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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 • Evangelical • Science

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soundoff (6,504 Responses)
  1. Beldar

    Forget the stories. They are just stories. Listen to the undeniable truths:
    Christianity all boils down to love. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Thats all it is, it really is simple. You do not have to deny science to be a Christian.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Beldar: "Treat others the way you want to be treated."

      Normally that is a beneficial path to follow (unless you run across a masochist - "hit me, hurt me, I love it"!), but it did not originate with Christianity, nor is it specific to Christianity.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  2. BOBBY

    I like the way Purefury slipped in the "non literal days" remark....cause see, unlike 2000 years ago....the 6 day thing just don't hold up now.....and moving forward....like domino's....more and more of the "non literal" will be applied to what was once literal. A very convenient, man made, modification to the BIBLE don't ya think, if it's been absolutely proven to be impossible it suddenly becomes....you guessed it...."no literal

    January 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Beldar

      Science has not disproven anything in the bible yet. If I am wrong please inform me.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • BOBBY

      well....well...just off the top of my head...I think the whole flood thing is pretty much out.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Beldar

      I asked for something that science has proven. By the way I do not believe the bible stories were all supposed to be takes literally.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Things that didn't happen...
      The Flood....Adam and Eve were the first and only humans on the planet...man lives in a fish for 3 days...solar eclipse lasts for hours...Mary gave birth as a virgin....Jesus rose from the dead...and many other so called miracles. All impossible events as demonstrated by science.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Beldar....just wondering what gives you that right......you don't "believe"? How does one choose? Where are the footnotes? To pick and choose from the Holy Scripture as dictated by scientific discovery is certainly convenient, but a bit risky, you know as far as the scripture itself is concerned.....therin lies the problem.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Beldar
      "Science has not disproven anything in the bible yet. If I am wrong please inform me."

      Off the top of my head: I don't know if any double-blind, peer reviewed studies have been done on whether dipping a live bird in a dead bird's blood is a cure for leprosy, but I think it's pretty well ruled out by the scientific community.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Science has also proven that the universe wasn't created in 6 days and that the earth isn't 6k years old. We know this because of the speed of light and carbon dating. The sun didn't stop moving in the sky to light Joshua's extended battle. Pretty much everything that goes against the laws of physics in the bible has in fact been disproved by science. There's multiple things about Noah's ark that would have made that story impossible too. Namely, there is no geological evidence of a worldwide flood. Noah couldn't have brought on ever fish and their habitat and if they remained in the ocean the water would have become brackish and killed them. There are millions of species of insects. There are so many animals who it might be mentioned have special diets so there wouldn't be room for everything in the specs of the ark given in the bible... and, how did all of the animals get back to their natural habitats. Kangaroos had to get to Austrailia, penguins had to get back to Antarctica...

      January 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • PureFury

      I'll repost this since you duplicated a comment of your own. St. Augustine said in the 4th century that he believed that the six days of creation and day of rest were not literal. It's not a new concept and it's been around since before atomic dating has proven that the earth is more than 4 billion years old.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @PureFury, At least christians have updated their scientific perspective to the 4th century. We should all be happy about that. However, the bible doesn't say, "hey I'm being non-literal here... when I say 6 days, what I really mean is millions of 13 billion years... I just use days to make things more confusing." You can't deny that the same book that claims there is a god, also claims that the universe was created in 6 days. The problem with selectively reading the bible is that it discredits the original premise—the idea that there is a god.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  3. BOBBY

    WOw if the BIBLE was written by God.....ow can anything be "non literal" I mean even us dumb humans don't write a textbook on math and let the student figure out on their own what formulas "literally work" or not.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      The Bible is the inspired word of God.
      Well OK...if that is what you choose to believe then who am I to argue with you. If the scribblings of people detailing the creation of everything, physics defying miracles, the power of prayer, our endowment of souls and the promise of an afterlife seems reasonable to you then good for you. If these textual accounts of events past are adequate evidence for establishing the veracity of the claims therein then I am overjoyed.

