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.
About this blog
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.
I think the reason that the number (%) of creationists has not decreased since the 1980's is because people who have a lower education (the religious) tend to have more children than evolutionists. Therefore they are able to influence a greater population of future creationists.
Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!
– George Carlin
George Carlin, the man who can sound like a genius by simply acting out of common sense.
I don't know how a poll comes out and just breaks down the US into a %. Nobody asked me. You have to realize the only people who respond to these polls are the ones with something to prove (creationists). What a horribly written article, "a percentage of a percentage think this while this percent of that percent think that" come on CNN, you are better than that. How many people were polled? at least give us that info
And it's not valid because no one asked you?
"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." ~from the article, last paragraph.
Also, there's a link to the Gallup site, for more info.
Fair point. Polls are meaningless without proper controls. Asking for the science behind the poll is a perfectly valid challenge.
Exactly, thanks for proving my point. Do you really think that asking 1,000 people out of 300 + million is a vaild sample? seriously? Who is going to reply to the poll – probably the 50-60+ yr olds still living in the stone age
Well, it's Gallop conducting the poll – Not just a regular Joe with a clipboard. I think out of anyone, they know how to take a pretty accurate poll, and are aware of the differences in how different age groups think. I would be comfortable assuming they attempt to make their polls as accurate as possible, and that they likely questioned a pool of all kinds of people. Gallup noted the educated level of the people... I'm sure they also wrote down their ages.. for accuracy.
Additionally, it's not just the one survey. Because they've been doing the same survey for awhile, the trend is valid even if the individual survey isn't. However, if you think 1000 is not sufficient sample size then explain the statistical reasons why, I'm more that willing to change my mind.
The great irony we face is this:
Republicans (stats in the BLOG) "mostly" deny evolution, yet set policies that weed out the "unfit" (Darwinian applied).
Democrats (stats in BOLG) "mostly" believe in evolution, yet set policies that keep the "weak" available to reproduce (Darwinain denied).
A definite social conundrum of our times.
It's not really a conundrum. THose are two separate belief systems: Biological Darwinism (i.e., proven scientific fact) and Social Darwinism (i.e., jerks saying I got mine, jack, so everybody else can go screw themselves).
erin, darwinism (ie., molecules-to-man macroevolution) has not been proven. Genetic mutations don't "prove" evolution. No missing link has ever been found. The fossil record is an embarrassment to evolutionists. The pre-cambrian explosion in the geological record shows a vast number of life forms appearing without any intermediary forms. There is no good reason to believe in evolution.
guyfromVAm, what a bunch of hogwash! You think because you throw out a couple of terms like "pre-Cambrian" and "missing link," that makes you sound like you know what you're talking about?
Ignore guyFromVA—he is a creationist troll who has been baiting anyone with an ounce of common sense. He is simply throwing out the old creationist "points" that have been answered time and time again, yet apparently the explanation has fallen on deaf ears. He wouldn't know actual scientific evidence if it smacked him upside his head.
In other news: 46% of Americans wonder why American school children are falling behind the rest of the world in Science and Math.
Seriously? Wow, that's truly scary. I believe in a "higher power" because of the magnificence and the elegance of the world and the universe. But when I think of creationism, I think of the belief that Adam and Eve just "appeared" one day, and I personally think that is ridiculous.
sounds like you are fighting a losing battle in you're soul. God doesn't exist and you know it. You can't pick and chose the parts of the Bible that are convienient to your wanna be beleifs. You know you are smarter than that Professor
So it's harder for you to believe that God created man, then the theory that we were volcanic soup and sprung into rocks – mokeys – then eventually humans...?
Ha Ha Ha.... I love that all that indoctrination and brain-washing they do in public schools does't seem to be paying off. You evolutionists need to get on the ball. LOL
Trying to teach kids about scientific fact is "brain-washing"? Numnuts.
You should be embarrassed
Yes, it is amazing what happens to scientific education when a handful of creationists in Texas decide the experts should be completely ignored in favor of a book of fables and order textbooks that reflect such narrow-minded idiocy. Too bad creationists have absolutely no clue as to what they are talking about, but still feel the need to push their stupidity onto others to the point real education is completely forked.
