While there is little movement in percentages of conservative belief, there is much to be encouraged about in the latest Gallop poll on evolution versus Creationism.
More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.
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.
An interesting finding is that significantly fewer Americans state they are familiar with “creationism” than did so seven years ago. The commentary notes that even though the adherence to the young earth creationist (YEC) view has not changed over time, people don’t call it that. Does this means that they are more familiar with “intelligent design”? Or that they don’t really think about it enough to give it a ready label?
Since the views on YEC have not really changed but just fluctuated in a range, we can possible assume that greater education will not have an effect on that. The commentary says as much noting that people come by their religious-based beliefs not through schooling. However, since those that have less than a high school education are most likely to subscribe to the YEC, this may be a factor. Also, 50% of this group is over 65 years old. Does that mean the belief will die out as they die out? That the younger more scientific-minded population’s view will replace this? Or, do we get more conservative in our beliefs as we age. Only additional surveys will show.
All in all, the steady growth of people who say humans evolved without God can be interpreted as a success for science-based information supplanting religious dogma. Slowly, but surely. Nature won’t be denied no matter how hard you thump the holy books.