According to a Gallup poll just released today, 42% of Americans believe in Creationism, 31% of Americans believe in god-guided evolution, and 19% of Americans are actually right:
It’s only a slight improvement from two years ago, the last time Gallup checked these numbers, but within the margin of error (so who knows if there’s really any significant improvement).
We are still a country full of deluded people, though there’s a sliver of a silver lining:
The percentage of the U.S. population choosing the creationist perspective as closest to their own view has fluctuated in a narrow range between 40% and 47% since the question’s inception. There is little indication of a sustained downward trend in the proportion of the U.S. population who hold a creationist view of human origins. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who adhere to a strict secularist viewpoint — that humans evolved over time, with God having no part in this process — has doubled since 1999.
Educational attainment is also related to these attitudes, with belief in the creationist perspective dropping from 57% among Americans with no more than a high school education to less than half that (27%) among those with a college degree. Those with college degrees are, accordingly, much more likely to choose one of the two evolutionary explanations.
Also, nearly a third of Millennials (ages 18-29) accepted evolution without God’s “guiding hand” compared to only 11% of Americans 50-64. The younger generation, of course, is already far less religious to begin with, so the correlation is strong. There’s hope for the future!
But damn, what a grim present.
The takeaway is clear: You believe in Creationism because of your faith, not because scientific evidence points in that direction (despite what Ken Ham thinks):
Still, few scientists would agree that humans were created pretty much in their present form at one time 10,000 years ago, underscoring the ongoing discontinuity between the beliefs that many Americans hold and the general scientific consensus on this important issue.
Is better education the answer? Gallup says not entirely. You can teach people about science all you want, but “given the strong influence of religious beliefs,” it still may not be enough to sway them toward the scientific end of the pendulum.
(Excerpts from this article were published earlier.)