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Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age
January 10th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.

When asked if “God used evolution to create people," 73% of pastors disagreed - 64% said they strongly disagreed - compared to 12% who said they agree.

Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.

A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure, arguing that it is rooted in the Bible. Scientists say the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.

“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”

The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, versus 54% who said humans developed over millions of years.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Science

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soundoff (6,504 Responses)
  1. TMTDC

    Wow. The results of that poll are truly disturbing. There doesn't seem to be any way to break down that "I believe what I believe and no matter how much hard evidence you have to the contrary I'll never change my mind" type of mindset.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I am truly disturbed.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • PowerToTheShepes

      The Protestant pastors blaspheme against the majesty of he who boiled for our sins. May they be touched by his noodly appendage. Ramen.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • zoft2000

      "Wow. The results of that poll are truly disturbing. There doesn't seem to be any way to break down that "I believe what I believe and no matter how much hard evidence you have to the contrary I'll never change my mind" type of mindset.

      Some people just don't want to go to Hell.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • HellBent

      So you go to hell if you accept reality? That's some twisted god you've got yourself there.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • DMC

      If you want to believe in the fantasy that is religion, you have deny math, science, logic and reason. People who dedicate their lives to make believe beings are very good at ignoring reality and facts, they don't care about proof or evidence, their religion in fact demands the exact opposite.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Bill

      Its called ignorance.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • mark

      Its called brainwashed.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Do Not Disassemble

      Republicans are like that.
      Silly people.

      January 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • TxGal

      It's called job security!

      January 11, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • RAWoD

      Infuriate Religion - Think for Yourself.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Dakota2000

      I wonder how many of them believe in fairies and unicorns as well. I think the correlation would be extraordinarily high.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      The gene pool would be much purer if evolution had refused to believe in them.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bendelep

      It's going to take more evolution (ironically), much more education, and gentle tolerance throughout. I don't think religion will ever be eradicated. There will always be those weak minded and mentally disturbed folks even after all the education therapy is thrown at them.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  2. bob

    Evolution is not a theory. It is an established principle.

    There are some theories ABOUT evolution - they explain HOW evolution happened. The best-known theory about evolution is Darwin and Wallace's theory of natural selection.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Please look up the definition of theory and try again.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      In fact Don is correct. The fact that species change over time, the fact that they generate reproductively isolated subpopulation (new species), the fact of species extinction, and the fact of common descent are all well known from direct observation. These are the facts of evolution.

      A "Theory" in science is a comprehensive statement that explains, and unifies the observed facts. Natural selection was the first of Darwin's three major contributions to the theory of evolution.

      January 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • scottm4321

      Evolution is not just a theory, it's a collection of thousands of FACTS that corroborate each other. All these facts add up to make evolution the truth.

      January 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Jeff

      Gravity is a theory. Should we teach the controversy?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • zoft2000

      "Evolution is not a theory. It is an established principle."

      That's why 2/3 of the world don't believe in it.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • pray

      try again!

      January 11, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Marc

      the·o·ry
         [thee-uh-ree, theer-ee]

      noun, plural the·o·ries.
      1.
      a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.

      January 11, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • tepeters

      Evolution is a theory because in science a theory is an established principle based upon observable phenomena. A scientific theory is not as so many try to argue an unproven conjecture-in science that is a hypothesis that needs to be demonstrated by observable fact. Evolution is accepted as an established fact since no demonstrable fact to the contrary exists. There is philosophical argument but even philosophy can generally dismiss the so called god arguments. If a god intervenes into the natural world then that intervention is subject to reason and observation. If a god exists that cannot intervene in the natural world then his existence would be inconsequential to us.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Get Real

    This just in: 73% of Protestant pastors are idiots.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Helvetica

      Come on, just 73%. That seems low to me regardless of whether they say they believe in evolution or not. I for one don't believe in Jesus the sky god.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • marco60

      Recalculate......73% is far to generous.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  4. rufusclyde

    The poll is overwhelmingly biased by fundamentalist Christian pastors. Last time I checked, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans are all Protestants, and they all have no problem with evolution.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • go4it

      You may be correct. When I read the numbers they felt way out there to me too.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • strongbelief2

      Catholics believe in evolution also.

      January 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      Since the source of the poll data was a tool of the Southern Baptists we can safely assume the data are useless. The irony is that young earth creationism's core beliefs are all derived from the Seventh Day Adventists, and the major promoters today are the Southern Baptists who would never admit that close association. I recommend reading Ronald L. Numbers, "The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism" (2006 Berkeley: University of California Press).

      January 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Chris

      Catholics and the Orthodox have no problem with evolution either

      January 11, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Do Not Disassemble

      *** strongbelief2

      Catholics believe in evolution also.
      ------------------

      I am still waiting for catholics to evolve.

