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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. Oyster

    We're all going straight to hell for ignorance. Case closed.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Rukbat

      Objective evidence that hell objectively exists?

      No,e, just as I thought.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Gelli

    It would be interesting to know what results would there be if the same survey were done in others countries say Canada, Australia or the UK. I do not think that the results would be anywhere close to those in the US. These results show an almost total lack of basic scientific knowledge.
    If the universe was created only 6000 years ago, why is light coming from 99.9% of the universe which existed before the beginning of everything, doesn't make any sense. This isn't a theory, this is fact, most of the universe is much further away than 6000 light years and therefore the light from those objects must have been travelling for longer than 6000 years.
    Carbon dating must also be wrong then as well, many objects are much older than 6000 years. Carbon dating isnt a theory, it is a fact & has been proven correct over & over , many times.
    Evolution WAS a theory, when Darwin first started to study his finch sketches, oh so many years ago. It isn't any more, it is accepted as a FACT. Things change, creatures change, we sort of look like our parents, but not quite. Mice that breed on the rapidly changing tundra, far younger than 6000 years evolve so that dark furred mice thrive on the dark areas & light furred ones thrive on the light patches. Simple survival of the fittest, recent & with no human or Superhuman intervention!

    June 2, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I think you would get very different results to this survey in different countries.

      Religion is pervasive in the US. North America was colonized in the aftermath of the Protestant reformation. In many ways, Europe moved on, but in the US much of the culture has clung to 17th century anachronisms.

      This is the way it has always been here, but a wonderful accident happened.

      The corollary of freedom of religious expression is the freedom to not profess a particular religion or any at all. One cannot exist without the other. People who believe in a monopoly of truth find it hard to accept other beliefs. This is true for the religious and atheists alike.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Rukbat

      "People who believe in a monopoly of truth find it hard to accept other beliefs. This is true for the religious and atheists alike." People are free to hold whatever beliefs they like, they are NOT free to hold whatever facts they like. Reality is real, regardless of the beliefs of some (even though they're in the majority) to the contrary. If someone's beliefs and reality contradict each other, it's not reality that's wrong.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Rukbat

    46%, 19%, any %, reality isn't a popularity contest. Back when 100% of the species thought that the world was flat (and prior to ancient Greek science, that was the "scientific" view), they were all wrong.

    As Dobzhansky said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution".

    @Hugo:
    As soon as you post actual evidence that Matt's fortune is the direct result of his praying, everyone will back off on the opinion that it wasn't. Correlation isn't causation.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  4. Religion Sucks Ass

    This is the kind of thing that makes me ashamed to call myself American.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  5. Dan Green

    I am embarrased that so many Americans are so brain-washed by religion that they could possibly believe in creationism. There is ample scientific proof that the Earth has existed for many millions of years. The quest for everlasting life makes fools out of otherwise intelligent human beings.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • NEC

      I've asked the religious people I speak with time and time again, 'Where's your proof that a god exists, and don't quote bible verses as proof'. I've yet to find anyone who could give anything other than their 'belief' that there was a god out there. Sorry but I believe that there's a 'flying spaghetti monster' too but that doesn't mean it's true and I have the same amount of 'proof' for FSM as they have for a god.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Keksi

      This is not about "Earth" but about humans and there is NO evidence showing evolution of man,there is thing called "missing link".

      Also human race this jump from primates to intelligence rather quickly.

      And go back to school and learn about paying attention to details.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Marek Posival

      Keksi seems intoxicated.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't think it's drink-I think he's brain-dead.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  6. Peteyroo

    Where were you before you were conceived/born? Nowhere! Where are you going to be after you die? Nowhere! If you truly believe your eternal soul is going to heaven after you die, where was your eternal soul before you were conceived/born? If your soul is eternal, it had to be somewhere.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Why must this be an atheist v. people of faith discussion?

      Not all Christians refuse to accept evolution. 32% of Americans believe in evolution AND that it is influenced by God. Stipulation that there are a lot of people with religious beliefs, I would ask why there aren't more people who can accept this interpretation.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Hugo

      Perhaps it's time for you to look eternal up in the dictionary. (More than one definition.) If that doesn't work, take calculus.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Sorry GOOPer, but that argument is lame as well.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Peteyroo. I'm really not trying to convince you!

      My point was more about asking the 46% who won't accept evolution, why they can't embrace BOTH God and science, without challenging their belief in God.

      32% of Americans are OK with this concept. Why not more? That's the question I'm posing.

      If you simply attack the core of someone's faith, there's no dialog. It's just howling at the moon.

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

      @Hugo, why would you say 46% of Americans are unwilling to interpret "God created man" with evolution being God's design?

