Which Americans do and don't accept evolution?

Over at Half Sigma there's some really interesting crunching of the GSS data. Some of it was not surprising to me, you see the same results in national polls on the topic; blacks are more Creationist than whites, who are more Creationist than Asians. Women are more Creationist than men, as are the poor vs. the rich and the uneducated vs. the more well educated. Then there are the obvious ones; evangelicals are more Creationist than mainline Protestants & Roman Catholics, who are more Creationist than those with no religion. You can find these data pretty easily with 30 seconds of googling, but Half Sigma's regional results were pretty new to me, though I was not surprised by rank order.

Question: Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. (Is that true or false?)
Region True False
New England 78.1 21.9
Middle Atlantic 60.3 39.7
East North Central 48.3 51.7
West North Central 50.9 49.1
South Atlantic 39.2 60.8
East South Central 32.1 67.9
West South Central 39.2 60.8
Mountain 59.8 40.2
Pacific 61.7 38.3

The Ns for some regions aren't large, check out Half Sigma's post for the full data. But I suspect this trend is robust and it pretty much matches our priors. It seems to reinforce the perception by many that the South is different, and that much of the exceptionalism of American culture can be attributed to this region and its large demographic and social footprint. In contrast, the data from New England bespeaks a culture with sensibilities not unlike much of Europe or Canada.

More like this

Global Health Magazine has some data up on the "% of women who believe it is OK for husbands to beat them." If you click through the original data, the question is more extensive: % of girls and women aged 15-49 who responded that a husband or partner is justified in hitting or beating his wife…
Question below about the details of what conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans might believe, etc. I decided to look for a few questions. I removed Independents because their sample sizes are a bit smaller. I clustered all those with socioeconomic status 17-47 as "Low" and those from 47-98…
So I'm reading/hearing about something flaring up in Texas again in regards to Creationism. I always get these strange "articles" in my RSS for the "evolution" query on Google Alerts where an uninformed columnist rambles on how the theory has been disproved or brought into doubt. These arguments…
Update: Follow up post. This Michael Lind piece bemoaning liberal contempt for white Southerners made me want to look a bit deeper and compare interregional differences and similarities. I went into the General Social Survey and limited responses to whites only and compared by region. The regions…

I love it!

"Is that true or false?"

"Yes."

By Scott Belyea (not verified) on 26 Jan 2008 #permalink

You've spoken about the regional differences in intellectual achievement and IQ before, speculating that they might be the result of a pathogen.

How seriously have you considered the possibility that it's a cultural pathogen to blame?

By Caledonian (not verified) on 26 Jan 2008 #permalink

http://sda.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin32/hsda?harcsda+gss06

"scitest4" was the earlier version of that question
in 2006 it's "evolved"

the other variables of interest:
racecomb
religion
degree
god
region
partyid

or the other science knowledge questions:
HOTCORE SCI KNOWLEDGE: THE CENTER OF EARTH IS VERY HOT
RADIOACT SCI KNOWLEDGE:ALL RADIOACTIVITY IS MAN-MADE
BOYORGRL SCI KNOWLEDGE:FATHER GENE DECIDES SEX OF BABY
LASERS SCI KNOWLEDGE:LASERS WORK BY FOCUSING SOUND WAVES
ELECTRON SCI KNOWLEDGE:ELECTRONS ARE SMALLER THAN ATOMS
VIRUSES SCI KNOWLEDGE:ANTIVIOTICS KILL VIRUSES AS WELL AS BACTERIA
BIGBANG SCI KNOWLEDGE:THE UNIVERSE BEGAN WITH A HUGE EXPLOSION
CONDRIFT SCI KNOWLEDGE:THE CONTINENTS HAVE BEEN MOVING
EVOLVED SCI KNOWLEDGE:HUMAN BEINGS DEVELOPED FROM ANIMALS
EARTHSUN SCI KNOWLEDGE:THE EARTH GOES AROUND THE SUN
SOLARREV SCI KNOWLEDGE:HOW LONG THE EARTH GOES AROUND THE SUN

Sneer at the South all you like, they still have better food, music, and literature that the rest of the country combined.

Sneer at the South all you like, they still have better food, music, and literature that the rest of the country combined.

the sushi in houston is good. cajun food too. i guess the rest of the food depends on how much you like stuff fried. as for music, well, that's pretty subjective, but granted most great american music does have southern origins. but literature? faulkner is good, but walt whitman, nathaniel hawthorne, et. al. are nothing to sniff at in my book. seems like new england has definitely punched above its weight.

Re: the best music of the South, it comes not just from the South, but from the black community in the South. (I'm thinking Jazz here, specifically.) The roots of that go back to the 19th century.

Re: the south being "different" when it comes to evolution vs. creationism, bear in mind that according to this data, 40% of us in the South have our heads screwed on right and don't feel the need to deny modern science.... and that nearly the same fraction of people elsewhere have their heads screwed on wrong and think that evolution is false. It's not a huge dichotomy, it's a matter of weighting. Yeah, there is a significant (i.e. measurable) difference, but it's not "all smart there, all dumb here" by any means.

I find the anomalous and punctuated data for New England interesting, even more so because New England was in fact the birthplace of core American reason and rationalism.