39% of Americans believe in evolution

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39% of Americans believe in evolution

What are your thoughts on this article below?

 

Frank Newport, Gallup's editor-in-chief, wrote that attitudes were shaped to an even greater degree by religion.

"Previous Gallup research shows that the rate of church attendance is fairly constant across educational groups, suggesting that this relationship is not owing to an underlying educational difference but instead reflects a direct influence of religious beliefs on belief in evolution," he said.

Among weekly churchgoers, only 24 percent said they believe in evolution, while 41 percent do not and 35 percent have no opinion.

Inversely, 55 percent of those who seldom or never attend church expressed belief in evolution, while 11 percent do not, and 34 percent have no opinion.

A new poll released just in time for Charles Darwin's 200th birthday found that only 39 percent of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," and just 24 percent of those who attend church weekly believe in that explanation for the development of life on Earth.

The Gallup survey , released Wednesday, found a quarter of those polled do not believe in evolution, and 36 percent said they don't have an opinion either way.

Another survey by the Pew Research Center got similar results.

The Gallup poll of 1,018 American adults found strong ties between education level and belief in the theory of evolution.

"Among those with high-school educations or less who have an opinion on Darwin's theory, more say they do not believe in evolution than say they believe in it," Gallup found. "For all other groups, and in particular those who have at least a college degree, belief is significantly higher than nonbelief."

Just 21 percent of respondents who had up to a high school level of education believe in evolution, compared with 74 percent of those with postgraduate degrees.

 

 


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I don't get people some

I don't get people some times.  It's been proven true, what's to believe in?


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Ugh.  The statistics are

Ugh.  The statistics are difficult to believe.

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One of the reasons why

One of the reasons why I do not like statistics is because it is hard to know what they are actually saying. For example, Michael Shermer has a similar set of statistics that correlates acceptance of evolution with age. His stats demonstrate how people tend to cast off bad ideas as they get older and presumably gain more knowledge.

 

Now the above set that goes by education level is saying something that could be related as there is some correlation between age and level of education. Granted, there are people who get doctorates in their 20's and old people with little real education. Even so, it might be interesting to see if older people with less formal education but still significant practical learning are more likely to accept evolution.

 

Also, I notice that the survey is (as many surveys that purport to show something meaningful do) based on a sample of just over 1,000 people. Now granted, it would be impractical and expensive to survey many millions of people for every single question. However, it is well known that small samples tend to distort data in odd ways.

 

Be it acceptance of science or presidential approval ratings, these surveys are almost always based on a sample of slightly over 1,000 respondents. Heck but as little as a week before a presidential election one can always find some survey that will appear to run opposite to what the results a week later will finally turn out to be. Presumably, by a week before the general election, enough people have figured out who they want to vote for that a large enough sample size should produce decent results.

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 Quote:Ugh.  The

 

Quote:
Ugh.  The statistics are difficult to believe.

I live in a college town, and it's shocking to me how many college students cringe when I so much as mention evolution in a public conversation.  I find it to be a difficult pill to swallow, but I'm looking at the pill, and it's real.

 

 

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 Quote:Also, I notice that

 

Quote:
Also, I notice that the survey is (as many surveys that purport to show something meaningful do) based on a sample of just over 1,000 people. Now granted, it would be impractical and expensive to survey many millions of people for every single question. However, it is well known that small samples tend to distort data in odd ways.

I think a lot of the problem we have with surveys is that most people misunderstand what they mean.  This survey doesn't attempt to prove that 39% of Americans believe in evolution.  It demonstrates that there's good data to indicate that within limits, this is a representative sample of the American public.

I would guess that in my college town, as much as perhaps 50 or 55% of the educated population understand and accept evolution.  I'd also guess that if I drove thirty minutes out of town, the number would probably drop to around 25%, based on exactly where I decided to stop.

You raise some good questions, and I'm sure that if larger, more detailed surveys were done, we'd learn some of the probable answers.  Still, just because this survey is small and broad, it isn't worthless.  It does illustrate clearly that there are a LOT of people who don't accept evolution.

 

 

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39%? That is kind of scary.

39%? That is kind of scary. I would expect it to be way higher here in South Africa. Even the churches teach that evolution is true here (at least the one I used to go to). I really cannot understand it. I had never even heard of creation until I got the Internet a couple months ago

 

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Observer wrote:What are your

Observer wrote:

What are your thoughts on this article below?

...

 

A new poll released just in time for Charles Darwin's 200th birthday found that only 39 percent of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," ...

 

The more I think about it, the more I don't like the use of the word "believe" in this context. If the survey question was: "Do you believe in the theory of evolution?", then I think it was a bad survey. A theory isn't really something you believe in, it's something you understand or you don't.

Asking the question with the word "believe" instead of "understand" makes it more loaded than it should be.

 

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Just over 1000 person sample

Just over 1000 person sample is not enough to extend to 350 million people.

 

 

I'm very skeptical of stats with sample sizes this small.

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Just

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Just over 1000 person sample is not enough to extend to 350 million people.

 

 

I'm very skeptical of stats with sample sizes this small.

I couldn't agree more. I have not seen many larger samples either. Regardless of how much effort is put into getting a random sample, one cannot ensure that the sample is in fact random. For all anyone knows, all the participants may have been from a single state. Or small towns. Or cities. Or a crazy number of other possible groups that would completely nullify the sample altogether. And noone would ever know. While I see them like anyone else does, I tend to take them with a few grains of salt.

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     I admit that I do

 

 

 

 

 

I admit that I do not understand exactly how or why stats only take in 1000 or so people. Yet, I have seen presentations by statisticians on the issue that give credible data that such a poll of this number would reflect an accurate assessment.  Although, the concerns you all raise are valid and bring suspicion to the reliability of such a poll to me as well.

 


Ivon
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Geography can make huge

Geography can make huge differences on surveys like this. If you asked 1,000 people in Southern California, you’d get an entirely different result than if you asked 1,000 people in Southern Georgia.  

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