Do Americans still care about where they came from? The results of two recent polls and a surge in interest in an upcoming creation vs. evolution debate suggest they do. This origins conversation has reverberated for generations, and the current controversy seems no different.
A recent Harris Poll found that belief in God has dropped by 8 percent since 2005, and belief in “creationism” dropped by 3 percent—from 39 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2013.1 While apparently trending downward, a sizeable number of Americans still rely on biblical history, despite over a century of intense secularization.
Similarly, Pew Research published results of a poll conducted on the subject of human evolution. It showed 33 percent of respondents agreed that “humans existed in [their] present form since [the] beginning.”2
Although 60 percent aligned with the statement “humans have evolved over time,” only half of those attributed evolution to “natural processes such as natural selection.”2 These selectionists are essentially secular evolutionists.
A quarter of adult Americans said that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”2 This general belief is called theistic evolution.
Clearly, the United States is home to large factions of each of the three strikingly different concepts of origins: Recent creation according to the Bible, evolution guided by God, and atheistic evolution.
Each belief carries very different and significant implications. If nature-only evolution is true, then mankind has no moral foundation and should feel free to perpetrate any evil without fear of eternal consequence. If theistic evolution is true, then God is a callous death-loving supreme being who failed to record a trustworthy world history in His Book. But if biblical creation is true, then all humans are accountable to their Creator for every decision made.
With so much at stake, and with such stark disagreement on fundamental realities, it comes as no surprise that when tickets became available to witness what Christian News Network called the “Debate of the Decade,” they sold out in two minutes.3 Popular creation speaker and CEO of Answers in Genesis (AiG) Ken Ham invited Bill Nye “the Science Guy” to a debate, and they agreed to terms. The event is set for February 4, 2014, at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati.
The debate topic will be “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Those who back Bill Nye probably hope that he convinces listeners of the scientific credibility of evolution. Ken Ham supporters might instead think of this as an opportunity for more Americans to get exposure to the vast amount of overlooked scientific evidence for creation so they can make better-informed decisions on origins.
AiG Chief Communications Officer Mark Looy told Christian News Network, “The creationist viewpoint is largely censored from the public arena. Public schools, mainstream media and museums largely ignore our model of origins. This public debate will enable more people to hear the case for creation.”3
AiG is working to make the event available for wider audiences to view.4
Looy noted record traffic on AiG’s website the day the event was announced. Clearly, Americans’ interest in origins remains strong.
- Shannon-Missal, L. Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines. Harris Interactive. Posted on harrisinteractive.com December 16, 2013, accessed January 13, 2014.
- Public’s Views on Human Evolution. Pew Research: Religion & Public Life Project. Posted on pewforum.org December 30, 2013, accessed January 13, 2014.
- Haley, G. ‘Debate of the Decade’: Enormous Interest for Upcoming Creation/Evolution Debate with Ken Ham, Bill Nye. Christian News Network. Posted on christiannews.net January 11, 2014, accessed January 14, 2014.
- Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham. Answers in Genesis. Posted on answersingenesis.org, accessed January 14, 2014.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on January 27, 2014.