Majority of Republicans Doubt Theory of Evolution

From The Gallup Poll:

PRINCETON, NJ — The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain.

Independents and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe in the theory of evolution. But even among non-Republicans there appears to be a significant minority who doubt that evolution adequately explains where humans came from.

The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans’ religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend. That Republicans tend to be frequent churchgoers helps explain their doubts about evolution.

The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.

They also break the results down by church attendance:

(via Respectful Insolence)

26 Comments

  1. The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.

    Confusion? Confusion would be an adequate label for people who could see merits in both ideas and were undecided, or thought that the issue was more complicated than the question allowed, or even didn’t understand the question. To simultaneously hold two incompatible ideas to be true is stupidity, plain and simple.

  2. To simultaneously hold two incompatible ideas to be true is stupidity, plain and simple.

    …although we should consider the possibility that this indicates that the survey was totally ballsed up.

  3. Schmoo: [To simultaneously hold two incompatible ideas to be true is stupidity, plain and simple.]

    That’s an immature viewpoint, IMHO. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe there is some truth to two conflicting idea systems, without contradicting one’s self. IOW, neither is completely right, but there’s a grain of truth in both. Yes/No questions don’t lend themselves to real understanding of people’s ideas.

    Further, even holding a contradiction in belief is very human; anyone who’s been a parent understands that.

    The worlds is not so black and white as all that.

  4. DaveS – we’re not talking uncertainty over ethical grey areas here. ‘Humans evolved over millions of years’ and ‘Humans were specially created 6,000 years ago’ are mutually exclusive statements. (Not to mention that one of them is bollocks.)

  5. There are people that believe, that everything has a logical explanation. We just haven’t figured it all out yet. For lots of those people there is simply no room for religious schmoo. I consider myself being one of those and just shake my head in disbelief (In this context meaning that I don’t want to believe what I see) when I am confronted with the ignorance of creationists. I guess everyone has his own point of view, but when it comes to the point where my children will no longer be learning proper science in school, I’ll decide to move someplace sane…

  6. outeast, the group claiming to believe both may think a god created everything and then allowed evolution to take place after creation. Hard to say without seeing the questions (I only briefly skimmed through the survey). Then, there are a lot of people who really don’t understand even what evolution is. In fact most of those disbelieving it probably do not.

    Or 25% of America is unable to think critically. Actually this seems like a low number.

  7. i think that survey also asked people why they did not believe in evolution. one of the responses available(and selected by a few) was “we didn’t evolve from monkeys.” anyone that says that does not understand evolution, clearly.
    most of the given reasons were because they believed in jesus, or because of the bible.

  8. That’s an immature viewpoint, IMHO. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe there is some truth to two conflicting idea systems, without contradicting one’s self. IOW, neither is completely right, but there’s a grain of truth in both.

    For ideas that are not mutally exclusive, yes, of course. These two ideas, however, are completely exclusive to each other.

    Yes/No questions don’t lend themselves to real understanding of people’s ideas.

    Please note the phrase “…more complicated than the question allowed…” in my original comment.

    Further, even holding a contradiction in belief is very human; anyone who’s been a parent understands that.

    What is it that a parent holds that is contradictory? Hypocritical maybe (I know I am), but contradictory?

    Or do you mean children hold contradictory ideas? Because that would be a lack of reasoning skills due to age, not stupidity. Age would be a fair exemption from the stupid label IMHO, and a good example of my point – you are below average if as an adult you have not advanced the reasoning skills you held as a child.

    The worlds is not so black and white as all that.

    Indeed, but labeling stupidity as confusion unnecessarily extends the grey into both the black and the white 😉

  9. The thing that galls me the most every time this comes up whether it’s this or Sam Brownback, is the media’s constant happy regurgitation of the statement “I don’t believe in evolution” as being somehow valid, thus promulgating the idea that evolution is a belief system that is in any way impacted by how many people “believe” in it.

  10. outeast, the group claiming to believe both may think a god created everything and then allowed evolution to take place after creation

    That would be fine, but it’s not what the article states:

    quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago

    Maybe that’s an error in the reporting (possibly based on the ambiguity of the word ‘creationist’) but if not then I reckon the most probable explanation is a really, really badly written and conducted survey. If neither of these explanations accounts for the statistic, I reckon it’s time to start considering an involuntary euthanasia programme. (I’d suggest mandatory lobotomizing as an alternative but that would appear to be redundant.)

  11. I think that placing the blame on defects in logic or intellect is incorrect. I believe the problem is entirely an emotional one. A person develops a strong attachment to a set of ideas and is unable to discard those ideas even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

    Compare this to parents who still love a child convicted of horrendous crimes, protesting his innocence despite DNA evidence, videotapes, confessions, etc.

  12. Bravo, DB. Kudos. You’re the only one who grokked what I meant about parents holding opposing contradictory ideas. And it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as horrendous crimes, either.

