According to a Gallup poll conducted June 25-27, 2000, Americans from the U.S. favor teaching creationism in the public schools, along with evolutionism, by a margin of 68% to 29%. However, by a margin of 55% to 40%, they would oppose replacing evolution with creation (see Creationism in America).

Despite public support for teaching those subjects in public schools, most Americans do not believe them to be crucial to a person's education. According to a Gallup poll, conducted August 24-26, 2000, only 28% of Americans say evolution should be a required subject and 49% say it should be an elective one.

According to the most recent Gallup poll, 47% of Americans believe that God created human beings at one time within the last 10,000 years pretty much in their present form , while 49% believe that human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, including 40% who say that God guided the process, and 9% who say that God had no part in the process. This pattern of responses is essentially unchanged from the four previous times it was asked -- first in 1982, second in 1993, third in 1997, and then again in 1999.

Should the above data demonstrate that nearly 50% of Americans are wrong? Or are such kind of statistics biased?

The Gallup Organization, Princeton. POLL ANALYSES. February 14, 2001

Its all in how you ask the question

Unfortunately, Gallup requires a paid registration, so I can't get the exact wording of the question. But I suspect the finding that 68% want creation taught in the schools is not so much a bias as a result of a bad poll, but a true finding that people don't object if creation1 is mentioned in school. This isn't as alarming as it sounds. The evolution-creation controversy is, for better or worse, an important part of U.S. culture. Science classes should discuss and debunk creation "science" the same way they discuss and debunk eugenics, phrenology, or the myth that cats always land on their feet. Its also possible people in the first question of the poll are reacting to the (in my opinion) over-reaction of some educators who feel if the words "creationism" or "creation science" are even mentioned in school, the end democracy is nigh.

The finding in the subsequent poll questions, that a substantial minority actually favor replacing evolution with creation, is far, far more disturbing. Educators and administrators need to stop the knee-jerk censorship of religious ideas in the schools, and engage their students in a frank and open discussion of both so the students learn the difference.2


1. In my original post I apparently didn't proofread carefully, and this sentence originally read "...people don't object if evolution is mentioned in school." That sentence has now been corrected to what I intended to write. Sorry.

2. For example, I don't think science supports any of the other variations of creation "science", such as intelligent design. Read my contribution to Watching the Teleological Argument in action for more on this.

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