Rethinking the Origins Debate
ECF grantee Jonathan Hill, whose project explores American attitudes about origins through a new survey designed to profile how faith commitments and social context influence beliefs, recently wrote about his studies in an online article for Christianity Today.
Jonathan’s commentary provides challenges to the widely held notion that national surveys show a deeply polarized American public regarding evolution and creation. Rather, “the way in which these questions about human origins are written restricts complex or conflicted responses. Surveys like the Gallup poll tend to represent the various views we might label Atheistic Evolution, Theistic Evolution, Intelligent Design, or Young Earth Creationism with position statements that force respondents to select the one that comes closest to their beliefs. The trouble is that these various views contain multiple beliefs about common descent, natural selection, divine involvement, and historical timeframe. The survey questions conflate these underlying beliefs in particular ways and force individuals to select from prepackaged sets of ideas.”
By contrast, Jonathan has fielded a new nationally representative survey aimed at asking more detailed, nuanced questions—including addressing respondents’ personal level of investment in their beliefs and whether they are or aren’t deeply confident that their own opinions about evolution and creation are the correct ones.
Read the full article here: