November 12, 2013 - For thirty years, Gallup has been asking Americans
their views about evolution and human beings, and the results have been remarkably consistent and stable.
Last year, Gallup once again reported that nearly half of the country believe the Biblical version of events: “Forty-six percent
of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”
The Bible doesn’t actually say how long ago the account of creation in the book of Genesis was supposed to have taken place. But in 1650, Church of Ireland Archbishop James Ussher
used the stories of the Old Testament
to calculate that the world had been created on Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. His wasn’t the only calculus based on the Bible, but it became the most popular and is still influential with creationists today.
And according to Gallup, that calculation is still so popular, nearly half of America believes it describes the age of the earth.
But Josh Rosenau, with the National Center for Science Education, wrote this week that very different results emerge when slight changes are made to the questions that Gallup asks, and the actual number of “young-earth creationists” in the U.S. is probably much lower than Gallup claims.
Rosenau points out that the Gallup poll specifically asks about human origins, and does so in a religious context.