Acceptance of evolution

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Acceptance of evolution, of course, refers to the number of people, or the type of people who accept that the diversity of life can be explained by evolution by natural selection. Some people sometimes say that they "believe" in evolution, but generally this isn't the right word; belief implies faith, which implies a lack of evidence. And despite what creationists claim, there is plenty of evidence for evolution. Thus, it would be better to say that one "accepts evolution as fact."

Damned lies and statistics[edit]

While trying to get a handle on the demographics of religious belief can be difficult (people who declare themselves "spiritual but not religious", because they think it's more open minded than "atheist", confuse the matter seriously), it's easier to get an idea on how many people accept the science of evolution. Acceptance of evolution is notably interesting because such "controversies" don't exist with other theories and observations made by science, such as relativity or gravity. Although there are some people out there who are so detached from reality as to deny the location of the Sun, and recent and not-so-recent recent historical events.

Some random facts about the acceptance of evolution:

  1. "[A]dults with some understanding of genetics are more likely to have a positive attitude toward evolution."[1]
  2. 97.3% of Biological Sciences department heads accept there is no scientific controversy over evolution.[2]
  3. Only 700 out of 480,000 earth and life scientists (0.14%) subscribe to literal biblical creationism.[3]
  4. Acceptance of evolution tends to increase with level of education.[4][5]
  5. It's not limited to the non-religious, see Theistic evolution. Over 14,000 U.S. Christian clergy accept evolution.[6]
  6. The first known case of science-based evolution acceptance dates back to Charles Darwin's explication of natural selection in 1837.[7]
  7. According to the Pew Research Center, about 62% of Americans accept the theory of evolution while 34% of Americans deny the theory of evolution.[8][9]
  8. About 97% of American scientists accept the theory of evolution and only 2% deny the theory of evolution.[5]
  9. The religion Jehovah's Witnesses has the lowest percentage of acceptance of evolution of any other religion in America; merely 8% in 2009 and 20% in 2016 accept evolution according to the Pew Research Center.[10]
  10. According to the Gallup survey in 2017, 38% of Americans now accept creationism and more than 50% now accept the theory of evolution.[11]
  11. The theory of evolution is a 'hard sell' in schools in Israel. More than half of Israeli Jews accept the theory of evolution while more than 40% deny evolution.[12][13]
  12. According to the poll that is taken in Eastern Europe by the Pew Research Center, Czechia has the highest acceptance of evolution (83%), and Armenia has the lowest acceptance of evolution, where only 34% accept evolution and 56% deny it.[14]
  13. According to the poll that is taken in Latin America by the Pew Research Center, Uruguay has the highest acceptance of evolution (74%), and the Dominican Republic has the lowest acceptance of evolution, where only 41% accept evolution and 56% deny evolution.[15]
  14. Acceptance of evolution varies per state in America. Vermont has the highest acceptance of evolution (79%) and Mississippi has the lowest acceptance of evolution, where only 43% accept evolution and 53% percent deny it.[16]
  15. According to the poll that is taken in Muslim Countries by the Pew Research Center, Kazakhstan has the highest acceptance of evolution of all Islamic countries (79%), and Afghanistan has the lowest acceptance of evolution, where only 26% accept evolution and 62% deny it.[17]

Basically, anyone who has really looked at the evidence for evolution, including the fossil record and DNA, is likely to disbelieve any religious tradition regarding the origin of species and life. People who are indoctrinated early in life and kept away from scientific knowledge are less likely to accept evolution. Go figure.

See also[edit]


  1. Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds National Geographic News 10 August 2006 (Archived from the original on 5 May 2017)
  2. Turn out the lights, the “Teach the controversy” party’s over Skeptical Inquirer 25 February 2006
  3. "Keeping God Out of the Classroom", Newsweek, June 29, 17, pp. 23.
  4. University Student Understanding of Evolutionary Biology's Place in the Creation/Evolution Theory The Ohio Journal of Science v84, n5 (December, 1984), 218-228
  5. 5.0 5.1 Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media - Section 5: Evolution, Climate Change and Other Issues Pew Research Center 9 July 2009
  6. The Clergy Letter Project
  7. Herbert, S. ed. 10. The red notebook of Charles Darwin. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series 7 (24 April): 1-164.
  8. For Darwin Day, 6 facts about the evolution debate Pew Research Center 11 February 2019
  9. Public’s Views on Human Evolution Pew Research Center 30 December 2013
  10. Religious Differences on the Question of Evolution Pew Research Center 4 February 2009
  11. In U.S., Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low Gallup 22 May 2017
  12. About half of Israeli Jews believe in evolution Pew Research Center 3 March 2016
  13. Evolution a hard sell among Israeli Jews, Pew study finds The Times of Israel 8 March 2016
  14. Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe - 6. Science and religion Pew Research Center 10 May 2017
  15. Religion in Latin America - Chapter 8: Religion and Science Pew Research Center 13 November 2014
  16. Views about human evolution by state Pew Research Center 2014
  17. The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society - Chapter 7: Religion, Science and Popular Culture Pew Research Center 30 April 2013