K. McCain, Kostas Kampourakis
Jan 1, 2018
Public Understanding of Science
Data from studies conducted to determine acceptance rates for evolution are often misleading. The questions that are asked and compared to one another do not always give an authentic picture of respondents’ views. Quite often, polls, such as those by IPSOS, Gallup, and PEW, also run together questions asking respondents’ beliefs in concepts like God with questions asking respondents’ beliefs about concepts like evolution. The two are distinct and should not be confused. One might believe in evolution while having wrong beliefs about it, whereas someone else might decide not to believe in evolution while having accurate beliefs about it. Distinguishing between “belief in” and “belief about” might help remove an unrecognized confounding element from these studies.