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Evolution

One-third of Americans don’t believe in evolution

An 1875 photo of Charles Darwin along with his seminal book, "On the Origin of Species."AP Exchange

Thirty-three percent of Americans believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time” rather than evolving gradually through a process of natural selection, as described by Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.

And roughly a quarter of adults say that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”

The numbers come from a new poll by Pew Research Center released Monday, which revealed that just six in ten Americans believe “humans and other living things have evolved over time.” The share of the general public that says that humans have evolved over time is about the same as it was in 2009, when Pew Research last asked the question.

The survey also revealed remarkable divisions along political and religious lines when it comes to belief in evolution. Far more Democrats believe in it than Republicans, for example, and disbelief among the GOP is rising rapidly.

Roughly two-thirds of Democrats (67 percent) and independents (65 percent) say that humans have evolved over time, compared with less than half of Republicans (43 percent). And belief in the theory of evolution fell from 54 percent in 2009 to 43 percent today, the survey found. Opinion among both Democrats and independents has remained about the same.

Belief also correlates with religion, according to the survey.

A majority of white evangelical Protestants (64 percent) and half of black Protestants (50 percent) say that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, the survey found. But nearly eight-in-ten white mainline Protestants (78 percent) say that humans and other living things have evolved over time.