Only 17% of Georgia Republicans Accept Evolution

A new poll just released by Public Policy Polling shows that only 17% of Republicans in Georgia accept evolution — including, I presume, theistic evolution. 70% of Republicans, unfortunately, embrace Creationism.

Stop smiling, Democrats. Only 29% of you accept evolution while Creation fans hover at 53%. 33% of you accept evolution while Creation fans hover at 43%.

Independents can quit smirking, too. Nearly half of them are Creationists.

So, really, it’s just a problem with the state. What the hell, Georgia?! You can see the full results here (PDF):

How does that compare to the nation at large? A Gallup poll from last summer indicated that 47% of the country accepted evolution in some form while 46% were Creationists:

So Georgia’s worse than the national average here.

The one bright spot in the results is that there’s a clear trend when you break down the numbers by age. The younger you are, the less likely you are to accept Creationist nonsense:

Those numbers are still disappointing, but it could be worse. I mean, Georgia could be Mississippi…

The poll surveyed 520 Georgia voters and has a margin of error of 4.3%.

(via Huffington Post)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I wish the term “theistic evolution” would go away. When we speak of evolution as it is taught in schools and used in biology, it is evolution via natural selection (no magic required). If you don’t accept the evidence for natural selection, you’re essentially an old earth creationist. So, people that reject the science are either young earth or old earth creationists. The intended result of both was to create human beings in their current form (God’s image), except one is just dreadfully more inefficient. Young earth creationism actually makes way more sense than old earth creationism.

    • Darren

      Agreed. Perhaps something more along the line of “Rube
      Goldberg Creationism”.

      Chalk it up to people not thinking through the implications
      of what they are advocating; evolution is the most wasteful, convoluted, inefficient, horrifying, indifferent bitch-goddess of a way to accomplish anything, it is only by being mindless and amoral can it be stomached at all.

      As I understand, this was one of the first objections raised
      when the facts of evolution began to surface – no God could be so inept, so callous, so cruel as to effect creation by such a means.

      • mikedave

        whoa evolution is simple, elegant, beautiful. If there was actually a god(s) i would expect them to use nothing less

        • trj

          The overall principle of evolution is elegant, but in practice it involves enormous suffering for untold trillions of creatures.

          If evolution were purposely designed it’d be a hugely unethical, roundabout mechanism of achieving a goal which an all-knowing God would already know in advance.

          Come to think of it, it does bear his signature: needlessly contrived and disregardful of suffering. That’s very much how God’s plans usually seem to work.

          • mikedave

            I disagree with “needlessly contrived” or “roundabout” it IS elegant. If I were a god setting up life on a new planet and didn’t want the hassle of the constant maintenance this is exactly what I would do. Why should gods care about the suffering of the creatures they have created, empathy just isn’t their strong point.

            • Art_Vandelay

              Wouldn’t it be easier just to make creatures so they don’t require food? Or make rocks tasty and nutritious?

              • Oranje

                Well, prehnite does look delicious.

              • mikedave

                God thought up all these elegant concepts, conservation of energy etc while he was creating the heavens. He created people and animals last and probably didn’t want to screw up all the work he had been doing for the last week.

                The suffering of a trillion creatures is worth less than 5 days of god’s time after all.

                (My deistic god is lazy and an asshole, seems to fit)

              • ~SoACTing

                Actually the magical deity did one better. He/she made it so starving people enter into a semi-induced state of euphoria so they could get a “high” from starving! Definite proof of divine providence.

                Blech!!!

                ~ SoACTing

            • GubbaBumpkin

              and didn’t want the hassle of the constant maintenance

              What “hassle” is it for an omnipotent, omniscient being?

              What does God need with a starship?

              Why should gods care about the suffering of the creatures they have created, empathy just isn’t their strong point.

              Oops, you forgot to define “god” first. The usual definition for philosophical discussions of God is a being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              You’re describing the theoretical actions of *a* god, not *THE* God. Believer assigned omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence to him, so that’s what they have to defend.

              Edit: Geez, would it have been hard for me to scroll down one more inch and notice that the exact same thing had already been written?

            • Darren

              “If I were a god setting up life on a new planet and didn’t want the hassle of the constant maintenance”

              And that would bring us back to Deism, and a rather morally dubious Deism as that.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          whoa evolution is simple, elegant, beautiful. If there was actually a god(s) i would expect them to use nothing less

          Evolution involves a lot of sex and death. Sometimes horrendous, cruel death. Why spend 4 billion years evolving what you want when you can snap your fingers and create it directly?

    • Michael W Busch

      When we speak of evolution as it is taught in schools and used in
      biology, it is evolution via natural selection (no magic required).

      Well, evolution via natural selection, random mutation, genetic drift, and a few other things. But yes – no magic.

