New Pew Poll Shows Republicans, Evangelicals Least Likely to Accept Evolution

A new Pew research poll on the “Public’s Views on Human Evolution” was released presenting data that backs up what many political and religious scholars have suspected for some time: that white Evangelical Republicans (particularly older ones) constitute the group that most rejects the basic scientific principle of human evolution via natural selection.

The results are simultaneously unbelievable and yet quite typical, or at the very least, expected.

While only 33% of adult Americans still don’t accept human evolution via natural selection, opting instead to believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time”, THAT NUMBER NEARLY DOUBLES TO 64% among white evangelical protestants(!) AND, of those white evangelical protestants that did accept evolution, half of them said that a “supreme being guided [the] process.” As a point of comparison, a majority of Catholics (both white, 68%, and Hispanic, 53%) accept human evolution.

But what is truly disturbing is the continued religio-political marriage between the Republican party and white Evangelicals (the most fundamentalist of whom are spearheading the even more conservative Tea Party movements). While a majority of Independents (65%) and Democrats (67%) accept evolution as the origin of humankind, A MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS NOW REJECT EVOLUTION – with 48% of Republicans saying that humans “existed in present from since the beginning”, and only 43% of Republicans accepting evolution. And incredulously, unlike trends in nearly every other demographic where science and science education appear to (finally!) be taking root and acceptance of human evolution is increasing, THE PERCENTAGE OF REPUBLICANS ACCEPTING EVOLUTION IS ACTUALLY DOWN 11%(!!) over the past four years, from 54% in 2009 to 43% in 2013.

No wonder many think the Republican party is out of touch. Statistically, Republicans are actually getting DUMBER scientifically! Then again, look at the recent major Republican political candidates and their religious views. Good grief!

Also of note in the survey:

  • Men accept evolution more than women (65% to 55%).
  • Not surprisingly, college graduates accept evolution far more than those with a high school or less education (72% to 51%).
  • And again not surprisingly, younger demographics consistently accept evolution more than their older counterparts, with 68% of those ages 18-29 accepting evolution, roughly 60% of those ages 30-64, but only 49% of those 65 and older accepting evolution. This is likely due to a number of factors, including an increased acceptance of science and scientific principles among high school and college students, the rise of the Internet and the availability of credible information about evolution – information that is not always taught by parents and pastors, and it is also likely a reflection of the increasing rejection of traditional religious institutions by younger generations.

In sum, we now have hard data to support what many of us have observed for some time now: a correlation between older generations, white Evangelicals, the Republican party, and a rejection of one of the basic principles of science, namely human evolution via natural selection.

We can take hope, however, that among both Christian and non-religious groups alike, there is an overall increase in the acceptance of human evolution via natural selection, and that those still rejecting evolution appear to be limited to groups that are lesser educated, Evangelical, and of older ages. Again, this is likely due to an increased acceptance of science and scientific principles among younger generations, the Internet’s ability to provide increasingly credible information about evolution and information demonstrating the fallacies (both scientific and religious) of Creationism, and the increasingly pervasive stigma that Creationism is associated with old, white, conservative, Evangelical Republicans who are out of touch with science, reality, and the majority of the people.


UPDATE: I had the wrong URL in the initial link to the Pew study. It now correctly links to the study.

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Thoughts on the Reelection of President Obama

President Barack Obama visits the University of Iowa

President Barack Obama visits the University of Iowa in Sept, 2012.

This was a good night for Democrats. It was a good night for us moderates who voted for the President. It was a painful night for Republicans, who not only lost the Presidency in a bad economy, but actually LOST seats in the US Senate.

In fact, if the President wins Florida (where he is presently leading by approx 40K votes with 100% of the precincts reporting), the final electoral count will be 332-206. This means President Obama won every swing state: FL, OH, WI, VA, NV, IA, CO, & NH. He is also winning the popular vote by 2.6 million votes.

It was a great night for marriage equality, as Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota all passed voter-approved same-sex marriage laws that allow same sex marriage. Let us remember what has happened in just the past few years. First, Republicans tried to ban same-sex marriage, so the courts threw it out. Republicans then accused them of being “activist judges”, so legislatures began to pass it. Not liking that, Republicans tried to place it back on the ballots as initiatives. However, the tide has swung so much since 2008, states are now beginning to pass same-sex marriage in the voting booth. This is truly a testament to equality and perseverance on the part of those who seek to stamp out discrimination on the basis if sexual orientation.

