Curriculum A National Roundup

Poll Shows Majority of Americans Favor Teaching Creationism in Public Schools

By Sean Cavanagh — September 07, 2005 1 min read

Poll results released last week show that 64 percent of Americans favor teaching creationism alongside evolution in public school classrooms, while only 26 percent oppose that approach.

Support for presenting both scientific and biblically based accounts of the origin of human life is reflected broadly across Americans of various religious and political affiliations, from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats, according to the report released Aug. 30 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a research organization in Washington.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that creationism—the belief that God created the universe and all living things—should be taught instead of evolution. Forty-nine percent do not agree with that position.

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Table: Views on Life’s Origins

Overall, 42 percent of Americans said that they believe humans have always existed in their present form, in what amounts to a creationist view. Forty-eight percent believe humans evolved over time, the poll found.

Of those who support evolution, 18 percent believe that the process was guided by a supreme being, and 26 percent believe it occurred through natural selection, the theory advanced by Charles Darwin and supported by the vast majority of scientists.

The poll of 2,000 adults was conducted July 7-17 by telephone and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

It found that views of life’s origins varied greatly by religious and political affiliation and level of education. Seventy percent of white evangelical Protestants, for instance, believe humans have always existed in their present form, while only 31 percent of white Catholics share that view.

Nearly 60 percent of conservative Republicans hold to that creationist view, while only 29 percent of liberal Democrats espouse that belief. Sixty-six percent of college graduates believe in evolution, compared with 36 percent of those with a high school education or less.

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