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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. DF

    What amazes me is not the polling numbers, but, the actively, aggressively ignorant that come out of the woodwork anytime "evolution" gets mentioned in the press.

    46%, does that surprise me? That nearly half the country fell asleep in science class? That most of the ones that didn't have forgotten what they heard there and haven't cracked a science book since? How many of these would, if asked, also believe in evolution and Darwin and not care a wit about the contradiction? No problem believing that captures half the country.

    What floors me is the apparently not insignificant number of folks who have gone to great effort to develop a belief system based mostly on logical fallacies and what can only be described as a deliberate and deep misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. The theory is fairly simple. It has some subtle, and non-obvious, implications. But it's really not that hard to reason through. How hard does one have to work to believe that the word "theory" somehow changes meaning whenever it occurs in the same sentence as Darwin? Or that carbon-14 doesn't exist. Or that geology doesn't exist. Or that space-faring crocodiles are somehow relevant to...anything? There is so much discussion of evolution out there, in layman's terms, in addition to the scientific literature, someone making statements like "not a shred of evidence" must have had to go to to tremendous effort to NOT examine said evidence and NOT investigate any refutations of those statements.

    Active, aggressive, anti-knowledge. It seems so extreme, I have to wonder if there's actually some biological disfunction at work, leading to an inability to capture new knowledge.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • sherry

      People are afraid to open their minds to new things. Religion is a huge comfort for a lot of people. It is a way to cope with grief. It is a lot nicer to believe that you will see your lost loved one " on the other side." It is much harder for most to deal with the realities of life. Death and loss suck. Unfortunately, it is a part of life. I have taken classes which specifically address evolution in plants....basic, real evidence of evolution. Some people just can't face it, I guess.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  2. wtciv

    HAAAAA if you click on the link it says that a majority of Republican's are creationists....surprising?

    June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  3. Evangelical

    Man this is fodder for the atheists – they like calling people of faith stupid and ignorant and worse. Makes them feel important. Unfortunately, I woundn't want to be them when they have to face God.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • chubby rain

      I'll take my chances. In the meantime, could you stop hurting America...

      June 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      Which god?

      June 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      Well, since you won't be sitting in judgement, no worries. What if God laughs and takes them anyway?

      June 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Rick James

      No one's going to have to face Gawd, you ninny. And even if I do, I'll have to ask why Gandhi is allowed to burn in hell while the Catholic Church gets golden tickets.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • guyfromVA

      "Which god?"
      The actual one, i.e., the one who caused the big bang.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Evangelical

      @KidIndigo

      What if God laughs and takes them anyway? Try reading the Bible for the answer.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Failure to communicate

      @Guy

      I'm sorry, I've never heard of that one. I know there's the god from the bible, but he didn't create any sort of big bang as far as I can tell from the bible. Then there's Ra, but theres nothing in the ancient lit that says he caused any sort of big bang the way we understand it today. Thor? nope, Ahura Mazda? not that I know of. Can you please clarify further?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Evan, no. We call fundiots (fundamentalist îdiots), who purposefully choose to be ignorant, stupid.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  4. sherry

    I really thought the situation was changing until recently. I try hard to respect the different beliefs that people have. One of my fellow students at the local community college is a young home schooled girl. College was her first bit of exposure to the "real world". She freaked out one day when another student told her he was a Buddhist. ( She liked him a lot up until that point). She asked me "why would anyone want to be anything less than human?" My thought was that there are a lot more noble creatures than humans! We are quite full of ourselves, aren't we?

    June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  5. stevensb

    46% ......... reject science ..... and that is exactly what it is , a rejection of modern science and research . I suggest that each and every one of those people , when suffering from a medical problem , should be rejected by every medical doctor they apply to , and told to get themselves to their church of choice and let their pastor/priest/reverend , whatever , deal with the problem . You just might find the whole lot of these people all of sudden really , really , believing in science then !!!! These narrow minded , uneducated buffoons are going to be the death of this nation .

