More young Americans accept evolution as fact than ever before

Although Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has been widely accepted by science, many Americans are slow to adopt the theory. For years, many religious Americans clung to creationism and “intelligent design” despite overwhelming scientific evidence.

Finally, the tides are turning, and more Americans believe in evolution than creationism. The shift is led by the young, who also are much less likely to believe in God than any other generation in American history.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 73 percent of Americans under 30 now believe in some form of evolution, up from 2009’s 61 percent. The most surprising number, however, is that 51 percent believe in secular evolution — that is, evolution that is not directed by a divine power. In 2009, only 40 percent believed in secular evolution. The fact that the majority of young people now believe in secular evolution signifies a dramatic change in American thought.

For years, Americans have generally been reluctant to accept evolution, despite the fact that most of Europe and many other nations have accepted the theory. Many educators refused to teach evolution in school, which resulted in a poorly informed general population.

The shift in American youth likely began in 2005 with the landmark court decision Kitzmiller v. Dover, which removed creationism and the pseudo-scientific “intelligent design” from public school curriculums. Although it makes sense that the shift would start with the young, all ages of Americans are turning to evolution over creationism.

Although America still has many devout creationists, the number is dropping and will likely continue to do so.

[Slate] Featured image: Charles Darwin via Imgur

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