August 30, 2021 | Jerry Bergman

Poll Claims a Majority of Americans Say They Accept Evolution

Is Evolution Accepted by a Majority of Americans?
One Reason is Indoctrination into Darwinism

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

A recent poll claims that “The level of public acceptance of evolution in the United States is now solidly above the halfway mark.” According to a national public opinion survey, “From 1985 to 2010, there was a statistical dead heat between acceptance and rejection of evolution  … But acceptance then surged, becoming the majority position in 2016.”[1]

The survey asked U.S. adults if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”[2] Americans were evenly divided on this question from 1985 to 2007. The authors call the high level of the “public acceptance of evolution in the United States … a long-standing problem.”[3] It was a problem because the Darwinists felt, for a theory that had scientific consensus, the level should be close to 100 percent. Two of the authors, Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch, played central roles in the anti-creationists/Intelligent Design organization National Center for Science Education which has been aggressively opposing all efforts to objectively teach Darwinism.

They support evolutionary indoctrination and have worked tirelessly to support the termination, or at least the silencing, of teachers and scientists who endeavor not to indoctrinate, but rather educate, in the area of evolution.[4]  The Miller et al., study bemoaned, “a 2005 study of the acceptance of evolution in 34 developed nations … only Turkey, at 27%, scored lower than the United States. But over the last decade, until 2019, the percentage of American adults who agreed with this statement increased from 40% to 54%.[5

One problem with the survey was the question asked: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals” which would include some Intelligent Design supporters who accept common ancestry. Casey Luskin at Evolution News pointed out that a more accurate question would be “do you accept unguided Darwinian evolution as the origin of all life?”  Michael Behe, who the articles’ editors labeled a creationist, could conceivably answer yes to the actual question asked, even though he is a well-known critic of Darwinian evolution. The number who accept the orthodox definition of evolution would be less than the number found, but how much less the study did not attempt to answer. The results of surveys can vary significantly, depending on how the questions are asked.

Reasons for the Increased Acceptance of Evolution

According to Gallup polls, close to 87% of Americans believe in God. In contrast, a survey of members of the American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS) close to 99% are functional atheists. A functional atheist is a person that lives as if there is no God. AAAS members realize that most people believe in God, so rarely openly admit they are atheists. And thus, for good reasons, they avoid the atheist label. The good reasons include the atheist label can interfere with their research funding and public support. Nonetheless, many scientists are openly atheists, such as professors Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.

The Miller et al. study identified several factors that influenced the increased acceptance of evolution. Two of the strongest factors leading to evolution acceptance was taking college courses in science and earning a college degree. The higher acceptance of evolution by the public documents the fact that both science publications and science classes effectively indoctrinate America’s youth into the Darwinian worldview during their academic sojourn at institutes of ‘higher learning.’

Indoctrination in Science Publications

In secular science publishing, it is very rare to even imply that God might exist because doing so often results in major career repercussions. One of the most recent examples was in an article that made the mistake of using the words “intelligent design.” Although the article by Horvaldsen and Hössjer did not mention the word God, creation, or similar terms, the authors indicated intelligence was behind life. The outcry against this admission was so great that the editors were compelled to add the following disclaimer to the “offending” article:

The Journal of Theoretical Biology and its co-Chief Editors do not endorse in any way the ideology of nor reasoning behind the concept of intelligent design. Since the publication of the paper it has now become evident that the authors are connected to a creationist group (although their addresses are given on the paper as departments in bona fide universities). We were unaware of this fact while the paper was being reviewed. …  We believe that intelligent design is not in any way a suitable topic for the Journal.[6]

The authors of the controversial article, Horvaldsen and Hössjer, were not “connected to a creationists group” but were intelligent-design supporters, quite a difference. Furthermore, the reasoning behind the concept of intelligent design is very logical and based on empirical, testable science published by Cambridge University Press.[7] Even leading atheist Richard Dawkins acknowledges this fact, writing: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose… the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with … design and planning.”[8] Thus, the fact of design is obvious. The only question is the source of the design which in the reference quoted above he calls an “illusion.”

