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. Shardik


    June 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  2. john/oregon

    This statistic is not surprising. What IS surprising is that people actually think they have an answer (or THE answer) to these mysteries. Face it, there are some things that we will always wonder about (where did we begin...where are we going), but there are apparently no known answers...only beliefs, and what we believe is different from what we know. I respect people of faith, but it is the hieght of hubris to pass it along as factual.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  3. southernwonder

    i am really surprised at tons of money and man-years spent in usa on ungainful mideast manic stuff. why can't we return all this stuff back to jerusalem and set ourselves truly free from a mideast god? why don't we our own american god if we must have one ?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • sam

      I vote we choose Captain America as our new God. Or maybe just Joss Whedon.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      So your comment is invent a god? Not sure how to answer that! BTW, America has done that a few times.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  4. Ted

    Sadly, this is the same group of morons that vote Republican.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  5. RussianRevolution

    The picture of the mugs really add to the discussion.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  6. Gary

    If you ask, about 50% of Americans will tell you that the sun revolves around the earth. Coincidence? I think not.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  7. tensai13

    Creationists! The stupid and ignorant you will always have with you.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  8. InTheKnow

    Nothing + No One = Everything. I got it....it's brilliant! (end sarcasm)

    June 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • KRMone

      Put down your works of fiction/propaganda one day and learn a little bit about the universe around you.

      Science: a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws

      Religion: a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects

      To choose agreed-upon beliefs over observable facts will reveal to you things much more wondrous and amazing than "It is written."

      June 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    "Not surprisingly, more religious Americans are more likely to be creationists."

    Well that is a stupid thing to say? If one believes in God..then surely he holds to a creationist viewpoint. Kind of a no brainer!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Emerald Laughter

      Plenty of people have faith in God, but see the creation story for what it is, a myth from Jewish literature, based on earlier myths from other cultures. If you think the Creation myth is meant to be read literally, then you do not understand the nature or power of myth. I reccommend reading Joseph Campbell, one of the best researchers and writers on the subject of mythology.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

      Actually people can believe in God and evolution. Is it a stretch of the mind to simply not believe EVERYTHING you read in a book?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Patrick

      No, not surely. It varies. Notice the difference in percentages between believers and creationists.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Not always. Many religions posit the existence of a god, even a creator, but stop short of denying the reality of the world they see around them. Catholics and Lutherans for instance hold that Genesis is allegorical. Hindus believe that evolution dovetails neatly with the wheel of karma.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

      Well, as i stated earlier..if one believes in God as the creator, then no matter what process brought life into existence, that person would still have to admit that God put the creation into motion. Obviously that person would be a creationist of one sort or the other. Atheist evolution tries to explain the process purely by natural explanation. I think that a definition of a creationist should be clarified. Now I do not believe in evolution..it is simply pressuposition and belief..no testable evidence to believe we evolved from a single source or the diversity of life observed in nature originates from a single source.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  10. SokrMom

    Oh, come on. Really?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  11. wow

    It should have said 46% of Americans are idiots

    No wonder the country is in the shape it's in

    June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  12. babooph

    I can still be amazed...

    June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  13. puzzlekeeper

    There is no reason why evolution, astrophysics, cosmology, or molecular cell biology have to be in conflict. Genesis 1 is supported by all the sciences and the 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution. Go to blogspot and lookup puzzlekeeper Q&A for the continueing saga of creation supported by the sciences.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Rick James

      How is Genesis supported by any science? I'm dying to know.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Saying that Genesis is supported by science is even more idiotic than denying science in favor of Genesis. You have to make the same logical leaps and play the same inkblotting semantic games, hopping from translation to translation, and then make the same excuses for the scientific ignorance of the authors, to support the argument. It's on a par with von Daniken.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Why_Bother

    All I can say is WOW!!! At least we now have have proof that we are devolving, correct? Or maybe God is just being lazy and making dumber people.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  15. Larry L

    It's absolutely frightening so many people are able to completely disregard a mountain of science to accept the mythology of creationism. It's no wonder America is falling ever farther behind the rest of the industrialized world in math, science and advanced technology.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  16. One one

    Perhaps if all the worlds biologists, chemists, geologists, anthropologist , who research these things, and all the university professors who teach these things, and all the scientific journals who publish about these things, and all the private and government organizations who fund research about these things would just read the bible and pray to Jesus they would see the error of their ways. 🙂

    June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Larry L

      You're kidding... right?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Dr. Cooper

      The weak minded people need something to believe in to make themselves feel special.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Rick James

      I hope this is sarcasm

      June 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

      And you have found the error in your ways? LOL! Some people hold high views of themselves and their place on earth. Ah nevermind, just go pray some more. Its not worth the time.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • One one

      @larry. Yes, the smily face is there for a reason. While my post was meant to be sarcastic, that seems to be the Position the believers must adopt, which is absurd.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Trolliolioliolioliooo! Well played, sir.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  17. Pooskie

    If you can not explain something it most be God's work!? I feel sorry for these idiots.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Weep for yourself; you are the deceived one.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  18. Greenspam

    Americans don't believe in evolution because the whole population is de-evolving in terms of education.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Wunk

      I agree with that but it is not because of teachers. State govt. screws paying them so it is their fault.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Many refuse to believe in evolution because the so-called scientists who embrace it treat it as pure dogma.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  19. Greenspam

    Mission accomplished – fox news!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  20. Steve

    In my opinion this is a reason for our high unemployement rate. If more people studied math and science they would better understand what the scientific method is. A theory at a base level is just an attempt to model the experimental data. It makes no attempt to explain why it is. For example The Standard Model for quantum mechanics has to take into account that matter and energy can display wave and particle behavior. This is a paradox that makes no sense. Yet how we observe something impacts the results which is insanity. The metaphysical question is why? Maybe God wills it. All of our electronics and about a third of our GDP is dependent on an effect that we cannot explain. Yet the experimental results support the standard model.

    Now lets look at evolution. All it is is an attempt to model what we observe. It probably has holes in it just like the Standard Model. The theory makes no statement on why. Does it really matter if God created us over a period of 4 billion years in a universe that we estimate is 13 billion years? Why do inteligent designers get up in arms about random verses deliberate? If God is infinite in power, he is not affected by time. What may appear as statistical randomness to us may have been preordained by God. Or God set the rules to the universe such that it was inevitable that man would evolve. How can you model a being of infinite model. It is impossible and a metaphyscical question. But it does not prevent us from observing nature around us.

    Whether God built life in discrete intentional steps or not is not important to the theory of evolution. It is only an attempt to observe available data. I can could just as easily say gravity does not exist because God wills that things fall to the planet. But it does not prevent me from making a model that mass is attracted by the following formula of F == G*m1*m2/r^2. Observed data supports this forumla and thus I call it the theory of gravity.

    If we want to say any observed effect is due to God;s will that is not really saying much. If someone wants to propose a proof that the world is only 10000 years old or man did not appear until 10000 years ago, they need to use the same rules of Scientific Method that was used to construct the original evolution proposals. If they want to poke holes, that is great. Newtons laws of mechanics were found to be incomplete by quantum mechanics. Observe and model. Do not depend on a book that was originally oral tradition. That is faith not a theory.

    But in summary if we really want to wonder why so many high skilled jobs are left open, this thread is proof of it.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Alas, it is so. We are not men, we are Devo.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:09 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.