      For while I find the followers of the various religious tomes to be pedantic and the ideas they hold to pedestrian, it has become obvious to me that the real truth behind the state of affairs in this universe have been revealed to mankind through the writters of science fiction. I believe the authors of this genre have been informed by intrepid star hoppers and time travelers.

      So it is undoubtably true that the many wonders described in these books are real existing things. The star girdling behemoth construction known as Ringworld and also Dyson Spheres exist. 40 kilometer long Integral Trees float around in the gas torus of some stars. A completely forest covered planet with green colored humanoids who populate the middle levels of Midworld safe from the deadly predators of the canopy and murky depths. Agents of Eternity known as Eternals travel upwhen and downwhen of the time continuem to correct and forstall disaster. Inhabitants of the Settler worlds have their every need attended to by humaniform robots while those still bound to Earth shun the robots and live like termites in domed cities. Enigmatic aliens known only as Ramans sent huge cylindrical generation ships to probe the galaxies and pick up explorers. These and many other fantastic things both awesome and dreadful sit awaiting us as we venture out into the cosmos.
      It's a fact, I believe it and it's true because it is written.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Beldar

      Clearly the Bible was not "written"by God. I do not know of any one who believes that.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Athiest steve.....hey I think you may have misunderstood my point....well written post though.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      No Bobby...I knew you were challenging the Bible. I had this little bit written yesterday and was looking for a Bible reference to post it to.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • fred

      Simply the fact man does the crazy things he does and dreams the crazy he dreams then brings them into reality is in and of itself evidence that God made man in his image and likeness. Even evolution cannot explain why a species would do the wild things man does with his free time. We want to create, want to love and do them with excellence. We put the bombardier beetle to shame with our creative defense and creative offense. Einstein was in awe at the wonder of the universe around him.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Beldar

    Only when science shows us how life begins from non-living matter will I doubt there is a creator.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Your not going back far enough.......that "non living matter" the mixed correctly creates life, some might say is miraculous in and of itself.....why if life when the mirical begins?

      January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • BOBBY

      im not much of a typist

      January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Isn't that what the dumb atheists believe in?

      January 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Earl

      If life begins from non-living matter,that explains why it is clay up there for some ;)

      January 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Beldar, I suspect that you could go back in a time machine and actually see the first moments of life and would still choose to believe in god. Some people will cling to their fantasies in the face of glaring, overwhelming evidence.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  5. Bumper

    Allow me to ask a simple hypothetical question to all of the Atheist and Agnostic bloggers:

    If there were a mathematical or scientific proof (purely hypothetical) that definitively showed the existence of Spirituality or God revealed Himself to you in an overt way that proved His existence, what would YOU do? What would be YOUR reaction to this event? How would YOUR life change?

    January 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Then I would believe. Quite simply that's why we don't. No justifiable evidence.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  6. griz5106

    For the last time: we did not evolve from monkeys. We did however, share a common ancestor with monkeys. Face it, it is a fact.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Rick

      Where is the proof?

      January 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Have you lost your mind....just askin

      January 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      We share a common ancestor with monkeys from about 20 million years ago. We share a more recent common ancestor with chimps going back about 5 million years.

      The evidence for this is in your DNA. Specifically it is our chromosome 2 which is a fusion of the simian chromosomes 2a and 2b. It is in the presence of ERVs common to humans and chimps.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  7. Dr.K.

    To all of those who are asserting that biological evolution is impossible due to biology, organic chemistry, or physics:
    Please speak up if you are a professional biologist, organic chemist, or physicist. Especially bumper – what is the source of your unparalleled expertise in each of these disciplines?

    January 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Q

      Dr. K , if we may also ask, what is your PhD in? (or) are you a medical doctor?

      January 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      No, not a medical doctor. Suffice it to say that my PhD is toward the "science-y" end of the social sciences. My work combines archaeology, Quaternary geology, and ecology.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Q...its obviouse...his degree is in "Common Sense"

      January 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  8. rick

    Note to self: Do not go to religious nuts for scientific advice.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Rick

      Self-Point noted! atheists are empty up there!

