William Jennings Bryan (seated, L) and Clarence Darrow (standing, C) appear at an outdoor courtroom during the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tenn., in July 1925. "The inclusion of creationism -- and evolution -- as part of public school curricula has been an ongoing and contentious topic," Gallup's Art Swift said. The latest Gallup foll found 57 percent of American adults believe in some form of evolution. UPI file photo
May 23 (UPI) -- A record-low percentage of U.S. adults believe that God created humans in their present form, according to a Gallup survey.
Thirty-eight percent accept the strict creationism view compared with 38 percent who believe man developed with God's guidance and 19 percent think God had no role in man's evolution, according to the Gallup poll.
It's the first time since 1982 -- when Gallup asked the question with the same wording -- that belief in God's direct creation of man is not the most-common response.
Overall, 76 percent of Americans believe God was involved in man's creation -- the creationist view based on the Bible -- or that God guided the evolutionary process theorized by scientist Charles Darwin and others. Since 1982, the "secular" viewpoint has doubled.
"Since the Scopes Monkey Trial more than 90 years ago, the inclusion of creationism -- and evolution -- as part of public school curricula has been an ongoing and contentious topic," Gallup's Art Swift said. "This push and pull with creationism will undoubtedly continue, as this debate about where humans came from rages on."
Respondents' views varied depending on their amount of education.
Among those who believe in creationism, 21 percent have a postgraduate education versus 48 percent who have no more than a high school diploma. Among those who believe in evolution without God's involvement, 31 percent are postgrads versus 12 percent who have a high school education or less.
However, more adults with a college degree or postgraduate education believe God had a role in evolution than say evolution occurred without God.
More Catholics believe humans evolved but God guided the process (45 percent) than believe in the creationist viewpoint (37 percent). Fifty percent of Protestants and other Christians believe God created humans in the present form, but it is not dominant as 39 percent say humans essentially evolved with God's guidance.
Eleven percent of Catholics and 6 percent of Protestants/others say God had no role in the process.
Interviews were conducted May 3-7 with a random sample of 1,011 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.
Those surveyed were also asked their views on the Bible. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word" -- a record low in 40 years of surveys conducted by Gallup. Twenty-six percent believe the Bible is "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man." And 47 percent have a view in the middle -- the Bible is the inspired words of God but not to be taken literally -- the same percentage as in 2014.