Finally some good news: U.S. Belief in Creationist Views at New Low

Highlights from Gallup News:

-38% say God created man in present form, lowest in 35 years
-Same percentage say humans evolved, but God guided the process
-Less-educated Americans more likely to believe in creationism

Higher education levels are associated with less support for creationism and higher levels of belief in the evolutionary explanation for human origins.

http://news.gallup.com/poll/210956/belief-creationist-view-humans-new-low.aspx

144 thoughts on “Finally some good news: U.S. Belief in Creationist Views at New Low

  1. colewd:
    keiths,

    I am interested why you obsess over this point given you only selectively comprehended the conversation I had with Behe.Lets see if you can get someone else to listen to the discussion and agree with you.If you can, I will happily concede the point.If you can’t, I suggest you take a fresh look at your ability to comprehend issues accurately without your worldview distorting them.

    It isn’t about your discussion. It’s about his position frequently expressed in print. Here is a fine YEC site that quotes him in order to attack his belief in universal common descent (and an old earth too). One could produce many other statements of that position by Behe.

  2. Bill,

    I wouldn’t describe myself as “obsessed” with this, but I am fascinated by it.

    It’s a textbook case of denial. You’ve seen the evidence. It’s unambiguous. But for purely emotional reasons, you can’t bring yourself to accept the truth.

    When this question first came up, I supplied you with two crystal-clear quotes from Behe’s most recent book:

    Behe, from The Edge of Evolution, p. 65:

    Over the next few sections I’ll show some of the newest evidence from studies of DNA that convinces most scientists, including myself, that one leg of Darwin’s theory — common descent — is correct.

    Behe, from The Edge of Evolution, p. 71:

    The same mistakes in the same gene in the same positions of both human and chimp DNA. If a common ancestor first sustained the mutational mistakes and subsequently gave rise to those two modern species, that would very readily account for why both species have them now. It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans.

    [emphasis added]

    As I observed later in that same thread:

    Getting Bill to believe that Behe accepts common descent is like getting CharlieM to admit that Rudolf Steiner was wrong about tomatoes.

  3. keiths: It’s a textbook case of denial. You’ve seen the evidence. It’s unambiguous. But for purely emotional reasons, you can’t bring yourself to accept the truth.

    Right, right.

    Like when a poll shows more people believing in ID and creationism, and skeptics call it less.

    Why do you think evolutionists do this?

  4. phoodoo,

    Good point. while possible evolutionists believe a god exists but didn’t interfere, just watched with popcorn, biology coming from dust or goo etc etc.
    Still the question should be did a thinking being create biology, in essence or in results, or no thinking being was involved in creation of biology.
    However immigration, like from India, would have people not agrre with a creator but still believe in Gods.
    Anyways a 100 million yanks can;t be wrong about creationism when the society bans creationism from society for all intents and purposes. i never see in media/Hollywood etc any representation of this 100 million.
    They do leap over backwards for tiny numbers of millions to give representation.
    the good guys always get skrewed until they get forceful.

  5. William J. Murray: 1. Is your belief that creationists represent a higher degree of gullibility than non-creationists backed up by any data?

    2. Assuming you can provide data to support that contention, why is fewer gullible people a good thing?

    1. Yes.
    2. It’s not if I were the priest, minister, shaman, etc. But since I am neither of these…

  6. colewd, to me:

    I am interested why you obsess over this point given you only selectively comprehended the conversation I had with Behe.

    John:

    It isn’t about your discussion. t’s about his position frequently expressed in print.

    And even in that discussion, it’s obvious that Behe accepts common descent.

    Hell, even Bill himself acknowledges, in that video, that Behe accepts common descent. He starts his question to Behe as follows…

    You’ve said that you believe in common descent.

    …and adds later:

    If I interpret what you believe properly, is that you believe that there’s common descent, but there’s design involvement in that change.

    And of course Behe doesn’t object. He accepts common descent, after all. And he tells Bill directly, in that discussion, that he thinks the evidence for it is strong:

    I think the evidence for common descent is strong in the similarities between species and of the higher categories of biology. The big qualm is explaining their differences. If you say that common descent is true, you’ve at one fell swoop explained the similarities, and now your job is to explain the differences, and that’s where design is necessary.