      January 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  5. Stupid Poll

    That's like saying, this just in! New poll shows that eating too much will make you fat. Of course they don't believe in Evolution, they believe in Creationism.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • bob

      There are plenty of clergymen who consider evolution as the instrument that God used in creation. Of course, that is just one theory to try and explain the FACT of evolution.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • keith

      I don't think it's like that at all ("thiis just in"). It's like saying we shouldn't do a cenus because we already have a generral idea how the numbers are going to turn out. Also, there is a lot of conflicting opinions within christianity, it's interesting (and distressing) to get some data on what christians believe.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  6. pattyo27

    The only positive I took away from that article was the very last sentence. That gives me some hope. People need to realize that science does provide facts. Can you say the same for your religion? No. At no point, while I was religious, did I encounter fact. There wasn't even evidence! It's all based on what you believe from a 4,000-2,000 year old book. I'm sorry, but any rational human beling that would deny things like DNA that we can actually see, but believe in something they have never had any physical contact with, deserve to live their life in the shadow of reality. Unfortunately, your crazy beliefs could affect my civil liberties. My children will scoff at the concept of creationism. They are less rational than a 5 yr old. How entertaining.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  7. meemee

    Talking snakes, angry god, satan gets the upper hand often, virgin birth, raising from dead. This is the stuff of mythology and any real literary expert would recognize it as such. As for those poor souls who cling to such tripe as "truth," they are victims of brainwashing from birth and need to return to church to repeat the nonsense every week, lest their minds naturally question such nonsense. Christians today are remnants of Europeans and others who were terrorized into belief for over a thousand years. Many of the most radical colonized the East coast and remained secluded while Europe agonized in religious civil war and other ills of Christianity like the Inquisition, which took place all over Europe and only Napoleon ended. The seclusion and magnification of radical Christianity was allowed a safe haven – safe from reason Today's Christians would hardly recognize or accept the radical Christianity of just a hundred years ago, let alone of the 17th century, yet they insist on what they know in their rational minds is ludicrous because it has long been entangled with politics. This is why America is failing.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Steve from St. Louis

      MeeMee
      Your response is one of the most insightful I have seen about the absurdity of religion. Congratulations.

      January 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • mark

      The thing is , religion (in all forms) is not just absurd.. Its really a plague on humankind.. because the fact is it causes more death and destruction on this planet than *ANYTHING* else. . Religion (not faith!) needs to go away.. I really do think it will, eventually..

      January 11, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • Simon Says

      MeeMee for president.

      January 11, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Ed

      Nice Job MeeMee!

      January 11, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  8. Lorne

    I was just talking to my God. He says we evolved.

    There, now we have proof and can stop argueing...

    January 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Lord Omar

      A PRIMER FOR ERISIAN EVANGELISTS by Lord Omar

      The SOCRATIC APPROACH is most successful when confronting the ignorant. The "socratic approach" is what you call starting an argument by asking questions. You approach the innocent and simply ask "Did you know that God's name is ERIS, and that He is a girl?" If he should answer "Yes." then he probably is a fellow Erisian and so you can forget it. If he says "No." then quickly proceed to:
      THE BLIND ASSERTION and say "Well, He Is a girl, and His name is ERIS!" Shrewedly observe if the subject is convinced. If he is, swear him into the Legion of Dynamic Discord before he changes his mind. If he does not appear convinced, then proceed to:
      THE FAITH BIT: "But you must have Faith! All is lost without Faith! I sure feel sorry for you if you don't have Faith." And then add:
      THE ARGUMENT BY FEAR and in an ominous voice ask "Do you know what happens to those who deny Goddess?" If he hesitates, don't tell him that he will surely be reincarnated as a precious Mao Button and distributed to the poor in the Region of Thud (which would be a mean thing to say), just shake your head sadly and, while wiping a tear from your eye, go to:
      THE FIRST CLAUSE PLOY wherein you point to all of the discord and confusion in the world and exclaim "Well who the hell do you think did all of this, wise guy?" If he says, "Nobody, just impersonal forces." then quickly respond with:
      THE ARGUMENT BY SEMANTICAL GYMNASTICS and say that he is absolutely right, and that those impersonal forces are female and that Her name is ERIS. If he, wonder of wonders, still remains obstinate, then finally resort to:
      THE FIGURATIVE SYMBOLISM DODGE and confide that sophisticated people like himself recognize that Eris is a Figurative Symbol for an Ineffable Metaphysical Reality and that The Erisian Movement is really more like a poem than like a science and that he is liable to be turned into a Precious Mao Button and Distributed to The Poor in The Region of Thud if he does not get hip. Then put him on your mailing list.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  9. Seth Hill of Topanga, California

