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New Pew Survey creates a huge middle on evolution

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After 15 years, the polling firm changed the way the question was asked: “Half of the respondents were asked about evolution in a two-step process much like the one described above. The other half of respondents were asked a single question about their views on evolution and given three response options” The graphic is pretty self-explanatory.

Asking about evolution with one question or two: an experimental approach

The pollster wanted to avoid forcing people to choose between science and religion:

The results of the new experiment indicate that there are some people who do believe that humans have evolved over time, but who, for whatever reason, did not say so in our traditional method of asking about the topic. Perhaps without the opportunity to immediately connect evolution to God, some religious respondents may be concerned that expressing belief in evolution places them uncomfortably on the secular side of a cultural divide. The Evolution of Pew Research Center’s Survey Questions About the Origins and Development of Life on Earth” at Pew Research Center

Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne (hat tip!) doesn’t like what happened to Naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism” in the numbers:

As you see, if you give people three alternatives at once, pure creationism falls from 31% to 18%, theistic (guided) evolution rises from 27% to 48%, and, surprisingly, unguided, natural evolution falls from 40% to 33%. Somehow Pew sees this as good news, though I don’t: if you lump those who see God directing evolution (a watered down form of creationism, like Behe’s) with de novo creationists, the total of non-“naturalists” under the new protocol is 66%, while it was 58% before. And there are 7% fewer people who accept naturalistic evolution under the new protocol.Jerry Coyne, “Americans’ acceptance of evolution: does it depend on how you ask them?” at Why Evolution Is True

Actually, it’s not surprising at all. Pure naturalist atheists are not that common once you get off campus and a safe distance from the raging Woke. Most people would rather you think they were creationists (provided you don’t push it too far), which likely accounts for the drop in the second set, when a clear alternative for theists is provided. Some of us think this change in questions is long overdue.

Other polls will ask different questions (they have to) and get different answers.

See also: Are polls scientific?

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8 Replies to “New Pew Survey creates a huge middle on evolution

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    I don’t find this at all surprising. While human beings are as they are, atheistic materialism, true or not, cannot come close to satisfying the emotional needs of people. It cannot offer the prospect of a better life after this one or of being re-united with all the loved ones that have been lost,for example. So all the believers, whether out-and-out Biblical literalists or just those who lean towards theism, can relax. The alternative offered by a/mat is way too bleak to be acceptable to the majority.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, basically you just admitted that their is a gigantic emotional hole in your atheistic worldview that only God can fill.

    Might I further suggest that this self-admitted gigantic nihilistic emotional hole in your atheistic worldview is not ‘merely’ emotional but real?

    For prime example, it is, for all intents and purposes, virtually impossible for Atheists to live as if atheistic materialism were actually true and as if their lives were completely devoid of any true meaning and purpose. As the following article states: Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be quote unquote ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if atheistic materialism were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    And in the following article subtitled “When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails”, Nancy Pearcey quotes many more leading atheists who honestly admit that it would be impossible for them to live their life as if atheistic materialism were actually true.

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    This impossibility for Atheists to live consistently within their stated worldview directly undermines their claim that Atheism is true
    Specifically, as the following article points out, if it is impossible for you to live your life consistently as if atheistic materialism were actually true, then atheistic materialism cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but atheistic materialism must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Besides the fact that atheists themselves are unable to live their live consistently as if atheistic materialism were actually true, we can also now appeal to physics to prove that our lives are objectively meaningful. Namely we can appeal directly to our best theories in science, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, as well appealing to recently discovered anomalies in the CMBR, as well as appealing to the fact that life exist at the ‘geometric mean of all possible sizes for the universe, so as to overturn the Copernican principle and/or the principle of mediocrity.

    January 2019 – Copernican Principle
    — contrary to the popularly held belief that the Copernican principle has rendered any belief in the special status of the earth in this universe, and for humanity in particular, null and void, the fact of the matter is that both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics have themselves now overturned the Copernican principle and/or the principle of mediocrity as being a valid principle in science.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-nye-should-check-wikipedia/#comment-671672

    Besides General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. our best theories in science, both overturning the Copernican principle and/or the principle of mediocrity, in molecular biology we find that every molecule in our bodies is literally screaming to us that our lives have objective meaning, value, and purpose for our lives. In fact, it is impossible for Biologists to do their research without using words that directly imply teleology., i.e. goal directed purpose.

    As Professor of physiology Denis Noble notes in the following interview, “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    Thus, despite what leading evolutionary biologists, and Atheists in general, may claim in public, the fact of the matter is that every one of the billion, trillion protein molecules in our bodies screams that we have a intrinsic meaning, dignity, and purpose for our lives.

    As Stephen Talbott goes on to state in the following article which happens to be entitled “How Biologists Lost Sight Of The Meaning Of Life And Are Now Staring It In The Face”, “A given cell, typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. ,,, “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells.,,, And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,”

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. ,,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; ,,
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo,,,,
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades.,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    In the following article, Talbott goes even further and reveals that this overwhelming impression of meaning and purpose that is found in life is closely associated with there being immaterial information in life while an organism is alive.
    Specifically, Talbott states that at the moment of a organism’s death “Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.”

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    And yet this immaterial information, that Talbott refers to, that is keeping an organism alive “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer” also provides empirical evidence for a transcendent soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our temporal, material, bodies.

    As Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, ‘But the quantum information,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul’.

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Thus this immaterial information that is now found to be pervasive within molecular biology, and why it is impossible for Biologists to do their research without using words that directly imply teleology, this immaterial information also provides us with empirical evidence strongly suggesting that each of us do indeed have a immortal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our temporal, material, bodies.

    Thus in conclusion, the gigantic nihilistic hole, that Seversky himself admitted is in his atheistic worldview, is not merely an emotional hole of abject meaninglessness for his life, but is a real hole. Namely atheistic materialism cannot possibly explain immaterial information in life and yet it is this immaterial information in life that provides scientific proof for meaning, dignity and purpose for life, and which also provides evidence for our immortal souls that are capable of living past the death of our temporal, material bodies.

    Verse and videos:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    “If Christianity is true then each one of us is here for a reason. And life does not end at the grave. And God is the absolute standard of goodness. He knows you. He loves you. And He intentionally created you. So your life does have objective meaning, value and purpose. That means you can live a life that is both happy and consistent.”
    Is There Meaning to Life? – Dr Craig videos (animated video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKGnXgH_CzE

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    sorry for the grammar mistakes, for some reason wordpress would not let me correct after I posted.

  5. 5
    Brother Brian says:

    What this points out is how the question asked, and how it is asked, can affect the response.

  6. 6
    Dick says:

    I wonder what the results would’ve been had the question distinguished between human evolution within the genus Homo and human evolution from other, non-human, primates. A lot of people, I suspect, would grant the first but reject the second.

  7. 7
    jstanley01 says:

    Most Christians don’t believe that mankind is the same now as in the beginning because of the Fall.

    This survey is a good example of why I don’t answer multiple choice questions that lack the option “none of the above.”

  8. 8
    ET says:

    They ask the wrong, leading questions. It’s as if the people writing these surveys are clueless.

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