Who Accepts Evolution? February 15, 2009

Who Accepts Evolution?

Definitely not Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But yay for Buddhists!


I want atheists to be included on the list. Let’s blow away the competition on which group of people is most closely aligned with reality.

The Pew Research Center says more about evolution.

(via The Daily Dish)

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  • I think I might have been involved in that Pew survey, as a Buddhist… keep in mind that in America, Buddhists are semi-atheist wealthy Asians or post-atheist wealthy Americans, so the outlook might not be so good in Southeast Asia.

    Science education: it’s good for everyone, not just the USA!

  • I just did a breakdown of these numbers. Note that the “unaffiliated” category is not as rational as one might think, all the more reason for us to stop using the 16.1 percent number from Pew. More here.

  • Sad day on the Mormons.

    I’m a Mormon and believe in evolution.

  • joanna

    Are atheists considered in the “unaffiliated” column?

  • As an ex-Jehovah’s Witness I’m surprised it’s even 8%.

    And yeah, I’d think atheists would be included in “unaffiliated.”

  • Aj

    It seems there’s a negative correlation, the less acceptence of evolution the more your religion motivates you to be a douchebag. At least that’s my unscientific perception of each of these religions. If I was asked to order these religions according to preference given I had to stay with a group of adherents then it would probably turn out something like that.

  • Michael

    I doubt ‘atheists’ would figure very highly – presumably ‘unaffiliated’ includes them already.

    Remember that many of the woo woo merchants and other anti-science credulants out there consider themselves atheist too. Outside of my circle of educated friends i’ve found some strange views on the world, and a shitload of thickos.

  • Whenever I see the word “origins” in a question like this, I always think of abiogenesis rather than evolution.

    So is evolution the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth?

    Is 7-11 the best explanation for how the milk got in your fridge?

    So Big Bang (or whatever) -> nucleosynthesis -> abiogenesis -> evolution -> alcohol.

    To me, that would be the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth. So while I doubt Jehovah’s or Mormons would share my objection, I wonder if some of the unaffiliated did.

    And lets not forget, being an atheist doesn’t imply being good at, having an understanding of or even interest in science.

  • Tyro

    Catholics are only 58% even though the Pope has endorsed it? Holy crap, that’s appalling! What the hell is this church doing if it can’t get more people onside with this?

  • Richard Wade

    Some people here seem to be confusing this chart with percentage of the population rather than percentage of evolution acceptors in each category. Keep in mind that the tall bars on the left represent very small percentages of the U.S. population. If atheists were separated out of the “unaffiliated” category, even though they are a small percent of the population, their bar would probably be the tallest.

  • inkadu

    Looks to me that religion is not really the cause of beliefs, but does reflect educational levels — as someone pointed out earlier.

    I’d be really interested to see how educational levels correlate with religious preference.

    But at some point religious douchebaggery does take over.

  • Pseudonym

    Richard Wade: Good point. I’m not American, but if I were, and I were separated out in a group by myself, I’d be my own bar, 100% high. That’d probably be bigger (though not by much) than Atheists!

    It seems to me that apart from a few notable outliers, the smaller the group, the more likely it is that you agree with evolution.

  • I think it is very funny they still need to find who “accepts” evolution. Evolution happens, whether or not people accept it. Like gravity.

  • A quick jump over to the 99th page of the survey data revealed that the ‘Unaffiliated’ group was a clumped together chimera of Atheists, Agnostics, Secular unaffiliated and Religious unaffiliated individuals.

    Atheists and Agnostics are at 87% Acceptance. Religious unaffiliated individuals are clumped into that Unaffiliated group. Strange isn’t it?

    Read more of the break down here ->

    Thanks =)

  • I hate being “clumped”

    Those bastards


  • hoverFrog

    Only 87% of atheists accept evolution? I wonder what other explanation the 13% who don’t choose instead.

    I also wonder what this chart would look like if it were % who agree that gravity is the best explanation for objects attracting and us not falling off the Earth. Gravity and evolution and all those other lovely scientific explanations of the natural world are not open to belief or disbelief. They are the very best explanation that we have by long way. If someone does not believe in a scientific theory then they need to present compelling evidence of an alternative theory. Failure to do so means that we should not take it seriously.

  • Remember the survey that said something like 13% of atheists believed in a god? Probably the same folks. I think 15% of the general population is just too dumb to answer multiple choice questions about their own beliefs.

  • Good point Secular Planet.

    Reminds me of a girl I knew in University. Claimed to be a devout Christian but she didn’t believe Jesus was God. I told her I was pretty sure that made her Jewish. Offended, she replied that Christians don’t have to believe everything. I said I was pretty sure Christians had to believe in Christ.

