US acceptance of evolution holds steady overall, drops among Republicans

Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the results of a poll of US residents that asked about their acceptance of the theory of evolution. In keeping with past surveys, this one found that a completely uncontroversial idea within the scientific community—modern organisms are the result of evolution—is rejected by a third of the US public. While that fraction has held steady over time, the survey found that the political divide over evolution has grown over the past four years, with Republicans now even more likely to reject the idea than they were before.

In the poll, people were asked whether they thought that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, or if we and other creatures had evolved over time. To make sure that mentioning humans didn’t make things overly personal, Pew also asked a subset of questions just about other animals; this didn’t make any difference in responses.

Acceptance of evolution was higher in younger people and those who had graduated college, as had been found in previous polling. Among the 60 percent of Americans who do accept the theory, a bit over half ascribed it solely to natural causes—32 percent of the total. 25 percent of all adults believed in some form of theistic evolution, where a deity or deities guided the process, possibly in a way that’s indistinguishable from the random mutations that have been observed. That figure’s a bit higher in most religious groups, and a bit lower among the unaffiliated.

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via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/zApBqDvlr3U/

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