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Gallup Poll Is Blind to Support for Intelligent Design

David Klinghoffer

Gallup

Looking at a Gallup poll we reported on back in May, Yale Divinity School communications director Tom Krattenmaker spots what he sees as good news. He writes in a USA Today op-ed that Americans are veering from creationism, not in favor of a purely materialist evolutionary process, but rather a curious new “hybrid view”:

Not surprising, in view of our growing secularization, the percentage of Americans taking the strict evolution view — no divine role — has grown significantly since the 1980s, from 9% to 19% in the latest Gallup survey.

But the latest movement in public opinion shows one-time creationists taking refuge not in the “no-religion” zone but in “both/and” position. The percentage of people choosing the hybrid view — around 30% in 2014 — was eight points higher in Gallup’s poll.

These tea leaves tell us that more people are refusing the all-or-nothing choice between faith and science and opting instead for a third way: Acceptance of the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution while seeing a divine role in the process. “Divine evolution” is a term some use for it.

“Divine evolution” is not a term I’ve heard before. But “intelligent design,” which Krattenmaker doesn’t mention, would seem to fit – a theory that recognizes objective evidence of guidance in human and other evolution, whether by a divine or other source of intelligence. On the identity of the designer, ID per se is agnostic.

What Krattenmaker may be picking up on is the progress of design theory in shaping the public discussion of evolution. That’s something, however, that the Gallup poll is unable to recognize since they’ve been asking the same questions since 1982 when the modern ID movement did not yet exist.

Photo credit: © Andrey Popov — stock.adobe.com.