Survey Questions Lead Americans to Doubt (Some) Creationist Beliefs

No less than 40 percent of us hold the belief that God created the world 10,000 years ago, according to three decades of Gallup surveys. But another survey seeks to delve deeper into Americans' beliefs, and has found, when pressed, our certainty waivers.

For the last three decades, Gallup has asked Americans the following question:


Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings:

(1) human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life and God guided this process,

(2) human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life, but God had no part in this process, or

(3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000years or so?

The number that have answered “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so,” has never dipped below 40 percent. From 1982 to 2014, America has answered strongly creationist, contrary to the theories and scientific proofs that say otherwise. But a new study sponsored by the BioLogos Foundation shows that the Gallup poll may have been too quick to judge Americans.

Slate's William Saletan writes about Calvin College sociologist, Jonathan Hill, who headed a study to ask Americans about life's origins. His results show a far more nuanced view of how Americans think about the evolution-creationism debate. Rather than asking one simple question to conclude the argument, he presses the people he's surveying to assess 15 statements. The more the statements ask people to think about the history of the Bible (i.e. Were Adam and Eve real people? Is the Bible the actual or inspired word of God, without error?), the more doubtful people become. By the end of his survey the young-earth creationist dwindles to a mere 15 percent--quite different form the Gallup's proposed 40 percent.

Hill's data shows that only 30 percent of people are certain “God created the world in six 24-hour days.” What's more, only 26 percent of Americans are able to say with certainty, in the survey, that humans have only existed for the past 10,000 years.

By delving into the particulars of intelligent design, Hill creates questions surrounding an absolute belief in creationism. It seems people begin to realize that the existence of life isn't as cut-and-dry as they might believe once they have to consider the particulars of such an event.

In his interview with Big Think, Bill Nye (the Science Guy), believes that people find it hard to accept evolution, because that would mean accepting death--everything we've learned will be gone. For some people that's unimaginable.

Read more at Slate

Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

Sponsored
  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less