    What the hell, Bill?

    1. Behe tells you that the evidence for common descent is strong.

    2. He doesn’t object when you say — twice — that he believes in common descent.

    3. He unambiguously indicates his acceptance of common descent in two separate passages in his book.

    4. And, most bizarrely of all, even you affirm, in that video, that Behe accepts common descent.

    And now, for purely emotional reasons, you’re denying all of the above and claiming that Behe doesn’t accept common descent.

    Do you see why we roll our eyes at you?

    You’re like a kid who’s been told that Santa isn’t real, and just can’t cope with it.

    “I don’t want Behe to accept common descent! He can’t accept common descent! It isn’t permissible! Make it stop!

    It’s a textbook case of denial. Purely emotional, utterly irrational.

  7. keiths,

    There is a position, which can be that ones assumes common descent is likely, but they have no way of quantifying how likely or unlikely. Like, maybe, but however it happened it ain’t like evolutionists claim.

    This is why the Gallup questions are so stupid. If one thinks maybe common descent happened, but maybe not, but either way it was not by random accidents, then what category are their answers?

    So they still believe life was created. Perhaps that’s Behe’s take. Who knows what his level of confidence is. Its irrelevant really.

    Just like this bad poll, which still shows that atheists views are an aberration that not even most scientists can accept.

  8. phoodoo:

    There is a position, which can be that ones assumes common descent is likely, but they have no way of quantifying how likely or unlikely…

    So they still believe life was created. Perhaps that’s Behe’s take. Who knows what his level of confidence is.

    I know what his level of confidence is, because he told us:

    It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans.

    This is why we laugh at folks like you and Bill, phoodoo.

  9. keiths,

    I think the evidence for common descent is strong in the similarities between species and of the higher categories of biology. The big qualm is explaining their differences. If you say that common descent is true, you’ve at one fell swoop explained the similarities, and now your job is to explain the differences, and that’s where design is necessary.

    Ok, you dictated this and I agree this is what Mike said. You left out what he said after this. Why? You appear to be misrepresenting the position Mike articulated by leaving out important points he made.
    For example:

    I grant everything else (other then design) for the purpose of argument

  10. John Harshman,

    It isn’t about your discussion. It’s about his position frequently expressed in print. Here is a fine YEC site that quotes him in order to attack his belief in universal common descent (and an old earth too). One could produce many other statements of that position by Behe.

    The discussion we had was 9 years after the edge was published.

  11. colewd:

    You left out what he said after this. Why? You playing a spin game keiths.

    No, Bill. Nothing Behe said afterward contradicts what I quoted him saying. He accepts common descent. You said it yourself, and more importantly he said it, both in the discussion and in his book.

    If you disagree, quote the exact words of his that indicate otherwise. I repeat: Quote the exact words of his that indicate otherwise.

    Santa doesn’t exist, and no amount of kicking and screaming will change that. Fighting reality is a losing battle. You need to accept it instead.

  12. colewd:

    The discussion we had was 9 years after the edge was published.

    You actually think he’s changed his mind since the book was published?

    Think about what you’re saying, Bill. According to you, Behe was so incredibly stupid that he made the claim, in writing, that

    It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans.

    …and now believes that the claim is false. On what possible basis? The evidence he cited hasn’t been overturned; it’s as strong as ever.

    Behe is wrong about a lot of things, but he’s not an idiot, Bill.

  13. keiths,

    If you disagree, quote the exact words of his that indicate otherwise. I repeat: Quote the exact words of his that indicate otherwise.

    Again:

    I grant everything else (other then design) for the purpose of argument

    Mike agrees with common descent for the purpose of argument. He also sees supporting evidence in the form of similarities. As he said in the discussion, he does not think common descent is important and is an historical argument vs design which can be argued based of current observation of molecular machines. He indicated problems with making historical arguments.

  14. keiths,

    Behe is wrong about a lot of things, but he’s not an idiot, Bill.

    On what basis do you claim authority to judge the accuracy of his views?