      June 2, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  7. Thomas

    While I would agree that God's hand created modern man I also believe that His hand guided our evolution and that we did not simply appear in our present form no matter how many years ago. To deny evolution is folly but I confess that I believe that there is some Divine guidance or cosmic plan for the development of all life everywhere. We don't know that God is anything like what we perceive or want Him to be. Perhaps God is simply embodied in the immutable laws of the universe.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And you would be one of the 32% of Americans who profess this very reasonable and pragmatic point of view that combines a religious inclination with the evidence of evolution.

      Good for you.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Thomas, I don't understand why more people who belive in God are incapable of interpreting "God created man" as being consistent with evolution being God's mechanism for creation.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • T

      It is amazing that some people can not grasp the world or their reality without the belief in a god. It scares them to no end to think that quite possibly they are on their own and this is all there is. It depresses them to think that once you die, you are just food for the vegetation that has feed you your entire life. Why there is Human exceptionalism is that because during this small window of Earth's history, we are the top of the food chain. But in the history of the Earth, this is a very short period of time. There are too many variables in our world for this to be sustained forever. Changes in the environment, the climate, the air we breathe can all effect how we evolve during the next 10,000 years.

      The beauty of the world and our Universe is that everything makes sense. It is all logical and there is no need for "stories" made up thousands of years ago when the middle east consisted of 20,000 Jews. We don't need to rely on stories told to illiterate bronze age farmers on how to live their lives and not covet their neighbors livestock, and how to stone your daughters for going outside the house during their period. How to sacrifice live animals to appease the jealous god, who was jealous of all the other gods available at the time.

      We don't need to embrace delusion. Religion today is more tribal than actual belief in a ghost in the sky. While in the USA and in the third world, there are still very ignorant people, this comes from conditioning and fear.

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

    This has nothing to do with underfunded education.

    This country, like most things is paradoxical. It was founded by religious zealots, and their ancestors over the years have worked hard to maintain their beliefs.

    Remarkably, at the founding of this country, when it was clear that none of the religious factions could or would agree on a predominant religion, freedom of religious expression (and importantly, the freedom not to profess a religion) was inst.tuted.

    Ironic, but there it is, and what a good thing it is too.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      oops – this is a reply to tallulah13

      June 2, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  9. Don Healy

    This is proof of 2 things. The failure of the US educational system. And the total dissolution of intelligence at seminaries and bible colleges. This is a black mark on the US and Christianity and an indictment of lazy, ignorant men and women who pass themsleves off as ministers, pastors and preachers.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  10. Erik

    This is ridiculous. 46% of Americans believe dinosaurs lived in the last 10,000 years or they never lived at all and their bones were just placed in the ground by God.

    I weep for my country.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And thus it has ever been.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Truth777

      I weep for you...

      June 2, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Marek Posival

      Amen.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  11. Easy way Out

    Can kills Abel and is bansihed from Eden. his first reaction on be repremanded by God is beg for protection because those outside Eden will kill him if they know what he has done. Who the hell is he afraid of? You cant say other siblings becuase after he goes to the land of Nod and builds a city and takes a wife, only then is Seth born to Eve. We know he is only the 3rd son because eve even says: God has given me another son to replace Abel. Why say that about the 6th or 7th son. Even if there were other relatives somehow outside of Eden why were they basihed also? If Adam and Eve are the first people then the actual biblical account doesnt add up. So, who said and where is it written they are the first people??

    Adam and eve are genesis 2 creation story. There is a whole genesis 1 about the first humans. Adam and Eve are only mentioned because they were created seperately later and are the starting point of the Jewish lineage and so Abraham and si David and so Jesus. So God created a new race to carry his lineage of prophets and eventually Christ himself.

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

      Why waste time considering it? The story is a freakin' allegory.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  12. tallulah13

    This is what happens when a nation's educational system is underfunded. This ignorance, combined with our crumbling infrastructure and the ever-increasing division between the wealthy and the poor is rapidly reducing the United States to a third world nation. The saddest part is that it seems a deliberate action.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • SciGuy

      The problem with our education system is that it is govt run. It is not underfunded.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • LFP

      Nailed it....

      June 2, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  13. Dustin

    In recent times, I have oft been asked, what would jesus do.

    Now I have put some thought into what I have read of the bible and philosophy.

    In my opinion, Jesus would keep his opinions to himself, he would not try to force those opinions on others no matter how sure he believed them to be fact.

    In my opinion, Jesus, would be ashamed of what his modern followers have become.

    He would be ashamed that they stand in the way of advancement, ashamed that they are to blind to accept what lies before them.

    Ashamed at their pandering, at their 'preaching,' at their actions following his life and death.

    He would be ashamed of the persecutions that have happened in his name perpetrated by his followers.

    According to the words you people claim to live by, the words of the bible, Jesus was a tolerant, open minded, fair individual. Those are not words that I would describe many who believe in creationism with.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Hugo

      Do you mean all of Jesus' followers or just some of them? You weren't clear on that point.

