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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. Doesnt Matter

    Half the US population has below average intelligence, what should we expect?

    June 2, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  2. RBSG

    More proof that the majority of Americans are just plain stupid.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  3. RobC-NE

    I don't get why evolution is being labeled as a 'belief' considering you can witness it happening in nature even today. If it wasn't fact then there's quite a few scientists and scholars out there wasting their time and minds on a subject we have loads of data about. People need to realize that evolution is pretty much proven, the only thing we still haven't figured out is how humans got to the point they have today and I'm sure even this secret will be uncovered in time.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Of course it's a belief. Believing in science is still an application of faith. I find that evidence really helps.

      I also believe the sun will rise tomorrow. It might not, but I'm pretty confident.

      Religous belief is faith without substantive evidence, but both require an exercise of faith.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Germana DeSaint

      It's a matter of Faith, dear ones.

      You can't think faith, you feel faith in your heart, in your heart center.

      Sheep in Australia
      Baseball sized hail in Oklahoma
      Collapse of educational system
      Collapse of economic system
      People eating people

      There is still time to repent. Pray. Read Revelation. Bless.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • TheBob

      @GOPer: if you had stuck it out and finished 8th grade you would have understood the difference between knowledge and belief. But maybe you just didn't have the mental capacity to finish 8th grade. It's OK. Just keep off public forums and stick to wearing cardboard signs on street corners and selling pencils from a cup.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Gadflie

      Germana, the prophesy that Jesus repeated the most often did not happen and the deadline he set has passed. Yet you still believe this claptrap?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ah, abuse, the last refuge of the inarticulate.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • badlobbyist

      Germana – everyone that has lived since Jesus has claimed that theirs were the end times. Point to the world and you'll find things that are disasters everyehre and everytime. Just as you'll find very good and positive things.
      We are actually living in the most peaceful time in recent world history. Fewer and fewer people are being killed each year by wars and global poverty rates are actually falling.
      We are not in the end times. Stop praying and go help someone do something positive in the world.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • TheBob

      Just calling it as I see it, GOPer. Just calling it as I see it. You CLEARLY do not understand the difference between belief and knowledge. Lacking that basic understanding, any amount of further articulation will simply be lost on you.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TheBob, you are creating a distinction that I find to be unsound. I do not accept the assertion that there is such a thing as immutable knowledge. It is all belief.

      By asserting that immutable "knowledge" can exist in the absence of belief, you are really talking about the notion of truth.

      As it concerns humans, turth is unknowable, and as it concerns the world around us, it is limited by our ability to percieve and measure it. Doubtless there are aspects of what we think we "know" as true that one day will be disproven, or at least replaced by a more complex understanding.

      I think you made some incorrect assumptions about my personal point of view, which I have not expressed directly.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Hugo

      badlobbyist, I'm a member of the set of everyone who has lived since Jesus' era and I do not claim that i live in the end of times. Assertion contrdicted.

      I do predict an end of times, at least for the Earth... no later than a few billion years from now when the sun becomes a red giant.

      I also predict an end of times for the universe but that will take a very long time. Either it will contract (perhaps making a new big bang) or it will just expand to the point of effectively running out of energy (which is an effective end).

      June 2, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Hugo

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV - no such thing as immutable knowlege?

      What is 1+1? Is that going to change? How?

      1 + 1 is 2 by definition of the integers. Even if the definition were to change the fact that the definition existed at one time isn't going to change.

      (Darn those pesky mathematicians who have taken Discrete Math.)

      June 2, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Hugo, I accept that argument. Mathematics is absolute, but that is in part, because it defines its own axioms. It is itself a concept and therefore intangible. It doesn't exist in physical form (though it can make some very nice models for physics). Nevertheless, it is the closest thing to truth that there is.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  4. Gadflie

    Here's an interesting fact. Every single scientific advance was done by someone who did not accept "God did it" as a sufficient answer to the question that they were asking.
    Obviously this does not mean that people of faith haven't advanced science. Only that "God did it" has never actually been shown to be the correct answer to any question.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • b4bigbang

      @Gadflie: Merely insert the word 'how' as in "how God did it" and you'll be onto something useful.
      That's what Newton, et al asked in their ground-breaking science achievements.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Gadflie

      The word "God" doesn't contribute to the knowledge at all. It is semantically null in this context.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Not to Newton, et al.....