    June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • guyfromVA

      Not a reject of science, but of evolutionary dogma

      June 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  6. onlyonetruth

    what a sad bunch of hollow globes. Such a waste of good brain potential. We worry about the negative impact kids flunking out of school has since those are miss opportunities. Clearly our emphasis is all screwed up (why am I not surprised?). If 46% think we magically appeared, then we have much bigger problems than kids dropping out of school!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      nah, the cool thing is, I found out my kid doesn't need education, he/she just needs to believe in god and read the bible and he/she will be fine. Funny thing is, when I went to Indonesia, it wasn't the bible, it was some other book. I went to Korea, and, well, I couldn't find any kids to ask, because they were all at school. Weird.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Evangelical

      We didn't "magically appear." We were created in the likeness of God. Just like the car you drive didn't "magically appear."

      June 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • KidIndigo

      @Evangelical: That's totally cool! God has an automotive factory!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • chubby rain

      @Evangelical

      Why did God create cancer? Why are the majority of human fetuses spontaneously aborted? Why are 99% of the species that ever existed extinct?

      If there is a God and he created us, he is really, really bad at it.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Are you really that thick, KidIndigo?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • guyfromVA

      chubby,
      Those things happen because we live in a fallen, sinful world. God is a just judge, and punishes the world because of sim.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • chubby rain

      A just God gives kids cancer? The omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God created a fallen world? Please tell me your trolling...

      June 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Jen

      A lot of floods, tornados and hurricanes going through the deep south. God must particularly hate the people there.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  7. Warranted92

    Does anyone seriously believe any of these so called "random" polls?...Religious polls are about as useless as poltical ones...People will lie for the strangest reasons. Some will lie just to keep a reservation on their "place in the afterlife" . LOL.
    And if a Presidential candidate does so by his own admission, what hope is left for the rest of the uneducated creationist believers and liars...Burden of proof is upon them! LOL!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  8. Frank

    This is embarrassing for myself as an American. I hope the poll just were calls to Mississippi and Alabama.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • guyfromVA

      Face it, we creationists are all over the place, not just in the deep South.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  9. hankers

    and we think this country should lead the world? they are all laughing at us!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • alex

      Who is laughing at us? China? Where they believe drinking snake blood is better than Viagra?

      June 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Frank

      Right. Because we're the only country that believes in Christianity and Creationism.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      Biggest economy in the world. Yeah, right, they are laughing at us. If you paid attention in school, almost all of the great movements and achievements in civilized history have been inspired in some way by belief in God and serving his will. Yes, a lot of things gone wrong, but the intent is constant. God is the glue that holds this republic together and as it dissolves, so does the republic. By the time that non-believers see this is true, it'll be too late.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  10. JMS

    @Jesse,
    The Theory (not Law) of Evolution is so-called because to a certain extent it has not been unequivocally proven to the highest standard of a "Law", but is nevertheless a theory consistent with the overwhelming preponderance of actually verifiable and repeatable evidence. This god silliness is just magic.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • chubby rain

      If we are going to talk terminology, evolution is a scientific fact. It is explained by the Theory of Evolution through natural selection.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Biologist

      Actually a "scientific law" is merely a correlation of events with observations. It allows prediction but not explanation. A Scientific THEORY is the explanation between the factors and observations. It's the "why" to the "what happens if".Thus a theory is superior to a law...which is just correlation. As we all know correlation is not causation...causation is the theory.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Ann

      Biologist is correct in his/her explanation. And just to clarify, when people talk about the theory of evolution, they actually mean natural selection, which is the proposed explanation for evolution. With the scientific terminology included, natural selection is a theory for the fact of evolution.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  11. fandancy

    Jim Bakker says God created us and everybody knows Jim Bakker never lies. He's back on the air and selling over-priced survival junk at inflated prices on informercials disguised as a religious program. He's up to his old tricks bilking money from everyone he can.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • alex

      Only 12% of Americans know who Jim Bakker is.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Rick James

      Christian scam artist are the worst. They take advantage of gullible people to enrich themselves. Certainly something Jesus would do. It would be funny if it didn't do such damage to its victims. I've seen a video where people threw medicine away because they were convinced that "God would heal them" according to the preacher. One reason that some diseases are prevalent are because people don't finish their dosages. Preaches like that step on science's toes.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      As usual, people focus on the 1% bad and not the 99% good. Says more about them than what they are trying to disparage.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      I think the scam artist in the White House is the worst.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Rick James

      What does Obama have to do with this? You people are unhinged.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  12. creative36

    Please. Please let that be a typo. Nearly half of all Americans believe in a superstion? Really? In 2012? No wonder this country is messed up.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • alex

      You mean like elevators not having 13th floors?

