Do People Really Believe In Evolution?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
Strange as it may seem, the answer to this question is surprisingly complex. Most students "believe" in evolution—that's the only view they've ever been exposed to. Most adults also "believe" in evolution; after all, how could all those scientists be wrong? But, when careful polls are taken on which people have to think carefully, the majority always claim belief in some form of creation, not evolution. It seems that many identify with evolution, but don't really believe it. Please allow me to give you the results of my own, very unofficial poll.
ICR-related duties keep me in airplanes a good bit. As often as I can, I try to witness to the person sitting next to me. The initial small talk inevitably turns to what I do, and I use everyone's innate interest in the creation/evolution question to bring up spiritual matters.
One of my favorite ploys is to tell how I work at a scientific research think tank interested in the subject of origins. But, I say, as scientists, we're also Christians who feel the scientific evidence supports creation rather than evolution. Many times there's an initial stiffening as the person reacts to talking to one of those "ignorant" creationists until I say, "As creationists, we are certain that you didn't come from a fish."
Here's the result of my poll. Never, never, has anyone responded, "No, I believe in evolution, I insist that I came from a fish." Everyone has said something like, "You know, I never really believed that anyway." Obviously the door is wide open for further discussion.
You see, there are really only two alternatives. Either we descended from fishy ancestors or we didn't. Strict evolution says this transformation was by purely natural processes, like natural selection, with no supernatural agent involved. Theistic evolution says that God either guided the process along, or that He started it off and then left it alone to continue by natural processes. Either way there is no objective evidence that the change really happened, and either way, we came from a fish!
In school, particularly at the higher levels, evolution is insisted on. Many disciplines are closed to those who don't "believe." Thus many do claim to "believe." Perhaps you have to go to college for a long time before you really believe you came from a fish.
In the context of this article, we can see that while many people "believe" in evolution, they do not really believe in evolution. Everyone knows that fish don't become people. Even in a billion years a fish won't turn into a person. Evolutionary stories may sound nice on the surface, but step back and take a look. "I can't believe that."
But if we didn't come from a fish, then we were created by a supernatural Creator. The witnessing opportunity then focusses on just who that Creator might be.
Articles frequently appear in the evolutionary literature bemoaning the fact that creationist ideas simply won't die. Evolutionists have had near total dominance in education for decades, but people still don't accept evolution. "What are we doing wrong?" they ask. I think it's because they are trying to convince people of something that is foolish, offensive, and obviously wrong. Most people just aren't gullible enough to believe they came from a fish!
*Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.
Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1998. Do People Really Believe In Evolution?. Acts & Facts. 27 (1).