We also have a presidential candidate with the amazing ability to believe that the Lost Tribe of Israel became the American Indians, in spite of all archeological, historic and genetic evidence. Not to mention the belief that you can save someone's soul years after their death by baptizing them postmortem.
Electing a leader with the ability to easily rationalize the totally illogical is a frightening prospect. The fact that this is just ignored by an incredible number of Americans is possibly worse.
I know, right? I read as much of the Book of Mormon as I could before my incredulous laughter forced me to abandon the chore. Joseph Smith was laughing all the way to the bank as well....
And so begins the decline of the American Empire. Uphold entertainers, fools, and religious charlatans in favour of working hard, being pragmatic, moving forward, embracing the truth of the world and creating a future. Theocracy and holy wars are next. So sad.
There is a strange discordance between the evolution debate and the climate change debate. For evolution, no-one really believes that truth is correlated with level of belief. Truth is either pure belief (if you are a believer) or determined by facts (if you are a rationalist). But for climate change, there is the explicit connection between truth and level of belief. "The consensus view that..." Facts seeming to discredit climate change claims are dismissed and marginalized. Yet this would never happen in biology. If someone presented facts to contradict some detail of evolution, then they are heading for a Nobel Prize. For the climate debate, such people are called deniers. Anyhoo, interesting disconnect.
I don't agree. Any scientist who could show clear evidence countering the view that humans are causing global warming would win the Nobel. But it would have to be broad, compelling evidence to counter the broad existing evidence for global warming. Just as it would require even vaster, more compelling evidence to counter the evidence for evolution.
Your argument is flawed. You believe that the two problems are of equal magnitude and equal complexity. They are not. Faith has nothing to do with either case. Biological evidence for evolution can be easily compartmentalized and studied. Global warming is an attempt at solving the single largest, most complex, problem of thermodynamics and chemistry ever attempted. We can't accurately determine the "weather" two days out ... Of course there are going to be discrepancies in the model that is attempting to describe ALL VARIABLES, THERMAL SOURCES, AND CHEMICAL REACTIONS of a planet. But the conceptual model is clear. And the underlying science of thermal reflectivity, heat enthalpy of gases, and fluid dynamics are all used successfully on products we all use every day. If you can't understand this ... you have a lot of reading to do.
I just don't understand it. All the same, you're free to believe whatever the heck you want to. However, you DON"T get to force public policy (that affects all of us) based on that belief.
Unfortunately, yes you do. Every vote counts the same.
If you do don’t believe in evolution, but do believe the universe was created in 6 days, then you might want to consider the following thought experiment:
The 6-day version implies that the geographic strata and other evidence for a lengthy past were actually put there by god, to be eventually discovered by scientists, possibly to challenge their ability to believe, as you do.
If so, wouldn’t it be just as conceivable that your god might have created the universe, as it is, just 50 years ago, with all of the memories and implied history intact? God could have even created this universe just 5 minutes ago – just as it is. With that type of creation belief, who knows when a historically complete illusion was created? If I was a creationist who thought rationally, I would have to consider that as no less a possibility.
You don't get it. That proof wasn't put there by God. It was put there by Satan to challenge God's word. And if you believe in all this intellectual garbage, you have fallen into Satan's trap and will burn for ever and ever in his lake of fire. Now how do you argue with logic like that? You can't. If someone is raised from birth to believe that any contradiction of a biblical truth is a Satanic trap, you're not going to convince them otherwise. But as others have pointed out, if we stopped providing medical care to these people and they started dying off in record numbers, they'd come around pretty quick. The problem is that they're all hypocrites. When the get sick, they come whining to medical science to save their lives, and suckers that we are, we oblige. You'd think they'd walk the walk and die with a little dignity, but no, they cave every time....
Will – My old roommate once proposed this test:
Place one man in front of a church full of devout people, place a second man in front of an emergency trauma center. Then shoot each of the two men in the stomach with a 45. Then let the entire church pray relentlessly and sincerely for their guy, and let the trauma center take care of the other. See who fares better. That should sort out the difference between science and religion.
The USA is a numclear power. Not sure if thats a good idea for the rest of the world.
