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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. The Dude

    I already knew half of America is retarded.

    June 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. Kingofthenet

    Well a banana DOES fit your hand...but it also fits your A$$

    June 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Andy

    Fat, lazy and stupid is no way to go through life, America. Our country is in trouble, but at least Canada and much of Western Europe are serving as a counter-balance that prevents us from steamrolling the rest of western culture with our complete idiocy.

    June 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • justonethought

      The only caveat to that is that evolution has no bearing whatsoever on any of todays research that has to do with practical science. A survey of scientists recently showed that none of them think about evolutionary theory when constructing scientific studies today. It's only relevance is in theory, not practical and applicable science. Frankly, it's irrelevant to the progress of civilization.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  4. Steve

    I take issue with Gallup's design of the survey question. The word "God" is mentioned three times and the "pure evolution" option is squeezed in as the 2nd choice of 3, when it would be more logical for it to be the first or last option. I also think that with no incentive provided for taking the survey, many smart and busy people simply refuse to participate in surveys like this. Furthermore, some people who live in heavily religious communities may be shy about admitting that they believe in evolution when speaking to an unknown pollster over the phone.

    I believe the actual number of Americans who believe in evolution is somewhat higher than the survey implies.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Steve, that any significant portion of the population believes in Creationism is frankly embarrassing.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • ME II

      You might be correct. There is a what, 4 point margin of error. Enjoy.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  5. robert

    No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

    H. L. Mencken.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  6. Mark

    The poll results are very disheartening! Religion and Christianity in particular, truly is a cancer!

    June 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Gibb

      You see, for me and other christians, atheism is a cancer. Just look at the atheists on this site – nothing but loud mouthed bullies who like to call names and make themselves feel superior.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Gibb

      Darn bullies caught me lying! They are so evil.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Eli

      Gibb, you need to understand that many athiest like myself are very angry about the hate, ignorance and brainwashing that the church is responsible for and this can lead to strong language. Conversely in any argument that involves large groups such as this jerks will come out of the woodwork for both sides. While it isn't the first adjective I would use "cancer" Is far more appropriate for religion than atheism.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Gibb

      @Fake Gibb

      I never lied, but I told you that I will not post my location – ever – and I will not be bullied into it.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Gibb

      Eli,

      And you have to understand that christians are very angry about the hate that atheists direct against us and their attempts to tear down traditional christian morality.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • The Dude

      Not like anyone is burning you at the stake.....

      June 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  7. Eli

    This argument is over. The ship has sailed. The world is 6.5 billion years old and evolution is endeniable. Arguing otherwise is pointless. In my opinion atheist should stay out of this argument. Let the evolution deniers bask in their miserable ignorance, most of them are brainwashed beyond repair.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Kingofthenet

    A Christian once told me he wouldn't go to one of the BEST Cardiac Surgeons around for a bypass because quote "He is a womanizing sinner". He said he 'Really couldn't be any good IF he was a sinner, so he went to some good Christian Hack of a Doctor...and died on the table.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

      Well. if you can't find a good snake to handle, then death-by-quack is a good substitue for accelerated rapture.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    @ME II

    Also in Germany there are no government controlled churches. It is only that the churches and the state collaborate. Mostly the German Evangelical Church (EKD) adapts herself too much to the atti-tudes of the secular society. For example, they ordain gays pastors.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    @Drew

    Indeed, the worst problem of mankind are not the atheist, because their folly is too obvious, but all the false Christians like the pope, leaders of rebaptizing Free Churches, gay-ordaining mainline churches, etc..

    The real faith is perfect, works and makes happy long-term.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Drew

      Less religious countries in Europe rank higher on the UN's happiness quotient than religious america

      June 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jill

      Rainer, Rainer, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Serpentine. Indigo chestnuts. Give voice to your negligible garage. Walk with found yellow in the fold. Perish your underwear in the crescent.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Kingofthenet

      Jill what are you smoking?

