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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. Christians have become the American Nutsi Party

    Is anyone actually surprised to find that 46% of Americans are total dumbshits?

    Not surprisingly, they vote Republican.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  2. scatheist

    A country of morons. What a bummer. Where do you think the ancient dino bones came from?

    June 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Will

      God put them there to fool people according to these knuckleheads. Because God's life is so mundane that he needs to play "hide the bone" with evangelical moorons and other southern cultural trash

      June 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  3. Outraged

    If the perfection of Creation is proof of a Creator, then when they can tell me who or what created the Creator, I might begin to take them seriously. Until then, they're just a bunch of uninquisitive idiots in my book.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • JASON

      Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church can tell you how God came to be God! It was one of his last sermons called the King Follet discourse.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  4. Will

    Southerners and "cultural southerners" (conservatives from the midwest) are human trash

    June 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Aerin

      Amen!

      June 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • ME II

      The only trash here are those who would dehumanize someone of geography, or "cultural geography."

      June 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Etalan

      like a lower IQ

      June 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Rockhound25

      And religion is harmful to adults. Good isn't going to pay your bills or put food on your table, or feed your kids. Religion is good for providing a moral base, but that is about it.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  6. Navin Johnson

    "Intelligent Design" got its name merely because they wanted to fool us by removing the word "Creation" from Creation Science to hide the fact its religious based. You already have the name as a lie and a cover up. Science is about exposing the truth, not covering things up.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Navin, how do you suppose intelligence got into nature at all? Nature seems pretty mindless. How could mindless nature produce mindful beings?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • ME II

      While I wouldn't claim to know for certain, I think intelligence or consciousness is an emergent property of the complexity of the brain and nervous system. Mainly as a result of the survival benefits of searching for and identifying patterns, e.g. predator, prey, and food identification, the brain's ability to process patterns eventually resulted in a "pattern of self," or self-consciousness. But that is pure speculation on my part.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  7. Crane River

    Most of the debaters here use slander instead of logic. That does not prove that they are related to apes. So I still believe in Darwin who said no missing links means his theory fails.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Rick James

      Darwin is to evolution as what the Model A was to cars. He didn't come up with evolution, but he came up with a very good theory that explains what he and other have been observing for centuries. And yeah, we are related to apes, and all other living things, through DNA.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • scatheist

      So what if everything isn't linked. There is overwhelming evidence for how old the earth is and ho species evolved.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Actually, Darwin said no such thing. Oops.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Steven S.

      There are no missing links. The term itself is a misnomer:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil#Missing_links

      June 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • ME II

      Agree with @Steven S.
      Transitional fossil is the correct term and there are many of those.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  8. Maya

    Coincidentally, 46% of Americans are also mouth-breathing idiots.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  9. Dylan

    It's amazing that such a prosperous, outwardly advanced society could simultaneously be so ignorant and backward-thinking. How does a country with 'free' public education have half the population not believe in scientific FACT?

    June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  10. catholic engineer

    I knew an old man who could neither read nor write. He raised four good kids by hard labor. He helped many people and everyone was better off because he had been there.

    Too bad. Had he been an atheist he could justify his existence by sitting on his a*s*s being intelligent.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Etalan

      I have to as an atheism, catholic do believe in evolution and christian are the one who believe and create creationism. or am i getting my information wrong?

      June 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Whatever

      So our imaginary engineer with his imaginary superfriend admires the uneducated and bad-mouths the intelligent. Yeah, you're an engineer. Right.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  11. Bill

    That statistic is frightening.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  12. TheReaperD

    Idiocracy at its finest. 😦 Makes me regret calling myself an American.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  13. JIm Marler

    For these poor souls the world is flat....God must bless ignorance. It is unbelieveable that people could be so poorly educated as to facts.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Now see here, Jlm. On a macro scale the earth is roundish. But if ever your car breaks down in West Texas at night, and you can see the lights of a feed lot thirty miles away, the earth is FLAT.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Rockhound25