      The problem I have with “theistic evolution” is that it is a very vague term, covering everything from creationism (“there is evolution, but only within ‘kinds’ “) to prime-mover deism (“god created the universe and then did nothing else to it”). Not really specific enough to be useful.

    • C Peterson

      It’s just a cop-out term used by people who think claiming you believe in evolution is like claiming you are not a theist.

      Theists who believe in evolution use “theistic evolution” in much the way some atheists use “agnostic”. They think their terminology is less loaded, even though it means the same thing.

      • Art_Vandelay

        I actually disagree with that completely. I think evolution as guided by a deity and evolution as a completely natural, unguided process don’t mean the same thing at all. As Darren says below…if you consider the implications of a deity that would use such a capricious, inefficient method to create his masterpiece, whereby 99.8 % of all species are essentially waste…what kind of incompetent fool would you take your god for? “Deistic” evolution I suppose I could buy, but to presume a God would sit around for 14 billion years until he made us, then dropped some souls in there for good measure…there’s just no way a thinking person could believe that he cares about us.

        • C Peterson

          I agree with you that the two could represent very different things. But in practice, I don’t think those who use “theistic evolution” have given the matter nearly as much thought as you have. I’m inclined to believe that most are simply choosing a term they think will be more palatable within their social circle.

          • Art_Vandelay

            That’s very true as well.

        • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

          God using idiotic methods to accomplish tasks is pretty par for the course. After all, just look at his delivery method of “the Word”. Therefore “theistic evolution” makes perfect sense within the Christian worldview imo.

          • Darren

            Pretty much in line with drowning the whole world in order to kill a couple of thousand stone-age humans that had pissed him off, then concocting an overly-complicated year-long torture experiment for one human family and “two of every kind” to avoid having to recreate all the creatures that he was about to exterminate, then ending up with the humans after the flood being worse than the one’s before…

            So, yeah, pretty in character, actually.

  • Octoberfurst

    Statistics like that make me want to scream. There are just sooo many stupid, gullible people out there. We really are in an uphill battle between people who would be delighted to live in a new Dark Ages vs people who believe in facts & evidence—ya know SCIENCE. >sigh<

    • Michael W Busch

      Gullible, maybe. Stupid, no. Insufficiently educated and part of a culture that has linked “denying reality” to “being part of the in-group”, yes.

      • indorri

        This, really. Rejection of evolution inexorably links back to rejecting it because it conflicts with dearly held beliefs which are tied up with people’s identity. I honestly cannot think of anyone who disbelieves evolution who is not some sort of Biblical/Koranic literalist.

        • baal

          Which is why we should push for folks to accept primary identity on the basis of something otherwise trivial like favorite breakfast cereal or being a musician vs a gardener vs. a weight lifter.

      • C Peterson

        Stupid, yes. The word doesn’t simply mean lacking intelligence. It also means given to unintelligent decisions or acts, and marked by unreasoned thinking or acting.

        There’s really nothing wrong with the word in this context. Even intelligent people can be stupid.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Worse: deliberately stupid.

        • Michael W Busch

          When you have a word that has two meanings, one of which is quite drastically wrong, and which meaning is being used in a given situation is ambiguous, it is time to find more specific words.

          • C Peterson

            You mean like “agnostic”?

      • Stev84

        Enough with your endless concern trolling already.

        • cipher

          THANK YOU.

        • Michael W Busch

          Calling out bigoted speech is not concern trolling.

          Concern trolling uses problems that do not actually exist as a pretext for being disruptive. Bigoted speech is most certainly a problem, and I merely react to the bigoted speech that I encounter. If people were less bigoted in their words, or did not find it necessary to try to defend them, this all would not be necessary.

      • 3lemenope

        “Insufficiently educated” is obnoxiously condescending and classist. This is what it communicates:

        “You’d like to contribute? Too bad you’re insufficiently educated. Go back to the little kids table, the adults are trying to talk.”

        Not everyone gets to go to a good school, you insensitive clod!

        In other news, tone trolling sucks.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Tone Troll is tony.

          • Spuddie

            Hi Tony.

        • Michael W Busch

          No, saying “You do not have enough knowledge or skills relevant to X. Please go learn more about it.” is not by itself classist.

          For example: I cannot form good opinions about the relative merits of the different ways of transplanting kidneys, since I am not any kind of medical doctor. And people who have not learned something about the evidence of evolution and how the process of doing science works will be unlikely to form good opinions about either. Relevant knowledge/skills doesn’t have to come from formal schooling, but is still required.

          When it comes to combating creationism (as with global warming denialism, and anti-abortion, anti-contraception, and anti-marriage-equality views, among others), it happens that education about the particular issue concerned is necessary but not sufficient – the culture that endorses denying part of reality also needs to be changed.