    Of course Evolution is a theory. "If things evolved, we could find fossils laid in certain orders in the layers of the earth, we could find certain elements to have ratios of isotopes, we could find patterns in DNA, etc..." The more things like that we find, the stronger the Theory of Evolution looks. If we found contradictory evidence, the Theory of Evolution would look weaker. I don't think Creationists have come up with a similar Theory of Creation and things to look for which would make their Theory stonger or weaker.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Luke Skywalker

      Creationists have ONE source for everything, a roughly 2000 year old book written by a bunch of people. Can you imagine people doing that 2000 years from how? The Church of Hogwarts, Harry Potter is the Son of God (who happens to be Dumbledore)??? Yeah, sounds pretty stupid, but no worse than the crap being spewed today.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Bob

      So far – everything goes just the way the Bible says. To the scariest things. Why people were so morally advanced even 500 years ago. Why do we see morality goes down so fast. I will stick with Jesus – this way I will be protected by Him.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • What?

      "Why people were so morally advanced even 500 years ago."

      You're joking right? Slavery, discrimination against women, that's why people fled to American to get away from religious persecution. LOL! What a stupid statement.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      I think that "bob" must be making a joke; "Why people were so morally advanced even 500 years ago."

      Slavery? Witch Burning? Debtor prisons? Genocide against Native Americans? Religious torture, and tortured confessions? Indefinite imprisonment?

      I mostly find today's society far more moral. (Well OK, on the torture issue, the Republicans have brought that back, and Obama just signed off on indefinite imprisonment without trial. Aside from torture and indefinite imprisonment, we were more moral).

      January 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  10. Sambo

    I find the whole theory of evolution very hard to understand. Humans evolved from a lower life form to have body parts that fit perfectly for the purposes of procreation? A starfish eats and poops out of the same orifice? Sorry. Sounds to me like this is some very precise and intelligent engineering. Evolution is a farce. I'll stick with God. If I'm wrong, I'm no worse off than I am now. If I'm right, I win.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Where is the fallacy guy??

      January 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • bob

      That's because of something that happened to the critters with body parts that weren't suitable for reproduction. And guess what that was? Those critters didn't reproduce.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Burnz

      But you're wrong. Our last common ancestor with starfish, split over a billion years ago. But please, stop using new anti-biotics, they're desgined for "new" bacteria that can't exist in your little realm, because they can't change.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Tony

      Ah, Pascal's Gambit. To which I say: The possibilities are not just "no god" and "Christian God." There are thousands of religions with hundreds of thousands of gods, and all must be considered as options.

      For example: how do you know that the creator does not reward skepticism?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • streetsmt

      SAMBO
      So eternety has come down to a crap shoot in which god to believe in? I hope you chose the right one.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Get Real

      Sambo – Certain that God would appreciate that your faith in him is based on a Vegas style odds-making decision. You are a complete tool. I don't understand how to send a rocket ship to the moon, but that happened. I don't understand Calculus but am pretty sure other people make good use of it. Since when does not understanding something mean it isn't true?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      CS,
      Please drag out your Rabbit Poop Mystery. He needs a dose. :twisted:

      January 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • PowerToTheShepes

      Will you prostrate yourself before His Noodly Appendage?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Roland

      Evolution is farce??? Religion is consistent in its beliefs??? Let's review, pastors are split 50/50 on whether they think the earth is 6000 years old when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. People once were convinced the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth and at that time people "believed" it to be true because they wanted it to be true and they were skeptical of the scientists that had evidence that contradicted it. It took hundreds of years for people to accept it as fact instead of a theory. Just because you believe doesn't make it true and who says religion is consistent in its beliefs. There are countless religions out there with different beliefs. Are all of them true or are you arrogant enough to say outloud that your religion is right and all the others are wrong???

      January 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Prometheus

      Pascal's Wager is an excuse for stupidity, intellectual laziness, and any primitive belief. And, speaking of poop, your maginificent creator designed one of the poorest exhaust systems in the world. It suffers frequent breakdowns, is environmentally unfriendly, its waste is toxic, and it frequently kills its owner or other innocent bystanders. Detroit never came close to engineering a product that bad. Face it, both the government and unions do much better work than your god. Americans need to file a class action suit against the churches, as agents of god, and sue for damages caused by the divine creator whose pathetic workmanship and design is rivaled by China and other third-world manufacturers. Wait, I take that back as its slanderous to the Chinese and the third-world.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Memo to Sambo re: Intelligent Design (as per bucky ball)

