January 1st, 2015


The Creation / Evolution Divide in America

BioLogos (Francis Collins' pro-evolution pro-religion organization) funded Jonathan Hill, a Calvin College researcher, to conduct a study of American views on evolution and creationism.

For decades, the traditional (and easily comparable) data has been from Gallup polls that have asked the following question, starting in 1982:

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 10,000 years or so?

Although this seems to carve things up neatly into theistic evolution, 'atheistic' evolution, and YEC, people's actual beliefs are, if not more subtle, at least more complicated. The results of these Gallup polls is that the largest response has always been for choice 3, the YEC option, with Americans agreeing with this option at 40% or more.

The current poll included 3,000 American participants, and provides a much clearer look into people's actual beliefs, and the different factors that influence (or correlate with) different beliefs.

Professor Hill offers his summary of the research, and there is a link to the entire study results. He focuses in his summary most on what recipe produces (his word, not mine) a YE creationist (or atheist evolutionist).

The National Center for Science Education has also posted a quick look into the data.

One of the tidbits that caught my eye: "only 8% of the sample met the further restrictions of believing in 6 24-hour days of creation which took place less than 10,000 years ago". Despite 40% picking the YEC option in the Gallup poll, putting together a complete suite of YEC beliefs actually shows that quite a small number are 6-literal-day YEC. Of course the same goes for full-on 'atheistic' evolution: "atheistic evolutionists, who accept human evolution but do not think God played a role (even if they personally believe in God), represented 9% of the sample."

"Not surprisingly, the pro-evolution almost always justify their stance by noting that it represents the best science, while those classified as creationists cite the authority of the Bible and defense of Christianity as the main motivations for their beliefs. ... This suggests that the two groups are in effect hearing two different questions, with one group hearing a question about science, the other hearing a question about religion. "

"a mere 32% of the creationists and only 19% of those who do not think God was involved in evolution agreed that science and religion are “ultimately compatible.” Over half (53%) of the theistic evolutionists disagreed, saying that the two are ultimately compatible."