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. PrimeNumber

    Nature is brutal. Watch your pet cat tear a bird limb from limb. Flesh-eating bacteria cause loss of arms and legs. Certain kinds of bees scout out hives of other bee types, then wipe them out. Darwin obvserved that some red aunts enslave black aunts. Earthquakes swallow or bury thousands of people, tsunamis drown many more thousands. Neglect your garden and weeds choke out flowers. Humans turn on themselves and develop means of destroying each other. What's the objective of evolution? Survival. What kind of of creature survives? One that is ruthless, brutal, cunning. There is no place in nature for love and mercy. I'm interested in how mindless nature put morality and virtue into humanity. Maybe, man has evolved into a freak. Evolution, left to itself, could never produce something like us.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Dennis

      You can show you many instances of mercy by animals. A killer whale that carries a baby seal to shore instead of eating it.
      A dolphin that saves a human from drowning. Animals that adopt others. A Polar Bear that doesn't eat a dog but plays with it.

      Have you been living under a rock?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      And yet It has! Despite your refusal to accept the mountains of undeniable proof, evolution occurs anyway! Even without YOUR expressed permission! Imagine that!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Non-Zero

      Clearly, you're only selectively looking at nature.

      Species all over the world join together in cooperative, symbiotic relationships. Two life-forms join together for mutual gain. These creatures don't necessarily have what we as humans would call morality, but in some cases certain species could not survive without the cooperation of the symbiotic species. In fact, you are in a symbiotic relationship with all sorts of "good" bacteria in your digestive system that help you survive. Evolution, left to itself, has indeed produced a system in which entire species could not exist without the help and cooperation of another.

      Nature is also full of cooperative relationships within a species–ants and bees all work together, with individual responsibilities to accomplish a goal for the colony as a whole. Each one contributes its own task and without that individual's contribution, the colony would collapse. One bee will be responsible for finding pollen while another will build the hive. Without a crude form of morality among bees, the pollen gatherer could enjoy the benefits of the hive, but they would all starve. They cooperate because the hive depends on each bee doing its part.

      Read the book Non-Zero by Robert Wright for a very good explanation of how greater cooperation is a pervasive force of nature.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Huebert

      Actually morals are very advantageous for our species. Living groups greatly increases the survivability of individuality organisms. Morals facilitate communal living. After all every society that I know of removes individuals that are considered to be immoral.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  2. Dennis

    50% of the population has below average intelligence.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Sue

      And above average gullibility!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Doug

      I find it interesting that most posts supporting evolution spend their time insulting those who disagree with them. Wonder if you'd do that in a "face-to-face" conversation. I think you're better than that. Perhaps you should actually inquire why the 46% reject macro-evolution – and listen. You certainly don't seem very open-minded, rather it's as if you know it all. Your dogmatism is disturbing.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  3. ClearAndPresentThinking

    Well, they do create havoc on common sense.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Denker

    This country is going down.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Bob

    Sounds like the questions were poorly formed when originally asked. Have humans changed very much in the last 10000 years? probably not so much. Did human ancestors evolve a great deal over the last million years? Yeah, probably a LOT! It goes to show, that in the scientific process, if you ask poor questions at best you get ambiguous and confusing answers. The results of which can be used to grab attention.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      I concur!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  6. Skoolz

    I for one did not evolve from a fish or monkey or whatever 'first animal' it is this year. The zombie baby Jeebus' Daddy made me, thank you very much.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  7. dennis

    So sad.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  8. waterman

    An embarrassment to the country. It is funny how US media refers to some parts of the world as "civilized", implying that others are uncivilized. Well, if in your country 46% believe in creationism, you are not civilized. You are primitive.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  9. Clark Nova

    There is absolutely no hope left for this stupid, gullible and broken country. I'll be glad to see it go down.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  10. HA25

    Chad, I think you've fallen in with those true believers who think that if you shout out that something is THE TRUTH or THE WORD that it actually is. "That is certain to continue to gain ground, as it is exactly what happened.."

