Friday, June 08, 2007

Evolutionism vs Creationism: Poll Reveals Surprising Results

There is a new USA Today/Gallup Poll that asks Americans if they believe in Evolution or Creationism. There is a twist. Gallup rotated the questions. Some people polled were asked if they believed first if evolution over millions of years was true, or young earth creationism of under 10,000 years was true.

The numbers are depressing on two counts. More Americans believe in creationism than evolution. Or do they? 66% said young earth creationism was accurate when polled that question, but 53% agreed with "Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life", if they were given that statement.

It all depends on which question was asked. If the nice pollster asked if you agreed with 99% of scientists, people said yes. If you asked people if their religion was accurate on the age of the planet, they said yes as well.

Some would call this cognitive dissonance. I would suggest that people want to please pollsters with affirmative answers. For those who take polling as a certain science, these numbers should give one great pause.

Polls might be great on determining three days out which candidate is going to win, but on a question of intellectual, philosophical, or religious beliefs, these numbers provide a glimpse into how malleable people's positions are on contentious issues. Take any survey data on a topic like this with a boulder sized grain of salt.