    The friendship didn’t last long.

  • Jonas

    I’m always leary of surveys that put blanket labels on people (like this Pew Survey). Take ‘Jews’ and ‘unaffiliated’ for instance – ‘Jews’ could be cultural jews, who could include humanistic, reform or another category. — And be basically ‘Athistist’ (an interesting question for them might be how much they believe ‘The Exodus’ is a fairy tale) – Unaffilliated could be ‘wiccan’, ‘new age’, ‘scientology’ any unlisted belief system.

  • Chelsea

    Buddhists are by definition atheists, or at least they’re supposed to be. 😉 I’m studying Nichrien Buddhism with my wife, and I’ve found that evolution is practically written into the religion.

  • please also include humanists and agnostics
    (I consider myself as above 2 as well as atheist)

  • For those who missed it, the atheists are included in this survey, just clumped together awfully. Read up:


  • Autumnal Harvest

    Chelsea, Nichiren Buddhism is focused on devotion to the Lotus Sutra, a holy scripture that teaches that the Buddha was around for millions of eons before before his apparent life circa 500 B.C., in countless other forms, and that despite his apparent death, he is still with us to this day. The Lotus Sutra describes the countless miracles performed by the Buddha, and stresses that those who show devotion to the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha, and his Bodhisattva, will find miraculous good fortune on earth, and can acheive nirvana, or even eventual status as a buddha themselves. Conversely, those who mock the Lotus Sutra will be born in purgatories, or bad reincarnations on earth. Under what conceivable definition are these beliefs “by definition atheist”?

    Incidentally, traditional Tibetan Buddhism teaches that human beings were evolved from monkeys that, after successive generations of mating, gradually became humans. (And yes, I realize that humans did not evolve from monkeys, but from a common ancestor, but hey, that’s still pretty close.)

  • Autumnal Harvest

    As a side note, Theravada Buddhism is arguably deity-free (or “should” be), although it contains other supernatural features. But Nichiren Buddhism is part of the Mahayana branch, not Theravada.

  • rimpal

    Acute case of presbyopia, astigmatism, or what?

    80% Hindus accept evolution! I am surprised it is not 105% Hinduism of course isn’t a religion, and neither is Buddhism or Jainism. And it is possible to hold all three traditions together, as some do. All the devotional traditions of Buddhism, Lotus, Nichiren, etc., are adaptations of earlier Hindu traditions. And of course in Hindu/Buddhist/Jain tradition the line between animals/humans is hazy if it exists at all. So for many classical Hindus and Jains modern evolutionary theory comes as a scientific confirmation of what they have known all along.

  • Curtis

    I did some quick web research and it appears as if the Mormon church does not have an official viewpoint on evolution. Does any one know why Mormon are so anti-evolution?

    “February 15, 1957
    David O. McKay, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    …On the subject of organic evolution the Church has officially taken no position”

  • Richard Wade

    rimpal, you said:

    Hinduism of course isn’t a religion, and neither is Buddhism or Jainism.

    I thought they are religions. Please help me understand.

  • Chandan

    Richard, If a religion is one specific set of spiritual ideas prescribed in one book, or by one person, then i think Buddhism could qualify (at least it could be called a religion with several branches, since it at least started with one person). Again, Jainism, though it is “as old as antiquity” could probably qualify since its followers do (as far as I understand) have certain specific commmon beliefs. However, Hinduism really does not exist as a religion. It is just a name given to all people in the Indian sub-continent who do not specifically subscribe to some other well known religion. It has several schools which vary from (get this!) those that believe in no God, through those that believe in a personal god, to those who believe in a non-dual divinity that represents the highest level of reality, at which nothing else really exists (this last variant, called Advaita Vedanta, btw, is quite amazing, in that it is probably the only religious philosophy which in its essence has absolutely no conflict with modern science!). So Hinduism (if we must) can probably be described as a platform which tolerates all forms of religious thought, and probably (forgive this digression) best answers the question why a country such as (apparently backward) India succeeds in continuing as a relatively peaceful democracy inspite of the greatest diversity in the World.

  • Jared

    In answer to Curtis: I have always wondered that myself about Mormons. I think its hidden somewhere, because I have never noticed it. Every Mormon I know(and living in Northern Utah its kinda hard to not know anyone who is Mormon) accept evolution. Of course they still try to fit creationism in there somehow.

  • ConfusedChick

    I’m an atheist and I don’t believe in evolution, I gave up Catholicism and Evolution quite a few years back.. so what does that make me?

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