      January 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  9. J.W

    God made evolution happen.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Rabble rabble rabble rabble

      January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • J.W

      Chuckster why are you being such a rabble rouser?

      January 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • rick

      JW: Do you feel that a creator and a being that judges human interaction are synonymous? if so, why?

      January 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • J.W

      Well there could have been a creator without that creator judging human interactions. It is possible that God just set everything in motion then everything just happened after that.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • rick

      Heretic! Blasphemer!

      January 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • J.W

      Who knows? Maybe Jesus is the only interaction God has ever had with humans.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      Ah, getting outside the established words of God in the Bible and going your own way? The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. The Holy Spirit is with us today and is the primary interaction we have with God in prayer and the reading of scripture. God is referred to as a living God because He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. There have been many times in old and new testament where God has walked and talked with people. The confusing part there is it is not always clear which aspects of the trinity are in the angel or the being that is interacting with man.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • J.W

      Not necessarily fred. I am just introducing other possibilities, giving everybody things to think about.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      There should be some core understanding I would think that most would agree on. If you toss ideas out there then I think about it and ask does that make sense. The only source I have is the Bible. I guage comments regarding God against that source to see if it fits. Either the source is wrong, in which case I need a new source, or the idea does not fit somehow. Take your question on Mormons this morning. It made think are the Christian or not. The only reference I had was the Bible.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • J.W

      I haven't read much on Mormonism. But all the people on here say that Mormons believe in Jesus. That would make them Christian, if they believe in God and believe Jesus is their savior.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      I was replying to you last comment not your post. As far as your post regarding God and evoloution now you have me guessing. What I love is that God created the heavens and the earth then a few days latter God made man from what he created. That opens the door for evolution (made from) stemming from the original inorganic creation (created earth), The door is further opened because day and night came after the initial creation so time is wide open to allow for 13.7 billon years.
      Yeah, God could do things anyway he wants. The only clue we have in the beginning is that God spoke things into existence. Here too God could have said let there be evolution. Since the Bible and evolution address different areas and different perspective they are not in conflict.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • J.W

      Life would be boring if we already had all the answers. The fact that we discuss these topics on these blogs shows we do not have all the answers. But trying to figure it all out is part of our experience here on earth.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • fred

      As to Jesus and Mormons yes they believe Jesus died for our sins and was the perfect sacrafice. The difference is in the details. Jesus was just the Son of God to the Mormons whereas the Bible puts Jesus into the trinity thus Jesus is God. Jesus to the Mormon was God only in the same way good Mormons also become gods of their own planets when they die. Jesus made this possible through his perfect sacrafice thus Jesus is their savior. The Catholics added their twist also in many ways yet their position on Jesus is much closer to the Bible.
      I can see where all this difference and add ons to the Bible makes our belief look wacky. Then look at us trying to add evolution to the Bible.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      For a long time I hung my hat on the closing verses in Revelations that says if anyone adds or takes away anything from this book they will lose out on the tree of life. This is why I refer to what the Bible says and try not to add my own stuff.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    The Darwinian theory of evolution has withstood the test of time and thousands of scientific experiments.
    Many scientific advances, in a wide range of scientific disciplines including physics, geology, chemistry, ecology, genetics and molecular biology, have supported, refined, and expanded evolutionary theory far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.
    The 5 laws of the Theory of Evolution are practically applied on a daily basis in many fields of science.
    If the theory were unsound, there would be no such advancement.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      I'll go ahead and provide the creationist response: "No, it hasn't. Because it hasn't."

      These conversations remind me of the Black Knight at the Bridge in Monty Python's Holy Grail:
      "Come on, then!"
      "But I've cut your arm off"
      "No, you haven't!"
      "But it's laying right over there."
      "No it isn't! Have at you!"
      "But you have no arms."
      "Yes I have! Come on!"

      etc.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bumper

      To Doc:

      False.

