How Many Creationists Are There?

Over at Christianity Today, professor of sociology Jonathan Hill is announcing the findings of the National Study of Religion and Human Origins (NSRHO). This survey is an attempt to complicate the evolution/creationism debate by asking more and more detailed questions about the respondents’ beliefs about human origins.

The result is what you’d expect. Rather than a divided field, the more complex questions give us a bell curve.

So Gallup puts the percentage of creationists at 46%. The NSRHO used a much more detailed definition of creationism, and came away with 14% who were actual creationists, 10% considered themselves to be certain, and 8% considered it important for people to have the correct belief about human origins.

In contrast, the numbers were 9%, 6% and 4%, respectively, for atheistic evolution.

I’ve of two minds about this. Hill seems to be painfully moderate, which is to be expected of someone writing for CT about a survey sponsored by BioLogos. Outside the scope of the survey he plays the standard cards for a moderate.

A pox on both your houses:

Advocates of various positions have often perpetuated the idea of a battle precisely because drawing clear lines is an effective way to mobilize one view against the other.

And can’t we all just get along?

Perhaps it is time to recognize the complexity of beliefs and worship together despite our differences.

And let’s face it, it’s always possible to complicated the issue. We could go even further. I’m a skeptic, so I’m not really certain about anything. Perhaps the questions about certainty should be broken down?

The question isn’t which set of numbers is true or which is false. The question is which set of numbers is more useful. Hill’s numbers are useful to his moderate stance because the seem to make the division go away. But since I’m worried about science education and the wave of ID legislation, the Gallup numbers actual bring the problem into a more stark perspective.


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