Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poll figures on the American view of creation

Today's show:

In a June 2007 Gallup poll of American adults:

48% said they believe that God, in a single act, created human beings in their present form, sometime within the last 10,000 years

30% of the respondents believe in a divinely guided evolution, in which man evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life

13% believe that God played no part in the evolution of human beings.

[source: USA Today]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
These polls reveal a dual disaster of diminished science (and excellence) standards in our schools and the strengthening tide of Christian fundamentalism in the US. Polls on this issue have been taken in America for over 2 decades. Here are what a few earlier polls have shown:

Gallup poll November 2004

34% of respondents regarded the Bible as to be taken literally
48% regarded it as divinely inspired but not always to be taken literally
15% regarded it as a collection of fables, etc., and
3% expressed no opinion.

Channel One News poll Jan 2002
Which theory should be taught in schools?

31% creationism only
17% evolution only
52% both

Gallup poll August 1999
Should creationism and evolution be taught in US schools?

68% yes
29% no
3% no opinion

Should creationism be taught instead of evolution?

40% yes
55% no
5% no opinion

Excuse me while I cry in my coffee.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
American is, and I do hope always will be, a nation of faith. Godlessness should not be wished upon any adversary, let alone our own country. A people of faith do not have to reject science in order to embrace their beliefs. Let's be clear that looking at this issue from a black and white standpoint will only be culturally divisive and cause needless confusion in the educational system. We can make room for both. I ask the scientists to make room for faith; I ask believers to make room for science.

These poll results tell me that we are not a country yet divided in a 'culture war'. We have a heritage of pride in our diversity, and I believe we are managing to find a healthy middle ground.