Study: Evangelicals Dislike Evolution More Than Climate Change

A. Afarensis (evolution0

Evangelicals are more likely to reject evolution than climate change, according to a new study from Rice University.

Just to be clear: scientists—who you might remember are those that actually do the research in these fields—overwhelmingly accept evolution (98 percent) and climate change (97 percent). The evidence for both is overwhelming and among scientists there is no actual debate on that basis.

But regardless of the strength of that evidence—at least on the issue of evolution—a creationist reading of the Bible wins out when it comes to evangelical Christians.

The new study from Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund examines the connections of certain claims of science in light of faith. Approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population questions the idea that climate change is occurring and around 45 percent see evolution as “probably or definitely false.”

The study showed that while political ideology, as well as interest and confidence in science, played a bigger role in questioning climate change, rejection of evolution “is strongly tied to religious identity, practice, and belief,” and especially for evangelicals, who were significantly more likely to reject evolution over climate change.

“Almost 70 percent of surveyed respondents identifying as evangelicals said that evolution is probably or definitely false,” says the study “while only 28 percent of these individuals said that the climate is not changing or that humans have no role in climate change.”

If you’ve ever been frustrated by trying to convince a creationist of evolution, studies like this continue to show that sheer evidence alone is not always enough to change a person’s mind, especially when it comes to theology.

Read the December 13 press release at Rice University or the full study (“Examining Links Between Religion, Evolution Views, and Climate Change Skepticism“) at the journal, Environment and Behavior.

Photo: A. Afarensis by Cicero Moraes (wikicommons). Evolution.