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Survey: Nearly half of Americans subscribe to creationist view of human origins
June 1st, 2012
03:46 PM ET

Survey: Nearly half of Americans subscribe to creationist view of human origins

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup on Friday.

That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution. Thirty years ago, 44% of the people who responded said they believed that God created humans as we know them today - only a 2-point difference from 2012.

"Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans' views of the origin of the human species since 1982," wrote Gallup's Frank Newport. "All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins."

The second most common view is that humans evolved with God's guidance - a view held by 32% of respondents. The view that humans evolved with no guidance from God was held by 15% of respondents.

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

Not surprisingly, more religious Americans are more likely to be creationists.

Nearly 70% of respondents who attend church every week said that God created humans in their present form, compared with 25% of people who seldom or never attend church.

Among the seldom church-goers, 38% believe that humans evolved with no guidance from God.

The numbers also showed a tendency to follow party lines, with nearly 60% of Republicans identifying as creationists, while 41% of Democrats hold the same beliefs.

Republicans also seem to be more black-and-white about their beliefs, with only 5% responding that humans evolved with some help from God. That number is much lower than the 19% of both independents and Democrats.

According to Newport, a belief in creationism is bucking the majority opinion in the scientific community - that humans evolved over millions of years.

"It would be hard to dispute that most scientists who study humans agree that the species evolved over millions of years, and that relatively few scientists believe that humans began in their current form only 10,000 years ago without the benefit of evolution," writes Newport. "Thus, almost half of Americans today hold a belief ... that is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature."

The USA Today/Gallup telephone poll was conducted May 10-13 with a random sample of 1,012 American adults. The sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Creationism • evolvution

soundoff (3,830 Responses)
  1. Joshua the Agnostic

    The creation story, the Book of Job, and Noah's Ark are all the myths and parables of the region in the iron age. They are all clearly all borrowed from other stories.

    If you read the Old Testament for what it says, Yahweh did what he did so he would "be their God". He also came down in a spaceship in Ezekiel.

    Is it possible that some creature from space tinkered with the primates 10k years ago? Yes. Is it probable? Not really. Is it possible that some creature from space took credit for creating the world and didn't actually do it? You decide.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      Bronze Age sorry.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  2. BuleriaChk@aol.com

    After the Big Bang, god rolled over, smoked a cigarette, and went to sleep. When he woke up, he came to earth, knocked up a blue-collar carpenter's fiance, convinced the locals it was a virgen birth, and then through his illegitimate son under the bus when he turned out to be a iberal....

    Pretty strong core Republican values, if you ask me.....

    (on the other hand, god might indeed be a pink unicorn, which would make the legend even more interesting.....)

    June 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  3. KasichFatCat

    I guess 46% of the American public is ignorant. There is no excuse for believing we have only been around for 10,000 years.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Sylar

      It makes total sense. Of course one man rounded up 2 of every animal on the planet and put them in a ship he built with his own 2 hands. Of course the animals didn't eat each other like they do in nature cause Noah fed them well. All makes total sense.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  4. Wayne

    Wow! Our country really has fallen to a new intellectual low. Big Bang help us!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • SurRy

      The US is becoming the laughing stock of the industrialized world.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • SciGuy

      The big bang never happened.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • sam

      I do get flak from friends in other countries. I can only shake my head and try to avoid the crazies when I can.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  5. delloco

    Creationism and Mormons. There are alot of idiots in America.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • SurRy

      Scary stuff.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      luckily you are so smart, thank God for a smart condescending person like you to talk down to us simpletons. LOL

      June 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Aaron

      Laughed so hard at this. So true!

      June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  6. Rafi

    Evolution happens all of the time, every day. How else did we get Bassett Hounds, Lionhead goldfish, or Thoroughbred Racehorses? "Thoroughbred" means "selective breeding." ANY breeding involves 'selection,' by the partners involved. Humans evolved over millions of years, but now, because of Reaganism, we are de-evolving. It's still evolution, it's just going backwards now.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • BrarHopper

      Rafi, you have been mislead. What you are calling evolution is actually no more than selective breeding. There is no known instance of evolution (any animal evolving into another animal). According to your reasoning, if two short people produce short kids then a human has evolved into something other than a human being. Don't be a sheeple, use your head for something besides a hat rack.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  7. guyFromVA

    "Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups."

