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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. frs

    It is astounding that the human species is so susceptible to mass ignorance. With such advanced brains, you would think that nearly every one could come to the right conclusion. There is actually still a 'Flat Earth Society' still. Just a demonstration of humans being unable to accept the obvious truth around them.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • John

      O'natural man who is blind and cannot discern the Truth:
      1 Corinthians 2:14 – "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

      June 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • No Dice

      John — That old book is packed full of little homilies and cautions to defend against the unbeliever and dispel doubts caused by critical thinking. It's a sales pitch based on 30,000 years (or more) of religion honing itself into a very sharp instrument. There were holy men making up rules to live by long before Judaism or Christianity appeared on the scene.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  2. Dave

    Faith in God is a mental illness

    June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  3. Bootstomper

    What a country full of morons. There is no God.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • John

      He says something about those who deny Him:
      Jude 1:4 – "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

      June 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  4. borisjimbo

    Well that explains the success of the Tea Party.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      yep

      June 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  5. fandancy

    Well, the U.S. is not the most educated country in the world. This is just more proof.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  6. Josh

    "Based on probability factors . . any viable DNA strand having over 84 nucleotides cannot be the result of haphazard mutations. At that stage, the probabilities are 1 in 4.80 x 1050. Such a number, if written out, would read:

    480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    Believe in your theory all you want, but your beliefs are based on as much, if not more faith than ours. If you really want to take your chances on something like that, where as if you're wrong, you'll have a lifetime to think about it, if I'm wrong, nothing happens lol, I'd rather take my chances on something I know to be real, awesome, and amazing, than a theory based on us rising from a soup, that came from rain on rocks.

    Or, the big bang. If you really wanna believe M-theory, feel free too hahaha. Massive bubbles smashing into eachother... HAHA.. you call us crazy. Whatevvvver :).

    June 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • jim

      What the F*** are you talking about?

      June 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Amen, brother.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Rick James

      It's weird how you used Pascal's wager yet call people who want to use science more blind than you are. Do people believe in gravity, even though that's a theory? No, they just accept it.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Josh

      i seriously feel bad for you man. read a book.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      Ummm, josh, what? First, there are only 4 nucleotides, not 84. Second, given aeons of time, miniscule probabilities become reality. It's simple math, really. Do you have any concept of how long a billion years is? I sure don't, but I look at how much the world has changed in the last 40 years, and suddenly, ya know what, proteins developing into unicellular organisms, to multicellular organisms, over at least a BILLION years doesn't seem so unlikely to me. After all, what dude in 1900 would have expected to have the internet or a cell phone? Or maybe God did that on Day 6 and didn't reveal it to us yet. Silliness.
      Finally, theories aren't based on belief. They're scientifically based on preponderance of evidence. Look it up.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Josh, you can do math but you argument is flawed. A nucleotide of considerable length would not have arisen spontaneously but would have been selected for function of many years (non-random). Also, that assumes one specific sequence is necessary for function when the truth is that many different sequences could work. In many functional RNA molecules, it is the shape of the molecule that matters and not necessarily the sequence.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      Josh: Evolution is not merely "haphazard mutation". It involves natural selection and survival of the fittest which greatly alter your numbers. Look it up.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      Josh

      Do you know the chances of you being alive? It's 1 X 10 ^80 or, written out
      1 out of 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      With those sort of odds, I guess you don't exist, since the odds are against you.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      Oops, silly me, I read that wrong. Th estimated amount of atoms in the universe is 10^80, the chances of you being alive at this point in time, with your exact genetic signature, it's 10^2,685,000

      Toss that around in your noodle Josh and once you understand chances and odds you'll be able to grasp how beautiful evolution actually is

      June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • No Dice

      Just to pile on, any scientist in the field will tell you that while it is highly improbable for that primordial soup to mix up a bit of life, it is not impossible. It only had to happen once. In a billion years? That's a lot of time to get it right. Religion begins in ignorance of how anything works and a desire to explain why while it perpetuates by indoctrinating children early and the threats of hell from "holy men, all dressed in black, demanding to be fed, feared and revered."

      June 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  7. lilgtogirl

    Wow, so many dumba**es. They probably think electricity is the work of the devil. What morons.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Joe

      Please, resident Mensa member, enlighten us with your wisdom.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  8. EuphoriCrest

    This would be the population that falls below 94 on the Wechsler scale.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  9. Joe

    Let's be honest with ourselves and admit there are no actual atheists posting here. I'm not an atheist, but I'd imagine someone who was would feel sorry for those he considered 'ignorant' of his 'intellectual and scientific understanding' and ignore such conversation as beneath him.