      June 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jill's not smoking anything, dearie. But Rainer is, or at least his posts make him appear to be.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Gibb

      Drew,

      Happiness in this life is meaningless.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Be

      However, Jill made me laugh!

      June 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Eli

      Can you shine some light on this so called obvious follly?

      June 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Eli

      If something is obvious, it is not necessary to shine a light on it, because it is yet well lighted.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Eli

      I am asking you to share why you believe atheism is one of the world worst problems. I thought I was being obvious.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Be

      Rainer Braendlein – love thy neighbor, he needs help cleaning his glasses

      June 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Eli

      I don't wear glasses. God blessed my heretic family with perfect vision and health.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Eli

      I think atheism is a smaller problem of the mankind.

      The worst problem of the mankind are all the false churches, cults and sects.

      By means of historical science and theology it is very easy to prove, for instance, that papacy is anti-Christian, and that the individual, which currently holds that office, cannot be much more better than Judas Iscariot (this is a quotation of Dr. Martin Luther).

      The crazy thing is that the Vatican always manages again to deceive the whole mankind and to convince the people that the Roman Catholic Church would be a legitimate Christian Church or The Church at all.

      The fact is that the RCC is a degenerated Christian Church, which has forsaken Christ and has become the bride of Satan. The real Church is meek and humble like Jesus. The RCC is always greedy for honor, power and riches according to the character of her invisible Lord Satan.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  11. Kingofthenet

    Proud to be in the Majority(slight) on this one...

    June 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • robert

      "how sweet it is to be an idiot", Neil Innes

      June 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  12. Mike P

    Part of the problem is that the scientific community is not presenting a strong enough case. The data is out there and available to lock down the fact that humans and all other life on earth share a common ancestor, but it's not being presented in a way that makes that conclusion irrefutable. The two best books establishing common anscestry I've read are "The Making of the Fittest" by Sean Carroll and "Relics of Eden" by Daniel Fairbanks - unfortunately, these are two different books that each make about half the point. What is really needed is one book that makes one powerful argument and brings all the pieces of evidence together. Still waiting on it.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Proof" of that sort isn't what's missing. What's missing is the education of the public as to the nature of scientific inquiry.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • ME II

      @Mike P,
      I haven't read those books, but they sound interesting, thanks. I found "Why Evolution Works" by Jerry Coyne to be very good. Not as heavy on the genetics as what your's appear to be, but very good.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • ME II

      Sorry, it's "Why Evolution is True"

      June 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Kingofthenet

      God will ALWAYS be in the gaps, these people have their belief shape their reality, not the other way around

      June 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Be

      It would also be awesome if someone could create life, that would do even greater "good". Humans will instead of believing in God, realize they are Gods. Can you imagine, an race of animals being evolving from "nothing" then to create themselves from nothing! Mind boggling. Flex! Oh wait, does that mean someone could of done that to us, already? So confused I may turn into ooze!!!

      Headlines 2007 – "Scientists expect to create life in next 10 years" well they have 5 years and change to go! Go Gadget go!

      June 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Mike P, I think the majority of the 46% lack the basic science literacy needed to read the books you mentioned. I also think that they will continue to delude themselves even if exposed to the mountain of evidence that supports evolution.

      Be, who created God? If we are created by God, why does he give kids cancer? If God created every organism, why are 99+% of them now extinct? Proposing there is a Creator introduces more questions and almost no answers.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    @Drew

    I suppose you mean rebaptizing Free Churches. Their leaders are rats too.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Drew

      Interesting how religious people actually tend to be less tolerant of religion in general than atheists, excluding of course their own precious faith

      June 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • ME II

      I find the term "Free Church" interesting. If I understand it correctly, for Americans, all churches are Free Churches, since there is no Government controlled church.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  14. FlyingSpaghettiMonster