      June 2, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Gadflie

      Yes, it was. If it were not, they would have just settled for "God did it". But, they did not. Instead of settling for the knowledge placeholder (which is all that phrase is), they decided to actually figure it out themselves. God did it has been used over and over to "explain" how something worked, but it has NEVER actually been shown to be the correct explanation. Not once. Ever.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  5. Timetraveler

    Unfortunately just about every developed country has its weirdo baggage that it must tolerate and keep carrying forward. Canadians got the French colonists, Australia got the prison colony inmates, and we got the whackjob Puritans who have degenerated into Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Born-agains, snake handlers, child-molesting pastors and a whole host of undesirables who meander in our midst. This 46% is the equivalent of the crazy aunt you keep in the basement and hope to keep out of public view. What a shame for a country that has had so much potential, but is increasingly dragged down by throwbacks to the Dark Ages.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Doug

      Why don't you address the issues, instead of just dishing out the insults.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  6. CommonSense

    46% of Americans are either delusional, not telling the truth, or are simply dim-witted. And they all vote republican. Congratulations. That's what a failing educational system can achieve.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Which 46% is "dimwitted"?

      The ones who believe in evolution or the ones who don't?

      I think I know which ones you mean, but strictly speaking, your comment isn't clear.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • badlobbyist

      What do you mean failing educational system? This is exactly what the Republicans want. Here, get all riled up about this stuff and maybe you won't notice that we're taking all your money and giving it to people who make more than $250k/year.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  7. Hugo

    kimberwy, I can't prove evolution unless we accept some givens. I asked someone else but I'll ask you too.

    What is your positon on DNA? Does it exist in your opinion? Does it exist as advertised?

    What is your position on atomic theory? Does radiation exist? Do molecules exist?

    What is your position on mathematics? Do you think 1+1 = 2? If I flip a coin 10,000 times, about how many heads would I get?

    June 2, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Alex

      on average +/- the standard deviation 5,000 heads

      June 2, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Hugo

      Thanks Alex. I'm not getting any bites from the Creationists when I ask those questions. Go figure.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Hugo

      But then I did ask Kimberly to go read her Bible... Perhaps that's where she went.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  8. LouAZ

    The use of supernaturalism to manipulate and control people is the world's oldest confidence scheme, it relies on the ritual abuse of children at their most impressionable stage by adults who have themselves been made childish for life by artifacts of the primitive mind.- "Your Mom" on a CNN comment.

    Christians are dragging us back to the Dark Ages. When does the witch burning and stoning start AGAIN ?

    June 2, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    A point that was not made in the article, and one that most commenters seem to ignore as well, is that belief in evolution is equally split.

    46% of Americans don't believe in evolution.
    47% of Americans do! (This is comprised of 32% who say that evolution is guided by God and 15% who say God had no part in the process.)

    Let's not lose sight of that.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • wasso

      But you also conveniently forget to mention that a significant portion of those creationists consider "God" to be intelligent Aliens.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @wasso, I suspect that the "intelligent alien" reference is your interpretation of others' belief or an attempt at humor – I can't tell.

      46% said "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so"
      47% said "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life"

      These are the actual questions. The second answer is a combined result for questions that had the following clauses at the end:
      32% "... but God guided this process"
      15% "... but God had no part in this process"

      June 2, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • wasso

      No, not necessarily humor. Its how one interprets what God is ? Science of the distant future would basically appear as magic to us. In the same vein, highly intelligent Alien being would appear as "Gods" .

      June 2, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • wasso

      No, not necessarily humor. Its how one interprets what God is ? Science of the distant future would basically appear as magic to us. In the same vein, highly intelligent Alien beings would appear as "Gods" .

