Do you “believe” in evolution? A new survey reveals that your answer can be predicted in large part by your political loyalties. The Pew Research Center finds that two-thirds of Democrats accept the validity of evolution, in contrast with the 43% of Republicans. The latter figure, remarkably, has shrunk by 11 percentage points since 2009, when Pew performed a similar survey.
In a time of great divides over religion and politics, it’s not surprising that we treat evolution the way we do political issues. But here’s the problem: As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion, or something one chooses to believe in or not, like a religious proposition. And by often framing the matter this way, we involved in the news media, Internet debates and everyday conversation do a disservice to science, religion and our prospects for having a scientifically literate country.