Survey Results- Part 4 – Why We Argue About Evolution

May 22, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 1:09 pm   Category: Survey Results

Continued from here.

For those who are new, click here for all parts.

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.

It is basically like this whether you slice it by age (So this won’t go away in 20 years), gender, marital status, etc.

That is why we argue.



  1. Very nice graphic, Matt. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Comment by Dave — May 22, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  2. Very nice to see some data.

    “(So this won’t go away in 20 years)”
    Maybe not 20 years as society is often sooo slow to accept science that conflicts with their opinions. But like the belief the earth is the center of the solar system or the earth is flat, religious people eventually come around. (And those from the past who refuse to change look bad.)

    History continues to repeat itself. Nothing new here.

    Plus, I’ve personally talked to senior BYU faculty who have told me being open about evolution is much easier now than it used to be 40 years ago. To me this is a sign the Church is in fact changing.

    Comment by Joseph Smidt — May 22, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  3. I don’t know; the column totals suggest that the polarity is somewhat illusory.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 22, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

  4. Joseph, that’s fair, and I bet if you asked this question 40 years ago, it would have gotten a very different answer. But again, it would have been a different answer across all age groups.

    J.- Not sure I understand.

    Comment by Matt W. — May 22, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  5. From how I read the data, most people do not think we share a common ancestor (~46%) but most also do *not* find a contradiction.

    Perhaps this explains my “BYU faculty” experience. Perhaps what has changed in 40 years isn’t the percentage of people who believe evolution is real as much as the percentage of people who now believe it doesn’t contradict the gospel.

    So I would take this as a *first step* in the right direction. Though people are still not convinced we share a common ancestor, at least they are not classifying a belief of evolution as one of the “7 deadly heresies”.

    Comment by Joseph Smidt — May 22, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  6. Looks like most people accept evolution, just not for humans. Since the natural man is soooo different from animals…

    It struck me a few days ago how weird the spiritual creation of the earth preceding physical creation is without evolution.

    Comment by Owen — May 22, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  7. The people that ended up in the bottom left box must have misunderstood at least one of the questions…

    Comment by Geoff J — May 22, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

  8. Has religion ever proven science wrong?

    Comment by ed42 — May 22, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

  9. I meant that 28% don’t think evolution is compatable with their religious values. That isn’t a lot really. So while we argue, the apparent polarity between top left and bottom right corners misses the bigger picture.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 22, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  10. Stapes,

    I agree that the 28% is a key figure in the chart. But I also think Owen was correct in saying that there are still significant disagreement among survey takers over whether evolution applies to humans or not.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 22, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

  11. J.- 28% is 1 in 4 people in your ward. And while 2 in 4 people in your ward feel their is no contradiction, half of them are against the idea of common descent.

    Geoff- I’d consider bottom left those who believe in evolution, but think their religion is against it.

    Comment by Matt W. — May 23, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  12. I was pretty shocked the survey was so pro-evolution, rtuth be told.

    Matt, that’s true. But then I’d expect about 1 in 4 people to have a whole set of silly beliefs.

    Comment by Clark — May 24, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

  13. I think that this question is significantly impacted by the target audience (blog readers & internet users) than most of the others. The 28% is probably higher in the general church population.

    Comment by El Oso — May 25, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

  14. Surely you mean lower rather than higher.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 25, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  15. Of course those who think man has no common ancestor with apes have the big problem of explaining why our DNA is so ridiculously similar.

    Comment by Clark — May 26, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  16. Indeed Clark.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 26, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  17. Magic!Uh, I mean (insert lame excuse given by lds biology professor rather too many decades ago to remember.)

    Comment by djinn — May 26, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  18. Oh, yeah, because God/Yhvh recycled parts from them to us. A pitty he did such a bad job on the backs and the knees.

    Comment by djinn — May 26, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  19. djinn,

    You will be pleased to know that many/most LDS biology professors (at least those at BYU) are on board with the common ancestor with apes idea these days.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 26, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  20. Biology professors may agree with both common descent and the theory of Evolution but mormons themselves rate about a 25% acceptance rate, going by the latest Pew estimate. Their backs hurt presumbably because, uh, they lusted after a coke?

    Such a difference between the blogosphere and those other forms of measurement. I’m, personally, going to have to lighten up, seeing as how much I agree with the bulk of the posters. Sigh. I can do it.

    Comment by djinn — May 26, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  21. I really can spell pity, but my keyboard is going out. i suppose i can admit this here at the end of a short and unlikely to get longer thread, but I’m sick and in bed most of the time, and pestering you guys really brightens up my day. So, thanks and I am very very very sorry for my impertinence, at the same time thrilled that you haven’t banned me. (Take that x, y, and z.)

    Also, if someone could tell at least two of my sisters-in-law (i’m afraid to know the opinion of the others), that one can be a good mormon and understand that the earth is over 6000 years old, I’d greatly apprecate it. Such fundamentalism (on their part) and such uh, cussedness on my part makes it difficult to find any world intersections where something as pedestrian as a friendship may develop; I believe its fear of offense on both sides.

    Of course, I don’t take offense on matters of science (or fashion, since I simply dismiss their opinion unless they’re treating my kids badly under the guise of righteousness–not cool), I’m thrilled to have a point of argument, but not a strategy I can employ. i do dislike being told, nicely, that I’m going to the Mormon equivalent of Hell, but I’m working hard on that one. Unfortunatey all sisses in law are behaving themselves on that issue leaving me little to be upset with. what’s a grump to do?

    Comment by djinn — May 26, 2010 @ 8:46 pm