Feeds

Natural selection fighting to survive in the US

Ah, religion and politics

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A mere 26 per cent of people in the US believe that life on Earth has evolved without any input from a supreme being, according to new figures from The Pew Research Center.

Unsurprisingly, secular respondents were overwhelmingly more likely to say they believed in the theory of natural selection. But even in this group, 15 per cent said life has not changed since time began, and 10 per cent agreed that change over time was likely to have been guided by a supreme being.

This does make us wonder if these people all knew what "secular" means, and indeed researchers at Pew say that an analysis of the poll suggests that there is some confusion among respondents about the meaning of the words evolution and creationism.

They point to inconsistencies in people's declared beliefs and what they think ought to be taught in schools, after 64 per cent of those surveyed said creationism ought to be taught alongside evolutionary theory.

Age, sex and race also seem to be big factors in what people are likely to believe, with women being more inclined to go with God than are men: overall, 47 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men told the Pew pollsters that they believe humans, and other lifeforms, have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

Of the 48 per cent of the population who believes that life has evolved, well over a third (37.5 per cent) think that its evolution was guided by a supreme being.

White respondents were the most likely to go with Darwin (27 per cent reported a belief in natural selection), compared to 22 per cent of Hispanic respondents and 14 per cent of those who gave their ethnicity as black. More than half (53 per cent) of the black respondents said life has existed unchanged since the dawn of time.

Those under 30 were the least likely (37 per cent) to state that life has existed since T=0, unchanged. This figure rises to 50 per cent in the over 65s.

In the over 50 age group, just 15 per cent of women have faith in evolution compared to 26 per cent of men, and for the under 50s, 34 per cent of men shun the idea of a supreme being, compared to 25 per cent of women.

The survey also probed the US public's attitude to religion and politics. While most Americans are quite happy for their politicians to openly declare their religion, the number of people who are uncomfortable with how much President Bush mentions prayer and religion has doubled over the last two years, and now stands at 28 per cent.

You can read more of Pew's own analysis and check out the breakdown of the figures here. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.