Polling pastors on evolution–National Center for Science Education
There are a few interesting points regarding this poll:
- The poll was commissioned by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, a rather conservative Christian denomination. I’m concerned about the inherent bias.
- Protestants in various parts of the country have different beliefs about science and evolution. This poll may be biased towards Southern US churches, where more literal beliefs in biblical myth is more prevalent.
- Of course, this polling does not include anyone outside of the US.
- The first question was “I believe god used evolution created people”. About 24% agreed with that, over 72% disagreed. Of course, that’s a loaded question, because a pastor might accept evolution and not think a god was involved, but it’s hard to tell without the real data.
- Interestingly, only 46% thought the earth was 6000 years old, whereas 43% disagreed (although, not sure if they thought it was 4.5 billion or something else).
- One minor, but very annoying point. One does not believe in evolution, since belief implies acceptance with or in spite of evidence. Evolution is a theory (and in science, a theory is essentially a fact) based on mountains of evidence. It does not require evidence, it requires acceptance of the evidence, or rejection of the evidence based on denialism, ignorance, or belief in an alternative explanation–or all three.
There are churches that accept evolution as is. Jews, Catholics, and most mainstream Protestants (such as Anglicans) were, of course, excluded from this poll, and would have skewed it toward “pastors” supporting evolution. Of course, anti-evolution (or evolution denialism) is so prevalent these days, we probably shouldn’t be surprised by this poll.
By the way, if you aren’t, follow the National Center for Science Education. They keep everyone updated on important issues in science education in the USA.