back to article Only 1 in 5 Americans believe in pure evolution – and that's an upswing

According to a new poll by YouGov, the number of Americans who believe in evolution not directed by God is rising, but those pure evolutionists still only account for one in five of those surveyed. Specifically, YouGov asked its "representative sample of 1,000 Americans" how they felt about three versions of human evolution …

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  1. mhoulden
    Boffin

    Intelligent design/creationism vs evolution is always fun, even if it generates more heat than light. I've never understood who designed the designer and why, if they are so intelligent, my eyes are imperfect and I need glasses.

    1. mickey mouse the fith

      If god created the heavens and the earth, where did the material to construct him, or the idea of him come from?

      Ask a biblethumper that and watch em squirm..

      1. An0n C0w4rd

        @mickey mouse the fith

        I suspect most people would squirm with that question. Even if you believe the Big Bang theory, where did the energy come from to create the Big Bang? As far as I am aware there is currently no good answer for that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @An0n C0w4rd - Physics gives us a helping hand

          The law of conservation of energy is easy to understand, at least in its simplest form. See, everything is in proper education! Unfortunately a lot of US kids will miss this in exchange to some other "truths" contained in a book of unknown origin.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC @ 02:10

            I've always thought that conservation of energy is in contradiction to the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

            Personally I think the 2nd law seems wrong... Why can't I extract useful energy from a closed system in equilibrium? if there is heat, there is energy, if there is energy it must be able to be converted...

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: @AC @ 02:10

              You need a year differential to get anything useful out of it. If two things are equally hot, no matter how hot, I cannot get heat to flow from one to the other. Equilibrium means that there is no heat differential, hence no useful energy.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. TeeCee Gold badge
              Facepalm

              Re: @AC @ 02:10

              Because the words "extract from" and "closed system" are mutually exclusive. That's why.

            3. rjmx
              Pirate

              Re: @AC @ 02:10

              If it is indeed a closed system, where do you extract it to, pray tell?

        2. MrDamage

          There is an answer.

          Its 42.

          1. jmk89
            Pint

            Re: There is an answer.

            More or less!

            1. Steve I
              Linux

              Re: There is an answer.

              "more or less".

              Personally, I use less. I find it does more than more, whilst more does less than less.

          2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: There is an answer.

            The correct answer is "Turtles all the way down".

        3. Ian Bush
          Boffin

          "I suspect most people would squirm with that question. Even if you believe the Big Bang theory, where did the energy come from to create the Big Bang? As far as I am aware there is currently no good answer for that."

          Not my area of science but I was under the impression that

          http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_02/nothing.html

          summarises the current position

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Ian Bush

            "Not my area of science but I was under the impression that

            http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_02/nothing.html

            summarises the current position"

            Proof that God is a woman. They can make something out of nothing...

            *runs and ducks*

          2. sisk Silver badge

            @Ian Bush: That hypothesis is almost certainly false. That or our current understanding of physics is flawed. Even in that article it admits that for the hypothesis to work there had to have been a violation of the law of conservation at some point. Too miniscule to measure or not, a violation is still a violation and any violation of the laws of physics requires either an explanation of how it happened or a reexamination of those laws.

          3. Jaybus

            Yes, well the current position interpolates from mathematical models without any experimental evidence, or even an experimental design, so does not much ease the squirming. In fact, the current position is in reaction to the squirming, which is little different than the reactionary response "God did it". We simply do not like the only logical answer, which is "Damned if I know".

        4. codejunky Silver badge

          @An0n C0w4rd

          "@mickey mouse the fith

          I suspect most people would squirm with that question. Even if you believe the Big Bang theory, where did the energy come from to create the Big Bang? As far as I am aware there is currently no good answer for that."

          This highlights the difference between science and religion. Science says we dont know and looks for theories which they can then find evidence and prove/disprove the theories. Religion says it knows and the answer is that he was always there so please stop asking.

          1. <shakes head>

            Re: @An0n C0w4rd

            i would tend to disgree, while "the curch" (current dominant religion an dgiven area) tends to go with the "don't upset the apple cart", releginion itself and a creater made the ide that we could understand the world around us possible. There seems to be a disconect somwhere in these arguments. Faith /Belief does not equal relegion and what is done in the name of religion does not nessesarly match faith /belief. i vaugly recale that the original turn "big Bang " was used to try discredit creationists before we figured out that that is propable what did happen.

            creationist with half a brin would not squirme at who/what made god or out of what, as the logic is not required for that discussion. it a make "world in a computer" then there is nothing that would lead me to believe that the rule inside the world constrains the maker of the system. but hay that is just me

        5. Chris Collins

          The interactions of 11th and 12th dimensional space causes bubbles of vacuum to form in the nothing. So technically speaking the universe poofed out of nothing, but in a more pleasing way than the invisible man in the sky who hates foreskins.

        6. John P
          Thumb Up

          Suggest a read of Lawrence Krauss' A Universe From Nothing, a fascinating read which nicely explains everything and makes sense even to someone who is not scientifically educated such as myself.

        7. DrXym Silver badge

          "Even if you believe the Big Bang theory, where did the energy come from to create the Big Bang?"