    What percentage of children under the age of 8 believe in Santa Claus? It's probably at least as high as 46%. I suppose that statistic makes Santa Claus real to them. Luckily, science deals in observable facts, logic, and reason. For those who cherish that approach over mindlessly adhering to ancient fairy tales which have long been proven false, public opinion polls ablout Creationism are irrelevant.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  15. Gibb

    The media and public schools all promote the evolutionist agenda. I think Christians have to be more active in getting elected to school boards. Unfortunately, our local public high school had to stop teaching evolution altogether because we couldn't find a suitable textbook that didn't contain evolution. I think that Christians should look very hard at the possibility of home schooling our children. It is really sad that we have to isolate our children just to make sure they grow up to be good God fearing moral people.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Gibb

      that should read "our local high school had to stop teaching biology altogether ..."

      June 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Drew

      why are evolution and god mutually exclusive?

      June 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Drew

      Also you are definitely trolling, because high schools are legally required to teach biology

      June 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't believe for one minute that a public high school has "stopped teaching biology altogether", Gibb. So either cite the high school and proof or be deemed a liar.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Gibb

      Drew,

      The bible is clear that God created man is his present form about 6000 years ago. It says nothing about evolution. So evolution is incompatible with the bible.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Gibb

      Not in my state, Drew.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cite, Gibb, or you're lying.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Gibb

      Tom, Tom,

      Biology is available as an independent study, but it is not taught as a regular class.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cite, Gibb, or you're a liar. What state, what county, and what school system? Cough it up, Cletus.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and you're an idiot if you think the earth is 6000 years old, no matter what backwater you hail from.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bob

      Gibb, your ignorance is one of the reasons American education standards are in decline relative to the rest of the world. There is negligible scientific evidence to support creationism. There are mountains of evidence supporting evolution.

      The reason that creationists push their disgusting cause so hard is obvious: their whole disgusting religion pyramid scheme is at risk of collapsing if the fact that their claims are fiction is exposed.

      Please, do the world and America a favor, and stop dumping your nonsense on us. More and more people will be standing up against fools like you, so get used to it. Maybe cracking open a real science book instead of your idiotic, horrid bible would help you past your ignorance.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hurry up, jackwit. It doesn't take that long to post the name of the public high school and that state in which it's located. Even for a moron like you.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come on, coward, get off the pot.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah. THat's what I thought. Gibb is a lying SOB.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Looks like Gibb was lying through its teeth. Big surprise.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Gibb

      I've crawled back under my rock now so you can't find me. I'm covering my ears and singing "Springtime For Hitler" so that I can't hear you.

      So there. Nyah nyah nyah!

      June 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Gibb

      I am not lying, but I am NOT about to tell you where I live.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Gibb erish

      Yeah, it's just so dangerous to be anonymous on the internet and tell someone which state you are referring to. Think of the reprisals!

      June 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a liar.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Gibb

      And you are a bully.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Real Deal

      It took some searching, but I finally found a state-by-state high school graduation requirement listing.
      http://mb2.ecs.org/reports/Report.aspx?id=735

      Several states do not require Biology for graduation, or leave it up to the local school districts. It's really, really sad, but true.

      So, @Gibb is not lying (although a bit paranoid about revealing his/her state).

      Seeing this list, it is no surprise that we are a nation of so many undereducated people.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Real Deal

      p.s. Thanks (sarcasm), Gibb, for making me spend 20+ minutes finding the site, when you could have just said a word.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Rand McNally

      Gibb did not say Biology was not required; he stated that his local high school in his state had stopped teaching it altogether because they "couldn't find a suitable textbook that didn't contain evolution."

      The Physics department at his local high school is going to close also, because they cannot find a textbook that doesn't contain areodynamics and instead only states that airplanes fly because Jesus holds them up in his magic hands.

      Astronomy is being dropped because they can't find a suitable textbooks that states the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it.

      Suitable paleontology and anthropology textbooks are also very problematic in having no reference to dinosaurs and humans coexisting.

      Geology textbooks confirming that the continents flew apart and the Grand Canyon was carved by very fast erosion in less than 6000 years is also very hard to find.

