Here are the results of a Harris Poll taken in 2009:
Believed in Darwin’s theory of evolution:
51% of Catholics,
32% of Protestants,
80% of Jews, and
16% of born-again Christians.
Believed in creationism:
37% of Catholics,
56% of Protestants,
20% of Jews, and
68% of born-again Christians.
Overall, the results were basically unchanged from 2007, when 42% of respondents believed in evolution and 39% of respondents believed in creationism. The poll was conducted on-line on November 2 and 11, 2009, among 2303 adults in the United States; figures were weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population.
From the NCSE
Gallup Poll in May, 2012: A new Gallup poll on public opinion about evolution suggests that the rate of acceptance of evolution in the United States is “essentially unchanged” over the years. Asked in May 2012 “[w]hich of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings,”
- 32% of the respondents accepted “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,”
- 15% accepted “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process,” and
- 46% accepted “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”
Pew Poll in 2009:
- ”Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while only 61% of the public agrees, according to a new report (PDF, p. 37) from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Asked which comes closer to their view, “Humans and other living things have evolved over time” or “Humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,”
- 97% of scientists responding chose the former option, as opposed to only 2% choosing the latter option;
- 61% of the public responding chose the former option, as opposed to 31% choosing the latter option.
Those who chose the former option were also asked whether they preferred “Humans and other living things have evolved due to natural processes such as natural selection” or “A supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”
- Among scientists, 87% preferred the former option and 8% preferred the latter option;
- among the public, 32% preferred the former option and 22% preferred the latter option.
A poll of Protestant pastors in the United States found that they “overwhelmingly believe that God did not use evolution to create humans and think Adam and Eve were literal people,” according to a press release (January 9, 2012) issued by LifeWay Research. Presented with “I believe God used evolution to create people,”
- 12% of respondents strongly agreed,
- 12% somewhat agreed,
- 8% somewhat disagreed, and
- 64% strongly disagreed;
- 4% were unsure.
Chemical Evidence for the Timeframe of Evolution
Carbon occurs in three varieties: 12C, 13C, and 14C. Normal carbon has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, and is called 12C. However, carbon may have one or two extra neutrons, creating 13C or 14C. Atoms with the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons, are called different isotopes of the same element.
When organisms ingest carbon, they preferentially use 12C over 13C. (14C is radioactive, and thus won’t remain over a long time period.) Carbon with a high ratio of 12C compared to 13C is therefore an indicator of living processes. Carbon enriched in 12C has been identified in rocks from Greenland dated at 3.85 billions of years ago (Ga or Gyr). This is the earliest evidence for life on Earth.
The Fossil Record
Stromatolites are structures created by photosynthetic bacteria (prokaryotes; e.g. cyanobacteria mentioned in “Darwin was Right”). These rounded, bulbous shapes are usually less than 1 meter across and contain fine layering.
Photosynthetic bacteria live on thin mats in shallow water. As they become covered in clay and particles, these bacteria move upwards toward the light they require. This movement leaves behind dead layers, much in the same way that trees leave behind inner wood as they grow. Stromatolites are recognizable because of the “tree ring” structure that records the movement of bacteria.
The earliest known fossils of stromatolites are dated at 3.45 Ga, and come from Western Australia. Ironically, the highly-saline bays of Western Australia are one of the few places in the world today where living stromatolites exist.
Timeline: Read the rest of this entry »