Evolution deniers are after all a minority in the United States

A skull is displayed as part of a Neanderthal exhibition at the Musee de l'Homme in Paris on March 26, 2018.

A skull is displayed as part of a Neanderthal exhibition at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris on March 26, 2018.
Photo: Stephane de Sakutin / Agence France-Presse (Getty Images)

Americans still have a difficult relationship with science, modern medicine, and sometimes reality, but a review of annual surveys from 1985 to 2019 yields some good news: More than half of the respondents surveyed believe in the science of evolution. I think this is a win.

Nearly a century ago, it was Scopes Trial 1925 The science teacher and his curriculum (which included the theory of evolution) pitted against Tennessee, which had just banned the substance in schools because, they said, it went against the Bible’s creation story. The theory of evolution It is the idea that organisms change over time, adapting to their environments through a process called natural selection. Note the naturalist Charles Darwin and Record such modifications In the beaks of sparrows in the Galapagos Islands. Like any other living creature, humans have evolved over time, and this fact is that some people seem to be dealing with the biggest problem.

Over the decades, more and more Americans have accepted evolution by natural selection as the driving force for life on Earth. For a long time, the split was largely a half and a half, but a new study from the University of Michigan finds that deniers are finally in the minority. the paper-published This week in Public Understanding of Science I looked at opinions about evolution in public opinion polls conducted since 1985. I found that the recent surge had pushed Americans beyond the midway line in believing in Darwin’s 1859 theory. About the origin of species.

Men buy books.

Anti-evolution books sold in Dayton, Tennessee, where the Scopes experiment took place.
Photo: topical press agency (Getty Images)

said John D. Miller, a researcher specializing in the public understanding of science at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and lead author of the paper at the university. press release. “But acceptance then skyrocketed, and it became the majority site in 2016.”

The surveys analyzed by the team were conducted by the National Science Board, NASA and affiliates of the National Science Foundation, which put forward the following statement for American adults to agree or disagree with: “Humans, as we know them today, evolved from earlier types of animals.” During the first 20 years of the study, the “yes and no” results were balanced. It’s not like that anymore: 54% of survey respondents agreed with the statement in 2019.

In a time full of misinformation, distrust of experience, and sheer foolishness, some people who were previously not interested in the idea of ​​evolution decided it wasn’t so bad. Maybe it’s because of the deniers I moved to hotter topics like covid-19 and climate change. Evolution is just… old hat, perhaps.

Although the number of participants identifying as religious fundamentalists has decreased in the past decade, the research team found that even these individuals are starting to emerge. In 1988, only 8% of self-described fundamentalists agreed with evolution. In 2019, the figure was 32%.

Co-author Mark Ackerman noted that more than twice as many Americans with college degrees in 2018 compared to 1988; While this may play a role, the most obvious connection is political. In 2019, the most recent year included in the action, only 34% of people identified as conservative Republicans said they accepted evolution, while 83% of people identified as liberal Democrats said the same.

More: Pope Rails against intelligent design, says God is ‘not a wizard’

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