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The results of a USA Today/Gallup Poll, released and reviewed in Friday’s edition of USA Today, reaffirm previous surveys that show a United States populace with no consensus on the creation/evolution issue. Of particular note are two questions of the June 1–3 survey, the first which asked pollees to respond on the truthfulness of human evolution and human “creationism,” and the second which asked pollees to rate their familiarity with evolution and creationism. Complete poll results are available on the USA Today website.
For the first question, pollees rated both evolution and creationism on the following scale: “definitely true,” “probably true,” “probably false,” “definitely false,” and “no opinion.” Only 18% of respondents accept evolution as definitely true, compared to 39% who believe creationism is definitely true; additionally, only 15% of respondents answered that creationism is definitely false, whereas 28% answered that evolution was definitely false. Three percent of respondents to each question answered “no opinion.”
Furthermore, 66% of respondents think creationism is either definitely or probably true, compared to 53% who think the same about evolution.
Puzzlingly, the poll numbers do not comport with one another; for example, the three percentage-point discrepancy between those saying evolution is definitely true and those saying creationism is definitely false, and the 11 percentage-point discrepancy between those saying creationism is definitely true and those saying evolution is definitely false. These seemingly conflicting figures cannot be explained by poorly phrased questions, as the questions are written in such a way that should preclude, for example, an old-earth creationist from answering positively toward both evolution and creationism. Even so, the figures do not line up perfectly.
Also interesting is the fact that more respondents said evolution was probably true than definitely true, whereas more respondents said creationism was definitely true than probably true. This is presumably because of the foundational role of creation within the Christian/biblical worldview; Bible-believing creationists stand on the Word of God as not only definitely true, but also as our “starting point.” By contrast, many who accept evolution may do so merely because it is what they were taught in schools, or because they have the impression that science overwhelmingly supports it (without having reviewed that science themselves). Thus, these individuals label evolution as probably true, leaving only the die-hard, committed naturalists to accept evolution as definitely true.
The next question asked how familiar respondents were with evolution and creationism, allowing the following responses: “very familiar,” “some-what [sic] familiar,” “not too familiar,” and “not at all familiar,” with 1% answering “no opinion” in each case. The responses to these were fairly similar, with 82% claiming familiarity with evolution, and 86% claiming familiarity with creationism.
Also thought-provoking, though not reported, would be figures indicating what evolutionists and creationists said about their own familiarity with the opposing (as most of us say) view.
Of course, this result will no doubt infuriate evolution educators, who—despite their virtual monopoly on public school education—will decry the lack of evolution education relative to the influence of “creationist propaganda.” We suspect that the fraction who reported a lack of familiarity with both creation and evolution are just not interested in the topic. Also thought-provoking, though not reported, would be figures indicating what evolutionists and creationists said about their own familiarity with the opposing (as most of us say) view.
The results are ultimately affirming to the work of Answers in Genesis and other ministries that uphold the Bible’s account of creation. That said, oft-cited inaccuracies about creation—and the increasing secularization Europe and the United States in particular—are reminders of the need for ongoing efforts to teach the Bible’s account of man’s origin and creation science . . . to promote the good news of the gospel.
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