The Gallup Poll is not surprising in any of its results but it is, of course, alarming and interesting. Here’s a summary.
On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they “believe in the theory of evolution,” while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don’t have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity.
Believe in evolution 39%
Do not believe in evolutoin 25%
No opinon either way 36%
Not surprisingly, education level has a strong effect on tresponse. Have a look at this graph:
The good news:
Younger Americans, who are less likely to be religious than those who are older, are also more likely to believe in evolution. Still, just about half of those aged 18 to 34 say they believe in evolution.
Well, not great news, but good news.
In answer to the question “Can you tell me with which scientific theory Charles Darwin is associated?” only a little over half knew. That was asked before all the other questions. And, knowing or not knowing the answer to that question went way way up with higher education levels, not surprisingly.
The poll reporters conclude:
As Darwin is being lauded as one of the most important scientists in history on the 200th anniversary of his birth (on Feb. 12, 1809), it is perhaps dismaying to scientists who study and respect his work to see that well less than half of Americans today say they believe in the theory of evolution, and that just 55% can associate the man with his theory.
… Americans who have lower levels of formal education are significantly less likely than others to be able to identity Darwin with his theory, and to have an opinion on it either way. Still, the evidence is clear that even to this day, Americans’ religious beliefs are a significant predictor of their attitudes toward Darwin’s theory….