06 August 2019

40% of Americans hold strict creationist views

Forty percent of U.S. adults ascribe to a strictly creationist view of human origins, believing that God created them in their present form within roughly the past 10,000 years. However, more Americans continue to think that humans evolved over millions of years -- either with God's guidance (33%) or, increasingly, without God's involvement at all (22%)...

As many as 47% and as few as 38% of Americans have taken a creationist view of human origins throughout Gallup's 37-year trend. Likewise, between 31% and 40% of U.S. adults have attributed humans' development to a combination of evolution and divine intervention over the same period.
Details at the Gallup website.   Procedural details here.
For the poll, Gallup conducted phone interviews of 1,015 American adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Respondents were asked to choose which of these statements came closest to matching their own views on the origin and development of human beings:
(1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process
(2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process
(3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so
Via Gizmodo.

21 comments:

  1. Perhaps I'm falling into a "I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon" fallacy, but I'm skeptical that most respondents understood the implications of answer 3. I've met so many people in possession of astonishing ignorance of very basic human history, let alone geological history. I suspect that a lot of people who chose 3 aren't staunch 6 day creationists, but think that there were dinosaurs around 5,000 years ago because they're concept of the past is so vague.

    That's just a guess on my part, though.

    When I was a Christian and a pastor, I fell into category 1. This was utterly uncontroversial in my crowd.

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  2. "All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
    It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying."

    - Mein Kampf vol. I, ch. X (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie)

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  3. . . . And this is why we have Trump as president. If people will swallow this kind of palpable nonsense, they'll probably swallow any lie.

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  4. I'm really skeptical about this number. How exactly were the poll samples distributed? Did they call 20 people in every state? If so, that would skew the results toward the more...uh, I don't know how to say this diplomatically...sparsely populated, less educated states, while a more densely populated, enlightened state, like California, (yep, I'm from California) would be under-represented.

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    1. I think it may a case of "40% of people who will still take the time to talk to a polling person on the phone" believe X. My 60+ parents answer those 2-4 times a year at length. Neither I nor my sister ever did, and after moving out, have never since been called for a phone poll yet.

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    2. love the hubris.
      I suppose it is like nationalism, only on a smaller geographical basis? :)

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    3. This is in the link you didn't read:
      Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, non-response, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cell phone-only/landline only/both and cell phone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2018 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the January-June 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

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    4. And more specifically, 381 persons self-designated as "conservative," 353 as "moderate," and 263 as "liberal."

      And to anon's thought, 3% of those polled refused to reply.

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  5. The three questions say, “but God guided,” “but God had no part,” and, “God created.” All of the questions presume “God,” as if that were a given. Perhaps this was a bias intended by Gallup.
    I looked to see and their poll did have a fourth option of “Other/no opinion.” As a responder to the poll, I would have found that to be frustrating and would have complained. I hate being confronted with multiple choice situations where none of the choices even fundamentally match my views. It would be like they had asked me, “Do you prefer beer, wine, or liquor?” How about, “I don’t drink alcohol at all”?

    The presumption that my choice would necessarily include “God” would be an affront because it devalues any and all other choices to a toss-away “Other” or, “I have no opinion as a response to your biased questions,” when I actually DO have a strong opinion about it.

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    1. RTFL.

      You obviously didn't take the 15 seconds required to click on the "procedural details" link I provided, where the data show that every year from 1982 to the current study, roughly 5% of respondents reply with "Other" or "No opinion."

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    2. I did, indeed, click on it and I reported the Other/No opinion choice which wasn’t mentioned in your presentation of the choices, but the point of my comment is that this option is inadequate and biases the results with an assumption that most responders will have a belief in a “God." See Wikipedia’s article on Irreligion linked below and their take on the “Inaccuracy of identification and polling,” which mentions the type of issue I outlined:
      biases in wording or topic;
      polls that categorize people based on their limited choices;
      polls that imply generalizations;
      polls that have shallow or superficial choices for people expressing their complex religious beliefs and practices.
      (my selection of their several points)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States

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    3. I agree with David here that the wording of the question skews the final results away from reality a bit. In defense of the gallop organization, however, this is essentially the form the question has taken since the late 1940s and changing it now would cause problems with historical cross referencing. I doubt anyone was bothered with the form of the question back then!

