A new survey from Pew Research Center finds a little progress being made on Americans’ acceptance of evolution. While a couple decades of Gallup polls have found nearly 50% believe that humans were created in their current form within the last 10,000 years, this poll finds much higher acceptance of human evolution.
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, six-in-ten Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third (33%) reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” The share of the general public that says that humans have evolved over time is about the same as it was in 2009, when Pew Research last asked the question.
About half of those who express a belief in human evolution take the view that evolution is “due to natural processes such as natural selection” (32% of the American public overall). But many Americans believe that God or a supreme being played a role in the process of evolution. Indeed, roughly a quarter of adults (24%) say that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”
There’s an interesting distinction between evangelical Christians and those from mainline denominations:
A majority of white evangelical Protestants (64%) and half of black Protestants (50%) say that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. But in other large religious groups, a minority holds this view. In fact, nearly eight-in-ten white mainline Protestants (78%) say that humans and other living things have evolved over time.
That is consistent with my experience. The mainline denominations have not made a point of disputing evolution or arguing for a literal Genesis creation story, while the more fundamentalist and evangelical ones have.