Comparing Beliefs on Evolution in Three Countries

Angus Reid Public Opinion has just released the results of a poll conducted last year that asked Americans, Canadians, and Britons which of two statements comes closest to their views on the origins and development of human beings. (As the National Center for Science Education notes, the wording of the choices is similar but not identical to the statements Gallup uses.)
Here are the results in a handy little chart (click on image for larger view):

And here are the U.S. results broken down by region:

Category: Polls


15 Responses

  1. Ted K says:

    One has to wonder if these “scientific” opinion polls are not just junk science. The first question does not exclude the possibility of the role of God in evolution, and the second does not exclude the role of evolution through natural selection in God’s creative work. Clearly the Americans are much more circumspect in selecting the second that specifically mentions God in the picture of creation rather than accepting some ambiguous godless dogma preached in popular science. There are so many labels being thrown about in the scientific world such as by the NCSE without defining these, it is no wonder that Americans wisely stick to ideas they are most familiar with, such as God. How the NCSE concludes that the second statement is a creationist statement is beyond me. There are different forms of “creationism”, some, like the more Catholic view, incorporating directed natural selection as God’s tool in the process of creation. It seems to me that it is the scientific world that is to blame for creating this popular false dichotomy between “evolution” and “creationism”, and all the hubris that follows.

  2. Are we really in the 21st century? The denial of evolution in the USA is incredible. It is just as stupid as if half the adults in this country insisted the earth is flat in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

  3. L. Galen says:

    Yah Ted, because it is junk science to have an opinion poll but “wise” to “stick to an idea that one is familiar with”, an argument based on tradition. I have yet to hear from an “intelligent design” advocate why, precisely, the designer created 99% of species that would eventually become extinct; beyond “he wanted it that way” of course.

  4. Skanoza says:

    Well Ted if it’s “junk science” to humbly question things and accept that we don’t know enough, and “creationism” to have your head conceitedly and firmly rooted in one’s ass, then i’d go with junk science any day.

  5. Ted: I think these questions were deliberately chosen to combine both god guided evolution as well as the scientific theory of evolution in the first one.
    The second one is just biblical creationism a term that generally means God created everything without evolution. Catholic beliefs I think is referred to as theistic evolution.
    Bottom line it’s scary. Half of American’s are so bad at judging evidence they can be off on the age of the earth by 6 orders of magnitude who knows what else you can make them believe.
    I guess the more relevant questions are how to make money off of this ;).

  6. suzy q says:

    Insisting that the wording of the poll is faulty is just an excuse. It clearly states which “comes closest” to your view. There’s even a “not sure” answer for the terminally uneducated.
    The point of view of god directed evolution falls apart under even rudimentary scrutiny (I won’t go into detail here, but many scientific opinions debunking that one can be found with a little research)so it does come down to understanding the science and subscribing to the notion that there is no intelligence behind evolution, OR believing the intelligent design dogma, which is based on no science whatsoever. Saying “it could be both” is wishy washy and shows lack of thought.
    p.s. There is nothing ambiguous about evolution being godless. Accept it or not, scientists believe that evolution is the result of random mutations in genetic codes, combined with natural selection. There is no room for a creator.

  7. E. Smith says:

    Ted K: The second option states that “God created man in their present state less than 10000 years ago.” It’s the “in their present state” part that makes this statement refer to straight up creationism- God created everything exactly as it is right now. This does not allow for God using natural selection to do his work for him.

  8. furious ennui says:

    Ted K…
    The non-existence of any deity automatically excludes “god’s” handiwork in the evolutionary process. Even if such a being existed, and patently it doesn’t, why would they choose such a clumsy method of development that results in a less than ideal creature? The undeniable and overwhelming evidence that the earth, and the universe, is older than the 6000 or so years touted by creationists renders any debate about this purported super-being having any involvement in the young earth scenarios.
    Suggested reading: “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, and Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” and “The Demon Haunted World”.

  9. bimston says:

    There’s nothing ‘wise’ in positing that “God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years”. While the first option doesn’t preclude the possibility of some kind of deity, the second option is completely and unambiguously wrong and ignores the volumes of evidence for human evolution. This isn’t petty ignorance of some subtle and inscrutable scientific position but the active denial of incontrovertible scientific evidence. Just because we don’t want something to be true does not make it so.

  10. William says:

    This is really amazing, Americans still believe that the Sun runs around the earth… lol
    Explains in part his deep decadence in last years…
    Despite his arrogancy, they’re reason for jokes around the civilized world… HAHAHA

  11. ads says:

    unbelievable, a series of angles dancing on pinheads, in the fine tradition of the church (any church btw) descending into semantics rather than the point that mention god and get a reaction.

  12. Fernando S. says:

    I wonder how many, among those 35% of Americans who believe in evolution, also believe in intelligent design. The results could be scary.

  13. B S Kumar says:

    Would God create something incapable of evolving? Is that how low S/HE is?

  14. Ursula says:

    My stomach turns for my fellow Americans. This is simply setting rational thinking aside and it scares me.

  15. Peter says:

    If evolution is a fact, which scientific evidence suggests it is there is even less reason for belief in a God who created everything.
    Evolution is a particuarly cruel way of ensuring effective life forms. Any God who invented the process of evolution to produce life forms on his ‘pet’ planet could be classified as a sadist.

Leave a Reply