  13. But that’s qualitatively different. Simply refusing to believe something of one’s child despite evidence (ie denial) may be akin to denying evolution despite evidence. Claiming to believe in both evolution over millions of years and recent special creation would be more akin to a parent saying, ‘I’m firmly convinced my child is a murderer, but I’m also firmly convinced he never murdered anyone.’ That would be weird even for a parent.

  14. You’re the only one who grokked what I meant about parents holding opposing contradictory ideas.

    Maybe more people would ‘grok’ what you meant if you answered question like, errr, “What is it that a parent holds that is contradictory?“.

    It’s not as if it was particullarly clear either – this attitude is not limited to parent/child relationship. Parents, children, siblings, friends, even just people you know get the same treatment to varying degrees. How many times do you see “I know him, I can’t believe he’d do something like this” on news voxpops?

    Regardless, I see it exactly as Outeast does. Holding different standards of evidence for your own child compared to others is hypocricy (as suggested), not oxymoronic.

  15. I’m sorry, but I find that poll terrifying. Has the world taken leave of its senses???? I’d be curious to see the results of the same poll from 15 years ago — is the current political regime really the culprit? Or has this wave of incredulity in science and reason been slowly building for a while?
    Kate (who believes in science and sell t-shirts that say so)
    http://www.ibelieveinscience.com

  16. In the many arguments I read concerning the theory of evolution, I find most people equating rejection of evolution to a lack of education, which is false.

    I also read that the ‘intellectuals’ are the conservatives are the Republicans. And that the dummies are the socialists, are the Democrats. Unquestionably both these assumptions are totally FALSE. Heated debates flowing over with hatred for the ‘other side’ are filling the Internet.

    This recent trend is bringing the country to an irreparable divide. Many people decide their vote the same way I do, If the person that is running for president is honest, and will do what the people want done, and will not show favoritism to ANY industry, then he/she MIGHT be good for the country. I say might, because only God knows what is inside that carefully guarded interior person.

    Others decide their vote simply by party. This last type are the ones who are is bringing this country to the brink of destruction. Party politics, if it continues much longer will be the TOTAL ruination of America.

    Public opinion places the Political right into the intellectual group, but many blogers claim that people who do not believe in evolution are poorly educated, and definitely not intellectual. How is it then that the polls show that most of the ‘intellectuals’ do not believe in evolution.

    Here’s why. The very best way to determine if evolution is a science it to put on the hat that is rarely worn. Put on the thinking cap and be logical. It is totally illogical to believe that live created itself without any instructions or any other help.

    If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a self replicating ‘simple’ living cell. This should be possible, since they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the ‘simple’ cell.

    After all, shouldn’t all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists, having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely then the evolutionists scientists today should be able to make us a ‘simple’ cell.

    If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

    Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

    Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

    Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

    Those who believe in evolution simply haven’t done enough independent research on the subject, OR, they have been mesmerized by their biology teacher/professor, as I was. OR, they hate God!

  17. Collins-

    It’s too bad your own ignorance of logic and science hinders your argument so badly.

    Or, wait a minute, now…

    Chris, is Pablo back?

  18. Bad enough to see that > 0.5 of all Republicans believe in creationism, but I think it’s even worse that still 0.4 of all Democrats do so.
    This can’t be explained with partisanship, this is pure stupidity.

  19. View from europe;

    YOU ARE FUCKING CRAZY.

    It is difficult for us (europeans) to understand you. The creationism thing looks very, very abstract from the outside (which is most of the world). No way we can understand that hardcore extremist creationism bullshit. No way.

    You guys better get a grip and be reasonable.

    Sheeeshhh…..

  20. I miss Pablo. At least his posts were short and easy to skip over. I wasted two minutes of my life reading James Collins that I’ll never get back. By the by, where does he get that crap about republicans being intellectuals?

  21. We (Americans, not necessarily the authors of this page) seem to be confused by basic concepts such as “fact”, “opinion”, “belief”, “observation”… no wonder there are arguments about what to “believe”…

    I DON’T BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION.

    I have observed evolution as fact (i.e. individual species have genetically diverged IN MY LIFETIME into separate species that can no longer successfully reproduce together, and I could, at considerable expense of research, point out some of the genes involved).

    My current opinion is that “natural selection” explains the facts of evolution better than any competing theory, but I also think that “natural selection” is an incomplete theory.

    I simply don’t practice the activity called “belief” or “disbelief” in regard to the issue at all. Except in a purely academic sense, when someone advances Cthulhu, alien reptiles, or the literal truth of the contradicting creation stories of Genesis as explanation, when I respond “that’s crap.” I suppose one could say I am practicing disbelief at that moment, even though I could, with a bit of thought, articulate what new evidence I’d have to encounter in order to change my opinion.

    There ARE things I believe in, and the difference to me between belief and opinion is as clear as the difference between auto mechanics and sex. Maybe there are people whose minds are so constituted as to not perceive a difference, but I think it more likely that they are willfully ignoring the difference.

Comments are closed.