  15. keiths,

    No, Bill. Nothing Behe said afterward contradicts what I quoted him saying. He accepts common descent. You said it yourself, and more importantly he said it, both in the discussion and in his book.

    Sure, but you still continually misrepresent his position.

  16. keiths:
    phoodoo:

    I know what his level of confidence is, because he told us:

    This is why we laugh at folks like you and Bill, phoodoo.

    So is he a creationist?

  17. phoodoo: Only a skeptic would claim that 75% of Americans saying they believe that God had a role in man’s creation means “less” people believe in creationism not more.

    You’re apparently incapable of dealing with the concept of a change in the number of people who profess certain beliefs. Not at all surprising from a non-skeptic. I like how you’ve managed to convince yourself that skepticism is a bad thing. I guess we should call you a Gullibilist now. How’s your gullibilism serving you these days? Donated your savings to a prosperity gospel yet? Tried to get your cancer cured through acupuncture?

    Only a skeptic would keep repeating that there is a “decline” simply because more believe in ID now than ever before.

    Where do you see that statistic?

    Only a skeptic would say that LESS scientists believe in creationism than ever, when the fact is the polls show that MORE do.

    What poll?

    Why do skeptics hate facts so much should be a poll question.

    Why you are unable to deal with basic facts should be a subject worthy of a thesis in psychology.

    Why do skeptics live in such denial?

    Why do gullibilists always project?

  18. phoodoo: Like when a poll shows more people believing in ID and creationism, and skeptics call it less.

    Where do you find this poll? It isn’t the poll in the OP.

  19. On the issue of the OP, I would have to say that the more recent section of the graph looks a bit strange to me, and I have to wonder if there are polling changes affecting the results.

    The last five years seem odd, with rapid changes in both the creationism and the theistic evolution levels. Also, why should theistic evolution go down like it did, only to again rise in the last three years, or so? Why did creationism have a sharp rise, only to then dive even lower than before? Even the “secular evolution” line jogs up more in five years than it mostly does in other five-year runs.

    I can’t say that any of it is wrong, but surely it appears a bit anomalous, possibly reflecting changes in who is being polled in a time when phone usage changes may be occurring. Of course, probably the best way to find out what’s happening is to watch and see what results in future Gallup polls on origins. If lines keep trending roughly in the same directions (perhaps with more noise than in the past) then I’d be more trusting of the recent changes. For now, I think the changes in the past five years are at least anomalous, and I’m not sure how much I trust the graph over that period of time.

    Glen Davidson

  20. GlenDavidson:
    On the issue of the OP, I would have to say that the more recent section of the graph looks a bit strange to me, and I have to wonder if there are polling changes affecting the results.

    The last five years seem odd, with rapid changes in both the creationism and the theistic evolution levels.Also, why should theistic evolution go down like it did, only to again rise in the last three years, or so?Why did creationism have a sharp rise, only to then dive even lower than before? Even the “secular evolution” line jogs up more in five years than it mostly does in other five-year runs.

    I can’t say that any of it is wrong, but surely it appears a bit anomalous, possibly reflecting changes in who is being polled in a time when phone usage changes may be occurring.Of course, probably the best way to find out what’s happening is to watch and see what results in future Gallup polls on origins.If lines keep trending roughly in the same directions (perhaps with more noise than in the past) then I’d be more trusting of the recent changes.For now, I think the changes in the past five years are at least anomalous, and I’m not sure how much I trust the graph over that period of time.

    Glen Davidson

    I will tell you why. Because they are trying to call IDism and creationism as two different things, and pretending that if more people believe in ID, then less people believe in creationism, which is an absurd way to conduct a poll.

    Do you believe in ID-Yes
    Do you believe in creationism-What do you mean?
    Do you believe that God made man suddenly apear out of nowhere 3000 years ago- Ah, not so sure about that, probably not…

    See, less people now believe in creationism.

    Rumraket can’t grasp it.

  21. phoodoo: Do you believe in ID-Yes
    Do you believe in creationism-What do you mean?
    Do you believe that God made man suddenly apear out of nowhere 3000 years ago- Ah, not so sure about that, probably not…

    See, less people now believe in creationism.

    Rumraket can’t grasp it.