      The Mystery of Rabbit Poop

      Unlike most other mammals, lagomorphs (including domestic rabbits) produce two types of droppings, fecal pellets (the round, dry ones you usually see in the litter box) and cecotropes. The latter are produced in a region of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cec.um, a blind-end pouch located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The cec.um contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and may even protect the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens.
      How does the rabbit get those essential nutrients? She eats the cecotropes as they exit the anus. The rabbits blissful expression when she's engaging in cecotrophy (the ingestion of cecotropes) will tell you that she finds this anything but disgusting. In fact, rabbits deprived of their cecotropes will eventually succ.umb to malnutrition. Cecotropes are not feces. They are nutrient-packed dietary items essential to your companion rabbit's good health.
      A rabbit may produce cecotropes at various times during the day, and this periodicity may vary from rabbit to rabbit. Some produce cecotropes in the late morning, some in the late afternoon, and some at night. In any case, they usually do this when you're not watching (quite polite of them). This might be why some people refer to cecotropes as "night droppings," though cecotropes are not always produced at night. A human face is apparently an excellent and refreshing palate-cleanser, as a favorite activity immediately post-cecotrophy often seems to be "kiss the caregiver". Mmmmmm.
      Now THAT is intelligent. A mammal having to eat tasty morsels that come out of it’s butt (an evolutionary trait passed on from the fish digestive system many millions of years ago).

      Next week: Cows and that crazy “cud” double tummy thing. Intelligent Design!

      January 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Simon Says

      ** A starfish eats and poops out of the same orifice?

      You just compared human beings to starfish ?
      Wow.
      Ya sold me...............not.

      January 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • John

      No you don't win because you are ignoring undeniable scientific facts to appease your belief in a 2000 year old book written during the bronze age. That is what creationist do. They ignore facts so they can make their "science" fit with what they already believe. That isn't science. It's science fiction.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  11. Voiceinthewind

    Coming from the Southern Baptists this is about right. These people are still in the stone age someplace talking to snakes and eating magic apples from magic trees(LOL). No wonder some people consider the south so backwards. But then they are mostly Republicant so what can you expect from people who still believe in slavery and the Civi War?

    January 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  12. Janelyn

    Duh!! Stupid poll

    January 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Janelyn

      You said, "Duh!! Stupid poll"
      It's not the poll that is stupid....

      January 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Grog bop Janelyn on head and drag to cave.
      Grog like dem stupids.

      January 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  13. jo an

    The churches are getting dumber and dumber...used to the pastors were educated...now it is entertainment...and 'calling'...at least Catholic Priests are educated...

    January 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • LibrePenseur

      You meant they are better indoctrinated and brainwashed.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Duck Duck Duck - GOOSE

      Evolution cannot be true,
      example – Rick Santorum !

      January 11, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  14. The Central Scrutinizer

    Creationist, "Evolution should not be taught in schools!"

    Educated person, "Why not"

    Creationist, "Because it is just a theory!"

    Educated person, "But isn't all of science just a theory?"

    Creationist, "Well...that will leave more time for gym."

    January 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Luke Skywalker

      More importantly, why teach Creationism in Science class if it isn't science? How would the Churches feel if they were required to teach Evolution??

      January 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      They might feel a lot smarter.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Chad

      Creationist, "Evolution can be taught in schools as a theory, we will also teach creationism"

      Atheist: "What are you going to say about evolution?"

      Creationist, "Everything that we know to be true: that stasis dominates the fossil record, that Darwins theory of gradualism is dead, that species arrive in the fossil record fully formed. That punctuated equilibrium states that nothing happens for millions of years, then bang! In one grand paroxysm of perfectly timed mutations new species are formed. We will also teach what we know of the origin of the universe"

      Atheist: "Wha-wha-wha do you mean?"

      Creationist, "Well, we'll teach that people who deny God, claim that there was nothing, then nothing exploded, and that explosion (rapid expansion) occurred in such a precise manner that to have done so in that manner would exceed the odds of being mathematical possible."

      Atheist: "Well, why would you do that???"

      Creationist: "Well, it's the truth, right?"

      Atheist: "Now that is completely irrelevant!!! The thing to do is ignore facts, call creationists stupid and not deal with the actual data.. Are you retarded?!"

      Creationist: "If you go to the first room on the left there, you can take a class in biology 101, please do try to learn to be intellectually honest"

      January 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I just want to know where that original cell came from.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @DamianKnight "I just want to know where that original cell came from."

      =>contrary to what atheists will tell you, a single cell is incredibly complex.

