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DARWIN AT 200: Just 39% believe evolution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Supporters of Darwinian evolution celebrated the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth Feb. 12, but a new poll shows that Americans aren’t buying the naturalist’s controversial theory.

According to the Gallup survey, 39 percent of American adults say they “believe in the theory of evolution.” Twenty-five percent say they don’t believe in the theory, and another 36 percent don’t have an opinion either way.

This year marks not only the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth but the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark book, “On the Origin of Species.”

Churchgoers are the least likely to believe in evolution, according the poll, which surveyed 1,018 adults Feb. 6-7. Of those who attend church weekly, 24 percent believe in evolution, 41 percent don’t believe and 35 percent have no opinion either way.

“As Darwin is being lauded as one of the most important scientists in history on the 200th anniversary of his birth (on Feb. 12, 1809), it is perhaps dismaying to scientists who study and respect his work to see that well less than half of Americans today say they believe in the theory of evolution,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote on the polling company’s website.

The Gallup poll is but the latest one showing that Americans part company with scientists who teach evolution as a proven theory:

— A new Zogby poll commissioned by the Discovery Institute shows that 78 percent of likely voters believe biology teachers should teach students the scientific evidence against evolution as well as the evidence for it. Fourteen percent believe only the scientific evidence that supports it should be taught. Additionally, 80 percent of likely voters say “teachers and students should have the academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. Sixteen percent disagree. The poll of 1,053 likely voters was conducted Jan. 29-31.

— A 2008 Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God made humans “pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” Another 36 percent believed humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, with God guiding the process. Fourteen percent believed in a God-less evolution. The poll of 1,017 adults was done May 8-11, 2008.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. For an extensive biblical critique of Darwin and evolution, visit AlbertMohler.com, where approximately 20 evolution-related articles and radio program files have been compiled. The website is the blog of R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

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  • Michael Foust