46 percent?

by Jason Alan

I read something disturbing recently that I have good reasons to think is false. A Gallup poll result stated that 46% of Americans think that the age of the earth is 10,000 years or less. While this has to do primarily with ignorance of basic science, I would go ahead and step out on a limb and say that the vast majority of people who think this have a religious background. But the question isn’t about belief in a supreme being or a creator, whatever you want to call it/she or him, it’s about one specific topic, which focuses on ignorance, willful or otherwise, of evolution. I can completely understand believing in a deity, but 46 percent of the U.S. thinking the earth is that young? Rubbish. Those people are a fringe minority who carry a bible in their back pocket everywhere they go. I don’t care how many people they poll, that number is way too high.

Now, I am not saying that Gallup is lying or fabricating statistics. I doubt they would do that. My disbelief in the numbers has two distinct reasons. First, I never knew anyone personally in my life that held this particularly skewed point of view, at least not one that shared it with me. There were, of course, the occasional church people that would come by on the weekends to people’s doors, and I’m sure they thought the earth was created by god and it is very young, but I didn’t know them personally. Mind you, I didn’t live in the north. I grew up and lived in Texas, where the churches are big and the word of God is strong. But still, even though there were many who claimed to be religious, those people, the young earth creationists, were few and far between.

The other reason I think it’s wrong is that I don’t think many atheists and agnostics would even take a poll. I’m not sure if they say what the poll is about before they begin, but I’m willing to bet that they (we) are even less likely to take the poll if it has anything to do with belief in deities. While neither of my reasons are scientific, neither is a poll. Although through observation I have seen that this 46% number is highly unlikely. What do you think?