On Darwin’s Birthday, Only 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution

On the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, a new Gallop poll was released on how many Americans believe in the Theory of Evolution and the results are rather sad.

People were asked the question: Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution, do you not believe in evolution, or don’t you have an opinion either way?

39% said they believe in the theory of evolution
25% said they don’t believe in evolution
36% had no opinion either way
1% had no answer

The Gallop poll also noted the age, education level and church attendance of those who participated.

That website has the statistic that 45 % of the people polled did not know what theories charles darwin was associated with… meaning that 45% of the people in the survey weren’t properly educated in evolutionary theory.

Pretty good to get 40% of the 55% that know about evolutionary theory.

I am a regular listener to John Moore on CFRB online, a Toronto area radio talk show. John is left-leaning, agnostic, social libertarian who prefers scientific facts over emotional outrage.

So on yesterday’s show John talked to a scientist about the significance of Darwin. One of the callers who declared that even though he’s a God-fearing Christian he supports science but then proceeds to knock down evolution by saying there are no scientific proof humans evolved from apes. He said he couldn’t fathom that humans came from apes or that his mother from amoebas. The scientist asked the caller if he actually tried looking into the numerous scientific facts, to which the caller said he took high school biology and tried to be open about it.

I was raised Roman Catholic (I’m no longer practicing it) and in Catholic elementary and high schools we were taught religion (not just Catholicism but many other world religions) and science but neither denouncing each other. Catholics don’t take the Bible literally, especially the six days of Creation, so there is no issue with the theory of evolution, as Pope John Paul II pointed out many years ago. The Church has also come out denouncing “intelligent design” by stating:

Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science.

This isn’t quite true, because you are assuming that everyone who believes in evolutionary theory knows that Darwin is associated with the theory. There’s actually a question further down on the survey that breaks down the responses to both questions.

Of those who know that Darwin is associated with evolution, 53% reported believing in evolution. This is lower than your prediction of 40/55, or 73%.

These must be the same morons who couldn’t figure out which Presidential candiate to vote for. I wonder what it’s like to go through life paralyzed with such indecision?

I would guess that its not so much about indecision, but rather a lot of people just don’t care enough to form an opinion.

And 36% of people having no opinion either way is fair enough. It would be fairer to phrase the results as “1 in 4 don’t beleive in evolution” which is still pretty stunning but is a long way form the 6 in 10 that is implied by the subject line.

Or they’re too stupid or to understand the question.

“Do you believe the earth is round?”

“Eh… I don’t have an opinion about that.”

“What the hell does that mean? It’s a yes or no question.”

I was making the assumption that people who didn’t know that Darwin was associated with evolution obviously had not heard the correct information about it, or were taught something weird, so their opinions weren’t valid.

And well… at least it is a majority.

I believe in the theories of plate tectonics and photosynthesis, but I couldn’t tell you who is credited as discovering the principles. Does that mean my belief in the theories aren’t valid?

You’re referring to Sherri Shepherd

They aren’t nearly as talked about as Charles Darwin… because when you explain how evolution was discovered, you HAVE to talk about Charles Darwin and the Beagle.

Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution, do you not believe in evolution, or don’t you have an opinion either way?

That is one of the worst questions I have ever read. The responses to it are completely meaningless.

While Darwin is usually mentioned, it’s not like most people really are force fed all the details or even care about the significance of it as high school or grade school students. After that it has a lot to do with what further education you get. I don’t recall a single class among the required liberal arts elements I took in college where Darwin and evolution were ever seriously covered.

I remember going in college to see a movie called “Young Einstein.” It was a big hit outside the US and even had a song who’s video was played on MTV. The movie was full of scientific history references, from Darwin to Marie Curie to pretty much everyone else you can think of, and the main character was supposed to be a young Albert Einstein who for whatever reason was growing up in Tasmania and trying to split beer atoms to make beer with a perfect foam. And yet even though all of my friends were college students attending a very good private college, most didn’t even get half the references, even the ones involving Darwin.

So even “educated” people can fail to remember all this stuff.

I’d like to see a poll like this done with another poll, sort of like a control group. You do one with ‘Do you believe in Evolution?’ and at the same time do something like ‘Do you believe in Calculus?’

My gut feeling says that both polls would come out about the same.

I’m truly sad that I’m surrounded by people who don’t believe in Evolution or are ignorant of any of the facts. I said Happy Darwin today (a day late) to my boss and she had no idea who I was talking about…

When my co-workers hint that they don’t believe in evolution I need to hide my facial expression and just walk away. I can’t believe that such stupidity.

My question is should we really be calling evolution a theory? It’s… really not a theory anymore. If you don’t accept evolution then you need to deny everything we know of genetics and inheritance. Evolution is proven, so why treat it like it’s still up in the air?

Probably because of self-superior jerkoffs, the science of evolution has been conflated with hatred of religion. So respondents don’t know if they are agreeing to the science of who gets brown eyes or who gets blue, or if they are agreeing that God is dead.

Also, this:

should probably read

… meaning that at least 45% of the people in the survey weren’t properly educated.

Science is the work of the Dihvul!

Rhino, you are not like a broken record, you are like a broken, shitty record. The conflation is not done by the scientific community, it is done by the religious community, who understands the implications of the theory to be that the Bible is at best, not to be taken literally. They oppose it, and they advance that point publically and strenuously. They are the people who have made roughly half of America afraid to answer what they fear is a religious test question.

And for the record, it’s not always the messenger’s fault anyway; LUKE 4:5-10

5 The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.

8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.

10 And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

This is much like Republicans and Democrats.

If I think a woman has a choice in terminating a pregnancy, this means that I thus agree that guns are bad and need banned, and that gay marriage is good stuff.

Conversely, if I think everyone should have the right to own a gun, I must also advocate criminalizing abortion and support prop-8.

Btw, Darwin’s wife was quite the christian, and he was careful to write his book in a manner that wouldn’t offend her.