Thursday, February 05, 2009

New PEW report: Approximately 40%-50% of the public accepts a biblical creationist account of the origins of life

What else is there to say?
On Darwin’s 200th Birthday, Americans Still Divided About Evolution

by Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research, Pew Research Center, and Juliana Horowitz, Research Associate, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

February 5, 2009

February 12 will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who developed the theory of evolution through natural selection. Darwin published his treatise on evolution, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, nearly 150 years ago. Darwin's theory was controversial from the outset, and remains so among the public in his home country as well as in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Opinion polls over the past two decades have found the American public deeply divided in its beliefs about the origins and development of life on earth. Surveys are fairly consistent in their estimates of how many Americans believe in evolution or creationism. Approximately 40%-50% of the public accepts a biblical creationist account of the origins of life, while comparable or slightly larger numbers accept the idea that humans evolved over time. The wording of survey questions generally makes little systematic difference in this division of opinion, and there has been little change in the percentage of the public who reject the idea of evolution.

(Full report here.)

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