      Evolution is in direct conflict with part of chemistry and all of physics. It fails at the sub microscopic level.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      Sustained by the sheer will of stubbornly guarded ignorance...

      January 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • PureFury

      I think what bumper is trying to cite is the third law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy cannot be destroyed. In other words all matter is moving toward a state of chaos and that random happenings cannot bring about a more ordered system. I.E. random mutations, even if they go through the filter of natural selection, cannot account for the creation of more complex, more ordered DNA from already existing DNA. Only very miniscule changes in DNA are likely to happen, which explains microevolution, not the large jumps that have had to happen for macroevolution to be true.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Bumper

      The appearance of a decreases in entropy requires an increase in entropy to be driven to that state. If that's what you are saying, I agree.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The earth isn't a closed system.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      what "bumper" and "purefury" are trying to express is the creationist claim that the SECOND law of thermodynamics conflicts with evolutionary theory. Of course, they have no idea about what they are saying.

      For a simple background, see the pages "Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics" by Prof. Frank L. Lambert;
      http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/

      For why the creationist claims are false, see "An Introduction to Entropy-and-Evolution and The Second Law of Thermodynamics" by Dr. Craig Rusbult.
      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/thermo.htm
      This article was written for, and hosted the American Science Afilliation which is a group of Christian scientsts concerned by the antifactual, and antiscriptural nonsense promoted by young Earth creationists.

      Now I am going fishing for the rest of the day.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • SeanNJ

      http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=1073734

      January 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  11. Kenrick Benjamin

    PureFury- Why do you feel that we are confining GOD, God's ways is not our ways.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • PureFury

      Because you are saying that God created all that we see in a way that's not how He told us He created it, in 6 non-literal days that spanned billions of years.
      He said Dirt + My Breath = Man
      He didn't say Dirt + My Breath + millions of years of random mutation weeded out by natural selection = Man
      Modern evolutionary biologists say that if a theory has to invoke God, then it's not science. If God really did personally create all that there is, science would be able to prove it, which it does. However when facts point to this, evolutionary biologists or just any atheistic scientist claim that's it's not science. Random forces cannot account for the existence of biological information, the universal code of life that we find in DNA. Back when Darwin was around and people thought cells were just slime filled sacs that only needed an electric zap to attain life, evolutionary theory could hold weight. Now that we understand just how complicated the cell is and how DNA works, Darwinism can't explain biological diversity.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @PureFury

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      January 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • BOBBY

      I like the way Purefury slipped in the "non literal days" remark....cause see, unlike 2000 years ago....the 6 day thing just don't hold up now.....and moving forward....like domino's....more and more of the "non literal" will be applied to what was once literal. A very convenient, man made, modification to the BIBLE don't ya think, if it's been absolutely proven to be impossible it suddenly becomes....you guessed it...."no literal"

      January 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Earl

      PureFury-Wow!, your response left them in awe!!!

      January 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • PureFury

      St. Augustine said in the 4th century that he believed that the six days of creation and day of rest were not literal. It's not a new concept and it's been around since before atomic dating has proven that the earth is more than 4 billion years old.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  12. Bluefan

    I wonder if these folks get flu shots against evolved strains of the flu?

    January 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Bluefan: But don't you understand? That's MICROevolution, not MACROevolution...whatever that means.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • rick

      What they really need are brain transplants

      January 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  13. Charles

    January 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rick

      HaHa Funny!

      January 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • BOBBY

      it would be ok....if there was say....a point

      January 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  14. Bumper

    To Otomatik:

    I agree with some of your statements, but you are painting with a rather broad brush.
    If you read my postings, you will see that I've used mathematics, science and logic to show
    evidence and probabilities for a creative design element. In earnest, it is not possible to prove the existence of God. This is where faith enters into the argument. Once you add God to the equation, it does become theistic, but not necessarily religious. Jesus was not religious and spoke against religious hypocrisy. Therefore, it is incorrect for you to just toss creative design elements, God and religion all into one pot. In my comments, I've stated that the creative design element is God, but NOT religion!

