A while back, I conducted an informal poll on how Americans view evolution, with the same questions asked in this June Gallup poll. My sample size was small, yet the results agreed surprisingly well with Gallup. Of those who responded to my poll, 40% agreed with the statement, “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” The other two choices were that “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life” with God’s guidance (40%), or without God taking part (20%). Gallup’s numbers were 46%, 32%, and 15%, correspondingly (margin of error ±4%, and about 7% who didn’t answer).
My results were not statistically significant, of course, but it is interesting to me that my readers don’t all hold the same opinion. That means that at least a few of you will disagree with what I say about this subject, and may even be offended by my views. Please don’t be afraid to tell me where I’m wrong, I love to learn.
Special Human Creation Session
I should add that the first question refers to a type of creationism, specifically “young earth creationism,” the idea that the universe was created within the last 10,000 years, which would preclude the natural evolution of species. Technically, according to the wording in the poll, some of the 46% could hold a hybrid view, that the universe was created millions of years ago, but God intervened a few thousand years ago to hold a special human creation session (try to say that 5 times fast).
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just consider that position. Disregarding how old the rest of the universe is, or how it came to be, were human beings and great apes created by a divine being within the last 10,000 years, or did they develop over much longer time scales from a common ancestor? This short video clip contains an argument that destroys the special creation argument of human origin. Take a look:
I highly recommend viewing the entire talk, “The Collapse of Intelligent Design” by Kenneth Miller, from which this was excerpted.
This evidence of chromosome fusion creates two problems regarding those who believe in special creation. The first is theological: why would God make primate genomes in a way that shows that humans and apes are related, if they are not?
More importantly is what it means in terms of critical thinking. Dr. Miller gave this talk in 2007, and though the clip above did circulate well in YouTube, it’s likely most creationists have never seen it. If they did see it, they would presumably brush it off as scientific double-talk. We have 42% to 50% of our population who will not examine evolution critically, because it conflicts with their world-view, who think that accepting the theory of evolution precludes faith in God. Nearly half our population believes that scientific findings are unreliable. You don’t have to be a scientist to see that this is a problem.
Well, I can see it’s a problem, and I’m not a scientist. It doesn’t matter to me what you believe about God, but if half of Americans don’t have confidence in the scientific method, we’re in trouble. It means half of Americans prefer to get their information from other than experiential sources. So, where are they getting their information? See the problem?