Republican Acceptance of Evolution Plummets

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 30 2013 1:08 PM

Republican Acceptance of Evolution Plummets

“Dinosaurs of Eden” by Ken Ham.
“Dinosaurs of Eden” by Ken Ham.

Courtesy of Ken Ham

A poll released today by the Pew Research Center reveals that acceptance of evolution among Republicans has plummeted in recent years, from 54 percent in 2009 to a jarring 43 percent today. The poll also found that a startling 48 percent of Republicans believe that all living things today have existed in their present form since the start of time. 

Democrats and independents fared much better: 67 percent of Democrats accept evolution today (up from 64 percent in 2009), while 65 percent of independents accept it (down from 67 percent in 2013). Overall, 60 percent of Americans accept the basic fact that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” meaning 40 percent support, to varying degrees, creationism

Advertisement

But there’s a twist buried in that 60 percent figure. Only half of Americans who accept evolution as fact also accept that it is “due to natural process such as natural selection.” (That means only 32 percent of Americans accept that fundamental scientific notion, better known as natural selection.) And 24 percent of Americans overall—including some who claim to accept evolution—believe 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” (better known as intelligent design). Taken together, this means that not even a plurality of Americans accept evolution driven by natural selection, one of the most foundational and indisputable facts of modern science. 

The more educated Americans become, however, the less likely they are to deny evolution: According to the Pew poll, acceptance of evolution correlated closely with level of education. 72 percent of college graduates acknowledge that humans have evolved over time, while only 51 percent of those with a high school degree or less accept human evolution. Young people, too, are less likely to be creationists: 68 percent of American age 18-29 accept evolution, while only 49 percent of those age 65 and up acknowledge its validity. 

The anti-evolution crowd, then, might be going to the way of the dinosaurs—but in the meantime, it looks like the Ark Park might just get enough support to break ground. 

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nobody Knows How Many Gay Married Couples Live in America—Not Even the Census Bureau

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 7:46 PM Azealia Banks’ New Single Is Her Best in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.