Nature is mindless and violent. Nature can produce, through evolution, only mindless and/or violent creatures. THe atheist would freely admit that he is the result of this process, yet demands to be treated like something special. Therefore, he has to borrow his dignity from something else. At least until he can admit that there's something else going on. Evolution may have produced a mere body, the flesh. Jesus said,"The flesh is useless. It is the spirit which gives life." Jn 6
"Nature can produce, through evolution, only mindless and/or violent creatures. "
What makes you think this?
That may be the most flawed and faulty logic on display today over the entire internet. Congratulations.
46%??....Did I read this right....46%??? Holy sh**!!! Is there no hope for this country? That percentage translates into millions of people. That is one frightening thought. America is truly stuck on stupid!
Yes, we are all morons. Lucky for smart arrogant condescending people like you.
You deserve to be condescended if you believe in such things as Noah's Ark and talking snakes... not the mention the hundreds of other fairy tale crap...
So Gauis, you're saying that ignorance is preferable to intelligence and the "arrogance" that comes with it?
That settles it. 46% of Americans are insane and should not be allowed to vote, own firearms, or serve on juries.
Espousing creationism should be a criminal offense.
If gullibility were a crime then the conned would be locked away with the con men, and the people who sell this are con men, pure and simple!
I have a hard time believing these numbers. If so, we (US) are even stupider than I thought.
This is what I gathered from reading this article:
"46% of Americans are absolute idiots. 32% of Americans are confused idiots. 15% of Americans are surrounded by idiots who prefer fairy tales over scientific evidence. And there is no hope for you if you are Republican."
In other words, I learned nothing new.
What an arrogant ass. Unwilling to acknowledge that an intelligent person could reject that notion that all that is real is the product of chance and time. Intelligent design is apparently embraced by 85% of Americans, including quite a number of folks with a better education that Sir Craig.
sir craig, you sound pretty arrogant. Since presumably you are an evolutionist, you must believe that absolutely everything came from absolutely nothing. The universe just popped into existence... uncaused or self-caused. How is that rational? Please explain to we the unenlightened 46% of the masses.
Let's take a look at your argument and break it down a bit, shall we? Skipping to the end bit, you seem to feel that because 85% of Americans embrace intelligent design, that makes it true (patently false, by the way, unless you are calling creationism "intelligent design", which is what many of us have known for some time). This is a logical fallacy known as "argument by popular appeal." Just because more Brittany Spears albums have been purchased than Mozart concertos over the last 10 years does not mean Brittany Spears is the better musician (true, this is a subjective example, but you get the point). What this "statistic" of yours tells me is 85% of people are going to believe what they are comfortable believing, and darn the evidence.
If this realization on my part makes me an @ss in your eyes, it is no concern of mine. You are the one sticking up for fairy tales, you show me how I am wrong by presenting me evidence/proof for your position. Until then, go cry quietly in the corner and let the adults talk.
Yes, I am a believer in evolution: Bully for you to discern that from my comment. As for your "absolutely everything from absolutely nothing" premise…wrong. Matter had to come from somewhere, and chances are it was from a Big Bang that was the result of a singularity between universes, OR the Big Bang was the result of an earlier Big Crash which was a previous universe, etc. Of course, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with evolution: Evolution serves to describe how life came to be what it is, not how the universe started. This is, of course, a common error among creationists.
However, I find it funny that you seem to have no problem with a "god" who seems to have been around for all eternity doing nothing, and then suddenly 6000-10,000 years ago decides he wants to build a universe, completely disrupting the lives of the ancient Sumerians who by that time had already invented glue and beer. Tell me how that makes more sense than what science is proving day after day, please. The unwashed 15% are just dying to know...
....and just that many Americans are uneducated. I weep for the future....
This also explains the Taliban. If some guy wearing a goofy hat holds up some book and tells people to do something because God commands it, they will do it without any critical thinking. God told me to tell you to give me all your money!
But we know better than to believe someone named Durp.
The Taliban believes in "Allah" and the Koran not God and the Bible.
at Open your mind...
Actually you are mistaken, if you speak Arabic, then Allah means God. Its the same God and even mostly the same bible. That's why Muslims use the phrase "brothers of the good book" referring to Christians and Jews. The Koran even speaks very highly of the prophet Jesus... Just thought I would throw that out there.