    January 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • momoya

      Bumper, you seem like a really nice guy, and I'm sure you're fun to hang with; however, you have NOT done what you claim to have done. See your quote below:

      >>>I agree with some of your statements, but you are painting with a rather broad brush.
      If you read my postings, you will see that I've used mathematics, science and logic to show
      evidence and probabilities for a creative design element.<<<

      January 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • otomakascram

      To me, any ideas presented as scientific but also include the concept of God or another spiritual being in them are, by definition, unscientific. Science seeks a to explain the world around us rationally – without resorting the idea of a God in the background making things happen. Newton's laws do not contain God in them; Einsteins theories on relativity do not have any reference to god; nor does Darwin. If you need God to make your theories work then you are no longer doing science – metaphysics maybe, but not science. After all, one of the key parts of the scientific method is to create experiments based on theories or hypothesis that support or refute that theory or hypothesis. How can you design an experiment if you need God to make it work? Nor does it make any sense to use mathematics or physics to "explain" god. If God does exist and is as powerful as they say he is (indeed he must be or he would not be "God") then the laws of math or physics should have no bearing on what he is or what it is he can do. He is above all that.
      All of this is not to say a God does not exist; or that he is irrelevant to us. We do have a spiritual side to us and a belief in a power greater than ourselves is important to have. It just means that, for the purposes of pursuing scientific knowledge, the existence of God is not to be considered and should have no bearing on the outcome.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bumper

      I mentioned that the transition from the creative elements to God is a matter of theology and based on individual faith, not science. However, everything leading up to the creative elements, is fundamental science and not like an inductive Darwinian paradigm or "soft' sciences like biology.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Bumper: Your science is based on really flimsy assumptions. If I were to approach your theorem with the "probability god doesn't exist," I'm sure I could come up with a similar percentage.

      Assuming a 50/50 probability of any unknown in a non-binary system is shoddy.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Bumper

      Sean:

      This one is easy. I was referring to a binary system. Enough said.,

      January 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Bumper: Um, no, you weren't. The math is bad.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  15. otomakascram

    Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection is a scientific explanation for the diversity of life found on this planet.
    Creationism or Intelligent Design are religious explanations for the diversity of life found on this planet.
    Both sets of ideas are perfectly valid within their particular world. It is difficult to imagine working in the field of biology or any science without giving a great deal of credence to Darwin's theory. And it is equally difficult to imagine being Christian and not believing that God had something to do with the creation of all the life you see around you. But the two are not mutually exclusive as long as we refrain from what seems to me to be a rather pointless exercise in trying to prove that one idea is "right" and the other is "wrong". They are simply two different ways of explaining the world that results from two different ways of looking at the world. And as long as we understand that they are two different ways of explaining the world and as long as we don't try to use one explanation against another (e.g. teach Creationism in a science class or "prove" a religious idea is invalid using scientific concepts) I don't see why they have to be in conflict with each other.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bumper

      I agree with some of your statements, but you are painting with a rather broad brush.
      If you read my postings, you will see that I've used mathematics, science and logic to show
      evidence and probabilities for a creative design element. In earnest, it is not possible to prove the existence of God. This is where faith enters into the argument. Once you add God to the equation, it does become theistic, but not necessarily religious. Jesus was not religious and spoke against religious hypocrisy. Therefore, it is incorrect for you to just toss creative design elements, God and religion all into one pot. In my comments, I've stated that the creative design element is God, but NOT religion!

      January 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Hummper

      As our understanding of the world improves, introducing a god into the explanation becomes less and less necessary. Certainly the pop bible hummpers are a pretty wacky bunch though, no matter what you have faith in. So many of the extreme ones like Teddy Haggard turn out to be flaming flamers too.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • WCatholic!

