Majority of Republicans Don’t Believe in Evolution

According to a gallup poll, the majority of Republicans does not believe the theory of evolution to be true. Quite remarkable, one could say, is that “even among non-Republicans there appears to be a significant minority who doubt that evolution adequately explains where humans came from.”

Funny enough, “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.”

Some results:
Now thinking about how human beings came to exist on Earth, do you, personally, believe in evolution, or not?
Yes: 49%
No: 48%

Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years
Definitely true: 39%
Probably true: 27%
Probably false: 16%
Definitely false: 15%

Furthermore, 38% said that they believed that “beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,” against 43% of Americans who said to believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so].”

Furthermore, 30% of Republicans believe in evolution, against 68% who believe that God created mankind in his its present shape. Those numbers are 61% and 37% for Independents respectively; and 57% and 40% for Democrats.

I have to admit that I find the results of this poll to be utterly amazing. In Europe, especially in the Netherlands – I am quite sure – the far majority of people have accepted evolution as the explanation of how mankind came into existence. Of course, there are Christians like me who believe that God guided the process, but most Dutch Christians do – as far as I know – believe that mankind evolved.

This means, of course, that it does not hurt Republican candidates one bit when they say that they do not believe in evolution. It might hurt them with Independents, sure, but if they want to appeal to ‘the base’ it is probably best for them to say that they believe that God created mankind 10,000 years ago and that the theory of evolution is false.

Fascinating (and to me quite shocking).

Author: michaelvdg

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29 Comments

  1. The problem may be caused by the fact that the issue has become so politicized. Respondents to the survey may be making responses in more simplistic, pure form than that which reflects their true thinking because they are associating political and religious identities.

    Political conflict of the type pursued in the United States by some religious fundamentalists AND some intolerant atheists have created conditions in some areas where people feel forced to choose extremist positions. Any attempt to choose a nuanced position will, after all, only get attacked from both sides.

  2. Sorry, Jason, but I think your approach just attempts to give cover to those who have jettisoned rational thought in favor of blind belief.

    I will grant, though, that all polls are subject to being skewed by how the questions are framed. We could question exact percentages, but not overall trends.

  3. My approach attempts to “give cover” to real people I actually know rather than condemning them to a dehumanized, demonized, contemptible stereotype that is just useful fodder for prejudice.

    I know first hand that believers in God are far from the idiots that they are made out to be by a hostile media and sneering blogosphere. So yes, I’ll have their back in making that point as many times as is necessary.

  4. I know first hand that believers in God are far from the idiots that they are made out to be by a hostile media and sneering blogosphere.

    I believe this certainly. It’s understandable to think someone is an idiot because they hold an idiotic, irrational belief, but one must try to resist the urge. Cognitive dissonance is at work in these situations. You can be a perfectly reasonable and logical human being, who values evidence and observation and AT THE SAME TIME reject all of that when it comes to a single belief that you conveniently don’t want touched. We all do it for different things at different levels.

    Mind you, I find it breathtaking at the same time. Cognitive dissonance is a true puzzle to those that don’t employ it. For instance, modern medicine in many aspects would be impossible without the theory of evolution, and yet I doubt that any of those who thinks God created everything 10.000 years ago would refuse to give vaccines to their baby on the basis that the science that holds those medicines up is false. To me it’s one part brainwashing and another part of lack of understanding about science.

    It’s also a very annoying tidbit of information when it escapes the US and arrives at the news in my country, as explaining to my co-workers for the upenteenth time that no, they aren’t idiots, they just have some funny beliefs, gets old real fast.

  5. A majority of Republicans also think that George W. Bush is doing a great job as President.

    It’s probably a good idea to consider the source before jumping to any conclusions.

  6. Ain’t religion wonderful?

  7. Jason,
    ????
    “condemning them to a dehumanized, demonized, contemptible stereotype ”

    What are you raving about?
    You don’t help your arguments by going into attack mode every time someone disagrees with you. It just makes your arguments appear to be a childish tantrum.

