A growing number of Americans are choosing to believe in the idea that humans were created by God without the use of evolution, according to a recent survey conducted by researchers at Rice University. The report surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that 41 percent of respondents believed that humans were created in their current form by an “intelligent design” or a “divine intervention” – sometimes referred to as “young Earth creationism” – as opposed to evolution, which is a process in which species change over time as a result of natural selection and adaptation.
Researchers posited the results to a rise in religious affiliation among Americans—56 percent of those surveyed identified as “religious” or “very religious”—and speculated that this figure has grown significantly over the past 10-15 years. The survey also found that those who identified with a specific religion (53 percent) were twice as likely to support the notion of divine intervention than those who were not (25 percent).
The result of the survey have caused some experts on the matter to worry that the widespread belief in divine intervention and a “young Earth” is indicative of a lack of knowledge about the biology and science behind evolution, as well as other related aspects of natural sciences such as paleontology, anthropology, and geology. Other worry that the results may lead to further rejection of the scientific facts, and ultimately lead to a perplexing value problem—either people will adopt a belief that does not reflect the realities of science, or accept the facts of science but reject the faith-based beliefs of their religion.
Regardless of the personal values of the respondents, one thing is clear: the survey results indicate that many Americans have a faith-based belief that humans were created, rather than evolved, and the implications of this belief remain to be seen.