      Agree. I have my private opinion of fundamentalism, but that is neither here nor there. In science one does not look towards scripture or other religious texts, but through direct observation of the natural world. We learned our lesson with Galileo.
      As for biblical literalism, there is the problem of historic and cultural context. In other words textual, and historic criticism.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  16. Ryan

    The first line should read: "America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly 'do not understand' evolution." Rejecting evolution is like rejecting gravity... the universe is the way it is regardless of what you believe in.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • David - a Protestant Minister

      Actually the headline should read "Southern Baptist Ministers Seemingly Reject Evolution." The study was not done with Protestant ministers, it was done strictly Southern Baptist ministers. And it was an interview conducted with only 1000 ministers, which seems like a low number since there are over 42,000 Southern Baptist Churches in the United States. The study is bogus – but I wouldn't really expect a scientific survey done by people who don't believe in evolution.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Rapp

      Not quite like rejecting gravity. I have studied evolution and for me there are huge areas where "faith" is required because, unlike gravity, it cannot be tested or observed.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • momoya

      @Ryan, true, but a tough sell while we experience time on the scale we realize.
      @David, it depends on how the polling was carried out. If the sampling was truly random, then the laws of statistics states that the percentage is almost perfectly represented.
      @Rapp, science knows more about evolution than gravity The only "faith" required is the faith that the rules don't change drastically where our data is lacking. We don't have to observe an entire orbit of Pluto to know that it completes its solar circuit.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bluefan

      Rapp – evolution can, in fact, be observed. Viruses and bacteria have done it over and over in my lifetime...swine and avian flu for ex.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Rapp wrote, " I have studied evolution and for me there are huge areas where "faith" is required because, unlike gravity, it cannot be tested or observed."

      In that case, I have no problem calling you a liar. You may have read the crud from creationist websites and the "Pastor Dave's" of the world, but you most certainly did not study evolution.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dr. Gary Hurd

      @Rapp,

      I doubt that you have "studied evolution." Reading creationist crap is not studying evolution. I suggest you read some books by Christians, for Christians about evolution and geology;

      Ayala, Francisco
      2007 "Darwin’s Gift: To Science and Religion" (Washington DC: Joseph Henry Press- National Academies Press) (Ayala is a former RC Priest, and is a professor of biology at the University of California, Irvine).

      Collins, Francis S.
      2006 The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief New York Free Press- Simon and Schuster (Collins is an evangelical Christian, and former director of the Human Genome Project).

      Frye, Roland Mushat (editor)
      1983 "Is God a Creationist?: The Religious Case Against Creation-Science" New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, Inc.

      Giberson, Karl W.
      2008 “Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and believe in evolution” New York: HarperCollins (Giberson is a physicist and it shows. He makes many errors of fact about evolution, scientific and historical. He at least grasps that Christianity must accord with reality).

      Godfry, Stephen J. and Christopher R. Smith
      2005 "Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology, and Biblical Interpretation." Toronto: Clements Publishing. (Godfry is Christian clergy, and Smith is a professional geologist, They are brothers-in-law).

      Haught, John F.
      2001 “Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution” New York: Paulist Press (Haught is a Catholic theologian who testified as a plaintiff expert in the Dover, Pa “Intelligent Design” trial).

      Hyers, Conrad
      1984 “The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science” Atlanta: John Knox Press (Conrad Hyers has served as Professor of the History of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at both Beloit College and at Gustavus Adolphus College. He is also an ordained Presbyterian minister)

      Kitcher, Phillip
      2007 “Living With Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Life” Oxford University Press

      Miller, Keith B. (editor)
      2003 “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing

      Ken Miller
      1999 "Finding Darwin's God" New York: HarperCollins
      (Miller is a practicing Christian (RC) and a professor of biology, and textbook author)

      Slifkin, Natan
      2006/2008 “The Challenge of Creation: Judaism’s Encounter with Science, Cosmology and Evolution” New York: Zoo Torah and Yashar Books (Slifkin is an Orthodox Rabbi).

      Towne, Margaret Gray
      2003 "Honest to Genesis: A Biblical & Scientific Challenge to Creationism" Baltimore: PublishAmerica" (Towne is a former seminarian, and wife of a cleric).

      Young, Davis A.
      1995 “The Biblical Flood: A case study of the Church’s Response to extrabiblical evidence” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Paternoster Press

      Young, Davis A., Ralf F. Stearley
      2008 "The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth" Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press
      (Young, and Stearley are professors at a very conservative Christian College).

      January 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  17. Leslie

    such a shame that leaders of faith in this country have not the critical thinking skills required to understand any sort of science This is after all "the future"

    January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  18. Monbois

    I'm sure we won't find any Leakys (or Einsteins, for that matter) in this ignorant crowd.

    Where can I get me one o' dem cool Evolution Mugs?!?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  19. Bumper

    Primewonker and Epic Failure:

    You have indeed failed on an epic scale in understanding my blog postings. Once again, I'll repeat for you slow learners. Newton's law of gravitation was used to contrast his logical deduction method with Darwin's false inductive theory.
    We don't need to say anything about GR because its irrelevant to this topic and probably, like evolution, not correct either!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • AC360

      Bumper, good luck trying to make those chimps think! They are very slow learners...

      January 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You continue to confuse fact and theory. You do not understand the hierarchy involved in the scientific method. You make grandious claims about evolution being false, yet as of this point in time, you have not provided a single solitary scientific source to support your contentions.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  20. Kenrick Benjamin

    Purefury- Jesus was not wrong, it is my believe that Theistic Evolution is at work throughout the Universe.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • PureFury

      I agree with your conclusion that Jesus is not wrong. However, your belief is. The odds of random mutation of DNA accounting for the immense expanse of biological diversity is so distant from possible it hurts me to remember that I once believed it to be true. It sounds to me like you believe in Jesus, so your world-view, like mine, doesn't require you to deny a creator, whereas atheists have to accept evolution or else risk being self defeatist. I guess you could accept that mutations that lead to new species are not random (which statistics say it can't be) but God-breathed, and thus lead to an actual Adam and Eve, but I don't know why we would confine God to working in that kind of a way and not accept progressive-creation as a viable scenario,

      January 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Fladabosco

      What's really wrong is trying to deduce scientific truth from a book written by people who didn't know what germs were, that the earth rotates around the sun, that pork won't kill you if you handle it properly, or by looking to people who have dedicated to their lives to book to accept things that are contrary to the book.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • JB Morton

      PF-Good luck in teaching apes science. They get riled when you refuse to believe their forefathers were monkey's. Ask them for proof, they go round and round and...they'll end up with 'It's too complicated'

      January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • i wonder

      JB Morton,

      Did the "Holy Spirit" help you with that post? Get back on your knees, pal... or better yet, sit down and read and learn something real.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " Good luck in teaching apes science. They get riled when you refuse to believe their forefathers were monkey's. Ask them for proof, they go round and round and...they'll end up with 'It's too complicated' "

      It actually might be too complicated for folks like you. You've been told a thousand times that we didn't descend from monkeys. Yet for some reason, you are unable to understand this. You, and those of your ilk, are walking billboards for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • PureFury

      Darwinian Evolution proposes that natural selection accounts for the diversity of all organisms today.
      This theory claims that all change initially comes from random changes in the genetic material, mutations, that natural selection will weed out as either harmful or beneficial.
      Genetic code, DNA, is what holds the biological information used in building proteins in our cells. DNA is the code used by organic cells to construct proteins out of amino acids. The DNA has to be in a certain order for the amino acids to synthesize the right way.
      If we assume that to start processing a new protein, something Darwinian Evolution has purported to have happened, requires only 150 new lines of DNA code in a certain order (a very liberal figure, the number would be a lot higher), then the probability of that happening is (because of the 4 possibilities of bases, A, T, G, and C) essentially 4 to the 150th, or 10 to the 90th, a number larger than the number of atoms in the universe. This makes the possibility of evolution accounting for the appearance of complex proteins statistically impossible.
      Thus if evolution cannot account for the existence of protein synthesizing organisms (which is every organism), then something has to. That is proof that didn't come from a 1900 year old book, that came from science that is not yet 50 years old that could be predicted from that 1900 year old book.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:18 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.