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

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  • 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.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ClioCJS ( 264898 ) <cliocjs+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:12PM (#40183625) Homepage Journal
      Kinda sounds like No-True-Scotsman logic to me.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, it means the +/- 4% poll error is grossly understated. Look, we all know that the selection methodology used to generate the sample size leads to that sort of minimum percentage error. What people don't talk about is what the OP is - the difference between:
        a) what people say they do and what they actually do.
        b) whether people answer with the dogma of their faith vs. what they actually believe.

        Throw in things such as:
        a) weak wording in the questions conflating or confusing two ideas: "God created huma

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr Thinly Sliced ( 73041 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:15PM (#40183685) Homepage Journal

      There's a big difference between what people tell pollsters because they think that's what they *should* say, verses what they actually do or believe

      Even assuming what you say is true, it's still a pretty strong reflection on how screwed up your society is that people are coerced into espousing a particular worldview due to pressure.

      Land of the free indeed.....

    • 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 DamonHD ( 794830 )

        ... you're not going anywhere without thinking for yourself...

        I find your leadership fascinating and would like to subscribe to your newsletter so that I will know what to think.



    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:21PM (#40183809)
      My complaint is there there's never a place on the forms to mark that I believe in the theory that life started when Neil deGrasse Tyson traveled back in time to ejaculate into the primordial ooze.
    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kallisti ( 20737 ) <rmidthun@yahoo.com> 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.

  • 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 @03:10PM (#40183597)

    It doesn't have to be either "take the Bible literally" or "science and evolution".

    Some are perfectly fine with believing the science and the process of evolution, but also see religion as a framework of stories. Someone once said, "The Bible says what God did; science explains how He did it."

    • Yes, and if you read the summary of the article you were commenting on, you would see that that accounted for 33%. C'mon. That didn't even require going TFA but rather just reading the summary before commenting.
    • by s.petry ( 762400 )

      I would think that this view is the most common among the intellectual crowds. I have worked with hundreds of PHDs over the years, and had some long fun discussions regarding the subject. A few were agnostic, but most believe in a creator without the traditional Religious beliefs. I'd say at least half participated in traditional Religious practices and saw nothing morally wrong with them.

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

    What if you believe in evolution as a divine creation?

    • Then you don't believe humans were created IN THEIR PRESENT FORM WITHIN THE LAST 10,000 YEARS. You only believe the very first part, humans were created and therefore SHOULD answer no on the poll.
      • Sorry, I should have RTFA first. It wasn't a yes/no question it was a three parter. You would answer "humans evolved, God guided the process" Which would put you in the 32% group as of the latest poll. Interestingly, it is this group which seems to have lost the most people at the same time as the young earth group gained.
    • To quote a respected researcher is such things, "God made man, but he used the monkey to do it."
  • Explains a lot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trevc ( 1471197 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:16PM (#40183699)
    And people still wonder why this country is in such a mess....
  • by eagee ( 1308589 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:18PM (#40183761)
    is bumming me out... I mean, really? Only 15%? Come on people!
    • That meshes well, actually, with a pet(misanthropic) theory(and I don't mean in the scientific sense) of mine, that it takes an IQ of about 120 to really get the basics of science in a whole-cloth kind of way. Less native pattern recognition than that, and pieces don't just naturally fit together as well.

      Yeah, I know the attitude is contemptible and ignores the value of effort in trying to understand, and that it doesn't have any sort of objective verification. I fully acknowledge both obvious faults. Th

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:20PM (#40183783)

    You'd think this is actually just the ignorance of 'Dumb Americans.' That isn't so. The reason is evolution is a deal breaker due to the structure of the Christian religion.

    Kalinka told me the following.

    It doesn't have anything to say about the existence or non-existence of any gods. It is a problem with the way the Mythos of Christianity works in particular.

    The Mythos of Christianity absolutely depends on a a literal understanding of Genesis. In Judaism, Genesis can be metaphor, it changes nothing. But the Sacrifice of Jesus is contingent on an event called the fall of man, where Eve and Adam ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, angering Yahweh (God) and damning all Humans to Hell save for a few Jewish Prophets and anyone who accepts Jesus as the Savior.

    The fall of man is considered the *Primary Sin* which sends us to Hell. (The main Reason.)

    If The Book of Genesis is metaphorical, then Jesus died for nothing because no fall of man ever occurred for Yahweh to have a reason to send us to Hell to begin with. Ergo, Christianity is collapses because Saint Paul was a liar.

    This is why Christians have a problem with Evolution and Jews do not.

    The real reason that this doctrine that Paul created was put into place was to exclude the Jews from Salvation.

    He didn't for see the evolution problem. That came along later.

    If the Garden of Eden never happened, the fall never happened. then there would be no need for the death of Jesus Christ. Which means that Christianity was wrong all along. Biological evolution collapses a core foundation of Christianity.

    • by hoppo ( 254995 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:24PM (#40183885)

      Catholic dogma treats the book of Genesis as an allegorical work.

    • If The Book of Genesis is metaphorical, then Jesus died for nothing because no fall of man ever occurred for Yahweh to have a reason to send us to Hell to begin with.

