A new nationwide poll has revealed that most Americans believe that creation should be taught in public schools. The results were announced on Friday, March 10, 2000, by, interestingly enough, the liberal group People For the American Way, who commissioned the poll.
The New York Times, after carefully examining the many different polling categories and their results, concluded that 79% of those polled favored the teaching of creation in some form or other (March 11 Times story). AiG contacted the Times to verify their math, and an education reporter confirmed with us that if “you looked at the different categories of all those people who expressed support in any way for creation in public schools, and if you add it up yourself—it was pretty straightforward, but they (PFAW) didn’t add it up for you so you had to do it yourself—79% of Americans expressed support in some way for the teaching of creation in public schools. I ran it by them (PFAW) and checked it.”
Encouragingly, about half of the 1,500 respondents also believed that evolution “is far from being proven scientifically.”
There were flip-sides, though, to this generally welcome news. About 68% said that it is possible to believe in both evolution and God (who directed evolution). This compromise view, called “theistic evolution,” is a poor alternative because it makes no sense logically, scientifically, or biblically: why would an all-powerful God use such a cruel and wasteful process of “survival of the fittest” (i.e., creatures tearing each other up over millions of years) to bring about higher forms of life? Theistic evolution goes against God’s very nature; furthermore, the evidence for macro-evolution is lacking anyway. Therefore, the whole idea of “God-directed” evolution should not be embraced by those who claim to believe in a Creator.
Another “flip-side” to the poll is that almost one half of Americans believed that while creation should be taught in public schools, it should be presented in nonscience classes. In other words, creationism is not a scientific model and thus should be taught in a course like social studies rather than a science class. The liberal PFAW group that commissioned the poll thus gleefully proclaimed in a headline for its March 10 news release: “Public wants evolution, not creationism.” Compare that figure to the one above of 79% in favor of creation. (By the way, the People For the American Way incorrectly reported in its news release that Kansas had “dropped” evolution from its public school science curriculum; no such thing happened—evolution is found in many sections of the standards that were approved last August.)
The poll revealed that 83% generally supported the idea that evolution be presented in science classes. AiG agrees that evolution should be learned, too, but that it be taught “warts and all.” We point out that science teachers already possess the academic freedom to present the grave problems with evolution theory. Furthermore, they have the choice to present evidence that the universe is designed, and that it is not the product of chance, random processes (i.e., Darwinian evolution). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (1987) that competing theories of origins can be taught in public schools as long as no particular religion was being established.
In the 1990s, two Gallup polls were taken that revealed similar findings when people were questioned about creation/evolution in schools (although the questions were framed differently). In both, almost one half of Americans believed in creation and that it took place less than 10,000 years ago, which is essentially the biblical model. Therefore, with the new poll from PFAW, it was not all that surprising to discover that Americans: 1. see the serious scientific problems with evolution theory and 2. believe in academic freedom, i.e., that a competing view to the dogma of evolution (creation) should be taught to young people.
A CNN/Time magazine poll released on March 12, announced when AiG was prominently featured in a 12-minute segment on the CNN investigative program “CNN and Time,” had a figure of 68% in favor of creation being taught in public schools.