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. Mike

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • ME II

      Then use science to help us get to another one.

      Sorry for the blatant plug. (sort of)

      June 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  2. Dangle66

    This is so sad... It's about tiime we stop with the 'U.S.A.' chants until we pull our heads out...

    June 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  3. just sayin

    Nearly half of the Americans are still ignorant. Sad. Still have work to do.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  4. taz

    The survey says 47% believe in evolution but some of them believe god has a hand in pushing evolution.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Rev. Joseph Reeder

    So 46% of the American people actually do use logic, reason, critical thinking, and rational thought. Just when I ALMOST gave up on humanity. Wow. I came so close too. Oh well, maybe next time.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Will

      The next time you get sick, rather than seek help from the 54% who do not use "logic, reason, and critical thinking", I suggest you get your treatment from your logical and reasonable 46%.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Where is the logic and reasoning in ignoring mountains of evidence?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • taz

      Indeed, do us all a favor and pray your sickness and injuries away.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • ME II

      Actually, there is plenty of evidence that supports the scientific theory of evolution.

      Fossils like Tiktaalik, ambolucetus(sp?), acheoptyrx, etc.
      Biogeography like marsupials in Australia, and Americas
      Biochemistry like Cytochome C, etc.
      Genetics like Endogenous Retrovirus (ERVs), and Human Chromosome-2, etc.

      .... and none, that I'm aware of, for a Young Earth Creation.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  6. ben

    Just remember, science theories got us to the moon and our probes to every planet in our solar system. I think its reasonable scientists can prove Evolution.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Will

      Prove is a big word, but there are a lot of data that support the theory. Of course, all those data were just placed their by Satan to lead us astray...

      June 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Dangle66

      Can? They already have proven evolution.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Will, you really need to grow up. People like you are what is absolutely wrong with America. Clearly you can read because you are typing. I suggest you get out of your bubble of ignorance and educate yourself on the real world.

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

      Clearly (Mr. GodFree) you have a poor understanding of irony and sarcasm. The REAL problem with America is that even most of those who believe in evolution aren't all that smart and don't really understand it. You believe on blind faith because people like me tell you it's true. You're really no different from the creationists.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Will, Wrong again. I believe it because I study the evidence. I compare it to the evidence of creationism. I try to find holes in it and then understand why there are holes. You really chose the wrong person to make your claim of ignorance against.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Will

    Shockingly, there is no analogous article over at FOX News. Not sure why. Maybe they want their audience to think that 100% of Americans are creationists rather than only 46%?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  8. taz

    This survey is flawed. Asking if humans evolved with no guidance of god does not mean people don't believe in evolution. Some may believe that humans evolve but with little, some, or a lot of guidance from god.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Will

      I don't know about this survey, but I can tell you that there are a LOT of people around here (metropolitan Houston) who believe that the bible is the literal word of God and things unfolded exactly as outlined, no ifs, ands, or buts. Maybe it's different elsewhere in the country, but that's how it is here....

      June 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • J.A.

      Did you even read the article? Because it clearly says that 32% of people believe that humans evolved with god's guidance.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Chad

      Yeah, you're referring to intelligent design which IS NOT THE SAME as evolution...

      June 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • taz

      i read it ... I missed that line... so 47% believe humans have evolved to our present form. Some of that 47% believe evolution was somewhat influenced by god. 46% Believe humans popped into existence exactly as they are now within 10k years ago.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Will, So you believe eating shellfish, adultery, a rebellious child, trying to convert a person to another religion (Deuteronomy 13:1-11, Deuteronomy 18:20), se.x with a woman who is men.sturating deserves a death sentence? Do you REALLY believe in the literal teaching of the bible, or are you just another selective reader?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  9. flarnkingsgargle

    hahah 10,000 years???????? wow.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  10. dev

    Dumb people.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  11. Will

    You know, I bet the message board under the version of this article at FOX News looks a whole lot different...

    June 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • toadstool

      It's official. 46% of Americans are idiots.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • sbp

      Actually, Fox comments were shut down because their audience was SO redneck the hate got to be too much.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  12. catholic engineer

    Science is fascinating. But I'm especially interested in the antics of scientists themselves. Take Georg Cantor, the discoverer of set theory (that's math, BTW). Other scientists, with their reputations and egos on the line, hounded Cantor into a nervous breakdown. Or take Galileo. His fellow scientists refused to look into Gaileo's telescope because they already "knew" what they would see. Then we had the scientists with the Public Health Service who conducted the Tuskeegee Syphillis Experiments. Then we have people like Margaret Sanger (no scientist) who used Darwin's theories to promote elimination of defective peoples. But, let us trust that most scientists are acting According to Their Wisdom.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • biological scientist

      So because some scientists in history behaved questionably, we all appeared out of thin air 5,200 years ago, after an invisible man in the sky decided we should. Got it.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • ME II

      Scientists are human too. That's why peer review and independent verification are so important.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Larry Pooface

      Let's not get started playing that game, there are plenty of religious fanatics who did terrible things under god's guidance; so, let's stop it there and try working on finding common ground to talk.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  13. Lol

    I guess this survey made CNN think most of us are so stupid we wouldn't notice if they just recycled the coffee cups picture from an older story.
    Very insulting!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • ME II

      I saw that too. A bit disappointing, however, to their credit I immediately knew it was an evolution article.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  14. Will

    If I could only convince you all that availing yourselves of medical science is akin to taking a bite of the apple! Medical science is part of Satan's trap! When you put faith in science and medicine, you display your contempt for God as you should have faith in none other but Him. So when you get sick, don't go to the doctor. Stay home. If you fall into Satan's trap, you will spend an eternity in hell!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  15. Chales Darwin

    I guess I was wrong about human evolution. Or at least 46% of humans.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  16. Jez

    This is terrifyingly stupid. Right. The magic man in the sky (of course "he" is male) pointed his finger on the land he created (...again, riiight...) and said, "let there be man" – I think women were an after thought. I can't believe any remotely thinking person believes this dribble.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  17. peckbag

    What a depressing statistic.... This kind of backward thinking is why America is doomed to ultimately fail.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  18. sbp

    Which only goes to prove the average person is an idiot.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  19. J.A.

    I wish I was surprised by this but I am not. This country is so close minded, that anytime anything comes close to disagreeing with the faith they claim to live by, they shut it all out. Science, no matter how well proven, will never be openly accepted by many Americans. I am a proud American Atheist and it scares me to think so many people let tradition, not fact, make up their minds.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • jon

      People actually think that all of the prehistoric evidence located by archeologists was PLANTED there for some strange reason.
      What a crew! Americans are just amazing.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Alex Jameson

      "This country is so close minded, that anytime anything comes close to disagreeing with the faith they claim to live by, they shut it all out."

      So you, surely a practice-what-you-preach kind of person, are agnostic so as not to remain close-minded?

      "I am a proud American Atheist"

      And that's your right. Isn't it also contradictory to what you said?

      It seems to me you're saying that people who disagree with you should agree with you. If not, that makes them close-minded. Fair enough. What does that make you then, though?

      All the best,

      June 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  20. Arran Webb

    Science and Creation are in complete harmony. The big bang theory was established by a Catholic Priest. Science is void of data. Biologists fused data into science and are well on their way to creating a new religion called Bio-science.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm |


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

      back to your cave, stinky troll

      June 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Huebert

      But I want to yell at him so bad.

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

      Now, now. Arran may not be a troll, you know. He may be what is defined in the DSM V as a "fruitcake."

      June 1, 2012 at 6:21 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.