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About origins of life forms


Results of public opinion polls on naturalistic
evolution, theistic evolution & creation science

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Picutre of a gorilla Beliefs about origin of the species:

Actually, the picture of a gorilla is a pathetic attempt at humor by the webmaster. Over two centuries ago, a reviewer of Charles Darwin's book "The Origin of the Species" -- one who perhaps did not actually read the book -- wrote that Darwin taught that humans evolved from apes. Darwin actually said that apes and humans have a common ancestor. The mistake has been propagated by many believers in creationism ever since, and is still heard occasionally today. Supporters of naturalistic evolution still occasionally have to defend Darwin's actual statement today.

Since most religions have their own unique creation story, the total number of belief systems about origins is quite large. However, the vast majority of U.S. adults believe in one of the following three belief systems:

  • Naturalistic evolution: According to research into the origin of the universe, it began with a "big bang" some 13.8 billion years ago. The Earth coalesced about 4.5 billion years ago, literally out of stardust -- the waste products of exploding supernovae. Within about 1 billion years, according to studies of abiogenists -- the origin of life -- the first forms of elementary life came into existence. These single-celled animals subsequently evolved over billions of years producing an enormous variety of species, the vast majority of which are currently extinct. Beliefs in naturalistic evolution imply that either no God exists, or that the deity(s) who do exist took no part in this evolution.

  • Theistic evolution: The beliefs are the same as for naturalistic evolution, except that God controlled and directed evolution and used it as a tool to produce the diversity of species currently present on Earth or which are now extinct.

  • Creation science: God created the Earth, sun, moon, planets and other stars from 6 to 10 thousand years ago. He then created all of the plant and animal life. Finally, he fashioned Adam out of mud, and Eve from one of Adam's bones -- traditionally thought of as one of his ribs.

This section contains polling data about the percentages of Americans who believe in each of these three belief systems.

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Topics covered in this section:

Other related essays dealing with evolution & creation science:

bullet Overview of evolution and creation science
bullet 3 conflicting world views, and many individual belief systems
bullet Beliefs held by various faith groups

We appreciate the gorilla image which was provided at no cost by That image fits into our budget really well.

Copyright 1995 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published on 1995-NOV. 
Last update: 2018-AUG-30
Author: B.A. Robinson
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