      June 2, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @wasso, It doesn't matter. The survey didn't ask if respondents believe in God, or what kind of "God" they believe in, should they do so. It just uses the word "God". There are other surveys (paritcularly by Pew Research) that address specific faiths, but this one didn't cover that.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  10. gallupfoulup

    Did anyone else notice their sample population was only 1000 people? That hardly seems enough to claim such a small margin of error when the US has 250+ million adults. It sounds to me like the intelligent folks, who don't agree with creationism, were simply smart enough to treat Gallup as they would a telemarketer. Click.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @gallupfoulup. Have you ever taken a University-level statistics class?

      There is a whole field of statistical mathematics in determining what is and what isn't statistically significant. Gallup is in the business of taking surveys and I suspect their expertise in this matter might be greater than yours.

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

      I think you are missing the point.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Dennis

      Also, It is stated that this survey was done by telephone. Are they just calling land lines or are they surveying on mobile phones also. This would make a great difference in the demographic that are included in the survey.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • scott

      I'm a statistician. The size of the population is irrelevant–assume it's infinite. In that case, a sample of 1,000 is all you really need to get a 4-5% margin of error.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Honestly, with all due respect, I think you have missed the point. 1,024 people answered the phone. It is not a statistically sound assertion that of 1,024 people who answered the phone, they were all foolish.

      If Gallup called you, and said they wanted your input in a evolution survey, would you hang up? Would all aethists?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • hambone

      1000 is more than enough; without having their data, an upper bound on the margin of error in a randomly sampled poll such as this is 2 / sqrt(1000) = 6% (I won't bore you with the mathematics, I'm a statistician though, so you can trust me) so .4% seems reasonable. As far as whether people who believe in evolution are less likely to respond – the name for this is selection bias – I don't know Gallup's methods, but they are a professional polling organization and so presumably would use methods that are robust to this sort of thing.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Here is what Gallup has to say – in their findings, which you can read for yourselves in two mouse clicks.

      "Results are based on telephone interviews conducted May 3-6, 2012 with a random sample of –1,024—adults, aged 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
      For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±4 percentage points."

      June 2, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • hambone

      Meant 4%, not .4 %, in my previous post, obviously.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry – I missed this bit ...

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

      June 2, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  11. Phillydough

    Secular comments to this article prove that apparently those who participated in this survey did not read this article. Probably, they also don't have internet access or cannot read at all.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      With the application of a little logic, one could determine that since the article was written after the survey was completed, participants in the survey could hardly have read the article ... without access to a time machine.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  12. gggg

    46% of Americans are morons. Well, that explains the drivers around here ...

    June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  13. Fr. John

    That explains why America is so backwards.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  14. Consequence

    In a recent medical procedure, i was required to sign a release in which i had to acknowledge that medicine is not a an "exact science" and there were risks to the procedure. I got to thinking...just how inexact is science? i mean, if they cannot make a body whole in the here and now, how much faith should we put in their ablity to predict from whence we came and to where we are going?

    June 2, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Evangelical

      You can't put any faith in it, Consequence. It's all just theories.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • ME II

      @Consequence,
      I as.sume you signed the form for your medical procedure. So the glib answer is, about enough seek medical help.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Gadflie

      I know where my money would be bet. And, those of you using the internet and those fancy computers know where you would bet also. The side that actually gets results. All else is self-delusion.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Consequence

      if upon hearsay, I believed an "inexact science" might help, why would i not believe upon hearsay the witness of those who saw Jesus raise the dead?