    Saying that someone’s perceptions are misguided or wrong is NOT equivalemt to demonizing them. Very nice, intelligent and all around pleasant people can be wrong.

    Many devoutely religious people can accomodate both respect for science and their faith. IMO that is the rational, logical way to deal wih both the spicitual and physical aspects of life.

    Since that is my opinion, it follows that I find those who deny scientific findings to be mistaken. By pitting my opinion against theirs, I am treating them like intelligent adults who can withstand scrutiny and defend their views as they see fit.

    Protecting them from being addressed is, on the contrary, equivalent to treating them like children, incapable of withstanding the light of reasonable exchange of ideas. Your apprach amounts to infantilizing these people.

  8. Doma- well said, in comment 9.

    Too many people, even on this blog, cannot argue civilly not maturely. Either there is defensive ranting or demonization.

    The problem is too many people personalize too many things. I do not know you nor Jason, and likely never will. Likely, neither of you has ever met, nor ever will. De facto, yours are just ideas. Put ego aside, and engage dialectic.

    Also, wit is sorely missing in most exchanges.

  9. Saying that someone’s perceptions are misguided or wrong is NOT equivalemt to demonizing them.

    True. But the people above weren’t saying religious people were “misguided” or “wrong”. They were saying they were “idiotic” and “irrational”. Big difference.

    When an entire class of belief or ideology is deemed to be presumptively “idiotic”, I do get outraged. The reason is because I see such condemnations as destructive towards any possibility of civil conversation. After all, when everyone who holds different beliefs is “irrational” and “idiotic”, what’s the next step?

  10. To answer my rhetorical question: SteveK shows us the next step on this very thread. Once a group of people is condemned as presumptively “irrational” and “idiotic”, the next step is to just dismiss or exclude them from all discussion.

  11. Jason,

    All SteveK said was, “It’s probably a good idea to consider the source before jumping to any conclusions.”… Do you have a problem with that?

  12. No, Steve, that wasn’t “all” you said.

  13. cosmoetica said,

    Also, wit is sorely missing in most exchanges.

    cosmoetica,

    Does nitwit count? There’s plenty of that here… myself included.

  14. Jason Steck said,

    No, Steve, that wasn’t “all” you said.

    Jason,

    To quote another post on this board, “I am really sick of you misrepresenting my position and mis-representing them as something that is either absurd or monstrous.”

    I know it’s not subtle but I’m learning from a pro.

  15. Jason,
    You, yourself, are becoming a pro a misconstruing.
    Your ‘demonization’ rant quoted a phrase from my comment. Are you saying, now, that you were quoting me, but addressing a group of other people?

    To avoid being misundersstood, it would help if you made clear to whose comment or to which comment you are objecting. What seems the most likely case, in following your posts, is that you lump together all comments and commenters who dare to defy your opinions.

    What results is confusion and an impossiblity to follow the discussion in a meningful way.

  16. Jason – Is anyone in the world an idiot? Or have idiotic ideas? Would you ever say such a thing about anything or anyone? In my world calling something idiotic is just an idiom for meaning I disagree. It should not be the big deal you made it out to be.

  17. doma, I usually enjoy your moderate tone, but when you characterized all religious people as having “jettisoned rational thought in favor of blind belief”, it was very offensive to me. Such a characterization excludes even the possibility of people who mix scientific rationality and religious belief quite willingly — many such people that I know personally as friends, family, and colleagues.

    If I’m misconstruing the meaning of your comment, I’d be interested to hear how, because it seemed very clear-cut.

  18. idiotic
    –adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an idiot.
    2. senselessly foolish or stupid: an idiotic remark.

    This does not strike me as the same as saying “I disagree”. “I disagree” leaves room for legitimacy on both sides, a difference of opinion that is principled. “Idiotic” seems to me to leave no such room, as the other person stands condemned as not merely wrong, but also mentally deficient.