    "God created the universe " – as to this, no less than the smartest man on the planet – Stephen Hawking – says this isn't true. Einstein also was not a believer in God as a creator of humans or the universe. I'm going to go ahead and throw my lot in with them for these and many more reasons.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • BRUCE


      June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • TheTruth

      "No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." Albert Einstein
      Hawking's statement that "many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing" defies the laws of physics -it's impossible to create something from nothing. Unless you are, indeed, God.....

      June 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Mr "truth" – "it is impossible to create something from nothing" Yes, I agree completely with that statement which clearly illustrates why "the Divine Creation" myth is IMPOSSIBLE and laughably ABSURD! No one has ever claimed that evolution created man out of nothing. The necessary elements for the creation of single cell organisms all the way up to complex mamals were ALL present on this planet as a direct result of the formation of our solar system with all of its objects and forms of matter!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Doug

      Religion not healthy...

      Do your realize you contradicted yourself in your reply?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  11. Biodoc19

    Science flies us to the moon.
    Religion flies us into buildings.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Patti

      Excellent comment!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • hemplover

      Good one, Doc.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  12. Dave

    And even more still believe in the supernatural. Believing in creationism is actually not 'any worse' than being religious when you lump it all together. Heaven, hell, man being created in present form, ghosts, goblins and the tooth fairy all reside in the same place; our imaginations. None of these things has a basis in reality.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  13. hemplover

    I'm having a very time believing this poll. No one I know believes in creationist nonsense.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • C Dawg Dawg

      Come over to my neck of the world... they're everywhere! And they make up most of the state legislature here too..


      June 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Clark Nova

      Probably because intelligent folks like you and I don't tend to hang out with gullible fools.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • John Dingleberry

      I'm guessing you don't live in the midwest or the south.

      This poll means that 46% of Americans are delusional and ignoring practical facts that we can see today.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Huebert

      I live in the South and it is full of people who believe this creationist garbage. But don't blame the school systems. The public school i went to didn't mention creationism. The "theory" of creationism is purely the work of parents and preachers.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • John Dingleberry

      Amen huebert. People don't realize how much of their opinion is largely based on what they were told when young and impressionable. We shouldn't be scared to formulate our own opinions when based with facts that are contrary to our initial beliefs.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Heubert, I also live in the south and NONE of my friends believe in creationist nonsense! There are, however, countless others here who have swallowed the creationism myth hook, line and sinker! They don't call this the "Bible Belt" for nothing! I also concur that NONE of my teachers in public school ever mentioned ANYTHING about "creationism"! THAT nonsense comes ENTIRELY from the plethera of churches that are found on nearly every street corner around me!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  14. Lee

    Inside the numbers:

    1) Those who have a post graduate degree are solidly not creationists.

    2) Republican voters are majority creationist although there are ignoramuses in the dem party as well.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  15. Lmerr

    When it comes to theoretical scientific religion, I am agnostic.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  16. Curt99

    What a load of crap. If you but that then would you also be interested in buying the brooklyn bridge.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  17. Roto

    46% in America are idiots.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Dan Sutton

      85%, actually. It says that only 15% believe that humanity evolved by itself.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  18. RapidOne

    These 46% are the ones voting Republican and ruining the country. It's that simple.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Clark Nova

      They'd be more useful if we got our act together and turned them all into garden fertilizer.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  19. Reality Checker

    More evidence that humankind is still in the dark ages.

    People live in fear and respond to fear. Fear of the unknown is probably the greatest of all. Cue religion to come in and "explain" it to us mere mortals, while being used to control the masses.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  20. Jesse

    Scientific claims can be tested and verified? True, some can. With the help of a lab and researchers, etc. Most empirical research is based on the ability to test a hypothesis through experimentation and then receiving the same results. Thus the hypothesis is confirmed as true. However, evolution has never been tested and verified. No lab has ever proven evolution to be true, as it cannot be tested and confirmed. And if evolution could be tested and confirmed by the use of a lab and researchers, then in essence, it wouldn't be evolution because the experiement requires intelligence to initiate the experiement. Creationist rely on "blind faith?" Evolution requires just as much faith as creationism does as it has never been empirically tested and verified.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • TC

      So, you believe that the ability to date the planet – and objects on the planet – cannot and has not been tested scientifically?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • frontgate

