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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. Hugo

    guyfromVA, no evidence of evolution? Really?

    What's your position on DNA?

    What's your position on atomic theory?

    What's your position on mathematics?

    June 2, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Patriarchae

      If he claims that there is no evidence of evolution, I doubt that he is intelligent enough or has enough knowledge to have any opinion on those things.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Hugo

      @Patriarchae, true. But I thought it would be fair to give him the chance to defend his opinion. Just trying to be fair.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  2. Kahuna

    And 65% of Americans believe in personal responsibility as long as it doesn't apply to them.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Dale

      Very true, Kahuna–very true. That same percent of parents want discipline of other people's children.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  3. Patriarchae

    So 46% of America is stupid. Not surprising. And yes, if you believe in creationism you are stupid by default.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Robita

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Amen to that.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Hugo

      I'm heading into the realm of philosophy and Rene Descartes. All he could prove was his own existence - "I think, therefore I am." So, how is it you know there is a universe outside of your consciousness?

      But let's say there is such a universe. If there is an all powerful God (which I can't prove or disprove), then why could this God create the universe with evolutionary evidence in place? Or put another way, why couldn't this God have created the universe 2 seconds ago with all evidence in place, including your memories?

      I submit we can't prove it one way or the other with the information we have.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • kimberwy

      I guess that means that most of the rest of the world is stupid too, since the majority of people in the world believe that there is a Creator God. And these people have never darkened the doors of what we call church.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Hugo

      Kimberly !!! Darken doors? Please read Matthew 5:43-48 immediately.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  4. Dale

    When I was a member of a Christian church, I would have said that I believed in creation to sound "holy" or correct–but I would have secretly known better–so do many of those answering they believe in creation.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Ed Zachary

      I grew up in a Christian church, and never once did I hear the ministry babbling about creationism. Where did all these people get the idea you had to believe in this nonsense to be a Christian?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  5. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • kimberwy

      And what is SO great about the moon? And that is only one relligion, one very dark religion, one very messed up religion, that flies you into buildings. besides its not about religion anyway, it is about having an awesome relationship with the God of the universe.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  6. Genesis

    Gotta think this whole poll was conducted in Kansas

    June 2, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • ME II

      LOL\

      ... hey I'm from Kansas!

      (still funny though)

      June 2, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • kimberwy

      And you would be wrong about that Genesis. Not sure why you call yourself that if you believe as you do. Over 50% of people in the WORLD believe that an Intelligent God created the universe. In fact, if you would study it all for yourself, you would see that it takes much more faith to believe in the theory and hoaxes of evolution than it does to take a look around you and believe in and intelligent and loving designer.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  7. EnlightenedOne

    I also believe in Creationism, but it was not God, it was the Spaghetti Monster who came down and gifted life to the meatballs known as planets. His glorious sauce runs through my veins and give me life. I know this because an invisible unicorn appeared to me and told me so.

    I really hope people get the humor of this.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • kimberwy

      You are so NOT enlightened.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  8. nolimits3333

    Americans are idiots.

    Which explains George W. Bush.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Hugo

      Why do you think Americans are idiots?

      June 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Ray Comfort

      W does actually prove that a large number of Americans are dumb enough to elect a guy who more intelligent people readily saw would be a disaster. Though in all fairness, few ever envisioned the he could be even worse than oour wildest nightmares.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  9. JakeAZ

    Not surprising, quite scary actually. But if you ask the same people if they believe in Zeus, 99.9% would say no. we have religious teaching obviously handed down by parents and divided by geography, yet people can't see it. its right in front of you! religion is man-made people! come on! it's 2012!

    June 2, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • kimberwy

      How do you explain people from the deserts of Africa, the cold of Siberia, the isolated mountains of Europe all coming to the same conclusion, without having any contact with organized religion? You are the one who is not educated. Educate yourself and be in awe. God is real and I pray you find Him.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  10. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    These gallop polls are about as accurate as throwing a dart at a dart board while blindfolded. Any logical thinking person will know that if they are not "polling" people with cell phones, which they are not, they are only polling "land lines". A vast majority of people that have land lines are old people, where as the majority of cell phones are generally in the possession and used exclusively, without a home land line by people under the age of 40. The older a person gets, it seems the more they believe in God.....and creationism.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The actual Gallup content (follow the links) says the following:

      "Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking."

      Does this help your concern?

      June 2, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • kimberwy

      Hmmmm....and with wisdom comes age...isn't that how the saying goes?

      June 2, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  11. Dr. Haines

    We are failing our young people. Evolution is scientific fact, with just as much evidence behind it as the water cycle. There comes a time when every parent must tell their child there is no Santa Clause. It is time for science teachers that haven't taken a stand in this matter to do so.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • howart Dao

      searching for the unknowns is the basis for science; hiding from the unknowns is the basis for religion

      June 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Doug

      What is your definition of a scientific fact?

      June 2, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Hugo

      What was wrong with your high school science teachers? Science is about theories. In chemistry, it is called the "Atomic Theory" not the "Atomic Fact."

      Further, a "scientific law" is supposed to be better established than a theory. That hasn't worked out so well. Newton's Law of Gravity appears to be flawed. It was challenged by Einstein. Observations of Mercury indicate that Einstein's theory correctly predicted the orbit of Mercury and Newton's didn't.

      What scientists can have is "high confidence." I have "high confidence" that hydrogen exists. But hydrogen existing is not considered a fact by top scientists. It's considered part of a very reliable theory.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • ME II

      Hear! Hear!

      June 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually there is a "Santa Clause". (It's a movie, but I'm making a poor joke at the expense of a minor spelling error.) Science teachers take a stand every day. The observation that 46% of the parents of the school children won't accept evolution is indeed sobering.