  19. Jason: Since you want to quote definitions. Here’s one:

    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dic.....=psychosis

    Main Entry: psy·cho·sis
    Pronunciation: sI-’kO-s&s
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural psy·cho·ses /-”sEz/
    Etymology: New Latin
    : fundamental derangement of the mind (as in schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality especially as evidenced by delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and behavior

    How does that not describe religion or a belief in supernatural beings?

    Are you as outraged when people label alien abductees as loons? Or is it just YOUR irrational beliefs that are a cause for outrage?

  20. And the ‘all’ that Stevek said was: ‘A majority of Republicans also think that George W. Bush is doing a great job as President.’

    Wanna defend that claim?

  21. cosmo,

    I am not religious nor am I a Republican. I therefore have no response to make to your accusations.

  22. cosmo,

    Even though I am not myself religious, I do think it is outrageous to refer to all religious believers as having a “fundamental derangement of mind” or having a mental illness comparable to schizophrenia. I believe this is outrageous in the same way that I believe racial prejudice is outrageous even though I am not black.

  23. So, Jason, you will not reply, then not. Schizophrenia ain’t contagious, is it?

    Show me an accusation. I asked questions. This is called paranoia.

    What would you call a belief in an immaterial, all-powerful being BUT, ‘a fundamental derangement of the mind’?

    So, again, please answer, ‘Are you as outraged when people label alien abductees as loons? Or is it just YOUR [or some, if you will] irrational beliefs that are a cause for outrage?’

  24. Jason,

    My comment (9?) states my view pretty well.
    Spiritual experience is a ‘real’ part of life, but it can not be arrived at by the deductive process of reason. You can only surmise it by its affect on the inner life. To believe in the Holy Spirit requires a leap of blind faith.
    Science, and the physical side of life, can be disucssed by the use of reaon. So, if you reject scientific findings out of hand, you are jrejecting the reasoning process that entails.

    As I said, life of the spirit, or faith, and life of the physical world (reason) are not mutually exclusive. To exclude either one is to take a shortcut to conclusions.
    The post addressed only evolution, not the entirety of the human experience. My first comment stayed wtihin the confines of the post.

  25. Doma: ‘Spiritual experience is a ‘real’ part of life, but it can not be arrived at by the deductive process of reason. You can only surmise it by its affect on the inner life.’

    So are psychosis, paranoia, and schizophrenia. But these inner effects affect the outer life.

    And none are immune from scientific inquiry.

    Are they, Jason?

  26. Jason,

    Who was referring to all religious people? Many religious people do recognize the scientific basis for believing that evolution is the best explanation for how we came to be what we are and that evolution is a scientific fact. Those religious people who reject anything but Biblical literalism are in fact by definition being irrational.

  27. Well, as always I arrive too late or too early to a thread.

    Jason, I think I made if fairly clear that I believe that one can have what I consider an idiotic or irrational belief without being an idiotic or irrational person generally. In fact, it was my first point. I know that I could probably talk to a person who believes in the creation about many subjects; the economy, world affairs, sports or even some limited aspects of science that don’t require an old earth and evolution (like computing). But that doesn’t change the fact that belief in the creation is ridiculous, irrational and idiotic. Maybe it’s not the most gentle way to put it true. If you wish I can change it to “patently, categorically, demonstrably false”.

    Just because one believes a story that has it’s basis in religion it deserves no less critical analysis than any other story. An adult who believes in unicorns would be laughed at. The only real difference between denying evolution and affirming unicorns is that with the unicorns what we have is a total lack of evidence of their existence, whereas with the creation 10.000 years ago story we have mountains of active, mutually exclusive evidence that proves it to be utter hogwash. I can certainly attempt to be patient with the individual who believes in creation, since it’s not really their fault, they were most likely taught it before they were old enough to question, but there is a point beyond which a belief does NOT warrant my respect. I don’t believe women are property that belong to men and that the punishment of mens crimes can be paid by the woman. I will not respect this view and have no problem calling it idiotic and it is a hell of a lot more subjective than evolution.

  28. I was going to join this discussion but find it best to just leave it alone.

  29. Jason’s silence translated:

    ‘Done got my ass whupped!’

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