Poll: Nearly half of America is creationist

posted at 5:01 pm on June 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

What the heck… it’s been a while since we last opened up the flood gates on this topic and according to Gallup surveys, we’re no closer to a consensus now than we ever were. The subject at hand is our old friend, evolution vs. creation.

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.

It will come as no shock to anyone that the answers given tracked tightly with the religious views of the respondent, and that a majority of registered Republicans fall in line with creationist views.

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.

What’s interesting about the Gallup survey as compared to some others I’ve seen in the past is the phrasing of the questions. You tend to get more clearly splintered results if you pose seriously confrontational questions such as, “Did God create man from dust or did man evolve from ape-like creatures?” Gallup’s choices are a bit more subtle, asking which phrase best describes your feelings.

  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process.
  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.
  • God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.

You’ll notice that none of the choices go so far as to say, for example, “There is no God so the question is pointless” or, at the other end, “The Bible is literal and God created man from the dust and woman from one of his ribs.” I think such polls provide more value if they add in a couple more choices along those lines and forget about trying to be nuanced or avoid offending anyone.

My own views have “evolved” over the past five decades, (if you’ll pardon the phrase) and I’ve seen a number of theories. As a young man, I once lost my faith entirely (and still struggle with it at times) and rashly published a letter declaring that “God is the answer to a collection of questions which man is either too stupid or too frightened to answer. On the day that science answers the final question, God will be dead.”

I confess, I regret having penned that one now, but the young are frequently rash and foolish. But there are other theories which have come down the pike and stuck around. A very popular one which echoes a couple of the Gallup choices is along the lines of The Blind Watchmaker theory. It essentially states that the universe may well have begun with the Big Bang and men may have evolved from lower primates, but this was all precisely how God designed it, like the greatest software programmer ever, freeing Him up to move on to other projects once our reality was set in motion.

But I still have plenty of friends who come from the “six days and a rib” school of thought, and you have to respect them as well. At the opposite end of the scale you find people like my friend Doug Mataconis, who simply seems to be waiting for the day when all this creationist nonsense “evolves” out of our society.

This is why, as I noted the other day, I am skeptical of the argument advanced by Richard Leakey that increased discoveries in the field of anthropology would lead to an end to the evolution debate in the near future. The creationist position has little to do with evidence, and everything to do with faith and culture. It’s not going away any time soon, at least not in this country.

But returning to my original question, does the phrasing of the survey really impact the results for a strictly non-political topic such as this? Since the Hot Air faithful have never been shy about sharing and debating their feelings in a vigorous fashion, let’s toss up our own poll and compare it to the historical results as well as Gallup’s. But we’ll give you a bit more ammunition to work with in the answers. Have at it.


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I hope at this late point none will find it offensive if I present a bit of Scripture from my religion here?

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

- The Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, Kalama Sutta

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

This can be nothing more than proof of common descent.

No, it is “proof” of the reuse of a design element. :-D

It is EVIDENCE, not proof. Evidence is always interpreted in the light of prior assumptions. You assume an absence of design and the existence of common descent. I assume the possibility of design as well as the possibility of common descent. The nerve in question supports both points of view.

“Proof” is evidence (preferably provided via a repeatable experiment) that can only be interpreted in one way.

In order to “prove” common descent, it would have to positively refute the notion that a lengthy circuit route cannot be the result of design. And of course, that notion is false, QED.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

And that is precisely why I push back against Darwinism.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

After many centuries even Nalanda fell into ruins before these questions were resolved.

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

But the reality we see, which is that the laryngeal nerve always starts at the brain, goes around the aorta in the body of these animals, and then back to the larynx is proof positive that we all share a common ancestor because the “code” for the creation of the laryngeal nerve is the same in every animals DNA.

THAT’S common descent, not intelligent design.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

This is a perfect example of why evolutionist’s claims of “proof positive” aren’t always believed. It’s not proof if there are other plausible explanations.

Like Haeckel’s series of drawings to prove evolution and the famous phrase “Ontogeny recapitulated phylogeny.” Of course, it turned out that Haeckel’s drawings were faked to exaggerate the resemblance between different stages of fetal development and evolution of phylogeny. But even if the drawings hadn’t been fake, they wouldn’t have actually proven evolution. Yet they were cited in textbooks for literally generations as proof positive of evolution.

tom on June 5, 2012 at 3:36 PM

In order to “prove” common descent, it would have to positively refute the notion that a lengthy circuit route cannot be the result of design

Cut n paste error.

correct version:

“In order to “prove” common descent, it would have to positively refute the notion that a lengthy circuit route can possibly be the result of design.”

Or,

In order to “prove” common descent, it would have to positively demonstrate that a lengthy circuit route cannot be the result of design

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Haeckel’s drawings were faked to exaggerate the resemblance between different stages of fetal development and evolution of phylogeny

Just one of the reasons that experts in fetal development are starting to question Darwinism. The more we learn, the more we realize that we don’t know.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM

tom on June 5, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Atoms, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Germs, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Relativity, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Evolution, they argue over the details.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Evolution, they argue over the details.