          Re. “not everyone gets to go to a good school”: that is an argument for improving education everywhere – both in the school system and outside of it. A lot of learning happens outside of schools.

          And, no, calling people on bigoted speech is not tone trolling. It is simply giving bigotry no sanction. And in this particular case, it is avoiding a serious problem: dismissing people who believe something that is wrong as “stupid” is far too often a way of not holding them responsible for their wrong beliefs (e.g. “he’s too stupid to know better”) and to justify not trying to persuade them to abandon them. That is a serious mistake, and does not help.

          • 3lemenope

            If you don’t know the economic or practical situation of the person you are addressing (and in most circumstances, you don’t) then it has an embedded assumption that they have the ability. And that’s classist.

            My broader point is that it is basically impossible to make any point of any weight without offending someone. Any way you want to describe incapacity, for the current relevant example, is not going to be nice for the person lacking the capacity at issue. It can either be buried under layers of condescension (as you preferred) or laid bare with directly uncomfortable language (which you eschew). I find the first disingenuous and the second honest. So the “stupid” was significantly less offensive than “insufficiently educated” to me.

        • Sven2547

          Evolution is almost universally accepted by people who understand what evolution actually is, and evolution is almost universally rejected by people who do not know what evolution actually is.

          Teaching people the FACTS about evolution is exactly what brings people to accept it. This is about sufficiency of education.

          • 3lemenope

            You missed the point. Mr. Busch has been going around telling everyone that they shoudn’t use certain words because in his view, those words are intrinsically offensive. My point was that condescending to euphemize those words is equally if not more obnoxious. The problem is not, here, whether a lack of education is the root of ignorance; it is the lateral insensitivity of a person pointing that out to the fact that it is probable the person at issue is not educated because they have no access to education due to no fault of their own.

      • gimpi1

        I think you have something there. I had an incredibly intelligent Christian friend who once told me that she had to keep her mouth shut, since she understands and accepts the findings of science. She was roundly disliked in her church when she was no longer able to keep quiet. (She has since de-converted, and her experiences with science-denial in her church was a big part of that.)

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I would like to be the first to congratulate the intelligent people in Georgia who do accept evolution (even if your percentage is small). Thank you.

    • the moother

      Won’t take you very long to shake all their hands…

      • busterggi

        You can tell which Georgians accept evolution by their opposable thumbs.

        • C Peterson

          And which ones don’t by their opposable toes.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Congratulate them? I just ruined their day by sending both of them this link.

    • Michael Wilson

      You’re welcome. I think we’re all located either in Atlanta or Athens. Maybe the denizens of other areas of the state are onto something when they deny evolution, though–I don’t think very many of them have actually evolved.

      I do find it encouraging that the percentage of Georgians who believe that employers should not be allowed to fire folks for being LGBT is so high.

  • A3Kr0n

    Why do they keep saying “what if Hillary Clinton is running for president…”? She isn’t, is she?

  • Rain

    Joe Klein should be ashamed of these statistics.

  • MV

    Exactly what evidence do you have that people in Georgia are different than the national average?

    The polling indicates that more voters in Georgia accept evolution than in the US. Now the respondents may not have understand the definition of evolution but you get it wrong too. Theistic evolution is a form of creationism. It is not evolution.

    • Michael W Busch

      I think you are misreading the chart.

      53% of Georgia citizens assert belief in creationism, as compared to 46% of US citizens overall. Allowing for the margins of error on both polls, that’s still a significant mismatch. My friends in Atlanta have some teaching to do – although the US-wide number is also unacceptably high, so there is a need for better education everywhere.

      • Bill

        Good point!!

  • skinnercitycyclist

    I am just grateful that we have all the science-challenged people in the one state of Georgia, otherwise Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, et al., might be crawling with creationists, too.

    • Willy Occam

      Don’t forget Texas….

  • Gideon

    That’s so surprising. I had it on good authority that the devil was way behind, ever since the devil went down to Georgia, looking for a soul to steal.

  • Mick

    One good thing – the 17% Republicans who accept evolution will be loudly protesting against the 83% who accept creationism. (They will, won’t they?)

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Most of that 17% will be visiting this blog in the next few days to complain that they’re being persecuted because Hemant dared to repost statistics showing some other members of their tribe are more ignorant than they are. Then they’ll talk about their entirely unrelated degrees and copypasta 1200 words of apologetics and five Biblical verses, and be shocked and persecuted when that doesn’t convince people that they’re persecuted.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Ah shit, sorry, little late, but: SPOILER ALERT!

