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. topgod

    that's good news. slight majority of the population is right.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Johm

    This is a silly poll. Most educated people just hang up when called randomly about a survey.
    46% of people home during the day, answering their landlines and talking to random people asking questions, is more like it.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  3. pauleky

    This is easily the scariest headline of read in a LONG time. It's not wonder this country is in such terrible shape. Let's move into the current century, could we please? Let's leave the Dark Ages behind.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Huebert

      The really scary part is that these people vote.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  4. killallthewhiteman

    I would just like to point out that there is a video on this same website about a woman who sees Jesus in mold. She also subscribes to the creationist theory.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Reasonably

      I prefer grilled cheese effigies to mold.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • sbp

      Well, she did have it authenticated against a High Definition Photo of Jesus. Scripture tells us it was taken by Saint Vivitar of Nikon.

      Follow the Gourd!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  5. Wildone

    I believe that humans evolved somewhere other than this planet and were shuttled here to colonize after the dinosaurs were killed off. Hooo Hoooo Hoooo!!!

    Tom Cruise.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Scientology or Mormonism?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      That theory is compatible with both.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  6. Arran Webb

    Problem in your statement. "All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins." The creationist view is entirely secular. The act of Creation is not a dogma or creed. A secular society can believe 100% in the Creation origin of life.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Huebert

      Pleas point to any secular source that advocates creationism.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • ruemorgue

      Youshould read the transcripts of *all* the court cases involving creation science (oxymoron) and intetlifent design. ALL the proponents were interprete the Bible literally, and some were completely disingenuous and were caught red-handed. There is *NO* scientific evidence for creationism. The so-called *irreducilble complexity* is an invalid *argument from ignorance*, ie, since we do *not* know, then it must be ____. You fill in the blank.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  7. doug

    I thought it was a well written article – stating only the facts of the surveys. I am also impressed that Mr Newport states that the creationists viewpoint "... is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature." Which is course is not the same as being at odds with the preponderance of scientific facts.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Good point discerning between the "literature" and the "facts." As Popper said – "All science is conjecture." Is is astounding when I tell a biologist that science is void of data. Science is a form of logic and process. Biologists have fused science with data and that is incorrect. Science and Creation are in complete harmony. The big bang theory was established by a Catholic Priest.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      huh? Science is devoid of facts? you are insane.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  8. YHWH

    How typical of the "educated" responders to this site to stereotype the faithful or "religious" as undereducated. Many of the people around this great land that share these view, and even in my church, hold degrees ranging from bachelors, to doctorates and are educated in the arts and or the sciences. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, educators, theologians, corporate executives, and prominent business leaders all declare an open faith to a religious belief. So my question here is are these same people who have been well educated and are respected in their various fields undereducated, or are they just in your view lacking in the “education” of your personal beliefs.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • pauleky

      No – just poorly educated and ignorant.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Will

      Nope. Find me one, just one, living, breathing scientist who really embraces creationism and I will show you an imposter. There are no real scientists who are biblical literalists. Not one. Totally incompatible with scientific thought. I'm not talking about engineers or doctors. I'm talking real scientists. And I'm saying you don't really know any....

      June 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Abraham De-Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O-Malley, The Alley Cat; formaly know as

      whawhawha seriously,.. your voice is full of shi.t as always brush your teeth and stop taking credit from others

      oh and YHWH my dude
      corporate executives, and prominent business leaders all declare an open faith to a religious belief. this statement is not helping you earn any brownie points in these times,... people are realizing just how evil they are,... and guess what your the cause of the evil they do,...

      see you on the battle field hopeful you'll be brave enough to come out to the party this time,.. then again how much honer does a god who ra.ped his mother and killed his father have

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

      Will, how about a few hundred actual scientists who do not believe in Darwinian evolution?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  9. Michael Q

    Just proves the declining education of the American public and a reliance on what their parents told them. Let's face it, no matter how much evidence is put before an uneducated person, they will never accept change, or as their base home learning system taught them, and, as long as religion is kept out of the schools. Science is mostly proven facts and when it butts its head against the various mystical religious fantasies, their whole belief system collapses along with their self-confidence. The USA is evenly divided in their opinions whether it is religion or politics. Change is just a word they accept in the dictionary but never in reality.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. Will

    Walk the walk o ye faithful. When you get sick, stay home. When you go to the doctor and avail yourselves of the miracles cures devised by the secular atheist scientists, you continue to validate their existence and continue to put money in their pockets. You also run the risk of going to hell for your supreme hypocrisy. Don't go to hell. Go to heaven. When you get sick, stay home and die with your dignity and souls intact.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  11. ATXmaxQ

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people will completely denounce religion in all its forms on these message boards, even though they don't have the slightest clue as to the true message professed by each one. They'll claim science can explain away every mystery of the universe and preach that the earth is a mere cosmic accident, fully unable to acknowledge anything they themselves cannot explain. I believe what I believe but I'm also not so arrogant to say there isn't the possibility that I'm wrong, something that seems to be lost on these religion-haters.

    Ok, I've said my peace. Let the bashing begin.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Reasonably

      I think you'll find we don't hate religion – what we hate is that you cultists insist on forcing everyone not in your cult to believe in and join your cult or you'll kill us.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Will

      It doesn't have to be a disrespectful debate; however, I don't believe a band of marauding scientists has ever put a Christian to death for his beliefs. Unfortunately, the converse is not true. So I think you can understand the defensiveness, yes?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      It is fine to believe in the supernatural, as long as you admit it is based on faith and not facts. It is when people start replacing facts with faith that I have a problem.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • ME II

      Is correcting, bashing?

      "They'll claim science can explain away every mystery of the universe..."
      If anyone claims this then they are horribly wrong. I don't think, science ever claims certainty, let alone all knowledge. That being said, however, there are many things, like the scientific theory of evolution, that are so well supported by multiple avenues of science that it is all-but-certain that it happened. The details are, however, still debated.

