Skip to comments.What Do Americans Believe About Creationism and Evolution?</
Posted on 10/23/2009 8:18:13 PM PDT by john in springfield
After spending time on some of the recent discussions here at FR about Young Earth Creationism (YEC) and other points of view (which I will call Old Earth Creationism (OEC) and Naturalistic Evolution), I found myself wondering: how many FReepers (and how many Americans) hold each particular view?
Obviously, there aren't any statistics on FReepers. But there are on Americans as a whole, and on certain groups of Americans.
The best general resource I've found so far on people's viewpoints is located here. I will summarize some of those here.
(Note: This page uses slightly different terms for a couple of these viewpoints, but as far as I can tell, they mean the same thing.)
About 45% accept the Young Earth Creationist viewpoint, about 37% accept the Old Earth Creationist viewpoint, and around 12% to 14% accept the Naturalistic Evolution viewpoint.
This has held fairly steady over the past 25 years or so. The percentage who believe in NE may have increased slightly, but overall, the numbers have held fairly steady.
A CBS News poll gave a bit different percentages: YEC 55%, OEC 27%, NE 13%.
There are a lot of people who believe in young earth creationism, and there are also a lot of people who believe in old earth creationism as well.
The vast majority of Americans believe in God.
The majority of Americans believe in evolution.
The numbers change significantly among the college-educated:
It is interesting to me that most - a full 54% - college-educated Americans accept the Old-Earth Creationist (or theistic evolutionist) view.
Note also the effect that a college education seems to have: With a few exceptions, people who go to college don't stop believing in God. However, quite a few do seem to shift from YEC to OEC.
This graph also means that an awful lot of people who don't go to college believe in YEC rather than in either OEC or NE.
Note that while this poll is nearly 20 years old, based on what we know from some other polls, overall beliefs do not seem to have changed greatly during this time.
Note: The word "scientist" seems to be very vague in this poll, which apparently includes a lot of people with professional degrees in fields completely unrelated to biology, geology, etc.
In any event, a majority of "scientists" don't seem to believe that God was involved in the development of life on earth. It's not a very large majority, though. "Scientists" are divided as to whether God was involved. Most of those who think He was believe that this involvement included the process of evolution.
However, given that only 5% of "scientists" support YEC, the under-1% figure may well be true. I just don't know. Nor do I have access to the original 1987 Newsweek article to see exactly how they got their information.
If there's another poll or two out there on this, it might be interesting to know about.
A 2007 Harris Poll showed the following percentages of Christians who accept the theory of evolution:
"Born-Again Christians": 16%
Finally, a 2005 CBS Poll stated that a full two thirds (67%) of Americans believe that it's possible for one to believe both in God and in evolution.
This grew from questions I had after reading a post that seemed to pit "believing in evolution" against "Christian" and "God." Specifically, I wondered how many people believe in both God and evolution.
I haven't tried to push a particular viewpoint in this article, just objectively report what I found out about how many Americans take a particular viewpoint. But feel free to flame away regardless.
It would be interesting to do a poll of FReepers if that were possible.
Bookmark and BFLR.
Still think that science shouldnt be a popularity contest, or Obama would be the king of Science.
Very good job. Thanks!
I think the last graph % of Christians Who Believe in Evolution, to be quite revealing.
Was Last Thursdayism mentioned?
I believe it takes more faith to believe in Evolution then it does in Creationism.
Could we say that if one does not believe that God could have (or did) created the heavens and earth in 6 days that someday they will be granted the opportunity to tell Him that.
Common sense says to believe that all peoples on this earth today come from only two people is a form of evolution.
That means that the ‘speed’ in which evolution takes place is the argument not that evolution does not take place. No where is it Written that God loaded up the DNA to produce out of two human beings all His children.
ping to those people I know of who seem interested in the issue. :-)
I agree. I tend to think we would see a lot more belief in God than the general public.
As far as YEC, I’m not sure. There are cross-dynamics at work. The conservatism of FReepers would end to boost the YEC numbers, but I think we have a lot of well-educated FReepers, which might cause the stats to flow in the opposite direction. I really don’t know where it would all come out in the end.
By the way, I agree that science isn't a popularity contest.
Science is about truth, and truth may or may not be popular. As often as not, it isn't.
I still thought that finding some measure of people's beliefs would be interesting and educational.
There is no doubt in my mind that God created everything for a purpose. Just because I don't understand His plan, doesn't invalidate it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.