      I'm admittedly not religious, but I don't follow your argument (well, not yours but the one you're relating). If 'the fall of man' is defined as mankind disobeying god why does the fall have to happen precisely in the way genesis describes? Is there a man alive who has followed all of God's rules (as defined in by the Bible since our discussion is already centered on Christianity)? I doubt it. We all disobey so logically we have all fallen (I'm sure an apologist could argue that even being tempted to di

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:36PM (#40184109) Homepage
      For a while I thought this, but then I was pointed out that Muslims have very low acceptance rates of evolution even though Islam doesn't need the details of a creation story in any deep theological way. http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/02/21/acceptance-of-evolution-by-var/ [scienceblogs.com]. This may be due in part to the general more reactionary and hyper-religious aspects of Islam currently having more sway than in much of Christianity, but at least on its surface this suggests that whatever causes high rates of creationism in Christianity may be more subtle.
    • Exclude the Jews from Salvation? What? Neither Romans, Hebrews, nor Paul's epistles back this up. I realize, of course, that the Roman church, for quite a while, held that Jews were pretty much abandoned. This was very bad, but not very scriptural.
    • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:44PM (#40184265)

      The book of Genesis is definitely considered allegorical by most Christians, including the Pope. However most Christians also believe that left to themselves, humans quickly descent into sin, and from there war, pestilence, famine and whatnot. Jesus saves us not because he died on the cross, that is just a spectacular example of incomprehensible self-sacrifice. He saves us because if you believe in him, then you will not descend into sin, simply because by loving your neighbor, war, famine, whatnot becomes quickly impossible.

      Anyway, even if the garden of Eden never happened, Christianity does not collapse. Christianity is a faith, it can explain away anything.

      As Gandhi said, I love your Christ but I don't love your Christians.

    • by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:45PM (#40185595) Homepage Journal

      Saint Paul is an interesting Bible figure, BTW. Even based on Bible, he never ever saw Jesus, except for the case where his "spirit appeared before him", which is only mentioned in the part *St. Paul* himself wrote! It is not clear whether he new any other disciples, the modern view is that he was way younger than any of them to personally know them.

      Yet, this guy gets to write more then a half of New Testament!

      Talk about fraud.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:22PM (#40183827) Journal
    If they ask "Do human beings share a common ancestor with present day apes?" a lot more people say would say yes.
  • 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 http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500160_162-965223.html [cbsnews.com]. 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. http://www.gallup.com/poll/108226/Republicans-Democrats-Differ-Creationism.aspx [gallup.com]. 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 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/03/the-republican-fluency-with-science/ [discovermagazine.com] although exactly what is going on is not clear. http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/2011/04/political-affiliation-and-scientific.html [blogspot.com]. 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. http://www.gallup.com/poll/108226/Republicans-Democrats-Differ-Creationism.aspx [gallup.com]. 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.

  • by ebunga ( 95613 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:25PM (#40183889) Homepage

    Slightly less than half the population has below average intelligence.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:30PM (#40183987) Homepage Journal

    As an American, I prefer to ignore your statistic for so many of us being creationists, and I am not interested in your so-called evidence that the figure is correct. The number just feels wrong, therefore it must be a lie. My gut tells me there aren't nearly that many creationists around here, because neither I nor the people I know, are anything like that!

    Furthermore, I don't understand how many people could be creationists, so that's another argument that not nearly many of them could be.

    Finally, your poll is biased and invalid, because .. because .. I want it to be.

  • by RedBear ( 207369 ) <redbear@r[ ]earnet.com ['edb' in gap]> on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:34PM (#40184057) Homepage

    I guess the most interesting thing about this is that America isn't slowly going insane, as one might think. The religious nuts have just gotten louder and more obnoxious in the last several years, making it seem like they're taking over. Doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, but at least my perception that people are abandoning reason left and right in this country is incorrect. That's a good sign. I guess...

  • by Mannfred ( 2543170 ) <mannfred@gmail.com> on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:34PM (#40184059)

    I've watched debates on this topic for almost two decades and they never seem to go anywhere. People who believe in supernatural entities tend to justify their beliefs through less logical arguments, and people who do not believe in them have logical reasons to support their view; ergo there's no satisfactory middle ground - there's no common language between believers and non-believers.

    This is a case of a belief that'll die with their adherents, as new generations seem to hold less superstitious world-views than their parents. Hallelujah to that.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:34PM (#40184077) Journal

    I can't believe there are 16% of people who do not believe that our evolutionary progress is not guided by His Noodly Appendage. How else can you explain midgets?

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:22PM (#40185081)
    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
  • 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.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@nOSpAM.got.net> on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:05PM (#40187305) Journal

    Spiritual people. There is something absolutely amazing about life and death. One minute a person is there and then suddenly, all that remains is a husk. Yes, I understand fully the mechanics of the process, right down to the baryons. That doesn't change the fact that in my experience, something profound and ineffable has vanished from my perception, my grasp, and has left the world that I can comprehend.

    None of this is an excuse for willful ignorance and stupid, stubborn, hubris. No matter how hard I believe, the world will not stop. If it did, the thin skin of the planet would tear free from the mantle and continents would slide over one another. Life on the planet would evaporate in a magmatic cataclism that would make the eruption of Mt. St. Helens look like a popcorn fart in a hurricane. If there is a creator, I'm guessing she doesn't go around suspending physics to mess with the creation. Just a guess (having created a few virtual worlds of my own, I'm supposing we're well past the beta.) Our world is chock full of mythologies. Its a human penchant to come up with stories to explain what we don't understand. Its also a penchant to attempt to describe nature and observe its inner workings. Folks who have at an early age divorced themselves from reality are missing something. We live in a truly remarkable universe. Even more disconcerting is that some people who choose to ignore reality seem to treat reality as though it bends to their opinions. The harsh conservative element in our government seems to have faith that a government that gives all its money away to the wealthy and takes no taxes can work and its people (at least the ones that matter) can thrive. This is the danger of faith based thinking, policy, society. The belief is more important than the fact, and those who have faith in driving straight on a crooked road endanger themselves and all others on the road.

    A wise person surrenders to reality that which is real, and leaves that which untestable, unexplainable, or just humanly ineffable to faith. In these people I have no problem, I find myself among them. I simply know where to draw the line, and as our science improves, so the line moves.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker