03/06/2014 12:15 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 12:59 BST

Creationism Myth Believed By Staggering Number Of Americans

Sandy Huffaker via Getty Images
SANTEE, CA - AUGUST 10: A visitor checks out a display of creationists at the Museum of Creation and Earth History August 10, 2005 in Santee, California. The museum contains exhibits that depict the story of Creationism and refute the theory of Evolution. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- A staggering number of Americans hold the view that God created man within the last 10,000 years. According to a recent poll from Gallup, more than 40% of US citizens subscribe to a literal reading of the Bible that insists the Almighty rendered man forth in his present form far more recently than the fossil record would otherwise suggest.

More than 30% of Americans believe that man evolved (according to natural selection) but with God guiding the process, while 19% believe that humans evolved with God playing no part in the process.

The three-part question, which has been asked by Gallup since 1982, stated:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the development and origin of human beings?

  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process.
  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.
  • God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.

Since the poll was first taken, the number of Americans believing in the creationist myth has dropped only 2%, while those believing man evolved under God’s guiding hand dropped from 38% to 31%.

The most significant change came amongst those that believe humans evolved without Divine agency, which has risen from 9% in 1982 to 19% in 2014.

Regional, educational and age factors influence how Americans answered, with those in the South more likely to believe in creationism. Likewise, the poorly educated were also more likely to believe in the Biblical version of man’s origins, as were those over 50 years of age.

A 2009 survey for Christian think-tank Theos found that 80% of Britons did not believe in creationism or its rebrand intelligent design.

Survey data came from telephone interviews between May 8-11, 2014, with a random sample size of 1,028 adults aged 18 or older. The sampling error is ±4 percentage points, with a confidence level of 95%.

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