me, I dont have any use for it. Why would I listen to some new age moron when I can listen to Mozart? Why would I read Catcher in the Rye when I can read Les Miserables? Why would I stare at Picasso when I can gaze on a Vermeer?

    Why would you waste your time if it didnt benefit you? That is the stupidest thing I have read and your ilk writes some pretty stupid things.

    You know why you say that? Because you think everything is equal, nothing is better than anything else. You have no standards.

  11. Why do you read if you cant relay the essence of Lamarckian inheritance?

    Why read about things like that if you arent going to apply them? Waste of time if you ask me and anyway you should read that stuff in high school and college. If you have a career there is more than enough to read so you can become proficient at what you do.

    Reading is good but you have to do as well. Reading without doing is about like being a vegetable.

    You can read all about a Cord of Maple being cut and split, it is a fine poem but so what? Until you cut and split and stack that cord of Maple, the poem isnt really yours. I can read about the 600 and marvel at their courage but I have never been in combat so I dont really know what they experienced.

    In fact I am designing a testing stage so I can break things to better understand their nature and how they interact with each other during failure. I create things, that is what I do.

    At least I do, Chucky. I do read but more importantly, I do. I engage the natural world, hell I challenge it on a daily basis. What do you do? Sit in a chair and hide in a book? You are pompous and trade in a coin no one wants or cares about. So forgive me if I think Lamarckian inheritance a terrible waste of time.

  12. Byron,

    “Weep away Chucky.”

    Oh, I will, and do.

    At the ignorance that you and your ilk present; as if your perspective of, “if ‘it’ doesn’t benefit me, I have no use for ‘it’,” brings any value to my life.

    Good luck, really.

  13. Chuck:

    you dont have a point. Dont understand Lamarckian inheritance and probably live in the woods and smell bad.

  14. Byron,

    “I dont have the time or the inclination to read about Lamarckian inheritance. You should be able to explain it in a couple of sentences if you really understood it.”

    The weeping of the weary.

  15. Byron,

    “I imagine most autodicks are like that.”

    This was my point. Manana.

  16. Chuck:

    I dont have the time or the inclination to read about Lamarckian inheritance. You should be able to explain it in a couple of sentences if you really understood it.

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