    June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Ok

      More like current scientific theory, but okay.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • glenn

      Intersting believing in a great giant head that snaps his fingers and makes things happen is not a fairy tale but basing a theory on hundreds of millions of scientific data points is......I would start learning Chinese if I were you as they are going to take us over intellectually and own the country some day.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • sam

      Not sure if trolling or unbearably stupid.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  8. toydrum

    46%? Where did they do this survey? I live in a big city, know hundreds of people including half (or more) that are very religious and or Republican. Of all of those people I know only two that believe in creationism, and even they aren't too sure about their beliefs. I would like to know the general education level of the people, the method used to choose people to survey and the actual questions asked. This result sounds like bad math.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • SurRy

      When are we going to get rid of this religion nonsense? Imagine if all the time, energy and money that is spent on fantastic tales was instead spent on learning math, science, history, arts, etc. This country might actually move ahead...

      June 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • samsjmail

      I wish they could break it down into "Trailer Park" and "non Trailer Park".

      June 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • samsjmail

      If you believe in creationism, then you believe that the universe is less than 10,000 years old.

      Therefore, modern Biology is wrong. Modern Astronomy is wrong. Modern Geology is wrong.

      ...and not just a little bit wrong either. COMPLETELY wrong. No wonder they don't believe in global warming. They don't believe in science at all.

      If you believe in creationism, I have to ask. Do you believe in math?

      June 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  9. greens47

    Young-Earth-Creationism is based solely on preconcieved religious ideas and has nothing to do with science itself. For most of that nearly 50%, NO amount of evidence will suffice to change their minds. They are convinced that the theory of evolution is incompatible with (at least "their") religious faith. To them, it is very threatening. Like other theories that attempt to make sense of observable data, the theory of evolution helps to explain what can be observed in the fossil record, biology, physiology and all other scientific disciplines. Science and faith are compatible when intelligently and honestly considered.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  10. True Story!!!!!!!!!!!!

    People in the Bible Belt were created
    in a lab
    by a Nazi scientist,
    when he crossed a modern human with Down Syndrome
    with an unfrozen retarded Neanderthal.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Ok

      10/10

      June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Aha!

      Finally, something that explains why 44% of the country is so absolutely idiotic!

      June 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  11. SciGuy

    Check out Fred Reed articles for a healthy dose of (nonChristian) skepticism regarding evolution. He has discovered first hand how you don't dare question the high priests of Darwinism.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • sam

      Real science is all about questioning, and testing; you, on the other hand, have an agenda. No one cares.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • SciGuy

      My agenda is rigorous science, objective search for truth. The evolutionists agenda is evolution at any and all costs. They are the Ptolemies of today.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  12. Sid Airfoil

    "God" has always explained that which is otherwise unexplained. Most Americans refuse to read about or learn the actual explanations for the big questions, probably because they are to complicated to understand without excessive effort or because the thought of an undesigned universe is too frightening. Therefore they accept god because it's the simplest, most comforting explanation. That 46% of Americans accept "creationism" means that 46% of Americans are too intellectually lazy and/or too emotionally frightened to face the world without "god".

    Sid

    June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Another ridiculous, insulting fest going on to make yourself look good. Wow!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Ok

      I think most believe it because they were told to believe it since they were little and didn't yet have the capacity for rational thought or forming their own opinion based on the facts at hand. Also most of the facts they were presented with were either misrepresented or misinterpreted to their end.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      OK, that makes sense since the church spends their time on sermons trying to dispute evolution. Craziness! the church doesn't say hardly anything about evolution. There are even some pastors that do believe in evolution.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • sam

      A lot of it is about comfort, and not having to wonder. The bigger questions are very threatening to some people, and if you were raised from childhood to believe there's someone keeping score, then they don't have to struggle as much. People who don't fit their worldview or who are cruel to them will be 'handled' in the afterlife.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  13. awasis666

