Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Education United States Science

In America, 46% of People Hold a Creationist View of Human Origins 1359

An anonymous reader writes "The latest Gallup poll is out, and it finds that 46% of Americans hold the view that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. According to Gallup, the percentage who hold this view has remained unchanged since 1982, when they first started asking the question. Roughly 33% of Americans believe in divinely guided evolution, and 15% believe that humans evolved without any supernatural help."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In America, 46% of People Hold a Creationist View of Human Origins

Comments Filter:
  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:07PM (#40183563)

    Thereâ(TM)s a big difference between what people tell pollsters because they think thatâ(TM)s what they *should* say, verses what they actually do or believe. For example most people say they go to church on a regular basis, yet other polls say church attendance is down, and the truth is that most people sleep in on Sunday. Most Americans say they are Christians because they think itâ(TM)s the âoerightâ thing to say, but most probably canâ(TM)t accurately quote a single significant paragraph of the Bible, new or old, nor articulate any significant bible theory. The truth is that most people are basically agnostic.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:10PM (#40183593)

    Who actually answers these polls?
    I bet even in 1982 it was mostly old people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:11PM (#40183607)

    What if you believe in evolution as a divine creation?

  • by doconnor ( 134648 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:14PM (#40183657) Homepage

    There is no evidence to support the idea of a divine creator. There is a growing body [] of evidence that the Universe could have been created from nothing (aka a quantum vacuum).

  • ~79%? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:14PM (#40183659)

    So, roughly 79% of Americans believe in some form of a divine entity, yet we have to sanitize all public places from anything remotely religious so as to appease the ~21% that either don't believe or haven't decided?

    Sounds about right.

  • Not necessarily (Score:2, Interesting)

    by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:18PM (#40183731)

    Not necessarily. I don't think Netanyahu, Hitler, the Pope, Negroes, Presbyterians, Gays, or Albanians are/were dumb either, in an intelligence sense.

    They may be ignorant or have a lower rate in tests due to social reasons, but that is not necessarily the same as dumb, as in low intelligence. Uneducated may be cause. BTW, the Pope and Netanyahu are not uneducated, so, they must be stupid, or dumb as you put it.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:18PM (#40183745) Homepage

    You're not making me feel better. I don't know if there is a big difference between 'most people don't believe in evolution' and 'most people think they should say they don't believe in evolution.'

    Actually, I'd say the later is worse. Whether you think we're here as a result of evolution or creation, you're not going anywhere without thinking for yourself. Someone who examines the evidence and concludes creation is most probable is (IMNSHO) mistaken, but can be reasoned with. Someone who believes in evolution just because that's what they've been told is lost.

  • by swished7 ( 670525 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:19PM (#40183767)

    The idea of a divine creator is no sillier than the idea of creation from nothing.

    I'm tempted to agree with that statement. The problem I have with religious belief systems is when questioning the system is forbidden. A (good) scientist is willing to change his theory to suit his observations. Non-religious types "mock" those who are so attached to what they've been told to believe they can't accept new information.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:22PM (#40183821) Homepage

    A single photon with a frequency of 10^98Hz has enough energy to create all the matter in the universe.

    Photons are popping in and out of the quantum soup all the time.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:24PM (#40183877) Homepage

    Gallup and a few others have consistently gotten numbers between 40-48% for this data, but for reasons I don't fully understand, CBS polls on the same issue get slightly higher results. They get routinely in the 50-55% range []. I'm not sure why this discrepancy exists, but it isn't a single yearly issue and it doesn't seem to be connected to how the questions are phrased, which suggests there's some more subtle issue going on.

    The data for both this years Gallup poll and previous years does show some fairly predictable patterns. For example, by most of the previous polls, around 60% of Republicans are Young Earth Creationists while a little under 40% of Democrats are Young Earth Creationists. []. This should not however be taken as general evidence that Republicans or conservatives are dumb or uneducated. The GSS as part of their regular survey does a set about general science knowledge, and that data suggests that when not asking questions about evolution or age of the Earth, progressives and conservatives look very similar, and there's some evidence that the people with the least science knowledge are self-identified moderates [] although exactly what is going on is not clear. []. This is part of a general trend which suggests that moderates in the US are often not very well informed.

