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.
All of the polls I ran across tended to divide the possibilities into these three main ideas. Either that or two-possibility either/or questions, such as:
Do you believe in evolution (yes/no)?
Do you believe in YEC (yes/no)?
Thanks. I think I’ve seen the polls before or similar.
No. I did not run across that particular poll.
Generally, I didn't "leave out" or "include" data "on purpose," except that some things I ran across were less relevant and I only tried to include the more relevant information I found.
Nor did I do my own survey. I just looked for the best readily-available information I could find to shed some light on what I was wondering about.
Another FReeper did a poll about a month ago and FR is split pretty evenly among YEC, ID, EV, and Other. I remember the biggest discussion was that the line of just Evolution versus Young Earth was far too limited. For example, many of us identify as Theistic Evolutionists (position accepted by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and some Protestant denominations). There are also Young Earth ID’ers and Old Earth ID’ers. Then you have the literalsts in several camps from the 6k literalists (Young Earth Creationists) to the Genesis 1:2 to Genesis 1:2 time gappers (those that hold there were millions of years gap between those to verses but that life is only 6K years old). You also have the Young Earthers who believe that the Earth is both young and old- it was created to be millions of years old, only 6K years ago. I can go on and on with all the theories.
The point of all that is that those who try to divide based on one line- an either or prospect, or measure by said line, really don’t understand all the beliefs out there.
It also goes to show that the stereotypes of all being robots of one thought are also wrong.
It is one of the first hits on google for poll evolution and has been posted on FR numerous times in the past.
It was done, I’m still looking for it.
I have never heard of an IDer on FR and I have polled many potential IDers. Even GGG cannot name even ONE IDer. Metmom is the closest to one that I could guess may be one.
It’s been a couple of hundred years now, and scientists have forgotten that uniformitarianism is a postulate, not a fact. Their belief that the same physical laws apply now as applied in the past is a matter of faith, not of science.
The question scientists ask of the past is not “what happened”, but “what is what would be most likely to have happened, if the current scientific laws held then, as now.”
This postulate rules out the possibility of creation as a supernatural phenomenon.
But, and it’s a big but, scientific research has clearly demonstrated that there are structures all around us that would have taken far more time than the young earth creationist hypothesis would allow for, unless the earth was created already containing features that had the appearance of having age.
In other words, if God created the world 6000 years ago, he created it in such a way that it looked far older. Which means that if God did, in fact, create the universe 6000 years ago, he created it so that it was indistinguishable from one that had evolved over millenia.
And scientists, operating under their fundamental guiding postulate, are studying the history that God created into the universe, rather than the history of the Universe. That is, what would have been the history of the universe, had it actually evolved, instead of having been created by God with an embedded history.
Which leaves us with a philosophical question. Is there any difference? Is what scientists do any more or any less valid, whether the history they study is real, or was simply created by God?
Is faith in a divinely created world challenged in any way by scientific fact?
More information still! Thanks for posting.
Cool. Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the ping!
(3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
I knew something was strange with your data! Your label OEC is incorrect. OEC is NOT theistic evolution.
Again, Good post.
To be fair historic sciences can never prove the past. But they can take what exists today and paint pictures, filling in the dots in a scientific way. And any theory will be improved and evolve and defended by the theorist bias.
Evolution is the best theory we have from what we have here to look at.
Modern Creationism and ID are just scams, the Institutional don’t even believe what they write. Its all “Destroy evolution”
Atheists are a problem because they feed the creationists. They are a like in that they want teach kids that ‘evolution proves there is no God.’
I think a lot of people would not distinguish between the two.
Don’t you think that’s the case?
ColdWater is correct. OEC and TE are very different. OEC is like God walking along side a separate process and nudging it into align with what He wants as the end result. Theistic Evolution is like God being the grand architect, where the end was planned long before the first spark of the big bang took place, so when that first spark happened, it all fell into place- there was no need to correct its course.
Probably the middle bar should be labeled OEC/TE then?
Just for label’s sake, yes, but the problem is that many who believe in TE would answer naturalistic evolution because they take issue with God having to go along and fix it, they believe what we see in nature is how God did it (I say “they” but this is my camp).
What you are saying really does hit at some of the disagreements though. There are some in various camps who immediately damn those in other camps as ‘atheists’, etc, simply because they don’t believe in the same timeline. They spend more time attacking other Christians than they do actually promoting Christ.
So even some of those in the right-hand side of the chart believe in God, just not that He did any intervention along the way in the evolutionary process.
Makes sense. Another poll says that 92% of Americans believe in God. If we take that at face value and try to merge it with the information above, that 92% would cover all of the blue and red blocks, and about a third of the yellow one.
Good thing that science is not determined by polls, but rather by evidence.
Christ is the point of the disagreement. To be that perfect one and for all time blood sacrifice, tracked from generation to generation to a precise appointed time, and born of a predestined individual from a particular lineage will not fit in the evolutionary time chart.
OEC'ers are creationists. They don't believe in evolution.
Exactly. The way I see it, having to nudge it along says there is a flaw in the original design. TE philosophy believes that the design we see now was the design intended from before the first spark of the big bang. The first nudge of the first atom to create the first spark of the universe all were part of the overall design. Remember, God is supernatural, He isn’t bound by our concepts of space/time, beginning/end, forward/backward, etc. To Him, what you see now and the ‘big bang’ billions of years ago all could exist at the same instant or even the present existing before the past.
It all sounds like the old deist thought, but there is a big exception- the spiritual. Unlike deists who believe God set it in place and ignored it, TE acknowledges that we are on a separate spiritual journey and God does intervene to guide us along our spiritual path because unlike all of nature, He gave us the awareness and choice to take that path. He gave us the will to grow past the rules of nature and exist with him Supernaturally- Salvation. That is how we see the Biblical account- that of God setting in place the spiritual choice for us.
(yea, I could go on and on.. this is a much better thread than the ones where you are just branded as a ‘evoathiest nazi, etc’. :-> )
Should’ve probably been labeled something like “believe God was involved in evolution,” then...