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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. Adam James

    St. Thomas did not believe that it was the walking risen Christ. Jesus allowed him to form that hypotheses and presented his wounds to Thomas for experimentation after which Thomas drew upon his tests, accepted the results and believed. If the Son of God did indeed come down and was born to live only one life in all of time and have that life recorded in only a few chapters – that this should be taken very seriously bu those who chose not to follow their masters teachings by denying the validity of science. No farmer/shepard plants thousands of seedlings of corn or wheat – they plant seeds which will develop individually however predictably to the farmer. “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches.”

    June 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • hippypoet

      1,2,3 lovely! 🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Rick James

      You know, if Christ came down in front of me and did magic, I too might be a believer like Thomas. So would a lot of "heathens". Why doesn't Christ just do it? Maybe because he's not a demigod?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  2. hippypoet

    survey proves that more then half of all AMERICANS who take surveys are less then intelligent. 🙂

    QUESTION: does intelligent life exist? ANYWERE?!?!?!?!?!?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  3. ebolucion

    Why is there a need for social justice (where does it come from?)? If evolution is true and we are just animals, murder is justified, violence, theft, etc...Why put people in jail for those crimes? It was natural selection, those victims deserved it cuz they were weak right?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Rick James

      You must be the 100000th person I have seen making that argument. If you need a magical sky father looming over you to tell you that murder is wrong, I feel sorry for you.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • lagunabeach

      Morality evolved as an advantage for the species. Fairness and kindness enable survival of more individuals. Eradicating the immoral and unbalanced promotes the species. Dogs are great examples of this.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • ebolucion

      Actually, you have a point, why is murder wrong? Animals kill each other, so why can't? Bible explains it all, oyu should read it sometimes and not pick quotes out of context. Excellent source here http://sermons2.redeemer.com/redeemer-free-sermon-resource

      June 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • ebolucion

      The word "evolve" is loaded and you have no idea how it happens, it must just have evolved...

      June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • ebolucion is a moron

      lol... we know exactly why and how evolution happens.sry you missed the cl@ss. oh and btw, the bible is full of answers for those who are told by god not to ask, so why the answers then i wonder??? shut up~ AND GO AWAY!

      June 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @Rick James You obviously believe that murder is wrong, without recourse to a "sky daddy". Where did you get this belief? Certain types of bees scout out hives of other types, then massacre them. Isn't it morally wrong for bees to behave this way? Why?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • ebolucion

      I was in class and got PhD in molecular biology and somewhat I was enlightned by the process and realized it was too crazy to just get life out of the ingredients in chicken broth. The most simple form of life needs some much coordination to just synthesize a single protein, and somehow it all took place instantaneously!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  4. Jason G

    So... 46 percent of all Americans are stone-cold dumb?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • rdeleys

      In a word, yes.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  5. Johnny 5

    A humans purpose is to produce and consume. That about sums it up. The oldest fossils ever found are 3.4 BILLION years old so that 10,000 year nonsense is just that, NONSENSE.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    Seems like thirty plus years of gop cuts to education has taken its toll.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Drew

      Not to mention as many years of religious nutjobs trying to prevent evolution from being taught in school

      June 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Rick James

      LOL so true

      June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Drew,

      Evolution is merely a theory, and it is on shakey ground even as a theory. Think critically for a second. What are the odds that something as complex as a human being evolved from single-celled creatures? It's like dropping a few buckets of paint and producing the Mona Lisa.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • rdeleys

      Evangelical, evolution is a FACT. You do not understand the meaning of the word 'theory' as it is used in science. It is not a mere hypothesis. A scientific theory is supported by evidence all pointing in the same direction. Evolution is supported by so many lines of evidence that it is accepted by scientists as FACT. The biblical creation story, however, is a myth. There is NO evidence to support it and it cannot be challenged.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Etalan

      Pray change you into an idiot.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • rdeleys

      Yes, it wastes your time.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  8. Frank

    The reason creationists have such a difficult time believing in evolution is because it is impossible for them to put their arms around the fact that the earth is 4 billion years old. When you believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, evolution is a hard sale to make.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Etalan

      I thought it was more that they brainwash the kid in the younger age, making it harder to accept any other answer.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  9. mario

    We as mere humans can't prove creationism, nor evolution theory completely..

    welcome to the new generation Agnostic club.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Rick James

      With all due respect, it's seems like you are implicitly equating the 2. Evolution is a scientific theory that can be modified as time goes along. Creationism is an unchanging, stagnant scam made for suckers to just eat up.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Agnostic ...that's like being bi-se'xual ... its just being greedy 🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Etalan

      I think evolution was proven true as the theory of gravity, with genetic. You can change the animal any way you want if you can change his DNA, and how nature change the animal DNA is by select breeding. Creationist is not even a theory, but something some religion people create and refuse to remove theory out of it.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      So point is that one theory is as proven as another theory...