In contrast, the current science orthodoxy believes in unintelligent design (uID), meaning that life is the result of unintelligent damage to the genome called mutations. In other words, life, including human life, is the result of billions of unintelligent mistakes selected by natural selection. It is also recognized that the vast majority of mutations are near-neutral, or mildly deleterious, but add up, causing diseases including cancer, and eventually death. In the introduction of the peer-reviewed article by Horvaldsen and Hössjer, the authors wrote:

Fine-tuning has received much attention in physics, and it states that the fundamental constants of physics are finely tuned to precise values for a rich chemistry and life permittance. It has not yet been applied in a broad manner to molecular biology. However, in this paper we argue that biological systems present fine-tuning at different levels, e.g. functional proteins, complex biochemical machines in living cells, and cellular networks. This paper describes molecular fine-tuning, how it can be used in biology, and how it challenges conventional Darwinian thinking. We also discuss the statistical methods underpinning fine-tuning and present a framework for such analysis.[9]

A rebuttal to the Horvaldsen and Hössjer paper was received on August 13, 2020, and accepted for publication only 5 days later, specifically on August 17.  This rebuttal stated that “What they [Horvaldsen and Hössjer ] claim to be novel is the conclusion that the existence of these specific systems amongst the space of all possible systems is so rare as to only possibly exist by ‘fine-tuning.’ That components of living systems- or systems themselves – are exceedingly rare does not suggest agency or intent.”[10] Ironically, they claim “fine-tuning does not suggest agency or intent,” but their very fine-tuned words, as printed in The Journal of Theoretical Biology, not only suggest agency (the authors in this case) and intent (to convince readers to reject intelligent design), but actually document both.[11]

They continue, “irreducible complexity ignores the idea that evolution and natural selection act on a pool of variation: any number of individuals within the pool will not pass on their genes because their specific complement of protein complexes and cellular networks do not accomplish the necessary functions for life to continue.” This observation is not denied, only recognized that it does not come close to explaining how molecules evolved into humans, as the title of a biology text (Evolution From Molecules to Men) claimed.[12]  Lachance continues: “Hence, neither fine-tuning nor intelligent design is required when sample spaces are viewed through the lens of evolutionary dynamics.”11 I would add distorted “through the lens of evolutionary” theory.

Notably, the authors of this paper list

‘‘Intelligent Design” as a keyword and repeatedly return to the idea of irreducible complexity, a hallmark of creationism. These ideas have been repeatedly debunked in the past. In the words of Carl Sagan: ‘‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” a threshold that is not met in this paper.

Note that Lachance himself brings in the word ‘creationism’ while the proponents he is referring to actually do not use that word which he substitutes for “Intelligent Design.” Furthermore,  irreducible complexity is a term that applies to anything that requires more than one part to function, which includes everything from electric drills, to bacteria, and to humans. Intelligent design applies to anything that is designed by an intelligent agency, including electric drills as well as hand drills and, I would argue, all life.

Another example is the publication of a book by one of the world’s leading science publishers, Springer Publishing. It passed rigorous peer review, as do all of their publications, was published and widely advertised on Amazon and other sites. Then the functional atheists noticed the five Ph.D.-level scientist authors supported intelligent design and demanded the publisher cancel the book. They did, and destroyed all of the printed copies. The authors finally found another publisher and the 562-page book is now on Amazon.

Some Conclusions

The studies reviewed in this paper support the conclusion that Darwinism is the doorway to atheism.[13] This helps explain why the Miller et al. study found an increase in acceptance of evolution and it is no surprise that Gallup polls found a reduction in church membership and attendance. Specifically, according to the latest Gallup report, “for the first time since the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque.” Specifically, forty-seven percent of Americans belong to a house of worship, down from 70% in the mid-1990s. The polling giant has been measuring church membership since 1937 when 73% reported membership in a house of worship. Since then membership remained at about 70% and began to decline after 1999. It is now less than 50%.[14] These trends agree with the Miller et al. study which

identified “religious fundamentalism” as the strongest factor leading to the rejection of evolution. While their numbers declined slightly in the last decade, approximately 30% of Americans continue to be religious fundamentalists as defined in the study. But even those who scored highest on the scale of religious fundamentalism shifted toward acceptance of evolution, rising from 8% in 1988 to 32% in 2019… They also found “as of 2019, 34% of conservative Republicans accepted evolution compared to 83% of liberal Democrats.”[15]

Gallup also found that, not only are younger Americans increasingly disconnected from organized religion, but the number of older Americans who are members of a house of worship has also declined in recent years. This review supports the increasing influence of Darwinism in the wake of the decline in religious belief.

