Who are these 22% who believe that Evolution was 'Guided' by God?

Seeing this chart (below), recently referenced in a thread or two, I became fascinated with this KEY GROUP! :
The 22% who believe "Humans and other living things evolved over time guided by a supreme being."

As we can see in the graph, while there is a relatively small percentage of those in the Sciences who hold this view (8%), in the general population, 22% makes up 42% of those who believe in God’s role - - but who think he took his time about it.

On the side of “OLD EARTH-But-Not-God”, the 22% represents more than one third of all Evolutionists!

But does anyone know any polls or calculations for how this 22% of the population sorts itself out?
How many prefer to be associated with the label Intelligent Design (but Old Earthers) ?
How many prefer to be associated with the label Theistic Evolution ?
How many of each group work in the Sciences ?

This 22% is the source of core support for the mission of BioLogos. And the more we understand what other factors are important to this 22%, maybe we’ll be able to target our work more precisely on the other 58% of those God Fearers who think God was in a hurry to create the Universe.

George Brooks


From the article you mentioned in a different link:

Evolution Is Finally Winning Out Over Creationism, by Rachel E. Gross

“It’s not just the young who are moving in favor of secular evolution. The overall proportion of Americans who believe in secular evolution has doubled since 1999, from 9 percent to 19 percent, according to a 2014 Gallup poll.”

" But it’s important to note that the jump in secular evolution does not necessarily correspond to an increase in the total number who believe in evolution. Instead, most of that increase has been drawn from the pool of Americans who previously reported that they believed in evolution guided by God, which simultaneously dropped from 40 percent to 31 percent."

Thanks, George, for that interesting information. I’m curious about this sort of stuff too. This Gallup poll shows some information:

The problem with this chart is that it doesn’t have the OEC option, although I assume they would be included in the difference from the totals and 100% (which is about 7%). It’s interesting that “Less than high school” who believe in God guided process is only 3% which leaves 30% with no answer. By the way, this report shows various additional interesting information from Gallup: In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins.

Here’s another chart from the same Pew survey that your graph that you showed:

This doesn’t show what of the population is in each of the groups but other polls indicate that mainstream protestant and Catholic denominations (who are more likely to believe in God-directed evolution) have declined significantly below number of evangelicals, who tend to believe non-evolutionary creation in high amounts. Meanwhile the "Unaffililated" category has grown significantly to about 23 of the US adult population.

However, between the two breakdowns, it seems that regular, but not weekly church goers (skewed somewhat more to those who are mainstream Protestant or Catholic) and those who are 18-29 or 50-64 tend to believe in God directed evolution. From my study of other polls, it seems that among evangelicals, millennials (18-33) also have a strong trend away from being affiliated with churches, but according to the top chart more than 35% believe in God-directed evolution. Still, a high 30% believe that “God had no part in the process” and a low 28% believe that “God created humans in present form within last 10,000 years.”

I believe that that young people are learning about science in high school and college and feel the need to make an unnecessary choice between mainstream science and creationism. Or, if they do chose evolutionary creationism, they don’t feel very welcome in evangelical churches (which tend to be hostile to evolution in any form) and they don’t seem to be particularly interested in mainstream protestant or Catholic churches. The evangelicals are hurting the prospects for their future generations (including their own offspring) by this hostility.These young people are the greatest potential supporters of evolutionary creationism if they can be reached, or if they reach out via the Internet to sites like BioLogos and efforts on college campuses.

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According to that last graph, 55% of Evangelical Protestant’s are YEC’s…while less than HALF of the “Mainline Protestants” are! I think that’s pretty encouraging!

And while only 22% of the General Pubic holds to God-guided Evolution… even more, 26%, of Mainline Protestants hold to this view … while 20% of Evangelicals (or 1/5th !!!) hold to God-guided evolution instead of the Young Earth version !!!

Very interesting!