      June 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • creative36

      Yes, that too. 13 floor superstion is a Christian thing. Something about Judas being the thirteenth apostle to arrive at the last supper and betrayed the Jesus. Or some nonsense. Silly Christians.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  13. woody pitt

    It's like saying 46% of Americans are Taliban.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  14. KidIndigo

    Actually, the 46% who believe in Creationism can take heart that Iran and Isla m agree with them.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  15. Greyman

    Well, this confirms that almost half of my fellow countrymen haven't 'evolved' beyond the childish need for fairy tales.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  16. alex

    This entire article looks like troll bait. Glad to see the atheist-angelicals are out and about.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    I really doubt there is much truth at all in this article. Spin the numbers of a poll that could be terribly biased for all we know, and its presented with a shock value perspective. Probably just another story designed to get us to click on it in outrage. I live in Seattle, the climate is a different here than rural TX. Despite this, I have a hard time accepting that nearly half of Americans truly believe in mythology.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  18. copanut

    Even the Catholic Church, which can't even figure out that condoms are a good idea, has emerged from the medieval ignorance enough to acknowledge the fact of evolution. Only whacked evangelicals continue to pule to an abyss of willful ignorance on the subject. Sadly, that group consumes 46% of the population.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  19. sherry

    Voldermort in the book of Harry Potter.....hahahahah! You guys are killing me here!
    I am seriously surprised at the number of people who believe very strongly in God, and not at all in evolution.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • copanut

      I was flat-out shocked to learn, back in the 70's, that half of my family were creationists. At the time I thought they could be educated and join the modern world. I naively underestimated the zombifying power of religion. Alas, the situation does not seem to be improving.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • alex

      God and science are not at odds. It is legitimate to accept evolution and yet believe that it was divinely guided, just as some people think we were seeded by aliens. Just don't allow beliefs to get in the way of facts.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • guyfromVA

      It's sad how arrogant and condescending you evolutionists are. It's no wonder God calls you all fools in the bible.
      "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
      "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
      you'd better repent while there's still time.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Darwin

      To GuyfromVA

      When you quote the bible you should also know were it comes from.
      for example the bible was comprise from 27 books the main text being the Gospels, Matthew having been the first one to be written.Some 50 years after he was dead, and not by Matthew, the same goes for all the other Gospels, none were written by the so called Apostle, As well biblical scholars have admitted that none of them could read or write. So it would have been impossible for them to have written them. But we are suppose to believe that what is written on the Gospels of the Apostles is the truth.

      And the Word OF GOD, THE LORD.

      No way, There is no proof of a God having ever existed, it's just a big lie.
      Its use to control the masses, well the ones that let them selves be controlled. Take the time to educate your self, you will actually free your self.

      Religion is just a farce. Made up.

      I like how some of you like to quote The Gospels but yet don't know they're not real.
      when you quote them like John, Peter, Matthew, and on and on, well it may as well be Batman Robin, Cat Woman. it will Cary the same weight.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  20. Earthling

    More evidence that we as a society are doomed. 46% are incapable of rational thought.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      Or, 15% of Americans cannot believe in anything other than their self-absorbed selves. Life with out faith is empty. I suggest to try it but you are too smart for that. And I contend that there are many in the 46% who could dance circles around your limited intellect. Believing in God is in no way correlated with being ignorant. If you weren't so ignorant, you'd know that.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Jen

      Big difference between believing in god and rejecting evolution, with the overwhelming evidence.

      I personally don't think belief in god makes you ignorant. Trying to force your beliefs on others is ignorant. Calling me self absorbed when you don't know me is ignorant.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:04 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.