  • Charles M Taylor

    In case anybody ever wonders why i walked away from the GOP… this is it.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Pardon us for wondering, but there are so many potential reasons for walking away from the GOP. Aside from the embrace of the religious right and denial of evolution, there is the general disdain for any science (global warming) that interferes with economic profiteering, the petty small-minded hate for anyone who is not a rich white male (which looks very very weird when it appears in someone who is in fact not a rich white male), the apparent belief that meanness is a virtue, the embrace of economic theories that are just as well-supported as their favoured Creationism… I could go on, but I think I’ll just cry instead.

      • Charles M Taylor

        I was oversimplifying, to be honest. I’m with you on the whole anti-science, anti-woman, anti-anybody who isn’t a rich white male thing. In 1989, when I first registered as a voter, stuff like this wasn’t nearly as blatant as it later became.

  • EmpiricalPierce

    I’m a Georgia resident who was raised here since he was 3. To give you an idea of why things are so bad, I was homeschooled with Alpha Omega Publication’s LIFEPAC series which, I shit you not, includes “Bible” as one of the subjects:

    http://www.aophomeschooling.com/lifepac_overview

    I was taught young earth creationism in grade school, beginning to end, and the state government never raised a peep of fuss about it. I was fortunate enough to have my education saved by the internet in my late teens, so I’m in the 46% of people under age 29 who actually have some understanding of evolution.

  • The Other Weirdo

    The thing that ought to really worry you is that only 33% of Democrats support evolution.

  • Matthew Baker

    The belief in magic is a hard one to give up. We often as a species would rather have the comforting lie that the universe cares about us. And belief does not make truth.

  • Heidi McClure

    Am I reading the first chart wrong? It looks to me like the 53% creation, 29% evolution quoted for democrats is the statistic for everyone overall. The numbers for the democrats appear to be 43% creation, 33% evolution.

    • midnight rambler

      You’re right, Hemant is wrong.

    • Brian

      The numbers Hemant is citing for “Democrat” is the numbers in the “base” column, which is an average of the other 3 columns, not the Democrats.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

        I screwed that up. Thanks for letting me know. It’s fixed now.

  • Stev84

    Over 40% Creationism for Democrats and especially young people is terrifying too. Reading anything positive into those numbers is really spin.

  • Sideshow Billybob

    I’m inclined to say the poll is skewed. Take a look at Q32 concerning the age of those polled. Two thirds of them are over age 46.

  • Cattleya1

    I grew up in the South – Georgia is nothing exceptional. What it shows is the power of propaganda and the hive mind. It is just too much trouble for most people to learn to think for themselves. Much better to just go along with what everyone else says. I listened to so much of this crap growing up in the 60′s and actually had the naiveté to think it was getting better in the 70′s… Who would have thought ignorance would become a dominant political system that could represent half or more of a states’ polity 40-some years later. I presume god will be sending along those flying cars any day now.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I grew up in the South – Georgia is nothing exceptional.
      The phrase “Thank God for Mississippi” is a popular motto in states which miss out on being at the bottom of various indices of human well-being.

  • busterggi

    Well maybe you evilutionists can tell me why if Homo sapiens is descended from Homo erectus why is there Viagra?

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Because “descend” also means “to drop down.” Checkmate! Or is that “primate”?

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Posts like this reinforce my confirmation bias about the South, Wait, if the facts support my position, is it really a bias?

    • Michael W Busch

      As long as you do not stereotype people from what is a quite heterogeneous population, it isn’t.

      But do notice that while people’s denying evolution is significantly more common in Georgia than it is in US as a huge, the difference isn’t that great in absolute terms: 53% versus 47%. There is need for better education everywhere.

  • brianz72

    Georgia, especially Atlanta, is mostly transplants. The 17% who accept evolution are probably 90% out-of-state immigrants. The percentage of Georgia born-and-bred who accept evolution is probably around 0%.

    • Keith

      Care to make a wager on that? You’d lose, at least with me!

    • Bill

      Wrong! I was born in Georgia. I accept evolution.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      You forgot to add a derisive “hyuck hyuck” there.

  • Miss_Beara

    Give me that old-time religion,
    Give me that old-time religion,
    Give me that old-time religion,
    It’s good enough for me.

  • DougI

    Just another reason to let the South secede.

  • CultOfReason

    The one bright spot in the results is that there’s a clear trend when you break down the numbers by age. The younger you are, the less likely you are to accept Creationist nonsense

    That’s because the full force of the indoctrination hasn’t taken hold yet :-(

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    Note, only 11% of the 520 respondents were 18-29; the 95% confidence interval for that sub-group is something like ±13%.

  • anonymous

    Doesn’t the democrats column in your image actually say 43% creationism and 33% evolution? Still unacceptable but earlier in the article, it states that 53% of democrats supported creationism which seems to be the statistics for the “base” population


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