    Rather, I'd call them anti-theists. Those with an axe to grind, usually related to some 'falling out' with a religion because they (or some perversion they hold dear) was unacceptable to it. You can detect them by the level of their venom, generally malcontents who can only rest easy when they've attempted to make others as miserable as they are.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Rick James

      Wow, bro. Atheists aren't anti-theists. I'd be happy to pray to God (well not really) all the day long til the cows came home. God could have everyone on their knees praying to him, if only there were evidence of his existence. And I don't really care if people pray to sandboxes, just as long as those people keep silly ideas away from people who want to think.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Evangelical

      I've noticed the same thing, Joe. And a lot of the so-called atheists here are ho-mos-exuals and have an axe to grind with religion because it doesn't accept them.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • copanut

      I'm an atheist and I feel sorry for those who are ignorant, so you are wrong in your assumptions. However, I feel even more sorry for the impact that widespread ignorance has on the rest of us, dragging the nation and the world down along with them, and that is the source of any venom I might spew. If not for the collateral damage they cause, I really would have no interest, and nothing more than mild amusement, at the nutty beliefs of theists.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Rick James

      Evangelical, quit being such a presumptuous d-bag., like most Evangelicals and pick up a science book.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Hawk

      Ah...the "No true Scotsman" defense.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  10. James Brigham

    No one ever lost money betting against American intelligence!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  11. Peter Metz

    This just demonstrates the pernicious hold religion can have on someone. The belief in Creationism is entirely irrational bu to acknowledge that it is so would undermine their religion and so they cling to the belief. Scary.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Joe

      It's actually entirely rational, based upon personal observation and evidence which you might fail to comprehend... not on the stagnant and tenuous theories you assume are evidence-based.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • jim

      Actually I think it shows the pathetic state of education in this study. Nobody with a brain could deny evolution if they were presented with the facts.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  12. KidIndigo

    "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." - from the article.

    USA USA USA!!!!! This is SO sad. The Earth IS flat! Galileo IS (WAS?) a heretic for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun (OK, he was pardoned in the 1990's). Global warming is a liberal conspiracy to.... (do what, exactly?)...
    Tell ya what, science doubters, next time you or yours get appendicitis, don't go to a science-trained doc, just pray over it. See how that works out for ya.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Open your mind..

      You do know that there are creation scientists? Those who chose to believe in creationism don't reject scinece, they reject theories that can in no way be proven.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Hawk

      Talking about a "Creation Scientist" is like talking about a "blind seeing-eye dog", or a "giant miniature space hamster". They can *call* themselves scientists, but they really aren't. No more than I am a Buddhist Monk or a Christian who doesn't believe Christ ever existed.

      To actually *be* a scientist, you have to follow the scientific method – which "Creation Scientists" don't do. Real scientists have to be willing to say, "I guess I was wrong". "Creation Scientists" aren't willing to say that their Bible may be wrong – thus, they are not scientists.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • TR6

      @ Open your mind..”You do know that there are creation scientists?”

      Yes, and there are flat earth scientists and UFO scientists too

      June 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Justt Saay Noww

    God created evolution.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      I'm OK with that.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • copanut

      Evolution created god.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  14. copanut

    How dare the author of this article understate the position of science by stating that "majority opinion in the scientific community" does not believe in creationism. That's absurd. A better and more accurate way to state it is "scientifically, evolution is considered settled fact and is beyond serious dispute among scientists". Maybe if the media could stop presenting the issue as if it is mere "opinion" believed by a mere "majority" of scientists, the general public might be less inclined to believe it is a matter of simple dispute with both sides having equal footing and evidence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • copanut

      ... and has been beyond serious dispute for a century.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      I really wish you were right, sadly there are people out there who have the credentials of "scientist" but do not believe in evolution, or many other facts. I think the author was trying to be as unbias as possible.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      Concur.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Evolution is an opinion and nothing more. It is certainly NOT the opinion of most Americans.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • copanut

      There are, of course, a tiny percentage of credentialed scientists who ignore the reality of evolution. We're talking a very small percentage, like 1%, almost all of whom are not credentialed in a relevant science such as biology or paleontology, or they work at a sham school like Liberty University. Furthermore, the more prestigious the group of scientists, the smaller the percentage gets.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • copanut