Such as why the fossil record doesn’t match what the theory predicts, or why there are no plausible pathways for the gradual development of complex biochemical pathways?

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Such as why the fossil record doesn’t match what the theory predicts, or why there are no plausible pathways for the gradual development of complex biochemical pathways?

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

nonsense.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Evolution, they argue over the details.

Such as why the fossil record doesn’t match what the theory predicts, or why there are no plausible pathways for the gradual development of complex biochemical pathways?

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Exactly!

Details, details…..

tom on June 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Imagine all of the trillions of planets on which life has evolved to the point that creationists and evolutionists debate.

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Atoms, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Germs, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Relativity, they argue over the details.

Scientists don’t doubt the Theory of Evolution, they argue over the details.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

First, it’s the hypothesis of evolution, not theory. Second, all of the above has been tested except (macro)evolution, which is why they’re theories but evolution is still just a hypothesis.

The Rogue Tomato on June 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I suppose it could be just in this one world in our spacetime of hundreds of billions of galaxies that God created apes in his own image.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhGOIPzBQW8

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 4:48 PM

You’re missing the obvious point. Free will cannot be a feature of beings created by an omniscient God. He would know EXACTLY how his creation would develop. It’s not a matter of risk, it’s a certainty.

If you believe your God is omniscient then your religion is absurdly based on a logical impossibility.

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 5:56 AM

I think what you are saying if God created beings he knew were eventually going to sin, and he also knows the future, man really doesn’t have a chance to choose because it seems predestined.

There is no point to free will in that sense.

Well if you look at it this way it may make more sense. To love someone requires choice, If God had created creatures who could not say no to him, they would be basically programed robots who would never really truly love.

The fact that his creation can reject him, even to death , shows the rest of the universe that free will does exist.

Some would say, either you love Christ or die , what choice is that? The fact is, one just cannot survive without God, it is just a fact. Without him and his blessings death will happen eventually. It’s like a child refusing to eat, and is dying, and blames his parents for his coming death.

God wants the best for his creation, he wants them to enjoy life to the fullest.

That is a good thing.

dec5 on June 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Puddle of cells.

Bmore on June 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

dec5 on June 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Your reasoning doesn’t flow at all. You jump around logic to come to the conclusion you want.

It’s quite simple: either God is omniscient or not. If God is omniscient there’s no free will.

1. God is not omniscient

or

2. Free will is an illusion

You’re free to choose.

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 5:02 PM

First, it’s the hypothesis of evolution, not theory.

The Rogue Tomato on June 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

You just showed your complete lack of understanding of scientific methodology.

Scientists have hypothesis for minor questions… The following is pasted from
http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm

Words have precise meanings in science. For example, ‘theory’, ‘law’, and ‘hypothesis’ don’t all mean the same thing. Outside of science, you might say something is ‘just a theory’, meaning it’s supposition that may or may not be true. In science, a theory is an explanation that generally is accepted to be true. Here’s a closer look at these important, commonly misused terms.
Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven, but not proven to be true.

Example: If you see no difference in the cleaning ability of various laundry detergents, you might hypothesize that cleaning effectiveness is not affected by which detergent you use. You can see this hypothesis can be disproven if a stain is removed by one detergent and not another. On the other hand, you cannot prove the hypothesis. Even if you never see a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes after trying a thousand detergents, there might be one you haven’t tried that could be different.

Theory

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it’s an accepted hypothesis.

Example: It is known that on June 30, 1908 in Tunguska, Siberia, there was an explosion equivalent to the detonation of about 15 million tons of TNT. Many hypotheses have been proposed for what caused the explosion. It is theorized that the explosion was caused by a natural extraterrestrial phenomenon, and was not caused by man. Is this theory a fact? No. The event is a recorded fact. Is this this theory generally accepted to be true, based on evidence to-date? Yes. Can this theory be shown to be false and be discarded? Yes.

Law

A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain ‘why’.

Example: Consider Newton’s Law of Gravity. Newton could use this law to predict the behavior of a dropped object, but he couldn’t explain why it happened.

As you can see, there is no ‘proof’ or absolute ‘truth’ in science. The closest we get are facts, which are indisputable observations. Note, however, if you define proof as arriving at a logical conclusion, based on the evidence, then there is ‘proof’ in science. I work under the definition that to prove something implies it can never be wrong, which is different. If you’re asked to define hypothesis, theory, and law, keep in mind the definitions of proof and of these words can vary slightly depending on the scientific discipline. What is important is to realize they don’t all mean the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 5:13 PM

It’s quite simple: either God is omniscient or not. If God is omniscient there’s no free will.

