Creation vs. Evolution. What's the ratio.

I have a bet with my pro-creation girlfriend.
(no puns please about pro-creation)

Does anyone know where I can find out what percentage of Americans believe in each theory. I would be particularly interested in knowing how the percentages stack up for people who identify themselves as Christians.

I contend that a minority of Christians take the Bible so literally. She thinks that it is rare for someone to believe in both Jesus and evolution.

Can anyone help here?

I think most people believe that God is the force behind evolution. In other words God uses eveolution to accomplish his goals.

I really don’t know where you can find unbiased statistics on this. Usually, the questions, when asked by creationists, are worded in such a way as to make more people seem to come out on the creation side.

For example, as Mark noted, a lot of people believe in God and creation – just not the literal view that runs counter to evolution. So they “believe in” evolution as well as God. But when creationists ask the questions, they often ask about whether people believe that God created the universe. Well, these folks answer, yes, they believe that. Great, but that doesn’t make them “creationists” in the way everybody means…

As the plurality of Christians in the world are Roman Catholic, and the Pope himself has stated that it is all right for Catholics to ascribe natural causes to natural phenomena, I think your girlfriend is wrong. The only sects that require their members to ignore what God has really made, rather than what someone wrote about it, are a few Protestant cults. Of course, if her definition of “believing in Jesus” is limited to those who believe exactly as she does, then she may have a point.

Also, questions about the natural world are best answered by examining the natural world rather than by taking opinion polls.

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
“There’s a Seeker born every minute.”

Not that we Catholics follow along with the Pope’s every decree. For example, I think priests should be allowed to marry, that women should be allowed to become clergy, and that homosexuality is okay. Note, however, that American Catholics are, on the whole, more liberal than their European counterparts, so I’d wager that most of us go along with Darwin on this one.

Heard the other day on TV that “Most Americans do not believe in evolution” Can’t remember where I heard it- local news? CNN?

I did an opinion poll. I asked a friend of mine, who says evolution is definitely more supported by scientific evidence. I agree with him, so the results of my poll show 100% in favour of evolution. :slight_smile:

Seriously though, “creationism” can take on many aspects. Some people believe that the earth was created over a period of 7 days several thousand years ago, and other people might believe that some god created the universe and everything else happened “naturally” from that point on. I would assume that most people would fit the latter category, since atheists represent a small percentage of the population.

(P.S. please be aware that my answer might reflect my own personal bias. I am an atheist.)

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

“Not that we Catholics follow along with the Pope’s every decree.”

Didn’t want to quote your entire post, Ennius, But it sounded to me like you pretty much covered most of the principals that separate catholics from other christians. As an ex-catholic I also have trouble buying into these and other rules. But I’m not a christian by any definition, so there ya go!

Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …(Paraphrased)

Of course, you may run into the ARG220 phenomenon where he (initially) stated that those who did not share his specific set of beliefs were not really Christian.

I think that you had better be prepared to have this issue remain unresolved (from the perspective that you may never be able to agree on the terms to define the conclusion).

This board is not nearly representative of the U.S. public, but there are an awful lot of Christians on this board. The only two I recall claiming a complete disbelief in evolution are ARG220 and vanillnice. (I have not seen an opinion on evolution from furt and I don’t remember a religious post from scutfargus.) Based on that horribly skewed poll, the ratio is between several hundred to 2 and several hundred to 4. Others may pop up in response to this post, but you are still stuck with an overwhelming ratio in one direction based on a wholly unrepresentative sample of the population.

I’d say find something else to discuss (like whether your different opinions on these matters are going to leave you very compatible for very long).

If you really want some sort of answers, see whether Gallup or any of his competitors have taken similar polls recently (e.g., in the wake of the Kansas Board of Ed.) and have posted them on a web site.

If you really, really have to have an answer, try the following sites:

with commentary in

(Short answer, depending on how you define your terms, you and she can both be right.)