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

      My apologies on the lack of clarity for the statement.

      What I mean to say is individuals who call themselves followers of one Jesus Christ proclaimed by them as the son of the true god.

      I mean individuals who hide behind the name of someone they believe to be a good, individuals who hide behind the concept of religion.

      Individuals who commit attrocities in the name of faith.

      There are those who are honorable in their faith, who have done nothing wrong, and who do not condone the actions of those who ran before them.

      June 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  14. josh rogen

    just as people once believed the world was flat, or that man made climate change was real, creationist are just victims of social and religious brainwashing. all of us should be free to believe what we want to believe, yet be discouraged from forcing our beliefs on others. conformity of thought and a lack of diversity is the true danger i see with most of the post here

    June 2, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  15. gar

    Further proof that most Republicans are delusional.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  16. Peteyroo

    I would hate to see the results of a poll asking if folks believe unicorns & leprechuans are real. You might as well throw in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy for good measure.

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

      Really? I think it would be really interesting. Some of the data might even correlate!

      June 2, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  17. cward

    Godawful news. How stupid can people be?

    June 2, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  18. Peteyroo

    Creationism comes from faith-based science, which is no science at all.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  19. TAK

    Is there a word in the English language that simultaneously describes stupidity, obtuseness and delusional insanity? Oh yeah, "religion".

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

      What motivated George Washington Carver?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Hugo – he was a nut nut?

      June 2, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  20. Joseph L

    That is tragic news....I can't believe there are that many mentally handicapped people in this country. We are doomed as a nation.

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

      I agree...that's pretty terrible news. There are way too many ignorant people in this country.

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

      I'm a creationist and I haven't doomed anyone or been doomed myself. During the economic downturn I paid off all of my debt and got a new job that pays 20,000 more than my previous job. All I did was work hard and pray and worship God and he blessed me.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Nodack

      Doomed as a nation? The rest of the world isn't any different. People are so gullible. They just believe the big lie and don't believe facts. We run a lot of our world on coal and oil. Those things took 250 million years to make and religion says the earth was created 10,000 years ago in a day and God just put men on the planet. I guess dinosaurs are all in our imaginations too.

      All religions are man made cults. Sorry.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • TheBob

      @Matt: good on you mate. But just so you know: a nickel + 1,000,000 prayers = $0.05.

      Praying to a jug of milk would have yielded the same results. Try it as an experiment sometime. Be honest with yourself.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Hugo

      Matt, what's your position on evolution? Some people (as the poll indicates) believe in both (that God created people using evolution).

      June 2, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Nodack

      So your new job Matt was all Gods doing? What about the people doing poorly? God hates them and wants them to do bad? What about the thousands killed by others around the world. God wanted them to die because he had a different plan for them or were they all evil and deserved to die.

      People equate everything to God good or bad. any good and God loves them and blesses them. Any bad and God just had a different plan.

      PFFT.

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

      @TheBob, not necessarily so about the milk. What I believe you missed in your analysis are the other Christians. The other Christians that might decide to help pay his rent if he was praying to the Christian God but not if he was praying to the milk god.

      Of course, you could counter that if all of them believed in a milk god the same thing could happen. Perhaps it could. But that's not the test you provided.

      June 2, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • LFP

      So true, really depressing. This country really is in a downward spiral... time to start thinking of moving to New Zealand....

      June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Hugo

      @Nodack, please learn what Christianity is really about before you disparage it. You clearly don't understand and I certainly can't explain it in the room we have for the forum.

      I'll give you a lead though from C.S. Lewis - “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis did much more research into Christianity than I believe both of us combined (times 100). So, if he's right, these people didn't die as you assert. Only their bodies died.

      But what I've said here isn't at all what Christianity is about. It just addresses your challenge to Matt. Can you form an anti-God argument using C.S. Lewis' statement as a given. By that I mean a given C.S. Lewis' understanding of theology is correct. I'm not asking you to accept the given that the theology is correct. (I think you'll at least admit that the theology exists.)

      June 2, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Nodack

      I don't mean to be mean. Im a nice guy, but I believe there is no such thing as god. I have seen zero proof, only. Books written by man and several different ones at that.

      I also don't believe in all this negativity surrounding the country. The world and the country have been through all kinds of difficult times throughout history and each time they think their times are the worst. We are living in the best of times ever. So 10% of the people don't have jobs. 90% do. It's not the first time. Get over it and move on. When the times are tough the tough get going as they say.

      God doesn't control my destiny or our countries destiny, we do and crying over it doesn't solve anything.. Waiting for God to solve your problems means you will be waiting for a long time. Matt got a job because he convinced his boss to hire him. God had nothing to do with it.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:25 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.