(Photo: REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro)
A Gallup poll released earlier this week suggests that nearly 50 percent of Americans continue to believe that God created human beings "in present form" in the past 10,000 years.
According to Gallup's report, 42 percent of Americans assert this perspective, a figure which has stayed relatively consistent since the question was first asked in 1982, when 44 percent of respondents agreed with it. (It peaked in 1994 and 1999 with 47 percent.)
Thirty-one percent of Americans agreed with the statement that affirmed that God guided an evolutionary process from which humans evolved; only 19 percent of those surveyed said that the evolutionary process was devoid of the divine.
The survey found that those most likely to affirm this perspective were less likely to have attended college, and attended a church, synagogue, mosque or temple more frequently and were more likely to be 65 or older. Sixty-nine percent of Americans affirming this perspective attended religious services at last once a week; roughly 20 percent of those who marked seldom or never agreed with the position.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans without a college degree also agreed that God actively created humans, compared to 27 percent who had graduated from school.
According to Gallup's analysis, "These relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it."
"Those with less education are most likely to espouse the creationist view and to be least familiar with evolution, but it's not clear that gaining more education, per se, would shift their perspectives. Many religious Americans accept creationism mostly on the basis of their religious convictions. Whether their beliefs would change if they became more familiar with evolution is an open question," the report stated.
The pollsters also explained that since Gallup had first asked the question, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans had stated that "creationist explanation for the origin of human life best fits their personal views."
"Those who adopt the creationist view also tend to have lower education levels, but given the strong influence of religious beliefs, it is not clear to what degree having more education or different types of education might affect their views," it added.
Gallup surveyed a random sample of 1,028 adults between May 8-11.
Last month, The Associated Press asked participants to rate their confidence on several statements to science.
Fifty-one percent of surveyed Americans said they are "not too/not at all confident" that "the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang." Only 25 percent expressed skepticism that "the universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation."
Forty-two percent said they were not confident in the statement "life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection."
On the age of the Earth, 36 percent expressed skepticism that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Thirty-seven percent also lacked confidence in the statement "the average temperature of the world is rising, mostly because of man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gases."
The Associated Press conducted their recent poll in late March via an online panel that interviewed 1,012 adults meant to represent the U.S. population. There was a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.