    You’re absolutely right, I can’t grasp what you just wrote. Because it makes zero logical sense.

  22. keiths:

    No, Bill. Nothing Behe said afterward contradicts what I quoted him saying. He accepts common descent. You said it yourself, and more importantly he said it, both in the discussion and in his book.

    colewd:

    Sure, but…

    Then that settles it. He accepts common descent, so stop denying it.

    Sure, but you still continually misrepresent his position.

    What are you talking about? Of the two of us, I’m the one telling the truth about Behe — that he accepts common descent — while you’re the one misrepresenting his position.

    You’ve even gone so far as to suggest that he changed his mind since publishing his last book!

    Santa doesn’t exist, Bill. Stop bawling, wipe your nose, and deal with it.

  23. keiths,

    Then that settles it. He accepts common descent, so stop denying it.

    He accepts common descent. Done.

    Do you think it is the same version of common descent that you accept?

  24. keiths [Behe quote]: I think the evidence for common descent is strong in the similarities between species and of the higher categories of biology. The big qualm is explaining their differences. If you say that common descent is true, you’ve at one fell swoop explained the similarities, and now your job is to explain the differences, and that’s where design is necessary.

    Frankly, Behe’s “distinction” between the “similarities” and the “differences” is artificial and misleading. The two are inextricably tied together, and are only abstractions that we utilize for our own convenience.

    Take a bat’s wing, it’s similar to a mammalian foreleg in many ways, especially because of the identifiable bones in both, and it is rather different in form and function as well. There are not “similarities” nor “differences” that aren’t embodied in the morphology of the wing itself, wherein the wing is simply comprised of a lot of similarities that have been “stretched” or otherwise changed to become quite different from the ancestral forelimb.

    Behe seems to be thinking of designed entities there, and not about biologic evolution at all. An auto often is made up of parts that haven’t changed a whit, alongside other parts that are entirely new and underived from previous auto parts. An organism isn’t like that at all, the new structure or organ is always derived from an ancestral structure or organ. There isn’t a true separation of “the similar” and “the different,” the similar is also the dissimilar, the different, the derived.

    Behe’s caricature of similar and different in life exists solely as something taken from actually designed objects, and not from life itself, the latter of which does not have the “similar” and the “different” existing side by side, as they frequently can in manufactured goods. The similar is the different, as with the bat’s wing, where similar bones become modified a good deal to make a quite different structure.

    Glen Davidson

  25. Glen,

    I disagree with Behe, but my reasons differ from yours.

    I think it’s fine to distinguish between differences and similarities, but Behe is wrong to suggest that it’s only the similarities that constitute strong evidence for common descent. If there were no differences, then there’d be nothing to explain!

    It’s the combination of similarities and differences that provides evidence for common descent.

    In any case, it’s clear that Behe accepts common descent. Bill’s denial of that is every bit as ridiculous as I’ve claimed.

  26. GlenDavidson,

    Frankly, Behe’s “distinction” between the “similarities” and the “differences” is artificial and misleading. The two are inextricably tied together, and are only abstractions that we utilize for our own convenience.

    Take a bat’s wing, it’s similar to a mammalian foreleg in many ways, especially because of the identifiable bones in both, and it is rather different in form and function as well. There are not “similarities” nor “differences” that aren’t embodied in the morphology of the wing itself, wherein the wing is simply comprised of a lot of similarities that have been “stretched” or otherwise changed to become quite different from the ancestral forelimb.

    Behe’s arguments are mostly at the cellular level. The flagellum motor, cilium and the blood clotting system are examples.

  27. keiths,

    I think it’s fine to distinguish between differences and similarities, but Behe is wrong to suggest that it’s only the similarities that constitute strong evidence for common descent.

    Can you support Behe making this claim?

  28. colewd:

    He accepts common descent. Done.

    Finally.

    Do you think it is the same version of common descent that you accept?

    Yes, and it’s the same version of common descent that evolutionary biologists accept. Behe tells you this himself:

    Over the next few sections I’ll show some of the newest evidence from studies of DNA that convinces most scientists, including myself, that one leg of Darwin’s theory — common descent — is correct.

