Religion has a significant influence on views of human evolution, according to a recent Pew Research survey.
A majority of white mainline Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics and religiously unaffiliated believe that humans have evolved over time.
By contrast, a majority of black Protestant and white evangelical Protestant respondents said that “humans and other living things existed in present form since the beginning of time.”
Overall, a strong majority (60 percent) of all U.S. adults affirm human evolution.
“The share of the general public that says that humans have evolved over time is about the same as it was in 2009, when Pew Research last asked the question,” the report noted.
Respondents who agreed that humans have evolved were asked whether they thought a supreme being or natural processes were responsible for the changes.
White mainline Protestants and white Catholics were evenly split over the process while a majority of Hispanic Catholics and religiously unaffiliated thought evolution was driven by natural processes.
By contrast, a majority of black Protestants and white evangelical Protestants who acknowledged human evolution believed, “A supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”
Overall, a majority of U.S. adults who believed in evolution agreed, “Humans and other living things have evolved due to natural processes such as natural selection.”
To compare perceptions, Pew asked some participants to comment on the evolution of “humans and other living things” and others about that of “animals and other living things.”
When the data was compared, U.S. adults – regardless of gender, age or education level – were more likely to affirm the statement about “animals and other living things” evolving. Declaring belief in either form of evolution decreased with age and increased with education level.
The full Pew Research Center report is available here.