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. Sanity

    The Bush bashing here is amusing, especially in light of the Feb 2011 statement by President Obama: “Let me tell you, these past two years, they have deepened my faith,” Obama told a ballroom full of applauding believers at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
    “The presidency has a funny way of making a person feel the need to pray.”
    He detailed how, after a non-religious upbringing, he came to define himself as a Christian.
    “A call rooted in faith is what led me, just a few years out of college, to sign up as a community organizer for a group of churches on the south side of Chicago,” he said.
    “And it was through that experience, working with pastors and laypeople, trying to heal the wounds of hurting neighborhoods, that I came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace him as my Lord and Savior.”

    June 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • CM

      Notably, though, he didn't say "Earth is 10,000 years old."

      June 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • DumbGuy

      Survey says... you have a zero percent chance of being elected or reelected if your not religous. All politicians equally must cater to the statistically popular opinions and do what you can to make it believable. You would never get to vote for anyone if you didn't understand that. So pick on politicians for their poor decisions and actions not their public persona. Republican's don't have much "logic and reasoning" behind them currently.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  2. DumbGuy

    I live in a world where everyone I know is smart in some areas and dumb in a hundred others, myself included.

    What I find depressing is that as a culture (locally and globally) we still think that people are stupid because they are less educated than someone else in a particular area. If you think you are smarter than the others because of their beliefs you are ignoring science as much as they are. You simply have a different cultural upbringing and much more opportunity to question authority than they did.

    The older I get the more I realize that smart people do, say and think stupid things just like everyone else. In fact I would argue that many of the "smartest" people I have known in some areas were the dumbest people I've ever met in others. There is a vast difference between a briain with a terrific ability to memorize and one which can reason, tinker and figure things out.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Randy

      Not quite. I think I speak for most everyone when I say we think people are dumb when they claim to know more than the scientific community on a given subject despite having an inadequate or non-existent scientific education.

      I don't claim to know more than art professors about art history, so I don't go around pontificating about how wrong they are about the techniques Van Gogh used or how one culture's works may have influenced another's. But, somehow it's perfectly reasonable for laypeople with little or no scientific background, or irrelevant scientific background (engineers, for example) to wax authoritative about how the theory of evolution must be false or how geologists, astronomers, cosmologists, geneticists, paleontologists, geneticists, biochemists, biologists, immunologists, and people in any other field of scientific study that relates in any way to evolutionary theory don't understand how things work but they, the under-educated creationists DO.

      That is dumb, and people who do that are dumb. Not universally dumb, but their powers of psychological compartmentalization are so finely honed that it allows them to say profoundly stupid things and think that they're making REALLY REALLY good arguments when really they're nothing but arguments from ignorance/incredulity/authority. Logical fallacies are used by people who don't understand what logical fallacies are and by liars. Pick your pony. Doesn't matter much to me which you are, but at least if you're merely ignorant of what they are, you can be taught. If you're a liar, there is no way teaching you will solve anything, because you already know why what you say is wrong and you simply don't care.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  3. PrimeNumber

    Before I get a blood transfusion, I'm going to ask whether the blood came from an intelligent man or some Christian. That Christian may be compassionate, but he's just too d@mned stupid for me. I'll hold out for blood from an atheist. Scratch that! I might have to wait too long.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Etalan

      consider that i think maybe 20& of usa is atheism, yeah it in big demand.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  4. Rick

    I refuse to believe that 44% of American's believe we were created 10,000 years ago, and that evolution is completely false.. This almost makes me tear up and lose any hope of our nation ever moving forward intellectually, spiritually, or morally. We are stuck in a religious rut of sad ignorance.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • James

      Religion is the greatest CON ever conceived by humans. Who needs Bane Capital when all you need to do is invent a new faith or spin on an old one, then spread false information and fear and Pass the Plate.

      Can I get a Hallelujah? Can I get an AMEN? Can I get me a check for 10 grand? Hallelujah AMEN!!!!! BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T .... YOU BURN IN ETERNAL HELL FIRE!!! AMEN HALLELUJAH!!! PAY UP or BURN!!! Or we create an army of Zealots and declare war on other religions. Humans are gullible animals who don't even know that they ARE animals.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  5. Atheist

    What a revolting development this is. I can see future historians discussing these facts about contemporary belief and
    just shaking their heards. You know, giving it the same respect as we presently give the Spanish Inquisition.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • ?

      How hard is it to shake a heard?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Rick

      unfortunately, at this rate it will be 500 years before people are shaking their heads. The fact that the religious hoax has held out this long means that it is a very strong tool that's going to be around for a very long time. It doesn't help that the leaders of this country continually (and illegally) invoke god and prayer to try to persuade the repub....er.. Christians to hang on their every word.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Future historians won't be discussing the beliefs of our time. They'll be to busy posturing for tenure, recognition, and destroying the other historian's reputation if that's what it takes. Like Richard Dawkins, they'll be writing popular literature and making fortunes selling books to atheists.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  6. Randy

    Anybody who uses "just a theory" or "the theory of evolution has never been proven" or "complexity complexity complexity complexity complexity...therefore God did it" or "look at the trees" or "tide goes in, tide goes out" or "there are no transitional fossils" or "why are there still monkeys?" or "the Bible says" when discussing evolutionary theory demonstrates themselves to be too ignorant of science to make a meaningful contribution to the conversation.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Evangelical

      In other words, anyone who wants to make an argument against you? Aren't you the arrogant one.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Evangelical, no, actually any of those arguments just indicates ignorance, they are not actual arguments.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Randy

