Yesterday, Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ debated Creation Museum’s Ken Ham over evolution and creationism. Polls show that Americans — particularly evangelicals — are more likely to side with Ham than the ‘Science Guy’ on the question of the origin of the universe and humanity.

Gallup polls on creationism, intelligent design, and evolution

Gallup polls on creationism, intelligent design, and evolution Gallup


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Gallup has been asking Americans about evolution for the past three decades.  Just under half of Americans believe that God created humans about 10,000 years ago. Another third believe in theistic evolution or intelligent design — that God guided evolution to create humanity.  Just 15 percent side with evolution, a natural process that did not include any help from God.

Pew poll on religion and evolution

Pew Research Center poll showing religous breakdown of support for evolution and creationism. Pew Research Center


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Last year, Pew Research Center found a similar result, with only a third of Americans believing in natural evolution.  Using a slightly different question, Pew found more support for a God-guided evolutionary process.  A third of Americans said they believed humanity has never evolved and another quarter believe in an evolutionary process guided by God.

As RNS has reported, support for evolution increases with education, but the effect of religion is stronger. Pew’s survey found support for creationism was strongest among white evangelical Protestants and black Protestants. Nearly two-thirds of white evangelicals and half of black Protestants believe in creationism.  Of those in these groups who believe in evolution, most see it as directed by God.

 

Categories: Beliefs

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Tobin Grant

Tobin Grant

@TobinGrant blogs for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

9 Comments

  1. This is the first thing that has made me happy since seeing the reactions to the debate. I guess that most Christians remain somewhat silent on the issue, while those select few atheists and evolutionists tend to talk about their beliefs on a louder basis. I pray for our country, as it seems like we are in moral decline and I feel that the constant attack at Genesis Chapter 1 is a huge reason. The rest of the Bible stands on the first chapter. If we can’t believe the first chapter, why believe the rest? Ham’s point last night was that creation is a logical explanation, which requires faith. He points out that taking nothing and having it EVOLVE into something as complex as any life, let alone humans, takes at least as much faith or belief. I love that Nye didn’t even listen to Ham’s responses about Biblical predictions that have come true. I guess I am not a scientist if I believe in creation (at least that is what Nye said reasonable people do and that nobody can be a scientist without believing naturalism). Anyway, thanks for at least some ray of hope. Dr. Jeffrey R. Fink D.V.M. (which until last night meant that I was a scientist)

    • I’m a Christian who believes in theistic (god-guided) evolution. What exactly do you think is wrong with that? Science doesn’t have to challenge faith. You CAN believe in both. You don’t have to turn your brain off to be religious. In my way of thinking, Genesis is far more poetic than literal. God knew that humans hadn’t progresses scientifically enough to understand evolution, so he gave us a story similar to the kinds of parables that Jesus would go on to tell. What exactly do you find immoral or even incorrect in that?
      Also, it was very, very clear that Nye won the debate. You’re kidding yourself if you think Ham presented cogent arguments.

    • Re: “The rest of the Bible stands on the first chapter.”

      Really? Are you saying that, if your Bible happened to have been printed with that particular chapter missing, the rest of it would have had nothing meaningful to offer?

      Re: “If we can’t believe the first chapter, why believe the rest?”

      So you’re saying the entire Bible must be accepted as truthful, as a whole? That if any part of it is even remotely suspect, the whole thing must be discarded in its entirety?

      Re: “Ham’s point last night was that creation is a logical explanation, which requires faith.”

      This statement is a contradiction in terms. Either creation is a logical explanation on its own … no faith (or anything else) required … or faith is required in order to accept it, in which case it ceases to be entirely logical on its own. Pick one or the other. But you can’t have both … no matter how fervently you may wish to.

      Re: “He points out that taking nothing and having it EVOLVE into something as complex as any life, let alone humans, takes at least as much faith or belief.”

      Actually it does nothing of the sort. But you and Ham and the rest of your kind just go on repeating that canard endlessly. No amount of your repetition can ever make it magically come true, however. The truth about evolution is that it is a fact. It has been observed, both in nature and experimentally in laboratories. There is no “faith” required. It’s been seen and studied.

      Re: “I love that Nye didn’t even listen to Ham’s responses about Biblical predictions that have come true.”

      Funny. I bet Ham would refuse to admit there are at least two Biblical predictions which have absolutely failed to come true … and they reportedly came from the lips of Jesus Christ himself:

      “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt 16:28)

      - & -

      “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:27)

      These predictions DID NOT come true. Not one person who was alive back in the 1st century to see and hear Jesus say these things remains alive today (i.e. having “not taste[d] death”), still waiting for “the kingdom of God” to be established. So you can blather on about Biblical predictions that came true, and trumpet to the planet that the Bible is true because of it. But you can’t logically ignore the fact that at least two Biblical predictions have utterly failed. Flamed out. Crashed and burned. Went up in smoke.

  2. And thus we have evidence of how Christian Fundamentalism is undermining science education in this nation. There is no such thing as Creation science or even an honest Creationist argument. Creationism is by its nature dishonesty incarnate.

    The minute Ham said, “it requires faith” he refuted everything a Creationist says about science, proof and the basis of his religious belief. If something requires faith to be believes it has no business in a science class whatsoever. Science does not use faith, it uses evidence. Admissions of belief based on faith mean the Creationist has forgone any pretense of objectively prove their views to be correct (which is the primary claim of Creationism).

    Ham lost and lost badly and the overwhelming majority of Creationists did not see it. Creationism is not about making sensible arguments. Its about appealing to blind faith, being stubborn and making dishonest claims.

  3. Got any ideas to explain the jump between 2011 and 2012 in the share of respondents who believe God created humans in present form? Seems like they shifted from those who believe humans evolved with God guiding, but it’s surprising to see such a big change in one year. Reading the explanation under the line graph more closely, I think something is amiss… either the legend labels are off or the text underneath is because they don’t match. (It says that 15% believe in theistic evolution, but that line is labeled “God had no part in the process.”)

    • Tobin Grant

      Thanks for catching the error — I fixed the text. If I were teaching a class, I’d give you some extra credit for being so observant. Thank you!

      Normally, the legend order would match the ranking in the graph. It’s not a rule, but it helps avoid mistakes like I made.

  4. This is just ludicrous!! Watching this science versus creationism debate from Finland is like going to see a new Ben Stiller movie!

    I can’t believe that you people are actually serious! You really have debates over creationism and evolution? Oh my god!!

    luckily we don’t need to waste our time on this issue, which is so obvious that even 10-year-old can see the right answer! I can only hope that reason and science will eventually prevail!

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