Do the Evolution

These poll results on evolution are both shocking and predictable.

You know what this tells me? It tells me Americans will mostly believe any hooey that's fed to them. And attitudes really haven't changed that much over time. It's not really getting better. Only 15 percent support for the factual scientific explanation for evolution? I swear, I'm totally going to start up that robot insurance business.

  • MrDHalen

    People who reject science should have all their technology taken away from them, period!!!

    That’s my one wish, for people to have to live the lives they pretend to want! If you’re anti-union, work in a slave camp, you don’t believe in science, stop using what comes from it.

  • http://twitter.com/grouchyoldcoot Joel Welling

    I think the interesting part of this graph is the recent uptick in the creationist curve. I wonder if it’s real, though- maybe the ‘cell phone effect’ is pushing the poll sampling in the direction of the low-tech?

  • muselet

    I’d be surprised if string theory polled any better, and the results would be no more meaningful.

    Most Americans don’t get any science education during their schooling—either K-12 or postsecondary—and those who do get something inadequate or outright inaccurate. Asking the average American about evolution is a bit like asking me about music theory, except I don’t pretend to know anything about music theory.

    Gallup knows this is a useless question, but they ask it anyway because it’s good for a headline or two. Why, it’s almost as if they ask questions like this to promote the Gallup brand.


    • D_C_Wilson

      Ask the average American what string theory is and they’d probably say “what Sarah Palin uses to remember her talking points.”

  • West_of_the_Cascades

    It’s still a shockingly low total, but I think you can safely say that the support for the factual scientific explanation of evolution is 47% if you look at the underlying question Gallup asked (adding the two lower totals together).


    The question was “which of the following statements comes closest to your view on the origin and development of human beings?” The first two answers contained the exact same premise (“human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life”), but then diverged with the one that received 32% support saying “but God guided the process” and the one with 15% support saying “but God had no part in the process.” Because the question was which statement is CLOSEST to one’s view, it’s likely that people who believe completely in evolution but also believe in God would be compelled to pick the former. That’s where I am — I don’t think I actually believe that God “guided” the process, but I also can’t believe that God had no part in the process. So I would choose Door Number One.

    The fact that 46% would give a purely Creationist answer is what really surprises me – that answer explicitly said not only that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form” but also that creation occurred “at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” That’s the piece of the survey that shows shocking ignorance.

    Also, coincidentally, 47-46 is about the current margin between President Obama and the Mitt-bot.

  • BenAu

    Careful, Bob. You would have to count the President as part of the 85%…unless of course you believe he’s faking his faith?

    By definition, to be a Christian is to believe in God’s guiding hand – in creation at the very least, whether you believe in predestination or free-will. Even the deists would subscribe to “evolution with God’s guiding hand” if you follow the blind watch-maker analogy to its conclusion.

    I’m happy to add the 32% to the 15% as people who believe in the scientific explanation. And I’m also happy to count the 46% as Republicans. And as for the other 7%…stoners?

    • http://phydeauxpseaks.blogspot.com Bob Rutledge

      Yeah, I agree. Just another example of bad wording of questions. This is basically asking if one is atheist or not, for the reasons you give. I know a lot of people who believe in both evolution and god — the two do not have to be mutually exclusive, unless one is a raving RWNJ Xtian*.

      *an Xtian is one who wouldn’t know Jesus if he walked up and bit him, but claims the mantle of Christian.

      • Scopedog

        ” I know a lot of people who believe in both evolution and god — the two do not have to be mutually exclusive, unless one is a raving RWNJ Xtian*.”

        Yep. I should know, because I’m one of them (not the RWNJ Xtian, dammit!). And I know many more. Both you and Ben are correct, but I do share Bob’s concern.

        And Bob, if you do set up that robot insurance business, make sure to keep the Three Laws in mind, okay?

      • http://phydeauxpseaks.blogspot.com Bob Rutledge

        Gah. Commenting before coffee one loses that certain flair [for all values of “flair” = “attempts at humor”].

        I meant to say that

        “an Xtian is one who wouldn’t know Jesus if he walked up and bit him on the other cheek,…”

      • D_C_Wilson

        What would be more interesting would be a survey with two options:

        Humans evolved.
        God created humans exactly as they are 6000 years ago.

  • trgahan

    A frustrating sign that progressives still have a long way to go politically and socially in this country. Not believing is evolution has more to do with being “a true American conservative” than anything theistic (other than we are a bunch of hairless apes scared of death).