      Thanks, Evangelical, for agreeing that all you have is arguments from ignorance/incredulity/authority.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  7. harry

    I suggest watch the movie "Idiocracy" because that is what the united states has become.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Some Americans are so stupid

      They do not even capitalize United States.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Jeff in San Diego

    Wow! Now that's a lot of stupid people.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  9. communicator1453

    I am a born-again believer in Christ, but I do not subscribe to the literal, six-day creation point of view. The Hebrew canon and the New Testament view the earth from an ancient, near-East cosmology. According to that point of view, the earth is a flat disc, with edges and built on pillars. The heavens are a hardened vault or dome above the earth through which water pours from the heavens. One can say this is merely poetry, but if that's the case, one must accept the entire first eleven or twelve chapters of Genesis as poetry. Genesis was not written from a scientific view point. It was written from a covenantal viewpoint for the people of Israel. To read anything more into it is idolatry.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  10. Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb

    46%. That's the same number that thought it would be a good idea to have George W. Bush come be president and wreck the country.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  11. Greg from Portland

    Further proof that America suffers from a lack of education. It is a well established **FACT** that humans existed more than 10,000 years ago.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • really?

      Name one.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Name one what?

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

      yeah well unfortunately those 46% are too retarded to learn anything. Haven't you noticed that American education is a laughing stock all over the world.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Well-established "FACT". (quotation marks are better for this one).

      June 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • One person 10,000 years old

      Who was it?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • communicator1453

      I'll name one. Her name was Lucy. She lived in Africa about 2 or 3 million years ago.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Dr Leaky say no

      The anthropologist who "discovered" lucy say she is not what she is reported to be, sorry still waiting.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  12. rev fartwell999

    This just shows how backward americans are and why western europe laughs at us all the time.

    This also show why theUS has fallen behind in science and engineering.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  13. Gadflie

    Religion thrives when people are kept ignorant.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  14. snowdogg

    Pathetic is my only thought on this topic – truly pathetic.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Mario

      Actually, living in the real world, outside any religious fantasies, is healthier.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • God is the real world

      Who do you think created it all ?

      June 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Rockhound25

      I did. I created it all.

      Prove me wrong. Or prove to me that "God" did it.

      You lose.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  16. PrimeNumber

    I had been looking for the old poem "Darwin's Mistake" about how monkeys resented the accusation that humans descended from them. I came across a blog that was discussing why the vast intelligence gap between stupidist human and smartest monkey. Some blogger made this statement: "You had better be careful, I see this blog popping up on creationists sites. No (sic) only for suggesting that Darwin was wrong, but that there is such a “profound discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds.” Why would this discontinuity exist? A higher power perhaps…Some intelligent designer perchance?"

    Gee, I thought it was all settled.

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

      It could be because of more brain matter in humans compared to monkeys, but I wouldn't expect you to consider that.

      And how do you know that monkeys "resented" it? Do you speak chimp?

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

      It was the blogger, not I, who asked the question. THe poem I referenced was a tongue-in-cheek piece of work.
      Since you seemed to understand my comment, maybe I do speak "chimp".

      June 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  17. jpjordan

    Why did I have to click this and become depressed on a Friday afternoon. We can only hope 1012 respondents isn't a good sample for a country of over 300 million, but I fear it may be.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  18. b4bigbang

    Greetings lonely 15 percenters! Is your tail getting cold hanging out there in the wind?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  19. Stormy

    This shows how flat out dumb and brainwashed Americans are.......science has no chance here. While half the population works at McDonalds and talks in tongues in church, the other half goes to college and props this country up. Wouldnt it be amazing if 90% of the population actually cared about science?????

    June 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Stormy the elitist! Despising the poor, believing only its' fellow yuppies 'prop' society up.
      You need lots of maids and servants right?
      Hey, if you ever lower yourself to buy fast food, be sure and tell your server what you think of him/her.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Rick James

      It's hard not to feel like an elitist when so many people are you are so dumb as to believe in Creationism.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I couldn't decide if I wanted to post that as HeavenSent or just sayin, and captain america did not fit, so I did this handle. It gets confusing for me sometimes, especially since I am not the brightest elevator that doesn't go all the way to the combination plate.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Rick

      Lol, you're too funny. Considering a large portion of these crazy creationists are your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical service professionals that maintain the awesome commercial and industrial centers in America, besides the installers and whoever else involved, you clearly have no idea what the hell you're saying.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"This shows how flat out dumb and brainwashed Americans are.......science has no chance here."

      Yeah, not like we have ever gone to the moon, broken the sound barrier and mapped genes.

      Science, has great hope.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Jen

      Yeah Mark, but we all know what side of the argument all those people were on (I'll give you a hint – it did not involve Adam and Eve).

      The US ranks DEAD LAST in education among industrialized nations. That's a travesty. And we all know what half is keeping the US dead last.......

      June 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Randy

      Mark from Middle River says, "Yeah, not like we have ever gone to the moon, broken the sound barrier and mapped genes."

      How many people from Liberty University have done any of those? Fair enough, the first two occurred before it even existed. Let's just go for the third. How many people from Liberty University have been involved with the Genome Project? Any idea? Is it more than zero?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  20. jordan

    This does not surprise me at all.I bet most of these guys think the Earth and probably this whole Universe is thousands of years old.It does not matter if you give them scientific proof as they will all say it is a big lie.
    We really are doomed and if this is the way that this many think we\ are lucky to even have learned as much as we know.
    Now can I please press the rewind button so I can erase Religion !!!

    June 1, 2012 at 8:16 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.