      The simpler of the two types of cells (eukaryotic and prokaryotic) has three architectural regions:
      On the outside, flagella and pili project from the cell's surface. These are structures (not present in all prokaryotes) made of proteins that facilitate movement and communication between cells;

      Enclosing the cell is the cell envelope – generally consisting of a cell wall covering a plasma membrane though some bacteria also have a further covering layer called a capsule. The envelope gives rigidity to the cell and separates the interior of the cell from its environment, serving as a protective filter. Though most prokaryotes have a cell wall, there are exceptions such as Mycoplasma (bacteria) and Thermoplasma (archaea). The cell wall consists of peptidoglycan in bacteria, and acts as an additional barrier against exterior forces. It also prevents the cell from expanding and finally bursting (cytolysis) from osmotic pressure against a hypotonic environment. Some eukaryote cells (plant cells and fungi cells) also have a cell wall;

      Inside the cell is the cytoplasmic region that contains the cell genome (DNA) and ribosomes and various sorts of inclusions. A prokaryotic chromosome is usually a circular molecule (an exception is that of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease). Though not forming a nucleus, the DNA is condensed in a nucleoid. Prokaryotes can carry extrachromosomal DNA elements called plasmids, which are usually circular. Plasmids enable additional functions, such as antibiotic resistance. Source: Wikipedia

      January 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chad,

      Thank you for explaining how a cell works. I am still confused though as to where the cell came from. As far as I know, life cannot be created from inorganic material. Therefore, how did inorganic material create organic material?

      January 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Chad

      DamianKnight "Thank you for explaining how a cell works. I am still confused though as to where the cell came from. As far as I know, life cannot be created from inorganic material. Therefore, how did inorganic material create organic material?"

      => I guess the answer is: as of now no one really know's how God did it...

      January 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • MNWriter

      Inorganic material can be transformed into organic molecules easily. This experiment has been done many times – duplicate the atmospheric conditions of the primitive earth and add energy, and you get huge great globs of complex organic molecules without even working hard.

      As for Chad's little play, I applaud the attempt to portray atheists as the ones rejecting truth in favor of belief – however, you are stating several MASSIVE faith-based assumptions which are not supported by data. Science does not claim that there was 'nothing'. It doesn't claim that 'nothing' exploded. Science views 'what existed before the universe' as an unanswerable question, because there is no ability to gather data. And no, it isn't mathematically impossible – it's actually pretty easy.

      January 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Jeff

      Chad, you know what you just wrote is intellectually dishonest. That's one of the worst sins you can do – commit perjury. It's in the 10 commandments. Enjoy roasting in hell for eternity buddy. Sucks to be you. You should have learned not to lie about stuff.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Chad

      MNWriter "Science does not claim that there was 'nothing'. It doesn't claim that 'nothing' exploded. "

      =>"Stephen Hawking in 'A Brief History of Time' describes how time and energy came into existence with the creation of the Big Bang, but that the laws of science break down at the singularity preventing us from looking further back in time. As far as the Big Bang theory is concerned it is meaningless to look back beyond the Big Bang, nothing existed."

      "Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when men first walked upon the moon, "three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3 The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy – nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don't know. We don't know where it came from, why it's here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn't exist and neither did we."

      It appears you have your facts incorrect :-)

      January 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Chad

      In order for the principles of mutation and natural selection in the theory of evolution to work, there have to be living things for them to work on. Life must exist before it can to start diversifying. Life had to come from somewhere, and the theory of evolution proposes that it arose spontaneously out of the inert chemicals of planet Earth perhaps 4 billion years ago.

      Could life arise spontaneously? If you read How Cells Work, you can see that even a primitive cell like an E. coli bacteria - one of the simplest life forms in existence today - is amazingly complex. Following the E. coli model, a cell would have to contain at an absolute minimum:

      A cell wall of some sort to contain the cell
      A genetic blueprint for the cell (in the form of DNA)
      An enzyme capable of copying information out of the genetic blueprint to manufacture new proteins and enzymes
      An enzyme capable of manufacturing new enzymes, along with all of the building blocks for those enzymes
      An enzyme that can build cell walls
      An enzyme able to copy the genetic material in preparation for cell splitting (reproduction)
      An enzyme or enzymes able to take care of all of the other operations of splitting one cell into two to implement reproduction (For example, something has to get the second copy of the genetic material separated from the first, and then the cell wall has to split and seal over in the two new cells.)
      Enzymes able to manufacture energy molecules to power all of the previously mentioned enzymes

      Obviously, the E. coli cell itself is the product of billions of years of evolution, so it is complex and intricate - much more complex than the first living cells. Even so, the first living cells had to possess:

      A cell wall
      The ability to maintain and expand the cell wall (grow)
      The ability to process "food" (other molecules floating outside the cell) to create energy
      The ability to split itself to reproduce

      Otherwise, it is not really a cell and it is not really alive. To try to imagine a primordial cell with these capabilities spontaneously creating itself, it is helpful to consider some simplifying assumptions. For example:

      Perhaps the original energy molecule was very different from the mechanism found in living cells today, and the energy molecules happened to be abundant and free-floating in the environment. Therefore, the original cell would not have had to manufacture them.
      Perhaps the chemical composition of the Earth was conducive to the spontaneous production of protein chains, so the oceans were filled with unimaginable numbers of random chains and enzymes.
      Perhaps the first cell walls were naturally forming lipid spheres, and these spheres randomly entrapped different combinations of chemicals.
      Perhaps the first genetic blueprint was something other than DNA.

