A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Nearly Half Of U.S. Citizens Are Creationists

(This picture, from the Washington Post, was taken in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee -- the scene of the "Scopes monkey trial".)

It doesn't look like a lot has changed since the famous "Scopes monkey trial", where teacher John Scopes was arrested and tried for teaching evolution in a high school. There's still a significant portion of the United States population that believes in creationism and denies evolution -- and many of them would like to force their beliefs on the rest of us, by requiring schools to teach creationism instead of, or in addition to, real science like evolution.

A recently released Gallup Poll (taken of a nationwide sample of 1,012 people from May 19th through May 13th) shows that about 46% of the U.S. population believes in creationism (the belief that man was created by god in his present form and has not evolved). The margin of error for the poll is 4 points, but the results are in line with with polls taken on the subject since 1982. Since then, the poll results show belief in creationism has vacillated between 44% and 47%.

That means there is good news and bad news. The good news is that belief in creationism doesn't seem to be growing. The bad news is that belief in creationism doesn't seem to be shrinking either. Here is a graph of the poll's results since 1982:
A couple of unsurprising results are that more Republicans than Independents or Democrats believe in creationism, and that more educated people tend to believe less in creationism. Here are those numbers:

HUMANS CREATED BY GOD IN PRESENT FORM IN LAST 10,000 YEARS.
Republicans...............58%
Independents...............39%
Democrats...............41%
Post-graduate...............25%
College grad...............46%
Some college...............47%
High school or less...............52%

HUMANS EVOLVED IN A GOD-GUIDED PROCESS.
Republicans...............31%
Independents...............34%
Democrats...............32%
Post-graduate...............42%
College grad...............35%
Some college...............36%
High school or less...............25%

HUMANS EVOLVED WITH NO GOD INVOLVEMENT.
Republicans...............5%
Independents...............19%
Democrats...............19%
Post-graduate...............29%
College grad...............14%
Some college...............13%
High school or less...............11%

Those who attend church weekly (67%) are also much more likely to believe in creationism than those who seldom or never attend church (25%) -- which supports the idea that creationism is a religious belief rather than a scientific one.

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In related news, some scientists believe they have found the "missing link". It is a 47 million year-old primate fossil, which has been officially named Darwinius masillae. The almost complete skeleton of the lemur-like creature had opposable thumbs and fingernails instead of claws. It's hind legs also showed evolutionary changes that scientists believe resulted in humans eventually walking upright. The fossil is pictured below:

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