Education | Polls | Religion | Science

Gallup: Most Americans Did Not Evolve


On Friday, Gallup published the results of a poll which probed American opinions on the origins of the human species. The results: 46% of Americans believe in straight-up creationism, 32% believe in so-called "intelligent design," and a mere 15% believe humans evolved via natural selection.

Gallup conducted the poll with a random sample of 1,012 Americans. The demographic breakdown for responders was neatly summarized at

Nearly 70% of respondents who attend church every week said that God created humans in their present form, compared with 25% of people who seldom or never attend church.

Among the seldom church-goers, 38% believe that humans evolved with no guidance from God.

The numbers also showed a tendency to follow party lines, with nearly 60% of Republicans identifying as creationists, while 41% of Democrats hold the same beliefs.

Republicans also seem to be more black-and-white about their beliefs, with only 5% responding that humans evolved with some help from God. That number is much lower than the 19% of both independents and Democrats.

Over at Gallup, a helpful chart shows the evolution of Americans' opinions on evolution over the last 30 years. It's not pretty. Very little has changed since 1982, when 44% of Americans were creationists, 38% believed in "intelligent design," and 9% came out for natural selection.

Lest you think the Gallup results are mistaken, take a quick peek at the comments section over at CNN's coverage of the poll. It's a proud and appalling parade of ignorance.

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  1. They should do another poll.
    How many Americans believe the earth is flat?
    How many Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth?
    How many Americans believe man ever walked on the moon?
    How many Americans can actually find USA on a map of the world?
    How many Americans know who the first president of the USA was?
    How many Americans know which country they fought for independence?
    How many Americans believe Elvis is still alive?
    How many Americans can name the original 13 states? How about all 50 states?
    I wonder how many native born Americans could actually pass their own citizenship test if they had to.

    Posted by: Swiminbuff | Jun 2, 2012 1:24:53 PM

  2. What is fascinating is that while evolution is real the cause of it is not so obvious. Why did it start? Survival of the fittest, the need for DNA to replicate itself? Then why are we gay? I sure don't plan on reproducing. Science is great at explaining effects but not the underlying cause. They have no clue as to why things like entanglement happen on the sub-atomic level. Or answering the question what is consciousness? There are so many questions maybe we need a new way of looking at our universe.

    Posted by: Joey | Jun 2, 2012 1:29:04 PM

  3. I guess none of all y'all Umericans read "Inheret the Wind", huh? It is amazing how religion can take otherwise rational people and turn them into completely ignorant people. They believe in fables like Noah, Adam
    and Eve and Sodom and Gomorrah (which they falsely attribute and interpret as anti-gay) which no one has ever been able to prove, but they disbelieve in evolution, global warming, and that gays are part of our natural selection, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Sad.

    Posted by: Graphicjack | Jun 2, 2012 2:01:32 PM

  4. I seriously hate religion.

    Posted by: aneas t. | Jun 2, 2012 2:09:07 PM

  5. Cfox

    Up yours.

    - A public school teacher

    Posted by: Brad | Jun 2, 2012 2:13:06 PM

  6. "Europeans washed their hands of the influence of the debilitating influence of the priests a long time ago--and as a result their societies have moved forward impressively--particularly since WWII"

    Ha! Europe is on the verge of total economic collapse. And they are driving themselves to extinction with their low birth rates--which is due, in part, to the collapse of religion.

    We should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Religion is not inherently bad and the entire fabric of Western civilization was built around Judeo-Christian ethical values.

    It is the loss of many of those values that has thrown the West into such a tailspin.

    I am skeptical of this poll, simply because it forces the respondent to make a black-and-white either/or choice. I mean are "intelligent design" and a belief in evolution mutually exclusive? Not in my understanding of the term.

    I also don't see that a belief that God created humans in their current form is necessarily incompatible with a belief in evolution--it depends on how you look at it.

    For example, God could have created humans in their current form via intelligent design that took the form of evolution.

    But the way the question is asked does not allow for such nuance.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 2, 2012 2:17:37 PM

  7. @Joey, the difference between Science and Creationism is that Science embraces the fact that there are things we don't yet know. Creationism won't tolerate any uncertainty and rushes to explain the unknown as acts of god(s).

    "Science is great at explaining effects but not the underlying cause."