      These examples do simplify the requirements for the "original cell," but it is still a long way to spontaneous generation of life. Perhaps the first living cells were completely different from what we see today, and no one has yet imagined what they might have been like. Speaking in general terms, life can only have come from one of two possible places:

      Spontaneous creation – Random chemical processes created the first living cell.
      Supernatural creation – God or some other supernatural power created the first living cell.

      => that was from "how stuff works", interesting and seemed to lay it out pretty clearly.
      What do you vote for? Spontaneous creation? Seem likely?

      January 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  15. fred

    Then we should reject those US pastors.

    January 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • fred

      fake fred, get a new handle, I like mine

      January 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • fred

      I'm the real original fred and I was here long before you were. So go fuck yourself and stop ripping off my handle.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • fred

      So when did you start you stealing ways ? imposter

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Not Fred

      I'm not Fred and I am glad.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ferd the Turd

      I am who am.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • fred

      now look what you went and did to a perfectly good name.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • fred

      Stop stealling.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • fred

      bad fred

      January 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Me Not Fred

      Can Grog play ?

      January 11, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • no one likes Freds

      ummm no one likes freds

      March 6, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  16. bcinwi

    does evolutionism violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Thats the real question.

    January 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      The creationist application of the second law of thermodynamics to the development of living things is inconsistent with any model of origins. Creationists get around this problem by invoking the supernatural, as usual.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Chad

      Learn engineering you tool.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Hey Seus

      No, but a god does.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • fred

      chad How can a tool learn engineering. Oh you did.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • fred

      ignore fred the imposter

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • fred

      Get a new name 2nd fred. /Seriously

      January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • fred

      Seriously why use up my good name.?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad is a dolt.

      January 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      bcinwi, "does evolutionism violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Thats the real question."

      The real answer is, No.

      For the details see;
      "The second law of thermodynamics and evolution"

      http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/evolution.html

      "An Introduction to Entropy-and-Evolution and The Second Law of Thermodynamics"

      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/thermo.htm

      January 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  17. Robert Sutherland

    FACT. Science still has no evidence that life can create itself. Second fact. there are still huge gaps in the THEORY of evolution. Thats why it is still referred to as a theory after 150 years of science trying to prove otherwise.
    One other point. The Bible is not a scientific book and scientific writings are not based on faith. The two are not in conflict for that very reason.

    January 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong. Look up the definition of "theory" as it relates to science. It isn't "just" a theory. Scientific theory is has specific meaning.

      In addition, the theory of evolution says nothing about life "creating itself."

      January 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      That all forms of life on Earth are related by common descent with modification is one of the most reliable facts in the biological sciences. Are there still "theories" in the whole of the much larger realm of this study, yes. Typical creationists will ignore the facts though and state that evolution is a "theory". No, evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is simply nonsense.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Hi Tom Tom. Can you believe this dweeb?

      January 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not much surprises me anymore. How are you?

      January 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Great! Hope you are too.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Skeptic

      Anthopology, Archeology, Earth Science, Botany, Statistics, Medicine, Paleontology etc etc ALL COMPLIMENT each other to provide PROOF of the FACT of evolution – not to mention common sense. $$ MONEY $$ makes the world go round and if someone would could provide scientific proof that evolution did not take place such person would be rich & famous beyond words. Furthermore, you have absolutely no understanding of what the term "theory" means which shows you have little or no science background at all.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Skeptic

      Since Darwin: 150 years of scientific inquiry – millions of rigorous peer reviewed articles – most if not ALL science nobel laureates, study in the fields of Biology, Geology, Physics, Astronomy, Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Ecology, Chemistry, Anthopology, Archeology, Earth Science, Botany, Statistics, Medicine, Paleontology etc etc ALL COMPLIMENT each other to provide PROOF of the FACT of evolution – not to mention common sense. $$ MONEY $$ makes the world go round and if someone would could provide scientific proof that evolution did not take place such person would be rich & famous beyond words. Furthermore, you have absolutely no understanding of what the term "theory" means which shows you have little or no science background at all.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      To be fair, I don't know about evolution as we know it today. I did some research via Wikipedia, which admittedly, is subject to personal interpretations and is user updated, however, in general it's pretty accurate. But I think it is disingenuous to call evolution "fact", however, I can say it has some pretty solid components which make sense which lend it to some decent probability.