    Simple answers for simple people.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Ted

      Amen.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • SurRy

      I don't care which ridiculous story one believes: virgin birth in a stable with talking animals, magic stones and magic underpants, a few drops of oil lasting 8 days, etc. It's all nonsense.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Ok

    Humans got here the same way as everything else: magic.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  15. 60minuteman

    It's not hard to believe that republicans never evolved.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  16. At death atheists believe

    Evolution means change over time.It does not prove man exists by a random chance..that's not supported by science,it's a religion atheists have created to hide that they also don't know and relay totally on faith like everyone else.

    Scientists have yet to prove,man exists by random WITHOUT any type of creator.Sorry atheists but science has disproven nothing

    June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      Well good news, science agrees with you, we didn't evolve by random chance, so now that we've laid that to rest, can you now understand that evolution doesn't need a god to be correct?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • awasis666

      So do we have to disprove Santa Claus too know he is not real? Simple minds need simple answers.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      No scientist claims man exists by chance. Chance is something that happens when a god shapes a being in a particular way to suit his whimsy.

      No scientist tries to hide the fact that we do not know how life began, i.e., abiogenesis, but even if we did know with certainty, religious people would continue to deny the evidence. Just like they deny the evidence of the fossil record, the geologic evidence of age, the radioactive isotope decay of atoms, the speed of light and the other mountain of evidence that points to evolution of the species by way of natural selection over time.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • guyFromVA

      The fossil record shows no supportt for evolutionists claims. There are no transitional forms. Carbon dating is based on the unproven assumption that radioactive decay has always been the same (uniformitarianism).

      June 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @guyFromVA, Wow... you really are from Virginia, aren't you? Well as a firm believer in natural selection, I for one how you do not transfer your genes. So, do you believe the atomic clocks are all wrong and unproven? It's based on the same science—which I might add you expose the true depth of your ignorance in your responses. You're either a troll or just that dumb.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  17. GodFreeNow

    By the way religonuts history deniers, there's only one country that has a lower acceptance of evolution amongst 34 other 1st world countries. You're down there with Turkey... a muslim theocratic govt. Congratulations.

    I'm proud to be living in Ja.pan where 78% accept it.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • SciGuy

      We're proud you live there too. Keep us proud.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  18. John N. Seattle, WA

    Wow...46%....I had no idea America was so ignorant! Don't get me wrong, I am not ruling out a supreme being who is responsible for getting things started, but for so many to ignore the SCIENTIFIC FACTS surrounding evolution? How much do you want to bet that this 46% pretty much lives exclusively in the mid-west and the south?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      These days I'm more shocked to find people that do believe it in America. Look at the education system. It's clearly a failure.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Drew

      I think more than the education system it is just sheer ignorance. Most Americans automatically assume that their nation/culture has the best of everything, and scoff when you ask that they consider the way things are done elsewhere

      June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Drew

      *arrogance, not ignorance, though it certainly results in ignorance

      June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Drew, I always say that innocently not knowing is ignorance and there's really know judgment or fault to be found there, but willful denying of evidence or information is just stupidity.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Drew

      That's probably fair, and I've met a lot of Americans who fall into the latter category

      June 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  19. SixDegrees

    What was the exact question asked?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • LinCA

      Details are here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx

      June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  20. jp3849

    It's pretty simple: Belief in Creationism is a good reason for people not to think. God made us end of story.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Or maybe it is reliance on the Bible. At least in that scenario you didn't insult people to make yourself look good. Sadly though, the left is good at doing that, and then calling foul if someone from the right sounds closed-minded.,

      June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Drew

      Ok Gauis, I'm open minded, so give me a good reason to not believe in evolution ( for the purposes of this discussion, a "good reason" should not be grounded in scripture).

      June 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Pest

      That's a case of to-may-to vs. to-mah-to, Gauis.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • herp derp

      Maybe if the big kids keep talking over Gauis instead of to him, he'll wander off.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
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