      You know, when your belief system is total nonsense, it is indeed very very hard to find textbooks to support it.

      Poor Gibb.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gibb is simply a dim bulb who wants to make sure everyone else becomes as dumb as he is.

      June 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • BarnumEffect

      Evolution has no agenda, and has no motives. It is not liberal. It is not conservative. It is not discriminatory. It is not partisan. It is simply a description of how the world works. It is fallacious and arrogant to blindly refute it and biology can not possibly be taught without it.

      June 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    I guess nearly all people would subscribe to Creationism, if we would live in a world, where it would be easy to be a believer.

    The basic problem is that, if you want to get honor, power and riches in this world you have to sin at any rate, even if you want to get only a little honor or power or wealth. Hence, some people try to eliminate God's existence by the lousy theory of evolution, in order to get rid of a bad conscience. The daily headlines of the newspapers about politicians, which have committed any crime are a clear proof for the truth of my reasoning, whereby the politicans are only the tip of the iceberg. Other people may sin in a smaller scale.

    If you become a believer today, that can cost you a lot (it was actually ever so). Maybe you have to shift your job, your friends, you can even lose your wife. Being a follower of Christ means to adapt the whole personal lifestyle. This can mean to lose honor, power and riches in this world, but to gain God's favour, which will, of course, get manifest first in eternity.

    Yet, dear evolutionist, be honest and admit that you are merely too coward to live as a believer in a godless, secular, profane world. You spare the costs of discipleship. Do that, but don't expect any reward from God in the world to come, but eternal disgust, when God remembers a coward like you.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Drew

      Evolution doesn't preclude the existence of god

      June 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bob Lewis

      Christianity; the most hateful cancer ever to plague the human race.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Drew

      And how does this argument account for the fact that the pope is filthy rich and wildly powerful?

      June 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Drew

      Daddy Rat is the leader of all cowards. I am a Protestant, thank God.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Drew

      What about megachurch pastors then?

      June 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Rainer's Psychiatrist

      My apologies to all of you on the belief blog. We have been trying to develop the right balance of medications for Herr Braendlin, but my handwriting is really bad, and it apparently caused a minor boo-boo. Where I wrote "Maintain dosage of Lithium", some pharmacist mistook it for "Massive dosage of LSD" and gave him the equivalent of 349 hits all at once. Rainer unfortunately tripped out for beyond Pluto, and unfortunately, Major Tom Braendlin is never coming back.

      So we apologize for the mental state produced in Rainer, and hope you consider that when reading his schizoid writing.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Drew

      I suppose you mean rebaptizing Free Churches. Their leaders are rats too or wolves in sheep's clothing.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jill

      Rainer, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Serpentine. Indigo chestnuts. Give voice to your negligible garage. Walk with found yellow in the fold.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • BarnumEffect

      Each example of the word "God" in this comment could be replaced by "Zeus", and the argument would be equally valid (that is, not valid at all). No facts are presented, and no logic is used. It is merely a faulty and weak appeal to fear. As are most arguments in the case of God.

      June 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  17. Gibb

    I am dismayed that only 46% of Americans can see through the rubbish that science is trying to push on us. Christians have to work harder to get our message out. We have to elect politicians who are Christians.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bob Lewis

      Yeah, that's sort of the problem

      June 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do that, Cletus.

      June 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  18. CommonSense

    Remember: Every Vote against a republican is a vote against the 46% of delusional simpletons who wish to destroy our democracy. They are NOT smart of enough to see through the absurd claims of religion. The can not be rusted with anything complex. They will destroy democracy in this country.
    Vote AGAINST the insane religious right-wing radicals.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Jill

      I get you.

      June 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  19. The Bottom Line

    15%

    45 million Americans are atheists.

    All studies show that number to be doubling every 20 years.

    Cool!

    June 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  20. David Sweeney

    I AM THE 15%

    June 2, 2012 at 3:22 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.