          A perfectly legitimate answer would be "I don't know". Science is full of such gaps which is why it continues to advance and correct itself. Creationists perceive gaps as places to insert god rather than advancing knowledge in any way.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        See http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/

      3. Zaphod_42

        Agreed - I asked that question of my Sunday School teacher when I was 11 years old - stammering was mainly what I got by way of a reply....

      4. Bob Camp

        From another universe. Next question, please.

      5. lanterna_viridis

        I squirm more over material that existed infinitely in the past or just 'poof' appeared without a personal intelligent cause.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @lanterna_viridis

          "I squirm more over material that existed infinitely in the past or just 'poof' appeared without a personal intelligent cause."

          You must then have more of a problem with an intelligent entity that always existed or poof appeared without a reason

        2. asdf Silver badge
          Trollface

          > or just 'poof' appeared

          Strange as it is but quantum physics shows us things can just poof anywhere in the universe. As Hawking I think said it probably all started with quantum tunneling of the inflaton energy state to a nonzero value. Or perhaps a blackhole in another universe caused a white hole in this one.

          1. Denarius Silver badge
            Trollface

            thats science ?

            ah, another version of turtles all the way down. BTW, what has the unreproducible speculations of evolutionary theories got to do with science ? One notes the ignorance of many commentards about creationist research suggests this is indeed a fixed world view issue. ie competing absolutist religions. Ironically one begat the other.

            If you cant demonstrate it in a lab, it aint science, just a hypothesis. If you cant falsify it, it aint science.

      6. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "If god created the heavens and the earth, where did the material to construct him, or the idea of him come from?"

        A proper religious sort would reply, "He didn't come from anywhere. He simply is, was, and will be inside and outside of time. Therefore, God is beyond limits and can't be described in any limiting way, including by time."

      7. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        "Only 1 in 5 Americans believe in pure evolution – and that's an upswing "

        So roughly the same number as can't find their own country on an Atlas then....I suspect that there is a large crossover in those 2 groups...

    2. proto-robbie
      Holmes

      Ah, you have eyes, but cannot see? I think they do have an answer for that one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A significant number of Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens....

      Enough said.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "A significant number of Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens...."

        And the rest of us believe these 'mericans are just a wee bit silly.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Alien

        Abducted!

        But why do they bring them back?

        1. Russell Hancock

          Re: Abducted!

          Would you keep them?

          1. Alien8n Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Abducted!

            We have to return the ones that our pet Zarlaxian Lizards find unappetising. Unfortunately as they feed on the brainwaves of intelligent beings they find Americans to be particularly lacking in nourishment.

      3. Uffish

        Abducted by aliens.

        That's their rational self desperately trying to find a reason for why they do the things they do and believe the things they do.

    4. Flashy Red
      WTF?

      Theocracy Now

      Sounds like 80% of yanks are retarded; the other 20% seem ok.

      1. Greggles

        Re: Theocracy Now

        "Sounds like 80% of yanks are retarded; the other 20% seem ok."

        Finally! Someone gets us! Though to be fair 20% may be a bit generous.

        1. Beau
          Happy

          Re: Theocracy Now

          "Sounds like 80% of yanks are retarded; the other 20% seem ok."

          Well don't feel bad about it, at least half of the countries in the EU. would struggle to do as good.

          I should know, I've lived in several of them over the years.

    5. Amorous Cowherder
      Headmaster

      AGE OF REASON by Thomas Paine

      Science has principles and those principles are in nature and always have been, they may not be obvious but they are there to be found when we're ready to find them. Man nor God invented these scientific principles, they are simply an aspect of the nature of the vast universe.

      He wrote that in 1793, when you could still get a severe beating for being an atheist.

      Paine also wrote that God must be a complete moron if the best he could come up was that out of the entire universe he sent his only son to planet Earth to get beaten up, mocked and executed just for the benefit of making his presence felt!

    6. asdf Silver badge
      Facepalm

      hmm

      Sadly some of the same people who lament a lack of STEM educated people in their work force are the same that believe fossils are the devil tempting us.

  2. DougS Silver badge

    Only 87% of atheists?

    What else could the other 13% have answered, given those options? Were they hoping for an option regarding DNA manipulation in our ancestors by aliens??

    1. Ken Y-N
      FAIL

      Perhaps given the wording...

      "Human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years, and God did not directly guide this process"

      I couldn't answer that with a Yes as there is no god that could choose not to guide the process.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps given the wording...

        My cat would argue over the "less advanced" part

      2. Yes Me Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Perhaps given the wording...

        Given that there is no god, the second clause is also a given.

    2. David Pollard

      Re: Only 87% of atheists?

      "What else ..."

      Some may have taken the view that evolution isn't entirely random. Humans clearly change the way evolution proceeds and lots of creatures choose their mates, so consciousness, in the broad sense, appears to play a part.

      If 'Darwinian evolution' is taken to mean that changes are entirely random and consciousness isn't then 'pure evolution' doesn't provide a complete answer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only 87% of atheists?

        > If 'Darwinian evolution' is taken to mean that changes are entirely random and consciousness isn't then

        Um, nothing in Darwinian evolution states "random". It simply says survival of the fittest, where fittest is defined by the environment.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Boffin

          Re: @Pete H

          Not true. The mutations that occur to living organisms are random. Which of those mutations survive and prosper is then guided by survival of the fittest.

          GJC

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