      Oh, you are so wrong. Your ignorance embarrasses me.
      Evolution of organisms with short life cycles, those that have 3 or 4 or more generations in a year are constantly
      evolving to their changing environment are occurring as I write.
      Yes evolution can has has been proven.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • bpuharic

      Evolution is tested every day by bacterial resistance. That's a fact. Evolution makes predictions, like the prediction that marsupials should have been discovered in the antartic and dated to about 30M years ago. That was confirmed. So evolution is science and is a fact. Creationism is nonsense. It's magic. You simply don't know science

      June 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Joe

      I guess this kind of flawed logic is why 46% of Americans believe in creationism.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • crystallinity

      "Science" as understood by the ignorant is shameful. Scientists have much more at their disposal than empirical evidence. See also: Deductive reasoning and the fossil record.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Eddard

      Look up E. coli long term evolution experiment. Many evolutionary theories have been corroborated through this study.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Loren Odda

      Proving to everyone that you have a second grade understanding of "science" isn't really making a strong case, it's just emphasizing that people with your level of knowledge are the lunatics providing support for all of this creationist nonsense. Lucky for the rest us 46% is still a minority (a worryingly large minority, but that's another story).....

      June 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Someone

      What is yopur definition of proof? The Miller experiment, which created amino acids from primordial soup, which was done under the guidnece of a Nobel prize winning scientist, Harold Urey? The fact that bacteria can mutate in a very short time – please see the Ames test? The fact that all methods of scientific dating put the earth at millions of years of age?

      And what are some of the arguments of the creationists? That nothing can happen because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? Sorry, the Second Law refers primarily to isolated systems – increasing complexity is a result of energy being put into the system.

      I happen to believe in a Supreme Being. I don't take the Bible literally – indeed, if you look at Genesis, "days" weren't created until G-d created the Sun and the Moon, which, although subject to interpretation, showed up on Day 4, so our concept of terrestrial days didn't start until late in creation – which conveniently lines up wih Evolution.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Rob

      That's exactly what he means, TC. Carbon dating assumes that the level of 14C in the environment has remained constant for millions of years. Don't look now, but the level has been increasing since the 1950's.

      That's not something evolutionary scientists will ever admit. Having gone through a secular biology education, it's pretty obvious that the establishment doesn't want evolution questioned, because no real proof that isn't based on assumptions is ever offered, and anyone who speaks up in class is instantly and vehemently "put in their place". In other words, to score well on tests and then to get grant money in the field, you have to avoid discussing things in terms of intelligent design (see numerous stories of people being fired for believing intelligent design).

      In other words, scientists believe in evolution because that's the way they were taught (forcibly, no less). Start asking an evolutionist about the origin of the universe (like where the thing that blew up during the Big Bang came from), and you get some hilarious answers.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Rob

      Also, I believe and study microevolution of bacteria on a daily basis, and I'm perfectly happy with accepting that a species can adapt, and we know from observation that a species can adapt so much that it changes into another species, but we have yet to see any non-biased evidence of a species 'type' changing into a different type (amphibian to mammal, etc etc.) Show me that evidence that hasn't been filtered through flawed logic, and I will happily agree with my old professors.

      You know who else was ridiculed for going against the establishment? Everyone who said the Earth was round or revolved around the sun. What kooks THEY were, right?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • W. R. Martin

      Jesse, your ignorance of science and of reality is quite telling and helps prove the point of the article.
      Thank you for your contribution to the 46% of the complete and utter morons residing in the USA.
      Let me guess: your shoes have Velcro straps, the left one has a big "L" written on it, and the right one has a big "R" written on it?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Doug

      So, someone from the 46% speaks up and many of you respond with complete disrespect and insults. Not very impressive.

      TC – Are you aware of the assumptions of radiometric dating?

      Frontgate – Don't you think it's a huge assumption that micro-evolution proves macro-evolution? Show me the fossil evidence of transitional stages – and I don't just want a few, I want a lot that at least show a progression. I'd be very grateful if you would.

      Now I'm wondering...since I've raised some questions that may not agree with your beliefs – Are you going to just insult me under cover of internet anonimity (sp?)?

      June 2, 2012 at 1:18 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.