On December 30, 2013, the Pew Research Center published another survey on public attitudes about human evolution. Pew last took this survey in 2009. Pew finds attitudes seemingly little different today from four years ago. But in one key respect, attitudes are changing. Namely: those who stick to evolution on one hand, and creation on the other, now sort themselves as conservatives and liberals, respectively.
Human evolution or creation: the wrong question
The Pew survey asked whether one believed that
- Humans and other life forms over time, or
- Humans and other life forms have always been as they are today.
If you are astute enough, you can spot the flaw at once. The question should not be whether humans and other forms of life are no different today from how they were five thousand years ago, or even five billion years (by conventional theory). It should be:
- Did all forms of life descend and derive from one common ancestor, or
- Did life begin with many broad forms, with no form giving rise to another, but different forms giving rise to families of present forms?
That is what a modern creation advocate asserts today. It is the basis of baraminology, the study of created kinds.
But perhaps most people understood the question really to mean:
- Did man and ape derive from a common ancestor, or
- Is man man, and ape ape, and never the twain did or shall meet?
So one can reasonably hope Pew's survey sample understood what Pew were asking about human evolution.
Pew did one thing right: they asked people how human evolution took place. Did human evolution work through:
- Purely natural, that is, "wild" processes? Or
- The direct guidance from God?
Thus they distinguished atheistic evolution from theistic evolution or "progressive creation."
Human evolution survey results
Pew found 60 percent of their sample agreeing with human evolution, and 33 percent agreeing with human creation instead. But that 33 percent means instant or special creation. Pew broke down the other 60 percent into:
- 32 percent accepting atheistic evolution (wild processes only), and
- 24 percent choosing theistic evolution (meaning, God guided it).
People of different religious faiths feel differently about human evolution, Pew found. White evangelical Protestants believe far more in special creation than in human evolution. Black Protestants split themselves down the middle. White Catholics are more likely to accept human evolution than special creation. But white mainline Protestants are most likely to accept human evolution.
This should surprise no one. Pope Francis openly promotes human evolution. Pope Benedict XVI did the same before him. Mainline Protestant churches have degenerated into apostasy, blasphemy, and heresy. (Witness the Protestant Episcopal Church under bishops like Otis Pike and John Shelby Spong.) Human evolution would be part of that as a matter of course. But evangelical church leaders are more likely to stress that you either believe all the Bible or none of it. And the Bible speaks of special creation. The Bible has no room in It for "progressive creation," i.e., theistic evolution.
And how did human evolution work out, according to those that accept it? Those having no religious affiliation, are more likely to propound atheistic evolution. The few white evangelical Protestants who accept human evolution, will more often insist that God guided that. White Catholics and white mainline Protestants who accept human evolution, split down the middle. So much for a true relationship with God in their lives.
Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
Job 38:2-3, NASB
Hispanic Catholics are more likely to insist that God guided human evolution, if they accept it at all. (For more of them than their white counterparts, kick over the traces and plump for special creation.)
Politicians, pay attention
Today, Republicans are more likely to plump for special creation, and Democrats are more likely to plump for human evolution. Four years ago, most Republicans would have accepted human evolution, either "wild" or under Divine guidance. No more! Pew showed no results from asking people to distinguish between atheistic evolution and progressive creation. The best way to explain this result is: Republicans are throwing off weasel concepts like theistic evolution and instead opt for straight down-the-line special creation, just as the Bible says.
Pew also found that the young accept human evolution more than the old. And that college makes people accept human evolution. (Why not? Most colleges teach human evolution.) But Pew almost glossed over one result: men are significantly more likely than women to opt for human evolution. What might the theory of human evolution have in it, that makes women uncomfortable? Could the notion of human evolution encourage negative male behavior? Again, Pew did not ask. But Julian Huxley once said human evolution appealed to them by excusing loose sexual mores.
Politicians should pay attention. But so, too, should clergy.