The Gallup poll of 1,019 adults found that 40 percent of Americans agree that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so" -- a statement in direct conflict with evolutionary theory and one that closely mirrors a conservative interpretation of the Genesis creation account. Another 38 percent believe "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life" but that God guided the process, and 16 percent believe humans developed over millions of years without God playing a role.
Polls consistently show that more than 40 percent of Americans outright reject evolution, a statistic not found in most other countries. In Gallup's 1982 poll, for example, 44 percent of Americans agreed that God created humans in their present form in the last 10,000 years. It stood at 47 percent in 1999 and 46 percent in 2006.
A Virginia Commonwealth University poll from earlier this year found similar results. In that poll:
-- 43 percent agreed that "God directly created biological life in its present form at one point in time."
-- 24 percent believed that "biological life developed over time from simple substances" but that God guided it.
-- 18 percent believed "biological life developed over time from simple substances" but that God had no role.
The Gallup poll was conducted Dec. 10-12, the VCU poll May 12-18.
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.
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