- The percentage of people that accept some form of theistic evolution has dropped since 2012 from 46% to 42%.
- The percentage of people who accept a young earth creation model of human origins is exactly three times that of people who seldom or never attend church: 69% to 23%.
- While the percentage of people who have less than a high school education and who accept the young earth model of human origins is 57%, of those who have a college degree, only 27% accept this model.
These relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it. Those with less education are most likely to espouse the creationist view and to be least familiar with evolution, but it's not clear that gaining more education per se would shift their perspectives. Many religious Americans accept creationism mostly on the basis of their religious convictions. Whether their beliefs would change if they became more familiar with evolution is an open question.This tracks with modern-day young earth creationism, for which I do not know a single adherent who is not an evangelical Christian. I do not know whether or not the relationship is real or not. I do know that I have several friends who are Ph.D.s who are highly skeptical if not doubtful of evolution. This is not because they have familiarity with the subject (one is a materials scientist, the other a chemical engineer) but because they think it is inherently anti-Christian. My pastor, who is quite intelligent, and I engaged in a long conversation about it and yet I am quite certain that he remains unconvinced of its authenticity because, as he has stated since then, it conflicts with his understanding of scripture.
The writers also note:
However, significantly fewer Americans claim familiarity with "creationism" than did so seven years ago. In 2007, 86% were familiar, including 50% who were very familiar. Now, 76% are familiar, with just 38% very familiar. In short, even though the adherence to the creationist view has not changed over time, familiarity with the term "creationism" has diminished.Given the current news climate and what I perceive to be the increased importance of this subject in Christian circles, I find this unusual. Given that these results are not broken down by age, however, it is possible that the drop is related to the rise of people that are more a-religious and thus do not come into contact with this controversy. If this is the case, this is disheartening.