      Since this was a live poll the best form of the question is probably to ask if the respondent believes in a)old earth creationism b)young earth creationism or c)evolution with scripts to explain the definitions of each if asked. One should also vary the order of the 3 choices randomly. Perhaps by simultaneously polling the old question they could keep historical comparisons statistically significant.

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    4. Snowshine, the rotating was done as part of standard procedure:

      "Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings -- [ROTATE 1-3/3-1: 1)..."

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  6. most interesting is the limit of answers to select from in the survey. I know for certain these aren't the only options people believe.

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  7. I'm @John Farrier on this one, and to some extent with @dragonmamma. I would wager that at least 25% of adults have no idea when the first humans evolved, or when dinosaurs roamed the earth in relation to human history. I have adults assert that dinosaurs are extinct because people hunted them to extinction, sort of like the bison. Human ignorance seems to have no bounds.

    As for swallowing lies, folks of all political persuasions are willing to swallow "palpable nonsense."

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  8. The problem with questions like these are they force you to choose an option that you may not agree with. For instance, I would choose (4) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time sometime in the past.

    That allows for many people who don't agree with the thought that we can nail down when the creation happened. I don't agree with Bishop User who said it was 6,000 BC. by looking at the life spans. The begats in the Bible allow for an father, grandfather or great to have been the one who begat.

    Beyond that point, any of these types of polls can count an opinion that may not be held. I'm often skeptical of closed question polls such as these.

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    1. The word you are looking for is incredulous (suspicious, distrustful). Skepticism implies critical thinking AND it implies the rejection of any kind of dogma. Rejection of dogma implies atheism.

      "10.000 years or so" ... does cover your position. The poll really asks if scripture is to be taken:
      a. literally
      b. not at all seriously
      c. metaphorically/figuratively

      I do think you try to interpret the proposition critically, but you still accept the literal premise, that somehow it's possible to track a kind of dynasty for at least several millennia.

      I just searched (CTRL+F) the Sceptic's Annotated Bible (Matthew 1) and the word "begat" comes up 48 times. If begatting produced an average of 2 heirs, the number of heirs (2^48) far exceeds world population, meaning everybody is a Son of Abraham.

      However this idea, that heredity dilutes into the gene-pool by way of marriage 1+1 = ~2 heirs, isn't at all stupid. We have evidence that all people share a common ancestor, moreover this principle extends to all life on the planet.

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  9. Still, WHO do you know that still has only a land-line? Anyone?

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  10. Let me say this. I respect, completely and unconditionally, the religious beliefs of all people, provided they do not a) bring direct intentional harm to self or others, or b) conflict with concrete and verifiable fact. The first should be condemned out of hand, because doing intentional harm is evil by definition. The second crosses a line; when a belief conflicts with evidence, it is no longer a belief, but a matter of facts. The earth can be verified to be much older than 10,000 years. Therefore, any 'belief' to the contrary is, in fact, in error and should be corrected.

    Belief and reason are the two greatest tools that we have as thinking beings, but they are required to work together in harmony, and in the intended manner. Just as one would not use a hacksaw to hammer a nail, or a cannon to plant crops, so too must we allow faith and science to perform their correct roles in human thought.

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    1. "Complete and unconditionally." Proceeds to list conditions...

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  11. As a conservative Christian (with a secular degree in Philosophy—go figure), I would have chosen ALL THREE of the options. It is the only way I have found to put it all together....

    I believe EVERYTHING started with God at some point. Some of it, He permitted to evolve naturally, with no intervention. Other things evolved, but there was intervention. And somethings were created outright.

    There. I made no one happy.

    Consider that we believe matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed. Well, why can there not be an “Intelligence” that also exists eternally? It makes no less sense than matter existing forever. Perhaps that intelligence exerts a very subtle “gravity” that slowly directs things. Or maybe it has enormous influence.

    It occurred to me whether we could tell if some ancient ancestor descended from others...or was the first of his/her kind. If not, how do we know it was not created, polluted by the Fall, etc.?

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