Younger people accept evolution

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The Inductivist has already reported that younger people are more likely to accept evolution. But it is also true that younger people are less Christian than older people. But does the trend hold within religious groups? That is, are younger people more open to evolution, or is that more secular people are more open to evolution and younger people are more secular? I decided to check Protestants and Catholics in the GSS broken down into three age brackets, 18-35, 36-50 and 51+ (the sample sizes are decent). I used the SCITEST4 variable, affirmative or not for “Humans evolved from animals.” I also checked for those individuals in the sample who believe that “God Definitely Exists.”

Humans Evolved From Animals
18-35
Protestant Catholic
Defintely True 11.6 22.3
Probably True 30.8 42.5
Probably Not True 17.8 16.3
Definitely Not True 39.9 18.9
36-50
Protestant Catholic
Defintely True 10.9 18.1
Probably True 28.5 44.3
Probably Not True 16.4 21.5
Definitely Not True 44.2 16.2
50>
Protestant Catholic
Defintely True 8.9 12.6
Probably True 23.5 37.3
Probably Not True 15.7 19.7
Definitely Not True 52 30.4
All Who Say God Definitely Exists, Opinions on Evolution
18-35
Defintely True 12.3
Probably True 28.2
Probably Not True 17.3
Definitely Not True 42.2
36-50
Defintely True 8.2
Probably True 27.5
Probably Not True 17.8
Definitely Not True 46.5
50>
Defintely True 7
Probably True 20.4
Probably Not True 15.4
Definitely Not True 57.2

I looks like there’s some foundation to optimism here….

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8 Comments

  1. Okay, okay. But what exactly are today’s kids better at because of believing in evolution and not being very Christian? 
     
    What this sort of result really means is that family is no longer the center of the human experience in the West. And family-orientated belief systems, religions, have consequently begun to fade. Belief in evolution is a marker of religious faith, nothing more. What is the modern center of human experience? Consumer culture. An improvement? 
     
    I suppose that there is a lot more sex — I probably wouldn’t have had nearly the selection that I do 60-70 years ago. But there is less long-term commitment. For me, the trade-off is not at all worth it.  
     
    It’s not even worth it if the kids today really do believe in Darwin nearly as much as they believe in the magical equality fairy that stopped human evolution 100,000 years ago.

  2. There’s something fishy here: I find it highly doubtful that 57 percent of older adults believe that God definitely does not exist…

  3. “I[t] looks like there’s some foundation to optimism here….”That’s assuming that people retain the same beliefs their entire life. Many people get more religious as they get older. (The reverse is true for others, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to cancel it out.) 
     
    The question is, are we seeing a difference between generations, or between young and old? (Probably some of both, but how much?)

  4. Okay, okay. But what exactly are today’s kids better at because of believing in evolution and not being very Christian? 
     
    you could present some data instead of bullshitting. just sayin’. 
     
    That’s assuming that people retain the same beliefs their entire life. Many people get more religious as they get older. (The reverse is true for others, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to cancel it out.) 
     
    no. please follow my second link.

  5. Ah, I see. Well, cool!

  6. Thrasymachus 
     
    Those are elegant words, and well thought out. Humanity needs some kind of religion, doesn’t it?

  7. I do not understand how anyone who has been in the dating scene cannot think that evolution is real. The fact that sociobiology is such an accurate model of human behavior (and can get you laid a lot if you play the game) should make it clear that evolution is not just a theory, but an indisputable fact.

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