      June 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Randy

      1: Offspring are imperfect copies of their parents
      2: Variations may provide advantages or disadvantages for survival
      3: Advantageous variations generally result in greater survival rates
      4: Those who survive to reproductive age at a greater rate will reproduce at a greater rate
      5: The genes of those who survive to reproductive age and reproduce will pass their genes on to their offspring
      6: The genes of those who reproduce most successfully will spread more effectively though the population

      If you disagree with any of these, let us know which. If any of these is incorrect, then the theory of evolution is incorrect. You're up.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  10. mikeyk

    wow

    June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  11. JohnnyC

    No, no, a thousand times no. You have been lied to and misled. There is zero, and I mean zero, evidence for Macroevolution as conceived by Darwin. Adaptation, yes. Evidence that one species morphed into a completely different species, no. Evolution is a crackpot theory - this doesn't prove Genesis, but do your research and you will see quite clearly that the fossil record does not support evolution.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • ebolucion

      well put!

      June 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Etalan

      they do, fossil show animal that have hybrid of two animal, transformation of animal.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Really? What would you consider sufficient evidence to show that macro-evolution (speciation) is indeed a fact? How about if I could show you a complete chain of evidence of sub-species between one species and another, with no gaps whatsoever? Something that you yourself can see and test to your hearts content. Species defined by the most stringent scientific standard (they are not cross-fertile)? Would that meet your standard? If not, why not?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • rdeleys

      You are completely full of it.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Look up the Italian wall lizards. These creatures have completey changed in thirty years, somthing which would usually takes thousands of years. Evolution is most definitly real. Some Americans need to read more (than the bible)

      June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Rick

      Wall lizards? Really? How about natural selection, not evolution. DNA is the same. Man didn't people figure out how to breed traits in animals thousands of years ago.....way to stay cutting edge.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  12. Rick James

    For all those concerned, here is graph relating belief in evolution to GDP per capita. Notice where the USA is. Then shake your head.

    http://tinyhacker.com/hacks/belief-in-evolution-vs-gdp-per-capita/

    June 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  13. kirk

    They say the average IQ is 100.
    This means, by definition, half of the population is below that value, and half are above.

    I don't think it would take much thought to figure out which side this 46% are on...

    June 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • D

      Actually, you're thinking of the Median rating for 'half above, half below'.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  14. rdeleys

    This is a national embarrassment and a real tragedy.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  15. John Tucker

    Thats really jsut sad. To accept a known lie.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  16. Sarah

    46% of Americans don't understand basic biology.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • ebolucion

      yes, biology says life arises from preexisting life and not from the substances found in chicken broth.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  17. Patrish

    That's scary.... and forget about science – God just does everything. If you believe that then I guess you don't need a doctor cause God will 'fix' you. Lots of luck with that folks. Apparently, he doesn't care about a lot of towns in the US as they get with tornadoes and hurricanes. People just get dumber and dumber – praying to something you can not see or prove exists, is no better than the people that worshiped stone statures centuries ago. No wonder I drink!!!

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

      Wow, you have no idea who God is! blinded by lies...hello Eve...

      June 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  18. BD me

    There may well have been a "creator". That is, some being(s?) who initiated (intentionally or otherwise) the event(s?) that led to the creation of this universe (multiverse?). Wether or not this being(s?) has any religious significance would be another discussion entirely. Much remains unknown.

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

      you do know that always led to who create the creator.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  19. Rick

    Natural selection happens. And is often stated by evolutionists as "proof" of evolution. It is not. All else is speculating on a past in which we weren't present. Why worry about it?

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

      That's why evolution is a theory and not a fact...it is strongly supported by fact, though. It's almost certain that we are misunderstanding some things about our origins, which is all the more reason to keep studying them

      June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • D

      Gravity is just a Theory too; no need to worry about that one either, I guess.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Rick James

      Natural selection is a mechanism by which evolution happens. It replaced Lamarck's version of evolution (use and disuse). As we know more about evolution, who knows, maybe other mechanisms can be plausible.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • rdeleys

      You clearly know nothing about evolution. An understanding of evolution is essential to understanding many things in biology and biochemistry. Evolution has been demonstrated time and again. Everything points to it and data from various sources using disparate methods corroborate each other. On the other hand, there is not one single shred of evidence suggesting that the biblical creation story has any basis in fact. It is a myth. And that's the truth.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Rick

      I'm not defending any biblical or non-biblical creationism. But name a few advances that required a belief in evolution in order for them to come to fruition.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  20. HumanPerson

    Evolution has been largely proven true (assuming the facts we're given are unfiltered). But now that we know we are human beings, what are we to do with ourselves? What are we to make of ourselves? So far, empirical science has been worthless in answering this question. Maybe we're just supposed to eat and schitt.

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

      it not what we become, but what choice we can become. There is no plan for us, but the random choice we make in out life. We can neither destroy our self in the next decade, or explore space, go to war, or find new source of energy. There was never a plan for human being, but the random choice we can make.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:02 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.