  29. keiths,

    Yes, and it’s the same version of common descent that evolutionary biologists accept. Behe tells you this himself:

    So you believe that design is required to explain some of the new innovations that occurred during last 4 billion years?

  30. Behe accepts common descent…Hmmm..
    By what mechanism have both humans and chimps evolved from the common ancestor? It must have been through this mechanism that Bene also accepts:

    ‘Each and every possible single point mutation occurs between 10,000 and 100,000 times per day in a HIV-infected individual.’ But this has produced ‘no new gizmos or basic machinery.’ ‘No gene duplication has occurred leading to new function.”—Behe

    Or by this:

    “In a sense, it is a destructive force (mutations), making random changes in the genetic material. In any highly adapted organism such changes are overwhelmingly likely to be detrimental. The usual analogies we make in such cases involve making random adjustments in a finely constructed watch, or making random alterations of a carefully-written poem. While one will occasionally improve the timing of the watch or the effectiveness of the poem by random changes, with much greater probability one will make things worse.” Joe Felsenstein

    Or
    “The bottom line is this. Common descent is true; yet the explanation of common descent—even the common descent of humans and chimps—although fascinating, is in a profound sense trivial. It says merely that commonalities were there from the start, present in a common ancestor. It does not even begin to explain where those commonalities came from, or how humans subsequently acquired remarkable differences. Something that is nonrandom must account for the common descent of life.
    (EOE pp. 72-73)”

    Or… there is much more…like QM… laters

    .

  31. colewd,

    So you believe that design is required to explain some of the new innovations that occurred during last 4 billion years?

    No. As has been explained to you again and again, the fact of common descent is distinct from the mechanism by which the differences arose.

    Behe accepts common descent but invokes design. I accept common descent and do not invoke design. This is not that difficult.

    Think, Bill.

  32. keiths,

    From your quote of Behe

    The big qualm is explaining their differences. If you say that common descent is true, you’ve at one fell swoop explained the similarities, and now your job is to explain the differences, and that’s where design is necessary.

    From keiths

    Behe accepts common descent but invokes design. I accept common descent and do not invoke design. This is not that difficult.

    So you both say common descent is true but you both have conflicting explanations for the differences. About as conflicting as you could be discussing the same claim.

    So if we have conflicting explanations why a claim is true don’t we have 2 different hypotheses.

    I accept common descent and do not invoke design

    What do you invoke?

  33. colewd,

    So you both say common descent is true but you both have conflicting explanations for the differences.

    That’s right. We both fully accept common descent, but we disagree on a separate issue: the source of the differences.

    Behe would have to be an idiot to reject common descent, and he simply isn’t that stupid.

  34. colewd,

    Behe accepted common descent based on the evolutionary assumption that both chimps and humans inherited the same broken gene… it’s not…
    It has been known for few years now that beta-globin pseudogene is not broken, but in fact performs an important function in regulating gene expression…

    The Darwinosaurs are stuck in the 19th century and can’t move on…

  35. J-mac:

    Behe accepted common descent based on the evolutionary assumption that both chimps and humans inherited the same broken gene

    And then there are those 1 million “broken” Alus that are probably not broken afterall. A computerized British Narrator narrated my article on Alus by the way. The narration has been added to my article. That British accent makes what I say seem so much more authoritative. 🙂

    https://crev.info/2018/01/junk-dna-may-act-computer-memory/

  36. stcordova: And then there are those 1 million “broken” Alus that are probably not broken afterall.A computerized British Narrator narrated my article on Alus by the way.The narration has been added to my article.That British accent makes what I say seem so much more authoritative.

    https://crev.info/2018/01/junk-dna-may-act-computer-memory/

    Of course they are not broken…
    I hope Larry Moran publishes his book on 90% junk DNA before it shrinks to almost zero…;-)

  37. J-Mac: I hope Larry Moran publishes his book on 90% junk DNA before it shrinks to almost zero…;-)

    Me too, he’ll be the butt of jokes for decades thereafter for having done so. I might shell out money to buy his book just so I can be entertained by it and tell next generation creationists what evolutionary biology can do to an otherwise brilliant mind.

