Are you in the 15%?

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? - Matthew 6:24
And still nothing about dinos. How sad. Some very strident people lately have been attempting to make America, and later the world, into a narrowly focused version of Christianity. It is a view that actually has little or nothing to do with the Bible. If they had their way Matthew 7:12 would end up on the cutting room floor and Exodus and Leviticus would be the law of the land. And while there’s no danger of them gaining real power any time soon there is a danger. And it is a danger because some people aren’t just ignorant, they are willfully ignorant. They wake each day and put blinders on. Anything that might cause them to suffer from conscious thought is kept from their sight. Don’t get me wrong, there are very many smart people who believe in God. Find a Franciscan monk if you don’t believe me. It is not hard to say “God exists, the universe exists and I believe that the former created the latter.” See? You don’t need to toss science out the window at all. That simple statement still allows for evolution and everything else. Nor does it require dogma to support it. It is a true statement of faith which still allows for facts and reason. After all, if there is a God why did He give us the capacity to learn if He didn’t want us to use it?

85% of Americans disagree with the above paragraph.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 15% of Americans “believe” in evolution. 46% believe in strict creationism. Never mind that it doesn’t make any sense if you spend more than a minute thinking about it. That’s what they “believe.”

Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

Gallup has asked Americans to choose among these three explanations for the origin and development of human beings 11 times since 1982. Although the percentages choosing each view have varied from survey to survey, the 46% who today choose the creationist explanation is virtually the same as the 45% average over that period — and very similar to the 44% who chose that explanation in 1982. The 32% who choose the “theistic evolution” view that humans evolved under God’s guidance is slightly below the 30-year average of 37%, while the 15% choosing the secular evolution view is slightly higher (12%).

The Most Religious Americans Are Most Likely to Be Creationists

Gallup’s question wording explicitly frames the three alternatives in terms of God’s involvement in the process of human development, making it less than surprising to find that the more religious the American, the more likely he or she is to choose the creationist viewpoint.

Two-thirds of Americans who attend religious services weekly choose the creationist alternative, compared with 25% of those who say they seldom or never attend church. The views of Americans who attend almost every week or monthly fall in between those of the other two groups. Still, those who seldom or never attend church are more likely to believe that God guided the evolutionary process than to believe that humans evolved with no input from God.

Majority of Republicans Are Creationists

Highly religious Americans are more likely to be Republican than those who are less religious, which helps explain the relationship between partisanship and beliefs about human origins. The major distinction is between Republicans and everyone else. While 58% of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, 39% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.

Those With Postgraduate Education Least Likely to Believe in Creationist Explanation

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.

Implications

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.

More broadly, 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.

All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins.

Most Americans are not scientists, of course, and cannot be expected to understand all of the latest evidence and competing viewpoints on the development of the human species. Still, it would be hard to dispute that most scientists who study humans agree that the species evolved over millions of years, and that relatively few scientists believe that humans began in their current form only 10,000 years ago without the benefit of evolution. Thus, almost half of Americans today hold a belief, at least as measured by this question wording, that is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature.

It is at odds with basic common sense. Look around you and you will spot proof of evolution in action. Animals in one part of the country are different from the same species in another part because they had to evolve to adapt to their surroundings. The same applies to humans, unless you think that Inuits look and act exactly like Zulus. In which case there is no hope for you.

Simply put the environment acts on something and then that something acts back and both are changed and then that changed state acts on something and so on. It’s not that hard people, you can figure it out.

STEVEN LYON SHOOTS NOIR from www.treatsmagazine.com on Vimeo.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.

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