Religion and evolution will take center stage Tuesday evening in Petersburg, Ky., home of the Creation Museum and the site of a debate between Ken Ham, the museum’s founder, and Bill Nye. The topic: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
Nye is the former host of the children’s TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and a science education advocate; he has
A recent Pew Research survey finds that most Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” But a third of U.S. adults (33%) reject that point of view, instead saying that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.
Nye (the 2010 Humanist of the Year and a self-labeled agnostic) and Ham may represent extreme ends of the spectrum with their beliefs, but in between are some other perspectives, which can be somewhat difficult to capture in public opinion surveys. For example, roughly a quarter of Americans (24%) believe in evolution with God in the equation, saying that “a supreme being” guided the process (sometimes called “theistic evolution”).
Those positions appear to be reflected at least somewhat in our polling. While nearly two-thirds of white evangelicals (64%) say humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, 78% of white mainline Protestants say humans have evolved – about the same share as the religiously unaffiliated (76%). A majority of white Catholics (68%) also believe in evolution.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.