References

[1] “Study: Evolution now accepted by a majority of Americans,” Michigan News—University of Michigan, 20 August 2021,

[2] “Study: Evolution now accepted…,” 2021.

[3] Miller, Jon D., Eugenie C. Scott, Mark S. Ackerman, Belén Laspra, Glenn Branch, Carmelo Polino, and Jordan S. Huffaker. Public acceptance of evolution in the United States, 1985–2020, PubMed.gov,16 August 2021.

[4] See Bergman, Jerry. Teaching About Creation/Evolution Controversy, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation Bloomington, IN, October 1979; Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, 3rd edition Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2020; Silencing the Darwin Skeptics: The War Against Theists, 2nd edition, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2020; Jerry Bergman and Kevin Wirth (editor), Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, 3rd edition;  Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution is Enforced by Expunging Dissidents, 2nd edition, 2021; “Peer Evaluation of University Faculty,” Chula Vista, CA, College Student Journal Monograph 14(3), Part 2, Fall 1980.

Dr Bergman has published 3 books of true stories of careers ruined by Darwinist censors.

[5] “Study: Evolution now accepted …,” 2021.

[6] Kirschner, Denise, et al., “Disclaimer,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 506(7):110456, 7 December 2020.

[7] Dembski, William, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 1998..

[8] Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1996, pp. 1, 21.

[9] Horvaldsen, S., Hössjer, O., Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems, Journal of Theoretical Biology 501:110352, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110352, 21 September 2020.

[10] Horvaldsen, et al., 2020.

[11] Lachance, Joseph, et al., Large sample spaces do not imply biological systems are fine-tuned, Journal of Theoretical Biology 507:110457, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AH3UCR5I4V6ZIFsOQgn8GZtCVmZgdOmV/view, August 2020.

[12] Bendall, D.S., Evolution From Molecules to Men, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 1983..

[13] Bergman, Jerry, Darwinism is the Doorway to Atheism: Why Creationists Become Evolutionists, 2nd edition, Leafcutter Press, Spokane Valley, WA, 2020.

[14] Smietana, Bob, Less than half of Americans are members of houses of worship, Associated Press, 20 March 2021.

[15] “Study: Evolution now accepted …,” 2021.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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Comments

  • R2-U2 says:

    Bergman writes: “Even leading atheist Richard Dawkins acknowledges this fact, writing: ‘Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose… the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with … design and planning.’ [8] Thus, the fact of design is obvious. The only question is the source of the design which in the reference quoted above he calls an ‘illusion.'”

    Dawkins (and other atheistic evolutionists) need to answer these two questions:

    If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose, then how do evolutionists know they *weren’t* designed?

    What is the criteria for “apparent” design?

  • R2-U2 says:

    Increasing influence of Darwinism in the United States may not be the *only* factor for growing decline in church membership and attendance over the decades. But Dr. Bergman does not address other likely factors.

    I wonder if there are polls conducted by Pew Research and others that specifically ask people of various age groups about whether they are currently — or ever have been — members of a church, synagogue or mosque.

    Questions such as:

    “If you are a member, how often do you attend services?

    “If you no longer attend, why do you no longer attend services?

    Among Christians — if asked in polls — I think you would find a variety of reasons for why they no longer attend church services, such as:

    “Hypocrisy in the church”

    “The pastor’s sermons are boring”

    “Politics have become infused in church sermons”

    “Prosperity preaching is a false gospel”

    “Young people’s groups at this church are just social groups who go bowling, attend Christian rock concerts, but there are no classes to learn the word of God”

    “I no longer believe in God”

    “The Bible is just a collection of Jewish myths and legends”

    I hope Dr. Bergman will address this in a future article.

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