Feeds

Natural selection fighting to survive in the US

Ah, religion and politics

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.