A recent letter to The Tribune bemoaned the resistance to established evolutionary theory among Republicans. Actually, the full story is more troubling. Belief in evolution among Republicans has dropped more than 10 percentage points since 2009, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. It found that 43 percent of Republicans believed humans and other living beings had evolved over time, down from 54 percent in 2009. A majority — 48 percent — believed all living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.
The percentages for Democrats and independents were more stable: Democratic belief in evolution went from 64 percent in 2009 to 67 percent in 2013; independent belief dipped slightly from 67 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2013.
Among American adults, 60 percent said they believe in evolution, and 33 percent do not — one-third of adult Americans. To not “believe” in evolution — as is the case with a shockingly large number of conservative religionists in the United States — is like not believing that the Earth orbits the sun or not believing in oxygen or X-ray radiation.