      First and foremost, the theory of evolution is comprised of multiple theories, including things such as DNA sequencing and natural selection. Therefore, in order for evolution to be fact, all parts of it have to be based on fact. As we are far from understanding either natural selection or DNA sequencing, the best we can do is call it "a work in progress." This statement is not intended at all to completely discredit the theory of evolution, merely, place it in its proper place.

      Second, all scientific theories have to meet these two criteria:
      It is consistent with pre-existing theory, to the extent the pre-existing theory was experimentally verified, though it will often show pre-existing theory to be wrong in an exact sense.
      It is supported by many strands of evidence, rather than a single foundation, ensuring it is probably a good approximation, if not totally correct.

      While not essential, scientific theories generally will be rejected if they do not include the ability to be tentative, correctable and dynamic in allowing for changes as new facts are discovered, rather than asserting certainty.

      If something is open to be corrected and cannot be asserted with certainty, one cannot call it a fact.

      Lastly, in order for something to really be called a fact, it must be repeatable. Given that there are a myriad of factors that would have to be introduced, not to mention the amount of time that would have to pass, it's going to be difficult to call evolution a fact once in for all.

      In contrast, no religion is able to speak with certainty regarding its belief systems in a scientific manner. However, with respect to religion, it is not imperative that religion prove itself in the way of science. Religion is based on faith and beliefs, and those beliefs may not stand up to scientific analysis, because a deity or many deities may or may not be subject to natural, observable and quantifiable laws that science mandates.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Timmy

      DK,
      Science is a "method". The word "fact" does not appear in any of the steps of the method.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Burnz

      Gravity doesn't exist, it's just a THEORY. GOD has an angel follow each and every one of us to hold us onto the planet, FACT. Prove me wrong, have you ever seen "gravitrons?" Fact of the matter is; gravity is a liberal/communist/atheist conspiracy to weaponize space and mess up the minds of our children.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Grampa

      You're about as wrong as you can be, Robert. There is a ton of evidence (fossils, DNA studies) supporting evolution, including the spontaneous appearance of amino acids in a test tube. There are no "huge gaps" in the theory of evolution and you clearly don't understand what a scientific theory is in the first place. It's not an unsupported guess. It's an explanation for observed phenomena that is backed up by evidence and experimental results.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Grampa,

      You seem to have a pretty solid knowledge of evolution. Can you please explain to me how life began? Specifically, if all life developed from a single-celled organism that mutated, changed, and gave birth to all life, where did that single-celled organism that come from?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • What?

      "Specifically, if all life developed from a single-celled organism that mutated, changed, and gave birth to all life, where did that single-celled organism that come from?"

      Who created your god, it just came into being because where did your god come from?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • MikeinMN

      DamianKnight, You're only part way there. I applaud your skepticism but suggest you go beyond the H.S. explanation of the world. Lots more to it.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @What,

      Ah-ah-ah. You're trying to detract from the issue. God is a matter of faith, which means "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." So one does not have to prove the existence of God.

      However, science is stating all life sprang forth from a cell. So, I ask again, where did that initial cell come from?

      January 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Chad

      The important thing to remember about science is that they will stick to a failed theory until something else better comes along.

      Which explains why it took 120 years for them to acknowledge the blindingly obvious fossil record (stasis) and debunk gradualism

      January 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • MNWriter

      DamianKnight,

      The first cell was not the first living organism. The first biological creatures were free-floating strands of genetic material that could replicate themselves, consume food, and so on. They fed on each other, since all known organic life must consume other organic material to survive. Some of them formed into communities for mutual advantage, which eventually formed membranes and various other structures to enhance this advantage. This is what we refer to as a cell. The first cell was simply one step in the continuous advance of living things from free-floating strands of genetic material to symbiotic colonies of organic molecules that eventually became self-aware.

      January 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • MNWriter

      Chad,
      How is it illogical to use current theory until it is disproven? Religion does the same thing, only it takes much, MUCH longer to accept the 'disproof', so I'm not sure what your point might be. The first known experiment to prove that the earth is round occurred 2200 years ago, and yet Christianity didn't concede the fact until 1700 years later. They literally waited until someone physically sailed around the whole thing to accept what was already mathematically demonstrated to be an obvious truth. As Magellan himself said,
      "The Church says the Earth is flat,
      but I know that it is round,
      For I have seen the shadow on the Moon,
      and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church."

      January 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      The theory of evolution is not a theory of the origin of life, the solar system, or the universe. Charles Darwin called the speculation "mere rubbish." In Darwin's day it was "mere rubbish," but today we have a very productive research program on the origin of life on Earth, and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.