To quote (or at least paraphrase) Cecil, “At the Straight Dope, we don’t take votes on the truth.”

Not that I mean to imply that the OP intended that the “dispute” be settled that way. :wink:

As for percentages: I have here a snippet from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a highly renowned German paper, from some time last week. It’s an editorial on the decision of the Kansas Board of Education to delete evolution from school curriculae, and it includes a semi-paragraph on what people in the U.S. think. I’m trying to translate:

“Indeed, about forty-four percent of Americans today believe in the creation of the world by divine force, with plants, animals, and humans in their current appearance, in an act of genesis no more than ten thousand years ago. Only ten percent are convinced of a secular history of evolution that dates back simple genetic material up to four and a half million years and human life in its current form about fifty thousand years.”

(Sorry for the rough and hasty translation.) It is not stated what the rest think, nor is a source cited. (There was probably a regular article with that, but I don’t have it.) You might check some news sites on the web for items on that Kansas decision; there should be some background articles available.

AzRaek said:

This goes back to what I said about polls. What did the original poll actually ask? How did the idiot newscaster interpret it?

Holg said:

Same thing goes here. A lot of news reports misunderstand what the actual poll asked about. And they often forget their most basic news research techniques – check the source!

*TheIncredibleHolg quotes:

I think that four and a half million should be billion, BTW.

Only 10% are convinced? And 44% believe in divine creation, hm? That still leaves 46% on the fence. Some may believe in evolution, but think that it’s driven by God. Others might believe in evolution, but not the 4.5 billion year figure.

Personally, I think you’re all a figment of my imagination. :slight_smile:

David B wrote:

Well, that’s just the question, isn’t it? Since the quote is so specific (“no more than ten thousand years ago”), and since the paper has such a good name, I would assume that they have done their research and the statement is accurate. (As I said, I presume there’s a source given in another article I don’t have.) Of course, shit happens everywhere. At any rate, if what they say is true, we have good reason to be worried…

AzRaek: I believe I saw the same report as you, on ABC News. The figures I recall were 53% creationism, 47% evolution. But, as David B points out, it’s really more a function of the wording of the questions.

AWB wrote:

Hmmm… the article definitely says ‘million’. (And no, it’s nothing to do with the meaning of ‘billion’ in British vs. American English. It’s 4,500,000 years either way.) But this is not about the age of the Earth; it’s the age of simple genetic material. Are you sure it should be ‘billion’?

*TheIncredibleHolg asked: Hmmm… the article definitely says ‘million’. (And no, it’s nothing to do with the meaning of ‘billion’ in British vs. American English. It’s 4,500,000 years either way.) But this is not about the age of the Earth; it’s the age of simple genetic material. Are you sure it should be ‘billion’? *

If they’re saying that science has only traced genetic history back 4.5 million years, that sounds about right. At first, it read as if science estimated simple genetic material as existing for only 4.5 million. Genes have certainly been around longer than that. (Real dinosaurs were not animatronic.)

AWB, I wasn’t thinking this through, sorry. I guess dating back simple genetic material just 4.5m years isn’t quite right. But 4.5b does seem a little too much. (Isn’t the Earth itself just 5b years old? I’m really not sure at the moment.) Makes me wonder about the quality of the citation after all…

My girlfriend is a devout christian… and, like anyone with even a minor background in the sciences, also “believes” in evolution (which is like “believing” in gravity). Christianity and Evolution are not in ANY way incompatable. Read Stephen Jay Gould’s “Rock of Ages” for talk on why. But not even creationism and evolution are incompatible. Creationism states that God created everything. But it never says that he created it as it is now, or * how * he created everything. It is perfectly in line with creationist thinking to believe that God accomplishes His goals through the laws of the universe…

Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

well i for one am kind of both.
I am a firm believer in evolution but i believe that a higher being created life in the first place. Either with a divine spark or just putting all of the pieces together.

So which am I evolution or creation?