    No, Science is the process of observing effects and then working out their cause. We know how well we've explained the cause by how well we can predict the effects. There are countless examples of this. For instance, the invention of the microscope led to the discovery of microorganisms, which led to the Germ Theory of disease, which explained infection, which led us to predict that antiseptics would enable surgery, which worked.

    The fact that we don't yet know everything doesn't mean that Science has failed. Rather, the fact that we've explained so much in just the last few centuries that was unexplained (i.e., unpredictable) for countless millennia means the Science is in the process of working.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 2, 2012 2:19:35 PM

  8. I agree with @Thomas. I suspect that these polls are very dependent on how the question is asked. For example, I bet there are many religious people who would say "yes" to the question about whether God created humans in their present form, but who also believe in evolution and don't take Genesis as the literal truth. It all depends on what you mean by "create".

    Posted by: Q | Jun 2, 2012 2:25:19 PM

  9. What's great about this is that I know clearly how much more evolved I am than others in my own country.

    Posted by: Rob | Jun 2, 2012 2:29:25 PM

  10. And yeah, CFox clearly has no experience working with a school system. I have a few friends that are teachers, one specifically who teaches biology. They have to present the "hypothesis" of evolution and the kids can choose what to believe. She even noted how many students are clearly trying to trap her with questions, likely from the parents prodding. It's really ridiculous.

    That's why you have to applaud the students that then have the freedom to stand up and say, "No, it's true. Your belief that we were made this way is bull and your parents are just stupid."

    Posted by: Rob | Jun 2, 2012 2:33:56 PM

  11. @gfox. by your mischief-making libertarian/market anarchism philosophy, all public schools would be shut down so kids would be educated by exactly this kind of rock-stupid majoritarianism via private enterprise schools catering to the masses' anti-intellectualism and superstitions

    Posted by: gomez | Jun 2, 2012 2:42:13 PM

  12. @Joey, to your question of how can being gay be an evolutionary advantage...when some members of the tribe aren't burdened with children of their own, they have that much more freedom to contribute in other ways to everyone's survival. Hunting and gathering, defending, toolmaking, inventing, raising the orphans of parents who don't survive, etc. As long as their contributions exceed the cost of rearing them and the loss of their reproduction, they will put the tribe at an advantage.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 2, 2012 2:46:42 PM

  13. that's embarrassing. it's nt even a case of "different opinions" it's a case of willful ignorance and people choosing to be empirically-wrong because it's easier to be stupid than intelligent and critical.

    remember this Jan Hooks classic? it fits.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jun 2, 2012 2:47:09 PM

  14. Someone needs to challenge these folks where "God guiding" fits into biological evolution. There is no point in the process where any supernatural being can "guide" it.

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 2, 2012 2:59:14 PM

  15. While watching the Republican debates there were several times I questioned the idea of evolution.... (there but for the grace of a million years, go I)

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Jun 2, 2012 3:06:45 PM

  16. Religion kills.

    Posted by: stranded | Jun 2, 2012 3:07:07 PM

  17. I AM THE 15%!

    Posted by: David Sweeney | Jun 2, 2012 3:09:50 PM

  18. This is the saddist news I've heard in years. All my hope is dashed. The majority of my countrymen have surrendered their minds to a primitive nightmare that infects the intellect like a cancer. If the attack of the mushroom people were non-fiction it would be less tragic than this epidemic addiction to drivel.

    Posted by: gresham58dc | Jun 2, 2012 3:12:31 PM

  19. This just proves what Stupid Dumbasses Americans are...Greedy,selfish,Morons

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jun 2, 2012 3:13:15 PM

  20. This just proves what Stupid Dumbasses Americans are...Greedy,selfish,Morons

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jun 2, 2012 3:13:16 PM

  21. This just proves what Stupid Dumbasses Americans are...Greedy,selfish,Morons

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jun 2, 2012 3:13:17 PM

  22. This just proves what Stupid Dumbasses Americans are...Greedy,selfish,Morons

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jun 2, 2012 3:13:19 PM

  23. This tells us a lot about who answers land lines at the time of day that pollsters call.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 2, 2012 3:30:53 PM

  24. If I'm the product of intelligent design how come it's a sin to masturbate? My arms end there and my hands fit. Just sayin...

    Posted by: Jimcracky | Jun 2, 2012 3:31:44 PM

  25. The dumbing of America! The more that I am around people, the more I find that American's really are ignorant and lazy!

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 2, 2012 3:50:19 PM

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