The Kids Are Alright: Most Young Americans Accept Evolution Over Creationism
Did you know that 31% of American adults believe that humans “have existed in their present form since the beginning of time”? While that’s a significant change from a 2014 poll that showed 42% of American adults held that belief, it’s deeply concerning that fully one-third of the American population believes in creationism over evolution.
Creationism is a religiously-motivated educational movement rebranded as “Intelligent Design” by politically-motivated right-wing religious fundamentalists in the United States. “Intelligent Design” rejects radiometric dating, generally believes the world is 6,000-10,000 years old, teaches that humans existed at the same time as dinosaurs, and utilizes such highly-scientific mechanisms as rhetorical questioning to “refute” theories that don’t support its teachings, such as “Were you there?”
That’s right. Creationists teach that when posed a question demonstrating some grasp of the understanding of evolution, they are to posit, “were you there?” as the cornerstone of their argument against. As in, “In Origin of Species, Darwin presents considerable data demonstrating natural selection.” The Creationist answer would be, “How do you know? Were you there?”
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And yet, as late as 2013, public school systems in Louisiana taught creationism, and private schools all over the country still do. Creationism is still often and hotly debated for inclusion in public school systems throughout the United States, despite its flagrant violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
As incredibly unintelligent as it clearly is, “Intelligent Design” continues to hold sway over a considerable number of Americans.
Fortunately, that number appears to be shrinking, thanks especially to the growing number of young Americans who embrace evolution and its teachings. Younger American adults are more likely to think progressively, less likely to be religiously-motivated and generally more trusting of science than aging Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. And finally, the most recent research shows that among Americans under the age of 30, 51% believe that evolution has occurred as a natural process over time, without any kind of design, intelligent or otherwise, interfering.
Science is finally starting to triumph among young Americans. We can only hope that this trend continues.