      In my understanding, it is actually religion that claims to have all the answer, and yet none of the evidence. I have no problem with people believing what they want, but to make claims that are blatantly wrong, according to everything we do know, is difficult to stomach.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • ATXmaxQ

      Reasonably: Fair enough, I can see where your hatred could be directed at members of a "cult" (though I find the term derogatory if you're pointing at members of established religions) and their behavior instead of its teachings. However its fairly common knowledge that people who kill in the name of religion nowadays belong to extremist groups that are denounced by their mainline religions. Additionally, one can take almost any idea and radicalize it so it not like this theme is limited to religion. Think Nazi Germany, China under Mao, Russia under Stalin, Cuba under Castro. I also couldn't agree more that forcing religion upon people is wrong. Its one of the reasons I get very angry with those who spew hate speech from street corners in the name of religion. But don't you think its a bit unfair to throw every single person who has religious beliefs under the bus with those clowns? There are plenty of us that live our faith peacefully and in a way that isn't intrusive into anyone's life.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • ATXmaxQ

      Will: No, I cannot recall one band of marauding scientists ever putting a Christian to death for his beliefs. I also cannot recall the modern church doing anything but denouncing these times as a dark place in its history. There is a common misconception out there that Christians see themselves as perfect and expect perfection from others. Nothing could be further from the truth. As such, we are not exempt from idiocy, as proven by the crusades and the "marauding bands" you mentioned.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • ATXmaxQ

      ME II: For the record my comment was not meant to establish a firm position 100% for or against creationism or evolution. My comment was intended to A) hopefully get people to consider their word choices and ramifications of the things they were saying and B) hopefully get them to ask themselves whether they were so arrogant as to think there wasn't the slightest possibility they were wrong, because if they did believe that how would they be any better than those they were railing against?

      However, to your points, my personal viewpoint is that I believe in creation and am also not ignorant to evolution. I don't see any reason why the two cannot co-exist. Furthermore I believe science and religion can absolutely be complimentary of one another.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • ME II

      I don't have any serious issues with a belief in theistic evolution, as long as it is not claimed as actual knowledge, I just don't see the need or reason for the theistic part.

      I do appreciate the call to "consider their word choices" and would agree that many loose claims and definitions are thrown about. Although, for that reason I would have to point out that your own words might be considered somewhat absolutist; "They'll claim science can explain away every mystery of the universe..." unless, of course, someone actually made that very claim.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  12. ruemorgue

    So, 46 percent of the USA population are m0r0ns. That's about the same percentage that votes Republican, also. It's just a coincidence.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  13. Reasonably

    Are they the same 46% that want to kill gay people in the name of their god?

    June 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  14. bpuharic

    Hey Rob..scientists know about atomic testing. We account for it in radiocarbon dating, believe it or not. And it doesn't affect things that were dead before 1945! You pretend we scientists have some secret meeting where we talk about how you Al Qaida christians have the truth but you flatter yourself.

    Creationism is magic.It's leprechauns and fairy tales mixed with lies and fundamentalism. The ONLY people who are creationists are people like Bin Laden. Religion is big money. You're a sheep. Too stupid to undertand science you bleat what you can't understand. Welcome to religion

    June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Al

      It is hard to imagine why xtians think scientists want to disprove their god. It's not that anyone wants to rain on their parade and in fact it would be great for all of us if the evidence pointed toward eternity through a benevolent, loving god (which is hardly the god of the bible). But facts are facts and none of them support the claims made in the bible.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  15. Hans

    as this country is becoming more like the Christian Republic of North America instead of the USA its no wonderthat these numbers are what they are. The feeble mind seeks desparately the guiding hand of something bigger than itself.
    On the other hand it also serves as good excuse to ruin the planet upon we all depend as again the feeble mind sees the bigger guiding hand as helping in times of duress.
    And, as other people said before it is a great compliment to the public education system as it really succeeds in dumbing down people.

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

      Educating yourself is hard. Much easier to let someone preach something at you and you just accept it as truth.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  16. lol

    Ok!! All you posters have changed my mind. I now believe that YOU were evolved...from an ape!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • isolate

      As you were and as all humans alive today are. The point that separates us is that 54% of us accept the indisputable facts and get on with our lives, while 46% cling to religious explanations in the face of indisputable facts.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • jcr

      This is the type of misinformation that is why a lot of people do not understand evolution. We did not evolve from apes, we evolved from a common ancestor. This is tracable by DNA. We have found almost identical DNA sets and we can literally count the difference and trace them back to a common ancester.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  17. ProudCDN

    All this means is 46% of Americans are stupid!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  18. J.W

    "I made a slight miscalculation in my earlier research. According to my new research, the Universe was created by God."–Stephen Hawking.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • fail

      you are fails

      June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  19. Natalie

    Evolution = Change in allele frequency over time. Saying you don't "believe" in that is similar to saying you don't believe in math. Be thankful that the pharmaceutical researches aren't shunning evolution and math or we would all be in a world of hurt due to resistant strains of disease causing bacteria.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  20. HumanPerson

    Interesting how when the word "science" is spoken, people immediately think "progress", as though science can do anything by itself. The Victorian author Wilkie Collins witnesses the horrors of the Franco-Prussian war (no religious war) and observed "I begin to believe in only one civilising influence – the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace." Having grown up during the Cold War, I suspect that hydrogen bombs did not just spring into existence, but were created by secular or atheist government scientists.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Will

      Walk the walk my friend. The next time you get sick, don't seek out the medical treatments devised by the secular atheist scientists. Stay home. At least you can die with your dignity intact...

      June 1, 2012 at 5:52 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.