Dec 20, 2010
According to a new Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans still believe that God created human beings in their present form about 10,000 years ago, though that number is a little lower than in past years. Among the rest, 38 percent believe in what’s called “theistic evolution,” the idea that humans developed over millions of years from less advanced life forms with God guiding the process. And 16 percent hold the “secular evolution” view that humans developed over millions of years with no involvement or influence from God—a number that has risen slightly over the years.
Still, the shifts are small, and Frank Newport, the editor in chief of Gallup, interprets the findings as showing that “the basic structure of beliefs about human beings’ origins is generally the same as it was in the early 1980s.” (Click on image for larger view.)
It should come as no surprise that:
Americans’ views on human origins vary significantly by level of education and religiosity. Those who are less educated are more likely to hold a creationist view. Those with college degrees and postgraduate education are more likely to hold one of the two viewpoints involving evolution.
Americans who attend church frequently are most likely to accept explanations for the origin of humans that involve God, not a surprising finding. Still, the creationist viewpoint, held by 60 percent of weekly churchgoers, is not universal even among the most highly religious group. Also, about a fourth of those who seldom or never attend church choose the creationist view.