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.
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...
How about 'theistic evolution' as your source has it labeled.
That might be better. But mnehring self-identifies in the “theistic evolution” category, and says that some such people would put themselves over in the yellow bar...
I see a false premise with the OEC view.
The presumption is that OE theory also accepts evolution to some degree at least... or is categorized along with some form of mix of creation and evolution.
Geological evidence proves that the earth is billions of years old, but evolutionary theory/studies fail to prove that life on earth is also billions of years old.
Therefore I submit that a fourth category is missing...
OR, that OEC should be segregated from OE+naturalistic evolution (OENE)
Just because the earth is billions of years old does not necessarily mean that life on earth is also billions of years old as well.
There is no room for a mix of creationist theory with evolutionary theory. They are mutually exclusive.
Plus, I think (from what I understood) that the first bar would be all YECs, and the Old Earth Creationists would be in the middle bar as well.
That’s the heart of the matter, there are so many philosophical paths to take, then combine those with the physical paths, and you can have a lot of combinations of those. I even know of some young earthers who believe in naturalistic evolution because they believe God created it all on day one, 4000 BC as having already existed a million years following evolution.
I bet if you ask each person privately so there isn’t the peer pressure of name calling or conforming to peer pressure or giving the answer they are ‘supposed’ to give, to describe what they believe, not just label it, you will have as many variables as you have responses.
Hang on... I may have misunderstood. :-)
The original definitions of categories were:
"God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years."
"Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation."
And Naturalistic evolution:
"Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process."
OEC and evolution are mutually exclusive.
Right. I’m afraid I mislabeled things a bit.
So OEC does not include any form of evolution theory?