Forty-six percent of Americans are creationists. Just thought I should rip that Band-Aid off right now, particularly since I know that for many, this is a big disappointment.
For thirty years we’ve seen the end of tape and the rise of digital. We’ve watched the end of the Space Shuttle fleet and the rise of successful commercial space flight. We’ve seen traditional paper publishing nearly collapse and the rise of ebooks. Thirty years can transform a world.
But some things are like Donald Trump’s toupee and seem to never change.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, American opinions about evolution and creation are one of them.
Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans’ views of the origin of the human species since 1982. The 46% of Americans who today believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years is little changed from the 44% who believed this 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question.
I have written on the subject of surveys and evolution at The Huffington Post in the past and I’m only partially surprised by this information. On the one hand, the evidence for evolution is very strong, but on the other, this is America. The evidence that super-sizing our food is bad or that smoking will give you cancer is strong, but well, have you seen us?
I do believe that many in this 46% hold their views out of a dedication to their faith and a particular way of reading of the Bible, and not so much out of a belief that scientists are godless. But not only does Young Earth Creationism not appear to match the evidence for how the world works (see this review of Why Evolution is True), it is also not a good reading of the Bible in its ancient context (see this review of The Lost World of Genesis One).
The poll also shows that there is a strong connection between individual views and levels of education, with those who accept evolution having the highest level of education and those who do not the lowest-level of education.
Americans with postgraduate education are most likely of all the educational groups to say humans evolved without God’s guidance, and least likely to say God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The creationist viewpoint “wins” among Americans with less than a postgraduate education.
Many may bemoan a moral decline in America and some may blame beliefs in evolution for this—as I’ve been told on occasion in conversation—but Americans are still largely Young-Earth Creationists and Gallup notes that there is “no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins.” In fact, “some 78% of Americans today believe that God had a hand in the development of humans in some way, just slightly less than the percentage who felt this way 30 years ago.”
If liberals do have a conspiracy to eliminate God using evolution, they have failed utterly. I’m guessing it may be something closer to Gregory House’s mantra. No, not “it’s not lupus,” the other one—”People never change.”