George, these statistics make me feel like one of the best ways to make a positive impact on Christianity would be through Biologos type groups on college campuses. It could help Christians who are struggling with their faith because of scientific ‘conflicts,’ help them find support & fellowship from others who are also inclined towards such a group, and it would help prevent them becoming part of the “unaffiliated” category after college. In addition, it could help ‘evangelize’ non-Christians or nominal Christians. Besides regular small group meetings, I could imagine occasional wider-interest events like evolutionary creationism vs atheist debates or talks with major high profile scientific people like Ard Louis and Francis Collins (once he leaves public office). Maybe then after college, there would be more people coming back to evangelical churches who are also open to evolutionary creationism. I would love to help that effort!

@BradKramer, do you think BioLogos would be interested in such a thing?

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I hope you are going to restrict your proposed evangelism to Christian colleges as getting on public or private secular college campuses is going to be very difficult. Also having an impact is going to be difficult as well as Millennials in college are the fast growing group of “nones”. Can I ask you a question? How does evangelism help to harmonize science and Christian faith as most of Christianity (Catholics and Mainline Protestants) don’t see disharmony between science and their faith? If your going after the YECs, well there not many of them on college campuses these days.

I think there are still plenty of fundamentalist evangelical colleges around.

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I was the one who mentioned ‘evangelize’, not George. Regarding YEC’s, I wouldn’t think them as particular targets of evangelism. And I said ‘evangelize non-Christians (including ‘nones’) and nominal Christians’ (Christians who are Christian in name only or even “lapsed” Christians). By the way, it’s pretty clear that there are as many if not more evangelical Christians than there are mainstream Christians and Catholics. Technically, BioLogos embraces evangelical traditions, although certainly not at the exclusion of others.

Actually, while I wouldn’t necessarily call it evangelism, I do think that BioLogos inspired groups could help evangelicals who are unsure what to think, realize that they don’t have to choose between rejecting science or the Christianity which they are used to. In other words they don’t have ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ and become a ‘none’. Furthermore, they would see that they are not alone and could make friends with other "God-guided evolutionists’. It makes it a lot easier to carry on with a belief, if you have friends (and maybe romantic interests) who discuss with you and encourage new beliefs. If enough change in this process, they can go back to evangelical churches and gradually effect a change in the prevailing evolution hostility in many evangelical churches.


I have to concur with @beaglelady. You don’t seem to realize that the Evangelical movement has its OWN colleges … and that’s where BioLogos has to go as part of its mission.

Interestingly, these colleges (like black holes in space?) manage to ‘throw off’ stray radiation in the form of educated Christians who had no idea how narrow the supports are for YEC conclusions… and that was long before the creation of BioLogos!


I don’t think so. Isn’t greater than half of world’s Christians are Catholic? In the US, about 70% of the population are Christian, with Catholic and Mainline Protestants more than half of the total. Is that correct?

And where do these graduates go to work in the increasingly secular, scientific workplace?

Well… the “stray radiation” is a reference to Evangelicals who have gone rogue - - they work in the secular world… but many seemingly never quite feel right about it.

And the ones who remain Evangelical ? They do the best they can trying to fix the world… one soul at a time…

How? By prayer? Or by doing something good for other people like using human empathy and compassion by using the latest medical science to treat people’s illnesses?

By buying books on creationism of course! :smiley:

I don’t know what the world breakdown is but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more Catholics than Evangelicals. Regarding Evangelicals vs Catholics + Mainstream Christians in the US, it appears that I am wrong about Evangelicals matching or exceeding Catholics + Mainstream Christian, unless you include “historically black” churches:

This shows among younger Millennials, 27% are Catholics and Mainstream Christians vs.19% for Evangelicals. This does not count 6% for “historically black.” From other survey’s, “historically black” church people tend to be as conservative as “Evangelicals” on things like believing scripture is to be taken literally.

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Looking at millennials, it seems the largest group is unaffiliated. Over a third of millennials are unaffiliated nearly double the Evangelicals. And more than double the Catholics. This is a drastic change in America.

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