    What’s got to hurt is the rival biochmeistry authors of a more respected biochemistry book than Larry’s is giving a favorable view of Alus as being functional. The book is Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, and is #1 at Amazon. In contrast, Larry’s biochem book doesn’t even come up in the first page of rankings.

    I’m already gloating over Ayala and Avise making monkeys of themselves over Alus.

  38. J-mac, colewd,

    I’m going to be posting more at the TSZ spin-off forum TheSkepticalForum.org. The boring nerdy stuff is really more what I need to focus on rather than the entertaining fireworks of this blog. For my own personal and intellectual development, I think this a good move for me.

    So it’s not goodbye, I’m just spending more time at the TSZ spinoff, TheSkepticalForum.org. So if you don’t see me here that much, you know where to find me.

    http://theskepticalforum.org/index.php?board=2.0

    God bless you.

  39. J-Mac: Behe accepts common descent…Hmmm..
    By what mechanism have both humans and chimps evolved from the common ancestor? It must have been through this mechanism that Bene also accepts:

    ‘Each and every possible single point mutation occurs between 10,000 and 100,000 times per day in a HIV-infected individual.’ But this has produced ‘no new gizmos or basic machinery.’ ‘No gene duplication has occurred leading to new function.”—Behe

    Ahh yes I remember that one. That really came back to haunt him.

    Recommended article:
    https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/08/erv-hiv-versus.html

    “ERV & HIV versus Behe. Behe loses.

    Michael Behe, please allow me to introduce myself…

    I’m ERV. This is my dog, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And this is my friend, Vpu. I presume you and Vpu haven’t met, as you recently repeated in an interview with World magazine the same sentiment you gurgled ad nauseam in ‘Edge of Evolution’:

    “Like malaria, HIV is a microbe that occurs in astronomical numbers. What’s more, its mutation rate is 10,000 times greater than that of most other organisms. So in just the past few decades HIV has actually undergone more of certain kinds of mutations than all cells have endured since the beginning of the world. Yet all those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little. It still has the same number of genes that work in the same way. There is no new molecular machinery. If we see that Darwin’s mechanism can only do so little even when given its best opportunities, we can decisively conclude that random mutation did not build the machinery of life.”

    I find it rather difficult to believe that you two haven’t crossed paths, as Vpu turns up in a simple Google search. And as a matter of fact, Vpu is sitting right there in the totally unnecessary and worthless diagram in ‘Edge of Evolution’. See? Right there: [figure]

    If you had taken the time to label this pointless diagram, you might have noticed your error, and we wouldn’t need to have this conversation. Alas, Vpu is a tiny molecule, and he’s easy to overlook if you don’t want to see him.

    Vpu is, in fact, a new gene.1 Of the five major phylogenetic groups of SIV, Vpu is only found in one group– Chimpanzee SIV (SIVcpz) and its descendants – including HIV-1. It is absent in all of the other major lineages (Sooty Mangabey, African Green Monkey, Sykes Monkey, and L’Hoest Monkey). This means that Vpu is in HIV-1 but not HIV-2.2

    (…)”

  40. Rumraket,

    From the EOE:
    “…In that region between the two gamma genes and a gene that works after birth, human DNA contains a broken gene (called a “pseudogene”) that closely resembles, a working gene for a beta chain, but has features in its sequence that preclude it from coding successfully for a protein.

    Chimp DNA has a very similar pseudogene at the same position. The beginning of the human pseudogene has two particular changes in two nucleotide letters that seem to deactivate the gene.. The chimp pseudogene has the exact same changes…”

    Similar gene…seem to deactivate the gene…

    I guess the only thing that haunts Behe is that he didn’t write his doubts clearly enough for Darwninosaurs to understand…
    My 12 and 14 year old kids got his doubts the first time…
    Rum must have been spending too much time next to the life creative powers of the oceanic vents… So we can see the effects now… 😉

  41. stcordova: Moran

    I would like to make sure that Larry Moran publishes his junk DNA book…I know you too…How do we do that? I know personally that it is not easy to find a publisher that wants to publish even the most outrages ideas…
    What should we do to help Larry out?
    Set up an publishing fund for suicidal Darwiosaurs? 😉

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