51 Percent of Americans Skeptical of Big Bang Theory, Says AP Poll

While more than half of Americans are skeptical of the Big Bang theory, only a quarter question that there is a creator, according to an Associated Press poll.

The poll also found that a sizable minority question evolution, global warming and whether the earth is billions of years old.

The AP poll asked participants to rate their confidence on several statements relating to medicine and science. Fifty-one percent of surveyed Americans said they are "not too/not at all confident" that "the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang." Only 25 percent expressed skepticism that "the universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation."

Forty-two percent said they were not confident in the statement "life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection."

On the age of the Earth, 36 percent expressed skepticism that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Thirty-seven percent also lacked confidence in the statement "the average temperature of the world is rising, mostly because of man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gases."

The Associated Press conducted their recent poll in late March via an online panel that interviewed 1,012 adults meant to represent the U.S. population. There was a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points total.

Americans showed little doubt on other statements the survey featured. Ninety-four percent expressed at least some confidence that smoking causes cancer. Most Americans were also confident that: a mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain (92 percent); inside our cells, there is a complex genetic code that helps determine who we are (91 percent); overusing antibiotics causes the development of drug-resistant bacteria (88 percent); and childhood vaccines are safe and effective (83 percent).

The poll found that politics and religion play a role in people's confidence in science, with Republicans more likely than Democrats to be skeptical of the science-related questions. Those who said they regularly attend a church service or identify as Evangelical Christian were also more likely to provide a doubtful answer to the science-related questions.

The topics of global warming, evolution, the age of the earth and the Big Bang theory have long been debated, especially in the Evangelical community, with some arguing that such scientific teaching contradicts the Bible and the Book of Genesis that explains God's creation of the universe.

One group, Answers in Genesis, which promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible's creation story, has contested scientific claims that the Big Bang theory is true. When astronomers studying at the South Pole announced in March that they had discovered direct evidence proving the Big Bang theory by studying the cosmic microwave background, Answers in Genesis dismissed the findings as contradictory to biblical teaching.

"Biblical creationists know from Scripture that the universe did not begin in a Big Bang billions of years ago. For instance, from God's Word we understand that the world is far younger than this. Furthermore, we know from Genesis 1 that God made the earth before He made the stars, but the Big Bang requires that many stars existed for billions of years before the earth did," the Young Creationist group said in a statement on its website.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, also recently engaged in a debate, broadcast over the internet, with television personality and scientist Bill Nye. The two argued on the viability of the creation model and evolution.

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