    Also, while Gallup says that the fraction of people who reject evolution has stayed roughly constant, there's a potentially more interesting trend in the data, over the last 30 years there's been a steady increase in people who say that evolution occurred with God taking no part in the process. []. Most of that is movement not from the strict creationists but from a reduction in the size of the group that thinks that evolution happened with God guiding it. This may reflect the general decline of the moderately religious, especially so called "mainline Protestants" or it may be due to other effects such as general increases in partisanship.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:35PM (#40184097)
    and they are teaching the kids.... its a dangerous race to the bottom of the pit. []
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:30PM (#40185255) Homepage Journal
    ...and by 'expounding,' I mean explain how the Law of Large Numbers applies to this particular circumstance.

    IMO, when we're talking about a total population over 360 million, 1000 person sample isn't what I would consider a particularly large number.
  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:30PM (#40185259) Journal

    Exactly! Pragmatism is for chumps. The real man is an idealist who sticks to their beliefs in the face of all facts and reality.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:50PM (#40185743)

    Yahweh, the god of the bible is who they believe did this.

    Not Shiva.
    Not some random god.

    They may wave hands a bit on "Allah" but the fact is most christians beliefs are exclusive of islamic beliefs. The islamics will go to hell or purgatory. The christians will go to a lower level of heaven (at best) or hell.

    They willfully ignore mountains of hard facts which they could observe themselves directly in order to maintain this belief. Even tho the conclusion from that is that Yahweh for some unknown reason decided to create all kinds of false evidence of an older earth and to create dna patterns which are very similar to apes.


    There is a huge gap from "a god created the universe" to "the god of the bible created the universe and wants us to worship it, ordered hebrew tribes to slaughter men, women, "suckling babies", and old people, ordered them to not mix two types of cloth, and had a few dozen kids attacked by bears for mocking elijah. Killed 99% of humans at least once- perhaps twice, and then repeatedly engaged in infanticide and genocide.

    Sure-- an unknown god may have created the universe-- but that doesn't mean it is yahweh.

      Most Theists disbelieve every god but one. Atheists just beleive in one less god than theists.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kallisti ( 20737 ) <> on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:58PM (#40185937) Homepage

    A supporting anecdote:
    When I took the PSAT (a common academic test), there was a small section where you had the option to put in demographic data. These being less paranoid times, I filled it out including listing under my religion: No Preference or Affiliation. Which was true and still is.

    My mom saw that particular piece of data and flipped out. "Why did you mark No Preference? It makes you look like some kind of Atheist or something!" She reminded me that I was baptized and "confirmed" in the Lutheran church and therefore am Lutheran, apparently until death. Now, I have never seen her pray, she has only a very simple understanding of the Bible and nothing of theology, she never goes to church outside of weddings, as far as I can tell in day to day life God doesn't enter into it at all. Yet, I should have lied about my religious feelings because that would be the "normal" thing to do. What would people think?

    I doubt my mom is the only one.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:45PM (#40186913) Homepage Journal

    I don't believe anyone should get to vote, because I don't believe the majority should get to tell the minority what to do.

    My wife and I make joint decisions, because we are married. We like that arrangement, if that becomes intolerable for one of us, he or she can get a divorce.

    Democracy is like being married to millions of people, against your will, with no possibility of divorce.

    This is why so many people are so angry that people who disagree with them vote. They have no hope of getting out of the system of being subject to these joint decisions, but they can sure tell that it's wrong for those other people to force their will on them.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by samoanbiscuit ( 1273176 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:20AM (#40191195)
    Here's the key quote from that passage:

    American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum. "These are people who thought a lot about religion," he said. "They're not indifferent. They care about it."

    I don't know, nor care about how knowledgeable you are about your own personal sky fairy, but generally, atheists have followed the narrative of being raised in a religion and then giving it up. Most religious people belong to their religions by an accident of birth (or politics in some cases), and there was no great reflection of the whys and wherefores of their religion. Because you believe in something through sheer cultural inertia does not make you more knowledgeable, in fact the opposite.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tolkienfan ( 892463 ) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @02:40AM (#40199267) Journal

    "science can't disprove God..."
    This is basically the "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" claim.
    Actually, Victor J Stenger makes the very convincing case that absence of evidence can indeed be evidence of absence when such evidence should be abundant but isn't, and that this really is the case with the deist gods, such as the Christian God.
    I wholeheartedly recommend him: a very good read.

The absent ones are always at fault.