      Evangelical, evolution is a "mere opinion" like gravity and oxygen are "mere opinions" and your existence is "mere opinion". I could not care less about the opinion of the majority of Americans (and by the way, 46% is not a majority) on a subject of science.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  15. Tom

    And we wonder why the US is going downhill – the reason is simple ignorance. Of course, this also explains why nearly 50% of people favor mitt – why, simple ignorance. Or simply dumb as a bag of hammers. Grow up give up the religious mythology – all religions are, you know!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      It's a combination of many things. Failure of public schools? Check (not every, or most, public schools fail, but it hasn't turned the tide yet). Religious extremism? BIG check.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  16. b4bigbang

    ME II: "Perhaps he (?) meant get rid of Christianity. Suggested cleansing method: education!"

    And what of the highly-educated religious people if they don't want this indoctrination?

    Force?

    June 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • ME II

      @b4bigbang,

      "Force?"

      Of course not, don't be silly.

      When have you ever known science to use force? Besides, the post said "to improve our knowledge and science," you can't force knowledge and understanding, at least I don't think you can.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Ross

    Believe what you want to believe. Act with respect, tolerance and peace. You will find out the truth when you die.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Evangelical

      That is one opion. But we are called to to help save souls. You will have to give an accounting to God for all the souls you let burn in hell because you didn't speak out to help get them saved.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      You make a valid point, except when sometimes those beliefs are straight up wrong and should be correct. For instance, if someone said they believed that the earth was flat, would you say, "I respect you opinion, however I disagree"? No! You would correct them of their ignorance. Same issue here.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Earthling

      Keep your foolish religion in your church where it belongs, and out of my face. People like you should be jailed for polluting the minds of children before they are developed enough to think for themselves.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  18. Jose perez

    The Bible belt is unmercifully being pelted by vicious, numerous tornados, destructive hurricanes, horrific floods and fires, etc. etc.. God must love them creationists. What a sadist God she or he must be!!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      @Copanut: Wow, "fobbed". Had to look it up. Cool word and nicely applied. Thanks!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • John

      Just as an earthly father disciplines his disobedient children because he loves them and does not want them to get hurt, so the Heavenly Father disciplines His disobedient children and does not want them to continue down a path of destruction. Surely you have heard it spoken: Hebrews 12:6 – "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
      “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” So the Bible Belt Christians need to take heed as they are filled with the spirit of the Laodecians and need to repent of their lukewarm faith. But He does love them!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  19. Aezel

    In other breaking news, 46% of Americans are imbeciles.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Evangelical

      How condescending and arrogant you are to call people of faith imbeciles. You, sir, are the imbecile.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • copanut

      How condescending and arrogant you are to suggest that people who don't follow your supernatural fantasy will have to "account to god" for the "souls" they allowed to "burn in hell". What arrogance to think that your baseless mythology should be fobbed on everyone else.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • sherry

      🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Dave

      Dunno about you, but I haven't had an invisible friend since I was very little.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  20. freshnewblog

    I believe in Adam and Eve because it is in The Book of Genisis &
    The Book of Moses which is in The Latter Day Saint Scriptures. They both are. I am a Latter Day Saint. They teach that some of the bible was wrongly altered by kings or officials over time and needs to be read with a grain of salt, but The Book of Moses is true. It is in The Pearl of Great Price one of the 4 Latter Day Saint scriptures

    June 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      What is the link to your blog site? I want to make sure I don't accidentally go there.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
      • freshnewblog

        You already did. That is where I found your comment this morning.

        June 2, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • TR6

      I belive in Voldermort because it says so in the book of Harry Potter

      June 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
      • freshnewblog

        There os a sequence to this. I guess that if you were a LatterDay Saint long enough then you would understand. It has to do with a stock of knowledge.

        June 2, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Rockhound25

      you cant even spell Genesis

      June 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • freshnewblog

        I was I was just typing on a tablet.

        June 2, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Tom

      I believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy because I read about them in a book!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom

      As I can take from reading your post the bible did not teach you grammar. If you read the bible you interpret your own way. But to take the Bible and your other "Books" to heart is wrong in the making of it. It is wrong for atheist to say that God does not exist, but it is equally wrong to throw all your cards in on a "supreme being". But there is just too much data to say that man was created by god.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • freshnewblog

        I am just responding to your grammar comment. I think that blogging and emailing are for quick typing.

        August 14, 2012 at 6:37 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.