      For "A Short Outline of the Origin of Life" take a look at;

      http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/2008/12/origin-of-life-outline.html

      January 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • zoft2000

      MNWriter

      I hope that you do meet/experience God in your lifetime, allot of people have and you can't say they are all crazy. There are some things we don't know and probably we will never know. Science explains some things but those are probaly just the tip of the iceberg. Now if science could explain everything then there would not be any need for a god but unfortunately it can't.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • HellBent

      @Robert, There are even bigger gaps in the THEORY of gravity. Is there really any wonder why this country is losing scientific and engineering ground?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • HellBent

      @zoft2000,

      So your god is just a god of the gaps? The problem with that is that the gaps are always closing.

      'I can't explain it, so god must have done it' is intellectually lazy.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • God does not take sides

      *** Fact of the matter is; gravity is a liberal/communist/atheist conspiracy to weaponize space and mess up the minds of our children.

      Sounds like a republican thing to me.

      January 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • DamianKnight

      MN, great! Thank you for answering that.

      So my next question is, where did that free-floating genetic come from?

      January 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Jeebus

      FACT. Bears believe in evolution.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Chad

      MNWriter "How is it illogical to use current theory until it is disproven? "

      =>Why is it illogical to stick with a failed theory? Seems fairly self evident.. Why not say "we dont know"

      January 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  18. The Central Scrutinizer

    The Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago. Life a billion years later. Anatomically modern humans, 200, 000 years ago.

    Evolution is scientifically sound.

    The Bible has no validity whatever and should be used for toilet paper.

    That is all.

    January 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • bcinwi

      I agree 100% lol

      January 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Skeptic

      Since Darwin: 150 years of scientific inquiry – millions of rigorous peer reviewed articles – most if not ALL science nobel laureates, study in the fields of Biology, Geology, Physics, Astronomy, Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Ecology, Chemistry, Anthopology, Archeology, Earth Science, Botany, Statistics, Medicine, Paleontology etc etc ALL COMPLIMENT each other to provide PROOF of the FACT of evolution – not to mention common sense. $$ MONEY $$ makes the world go round and if someone would could provide scientific proof that evolution did not take place such person would be rich & famous beyond words. Furthermore, you have absolutely no understanding of what the term "theory" means which shows you have little or no science background at all.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @The Central Scrutinizer- You were doing somewhat well till you fell off the tracks and went into hater country.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • fred

      As Pilate said "what is truth"
      In 1654 it was believed the earth was formed at 6 p.m. on 22 October 4004 BC. Then in the 18th century it was estimated to be millions of years old. In 1958 the oldest stars were 25 billion years old yet today everyone is claiming the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

      My theory is that the Bible is at least consistant in its beliefs

      January 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Timmy

      ferd,
      Consistently false is worse than moving towards the truth.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      @Uncouth
      Thanks Mom.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • fred

      What is truth when the religion believers don't accept it and they define their own book as truth. What is truth. What is truth. You to yourself might ask.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • zoft2000

      "The Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago. Life a billion years later. Anatomically modern humans, 200, 000 years ago."

      Wrong ! Scientist Claim and theorize but have no proof that The Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago. Life a billion years later. Anatomically modern humans, 200, 000 years ago.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • chaz8181

      The bible has validity from several view points..one, it is a book of philosophy, not historic fact. two, it should never be used to govern. three we can separate the supernatural and use it as a guide , if we desire to do this. (read "The Jefferson Bible") Fourth..the old testament is not based on facts , merely a mythological way of the ancients explaining the universe and good and evil. Fifth..The founding fathers believed in separation of church and state..This is not , in any way, a "Christian country" , it is a 'free country" meaning that if you have a bible, you can either read it or use it as toilet paper. LET'S KEEP OUR COUNTRY THAT WAY.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  19. Timmy

    Another interesting statistic is the % of Europeans who say they think the Theory of Evolution in on the right track, vs. the % of Americans. Very Scary, and a telling comment on the US education system. :(

    January 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Yep..becoming less religious has certainly done the US education system a lot of good.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I agree. No doubt.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Dave

      The saddest thing is that it's less about the education system, and more about an intellectual laziness and / or out and out inherent stupidity. Never mind tryin to 'teach' either belief – just try using your brain for something – anything – and surely basic curiosity and logic would help most people think through the options and conclude that a book of old folk tales is probably not the real story of how life developed. Just a hunch.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • zoft2000

      The Muslims are very against evolution. Let's not forget that the comprise 1/4 of the worlds population. As a matter of fact I would say that a good 2/3 of the worlds population don't believe in that evolution. Most societies ever since the begining of time believed in something.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  20. Charity

    Willing suspension of disbelief = what is necessary for a rational person to adopt this system of belief.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.