1. God is not omniscient

or

2. Free will is an illusion

You’re free to choose.

DarkCurrent on June 5, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I choose both.

What is your evidence that God is either omniscient or not?

What is your evidence that Man either has free will or not?

YOU have NO evidence, therefore your generic undefined God and your generic undefined humans are meaningless. They have whatever imaginary attributes you decide to make up at the moment. You;re playing with Silly Putty and claiming to use logic. Foolishness!

By contrast, the Bible is very clear that God IS omniscient, and that Man DOES have free will.

And if we’re talking about the God that Christians worship and Man’s relationship to Him (and we are), then the Bible is evidence of His nature and Man’s nature.

This is not a contradiction, it is a paradox. Look up the definitions. I’ve already explained this, more than once.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 5:47 PM

outta here.

God bless us, every one.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Skydaddy, the bible is not axiomatic my friend. Just because it makes these claims doesn’t make it so. The bible is a book written by men to control other men and standardize morals and ethics like all religion’s “holy” texts purport to do.

How do we know this? Just look at the evolution of religion. The first religions were primitive by any definition. For reasons of limited population, communication, and plain old geography, they never grew to be anything other than a local concern. But religions mutate in time and grow in sophistication as each generation of holy men learn what works and what doesn’t. What makes people obedient and what causes rebellion. What ideas people can easily escape and which will haunt them until they have to pray just to stop the nagging fear.

When populations grew due to the slow but steady growth of knowledge, as if confronted by a bumper harvest, the religions went into an arms race with each other. From gods of wind and thunder and sea, the threats, incentives, and claims of power escalate until every dominant organized religion has a god that is all-powerful, all-loving, all-seeing, and words like “infinity” and “eternity” are deployed cheaply while all other words are open to abuse until they mean exactly what the religions want them to mean.

The body of a newborn baby is as old as the cosmos. The form is new and unique, but the materials are 13.7 billion years old, processed by nuclear fusion in stars, fashioned by electromagnetism. Cold words for some amazing processes.

Religions tell children they might go to hell and they must believe, while science tells children they came from the stars and presents reasoning they can believe.

We were told long ago and for a long time that there was only the Earth—that we were the center of everything. That turned out to be wrong. We still haven’t fully adjusted. We’re still in shock. The universe is not what we expected it to be. It’s not what they told us it would be. This cosmic understanding is all new to us. But there’s nothing to fear. We’re still special. We’re still blessed. And there might yet be a heaven, but it isn’t going to be perfect. And we’re going to have to build it ourselves.

If I have something that could be called a soul that needed saving, then science saved it… from religion.

SauerKraut537 on June 5, 2012 at 6:05 PM

By contrast, the Bible is very clear that God IS omniscient, and that Man DOES have free wil


This is not a contradiction, it is a paradox. Look up the definitions. I’ve already explained this, more than once.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 5:47 PM

It’s a flat-out contradiction as should be obvious to anyone whose mind isn’t clouded with ‘faith’. You’re simply calling it a paradox doesn’t make it any less logically inconsistent. You’re simply desperate to hold on to your illogical, irrational beliefs.

DarkCurrent on June 6, 2012 at 5:45 AM

First you fellows dodge the question of ancestry by inventing spontaneous generation (no parents)

False. I never said that animals appear without parents. I said, “Creatures suddenly appear fully formed [in the fossil record].” Now please explain how this is different from Punctuated Equilibrium or Hopeful Monsters (both put forth by Darwinists to explain the fact that the fossil record comes nowhere close to confirming random-mutation-plus-natural-selection-over-time.)

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 1:48 PM

I asked for an alternative (to Natural Selection) hypothesis to explain the fossil record. You said, “Creatures suddenly appear fully formed.” This was an intriguing idea. So it turns out you meant “[in the fossil record].” OK, but much less novel. So-called ‘punctuated equilibrium’ is by now an old idea in evolutionary theory, and widely misconstrued: ‘suddenly’ does not mean yesterday; in geological time, it can be tens or hundreds of thousands of years. If an animal’s average lifespan is, say, 10 years, in 50,000 years you’ll have seen 5,000 generations. That’s plenty of time for selective pressure on small populations to produce changes.

In point of fact, there is evidence for both slow and (relatively) rapid evolution, equally explained by Natural Selection. Yes, the fossil record is always going to be fragmentary, but there is an obvious progression over the eons from simple to complex, and in many cases (e.g. among mammals, the horse, or the whales) a clear chain of intermediate steps from ancestral organisms to modern varieties.

So the question remains: how else would you explain that record? If you can circumnavigate the Earth, can you still maintain that it is flat? The fact of evolution is as plain as the spherical Earth. How did it happen?

MrLynn on June 6, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Still going, eh? dec5, thanks for picking up the slack.

skydaddy on June 5, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Thank you, it has been a pleasure. :)

dec5 on June 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM

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