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Most Americans now accept evolution theory

With increased exposure to college-level education and declining levels of religious belief, a majority of Americans now believe in evolution after nearly two decades of being nearly evenly split on the issue, according to a new study.


“The theory of evolution is based on the idea that all species are related and gradually change over time. Evolution relies on genetic variation in a population which affects the physical characteristics of an organism. Some of these characteristics might give the individual an advantage over other individuals which they can then pass on to their offspring,” Your Genome explains.

The new study, “Public acceptance of evolution in the United States, 1985–2020,” authored by University of Michigan researchers Jon D. Miller, Mark S. Ackerman and Eugenie C. Scott of the National Center for Science Education, was published this month in the journal Public Understanding of Science.

Analyzing data from a series of national surveys, including from the National Science Board and a series focused on adult civic literacy funded by NASA published over the last 35 years, the researchers found that “increasing enrollment in baccalaureate-level programs, exposure to college-level science courses, a declining level of religious fundamentalism, and a rising level of civic scientific literacy are responsible for the increased level of public acceptance.”


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