Likewise, Americans witnessed the election of the first openly gay US Senator in Wisconsin.

The big losers of the night were Christian fundamentalist Republicans, who not only failed to stop President Obama from winning reelection, but who watched the self-inflicted wounds of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin lose in Missouri and Richard “Rape pregnancy is God’s Will” Mourdock lose in Indiana, costing the Republicans the Senate. Then again, if they follow their own logic, since this happened, it must be God’s will, right?

I am proud that an African-American has won yet another election to the Presidency of the United States of America!

I am proud to have cast my first vote as an Iowan for President Obama and for our Iowa District 2 US Congressman, Dave Loebsack. I got to see the President when he came to the University of Iowa this fall. It was fun to hear a campaign speech, since California has only been an ATM machine for both parties for some time now.

(UPDATE) Women are also winners, as a record number of women were elected to the US Senate. (/UPDATE)

This is total vindication for nerd/genius Nate Silver at the Five Thirty Eight blog, who called this BIG for President Obama. (Did I say BIG? I meant PERFECTLY.)

It was also painful (and somewhat embarrassing) to watch Karl Rove argue (and chastise) the FoxNews anchors when they called Ohio (and the election) for President Obama. As

I’m waiting for the GOP to turn on GOP National Chair Reince Priebus who, in an economy THIS bad, not only watched the President win reelection, but watched the GOP actually lose seats in the Senate.

I will also be curious to see how President Obama did among Evangelical Christians. I remember reading that Obama won ~25% of Evangelicals in 2008. I’m curious to see if that number is up from 2008 and why. As a professor of Religious Studies, I’m curious to see if Evangelicals really did turn out to vote for a Mormon, a faith tradition that, up until Mitt Romney visited him just before the election, Evangelical godfather Billy Graham had designated as a cult on his own website.

I also see that Rick Santorum used election day to make a fool of himself one last time with this unfortunate tweet. (He apparently hasn’t Googled his name in a while, or still doesn’t understand double entendre.)

My favorite comments (most via Twitter) of the night were:

  • “Binders full of electoral votes” (@Hipster_Christ)
  • “Todd Akin lost. I guess when you’re a “legitimate religious fundy”, women’s bodies have a way of “shutting that down”. (@xkv8r)
  • “Legitimate loss” for Todd Akin in Missouri. (@xkv8r)
  • CNN pundit just said Romney’s stance on Latinos cost him: “Romney self-deported from the White House”. (@xkv8r)
  • Before it starts, I’m calling @BarackObama’s acceptance speech a failure if it doesn’t end with a mic drop. (@Hipster_Christ)
  • Claire McCaskill has won the MO senate seat over Todd Akin, dealing a serious blow to “legitimate rape”. #GodsWill (@xkv8r)
  • For those of you who do not like the outcome of the election, four states have legalized marijuana. (@eJoelWatts)

One positive for Republicans is that right-wing Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann barely win reelection. However, I count this as a victory as well, because if she had lost, FoxNews would have hired or her, or worse yet, she’d have gotten a reality show on some channel. As a congresswoman, I’ll have to listen to her much less.

So at the end of the day,

  • Obama wins re-election with over 300 electoral votes (My prediction was 290; I gave FL and VA to Romney.) Only 6.9% of respondents to my blog poll called this (although 65% had President Obama winning.)
  • Right wing Evangelical “legitimate rape” is “God’s will” fundys lost (and lost the senate for the GOP).
  • Same-sex marriage is beginning to be approved on ballots, and openly gay politicians are beginning to be elected, signalling a decline in discrimination against homosexuals.
  • FoxNews looked like idiots throughout yet another election cycle (especially Karl Rove on election night).
  • And Big Bird is safe.

To quote the venerable poet Ice Cube, “Damn it was a good day!” ;-)

obsessive religious people vs. nerds

this is actually quite funny (and accurate).

with a hat tip to dr. mcgrath.

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