      @howart Dao. Science and religion are equally a search for truth. There is a reason that doctorates in science are still usually awarded a PhD (Doctor of *natural* Philosophy).

      Both seek an understanding of the truths of existence. Our understanding of science is not immutable – it changes as we learn and sometimes we are wrong. The strength is in the method and the ability to learn and change our minds with what we learn.

      This is very different from uncritical fundamentalism.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • ME II

      @Hugo,
      "Further, a 'scientific law' is supposed to be better established than a theory"

      A theory does not get promoted to a law, they are different things. Also, a fact is a verifiable piece of data, if I understand correctly, and yes the existence of hydrogen is a fact, because we can check it.
      Evolution is a fact in the sense that there is docu.mented evidence of evolution occurring, such as ring species and Lenski's long term E.Coli experiment.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • ME II

      http://ncse.com/evolution/education/definitions-fact-theory-law-scientific-work

      June 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • kimberwy

      If evolution is fact then prove it. Even the leading scientists admit we can't prove it. That is why it is still called a theory!

      June 2, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • ME II

      @kimberwy,
      "Even the leading scientists admit we can't prove it."
      What's your source for this?

      "That is why it is still called a theory!"

      "Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." (http://ncse.com/evolution/education/definitions-fact-theory-law-scientific-work)

      June 2, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • kimberwy

      For starters dear people, check out http://www.examiner.com/article/top-academics-admit-evolution

      June 2, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • ME II

      @kimberwy,
      Sorry, I should clarify, that science doesn't deal in "proof." So, they would be correct to say that we can't "prove" evolution.

      "In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as 'true.' Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow." (same web site)

      June 2, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  12. Mke

    Maybe I'm missing something, but in my math, 46+32+15=93. 7% is a pretty big "other" category. Any insight into what those people believe?

    June 2, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      7% said "Other/No Opinon"

      If you click on the link to the gallup . com findings you will find all the data. Like other facts, it is plain to see for those who look for it.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  13. lefty avenger

    So 46% of Americans are republicans, that looks good for the 54% liberals.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  14. a guy

    LOL, Bizarre, the same ole excuse, nice try

    June 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  15. howart Dao

    Religious dogma shall trump and trample all reasons.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  16. Bill

    How distressing. Are we, as a nation, really that ignorant?

    June 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • thes33k3r

      Yes, we are. Religion strikes again.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • howart Dao

      Religion is the gateway(to heaven) drug 🙂

      June 2, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • iubj

      Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed it out to all of us.... Religion causes a group of people to be dumb. Muslims used to lead the world in Inventions until Islam spread. Now the same is happening to us. it is truly sad.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • kimberwy

      Be proud. We are still a nation that wise as to believe, not in the THEORY of evolution but in the knowledge that surrounds our every waking breath..that we come from an intelligent creator who obviously loves us.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  17. mountainmama82

    Ok this means they polled 1/2 of the people in the US right? Really?? 150 million people?
    Let me tell you something. I am 70. Live 2 places all my life. For the last 28 years have had the same land line and am in the book. No one in my entire life has ever called me to ask an opinion on anything. So who are they calling? A sampling of nut jobs in MS/AL/TX??

    June 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Phillydough

      Apparently, they do.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • JLS639

      Samples are usually around 2000 people. If you figure about 250 such polls a year from the major polling organizations, that means <0.2% of the population per year.

      Are they accurate? A stats professor of mine told me that one major network was upset with its statisticians after the 2000 elections. They polled every Congressonal race (over 500), every gubanatorial election (circa 20), every state Supreme Court election (circa 30) and every other election deemed significant (e.g., mayor of major citeis). About 600 elections polled, and they incorrectly called 3 of them which was far too high. The other networks each only incorrectly called one of them. That gives you an idea how accurately these polls reflect the opinion of the American population.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      As stated at Gallup . com, the sample was "a random sample of –1,024—adults, aged 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia."

      June 2, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  18. pogojo

    In other news, for sure these 46% of Americans will not vote for Obama.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • guyfromVA

      I certainly won't be voting for him.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Phillydough

      Yay, and Obama will win with the help of those sane 54%.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • pogojo

      lol ya right, this is just a small group, there are many that are not creationists that will also not vote Obama,,,, LOL

      June 2, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  19. RV

    In other news, 46% of Americans are uneducated idiots.......this is seriously disturbing that people so easily dismiss science and cannot believe that science and religion can co-exist.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  20. Ambersky

    Show me any one of the following for proof of God: a photo, a strand of DNA, an appearance on tv, an appearance saving a slaughter in the World, coming down diverting a disaster. You can't. God only exists in your mind in order to allay the fear of dying. And Americans wonder why we are becoming a 3rd World Country when it's obvious.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • guyfromVA

      my friend, God doesn't have to say "how high" everytime you say "jump."

      Eventually, you'll be convinced of His existence, in this world or the next.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • howart Dao

      which God ? my God, your God , her God, their God(s)

      June 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • guyfromVA

      the one true God, i.e, the one revealed the Judeo-Christian Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
      "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:31

      June 2, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • howart Dao

      you mean Allah ?

      June 2, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Hugo

      Ambersky, did you have a particular person in mind when you wrote "your?" Please be clearer when you write. Be careful when you use pronouns lest you confuse the reader.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • kimberwy

      You are a fool. Do you live in a vacuum? You think it is only Americans who believe in a Creator, in God? Much of the rest of the world believes in God. Americans are in the minority for our unbelief. I choose to side with the rest of the world.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:01 am |
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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.