      So basically you're saying that if you can't the whole picture (or simply aren't educated), one might think the earth is flat. Hmmm.... so if you can't see the whole picture (or simply aren't educated), one might think that there is a god, and that he created everything.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  14. Skibo2000

    Having a background in geology, this sickens me. Do 46% of Americans not realize that this narrow-minded view keeps them from enjoying some of the most astonishing aspects of life? Do they not realize that the FACTS behind evolution have lead to some of the greatest discoveries and achievements of human kind? If every human was a creationist, we wouldn't have cures for diseases. If we didn't have a general understanding of the earth and it's processes, where would we be today?

    June 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • JIm Marler

      Beliver..Post...Excellent.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Rick

      What wouldn't we have. List some please.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Skibo2000

      Well, without the biological understanding of bacteria (how they function, and thus how they evolve), we wouldn't have discovered penicillin. All of our major pharmaceutical advancements are due to our understanding of biology and how evolution drives it.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  15. klassified

    unreal and embarassing

    June 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  16. Zargoth

    Well, we sure did leave a lot of children behind, didn't we? Such a sad commentary on our society...

    June 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  17. Believer

    There is absolutely no reason to exclude one over the other. I was a science major and my faith made my studies that much more wonderful. The awe of life and the amazing mysteries of the natural world were amplified through my scientific research. The more I understood through science, the stronger my faith and realization became. Adaptation, genetic drift, chemical bonding, form fitting function all played out in valid proofs of evolution and the perfect order of the world. One does not have to eliminate one belief over the other. Science is all about observation, analysis, experimentation. We find some answers to the mysteries through scientific paths and continue to search for answers to other mysteries.
    Together they are a harmonious blend of knowledge and realization allowing us the strenght of conviction through mind and spirit.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Drew

      If only more Christians were like you, religion would be a truly enriching factor in our culture rather than a thorn in our side

      June 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Etalan

      and yet the bible belt exist, the place religion is so strongest, they create creationism. just to fight evolution.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Etalan

      *strong

      June 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      True Science and Jesus' wisdom have always, and will be, in perfect harmony. It's the atheists that lie and say we hate science along with all the other lies about us. Hey, they lied and continue to lie about Jesus' truth.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Etalan

      @HeavenSent
      there is no such thing as true science, just science and lie and science is not religion.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • JIm Marler

      Excellent.....

      June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • udki

      Dude.. the issue is not the idea of creation. The issue is the 10000 years. You can't argue that it is not dumb and stupid.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • DumbGuy

      In nearly every field the more you know the more you realize you don't know. This doesn't substantiate god as god doesn't answer any of the questions, it just leads to even more unanswered questions. I get along just fine with religious people as I don't have many more answers to the tough questions than they do. I just think they like to over simplify things and that doesn't do anything for me.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  18. samsjmail

    Of course, the idea of creationism or "intelligent design" rules out the Christian God as the designer. There is ample evidence that He is too obtuse to have designed anything that complicated. If it wasn't by just dumb magic, "Let there be light!", then it had to be some other, smarter God. Maybe the Christian God was just the subcontractor.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      samsjmail, how's it feel to live a life fueled by lies? It's easy to live and tell lies. It takes courage to live Jesus' truth.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  19. kenny

    and this is why our country will fall.... irrational deluded people run half the country and take us back to the stone ages while a slight majority works to move us forward... sooo sad.... we'd have colonies on every planet in the system by now if it weren't for religion... the only reason we aren't as bad as muslim, african, or south and central america is WE chase the dollar which requires reason and rational thought over religious bs...

    June 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      kenny, it's you liars that turned our God loving country to the brink of going down the toilet ... and backwards and twisted, too boot.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  20. Siara Delyn

    Give the holy rollers the south. The rest of us can move forward in the 21st century and they can move back to the 13th century.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Where do you reside? There are plenty of Christians all over this land. If it weren't for us, you liars would have sold us years ago and not waited for our politicians to put the last nail in the coffin.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:57 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.