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

      You can get first hand accounts of medical successes. You cannot even get written first hand accounts of Jesus doing ANYTHING. None of the authors of the NT even met him.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • ME II

      @Consequence
      First, science is reproducible, so it can be independently verify, by you, if you want to spend the effort to understand the science.
      Second, it's not hearsay, it's verifiable. (see above)

      June 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • badlobbyist

      Scientists are smart enough to know that they may not know all the answers. That there may be something out there that would disprove a commonly held scientific theory. Not only are they open to it, that is what theories are based on...I've done this x number of times and keep getting the same answer. So your doctor has enough brains to admit that he/she may not know exacty what is going to happen.
      What worries me is that there is no such requirement for faith. One commenter telling us to pray and read Revelations because the end times are coming. This keeps proving false generation after generation, but belief in the end times still persists. Why? How many times does this not have to happen before it becomes obvious that it probably won't.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  15. kebcarerra

    You got to believe in something , so I believe I'll have another beer . Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach , so I am telling you to take a little toke for your stomach or spinal stenosis or back ache. Pot is okay , just keep away from the hard drugs like alcohol and heroin .

    June 2, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Patriarchae

      "You got to believe something, so I believe I'll have another beer."

      LOL, amen those are words to live by! I'm sure I'll be quoting that in the future!

      June 2, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  16. JLS639

    "a belief in creationism is bucking the majority opinion in the scientific community – that humans evolved over millions of years"

    Majority opinion? Yeah, it is the majority opinion of science that the Earth orbits the sun and that the rhopsin proteins in your eyes detect light for vision.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • jj

      darwin was proven a hired fraud.

      Creationism has been proven

      humans have not grown wings, or gills, snakes have not grown feet . evolution is a fraud
      God bless

      June 2, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Gadflie

      JJ, that was actually pretty funny. Do you write your own jokes?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @jj. Oh dear. Do you genuinely believe what you have written?

      Reptiles shed their gills when they crawled out of the swamp.
      Snakes still have vestigial leg bones (inside their bodies) from when they were lizards.

      Evolution usually moves forwards, not backwards. That's the point.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • badlobbyist

      ...Evolution usually moves forwards, not backwards. That's the point....

      Well, not in jj's case.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  17. akmac64

    This country cannot be a world power if its people hold on desperately to ignorance. What a shame.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Patriarchae

      Very true. These people try to claim that our nation is going downhill or that we're being held back in the world, and they try to blame secularism on it when in reality they themselves are a large part of the problem.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  18. william knutsen

    Anyone who says their god is "all-powerful"; but then says this all-powerful being has a rival (Satan) obviously has no logical abilities. I do believe that believing in two opposing things at the same time is called insanity. However, the real reason so many in America believe in Creationism is because the mass media in their area beams out that nonsense day and night; even on rock music stations.It is an old "cult" trick: make everyone hear only one message. It is the same tactic used in Islam to keep their people ignorant of the latest in scientific discoveries. Another reason for Creationists' beliefs is that the fear of (an illogical) Hell prevents them from accepting overwhelming scientific proof of evolution. In other words they are addicted, through the chemical, fear, to their religious beliefs. And this IS a major reason why America is losing its place at the head of the class!
    Will Knutsen
    American in Denmark

    June 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • jj

      willy your scared and afraid. accept God and Jesus and come out of the darkness. U feel it.

      Creationism can be scienticificaly proven, and has been. Evolution has been disproven

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

      I don't see the logic conflict. Please explain.

      I'll explain my view.
      Got could exist. (I can't prove or disprove this). God could want to allow for free will. Angels could exist. Angels could have free will. An angel called Satan could then decide to exercise free will an disobey God. Where's the logical conflict?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Hugo

      jj, how has evolution been scientifically disproven? It's not honorable to just provide assertions. Produce an argument.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • scott

      jj, you are quite the comedian. On the contrary–no prediction of evolutionary theory has EVER been disproven. And nothing about the creation story has ever been proven.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  19. Bman

    One solution, burn the creationists. We'll solve our ideological and social security problems all at once.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • josh rogen

      that is stupid.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  20. Ray Comfort

    I wonder how many people answered that they believed in creationism simply because their nutty spouse was in the room and they did not want to say what they really felt?

    June 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • ME II

      Good point, BananaMan.

      Recount!

      June 2, 2012 at 12:49 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.