According to the survey, 43% of Americans now agree that “Evolution shows that no living thing is more important than any other,” and 45% of Americans believe that “Evolution shows that human beings are not fundamentally different from other animals.” The highest levels of support for the idea that evolution shows that humans aren’t fundamentally different from other animals are found among self-identified atheists (69%), agnostics (60%), 18 to 29 year-olds (51%), and those who live in New England (51%) and the Pacific region (50%).
The theory of evolution is also reshaping how people think about morality. A majority of Americans (55%) now contend that “Evolution shows that moral beliefs evolve over time based on their survival value in various times and places.” About 7 in 10 (71%) of self-described atheists embrace this idea, as do 68% of self-described agnostics, 58% of 18-29 year-olds and those over 60, 58% of those who live in the MidAtlantic region, and 57% of those who live in the Pacific region.
“Since the rise of Darwin’s theory, leading scientists and other thinkers have insisted that human beings are just another animal, and that morality evolves based on survival of the fittest,” says historian Richard Weikart, author of the new book The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life. “What this new survey shows is just how pervasive these ideas have become in our culture. Many people no doubt continue to believe that humans are unique, but most do not think that evolution supports that position. Many critics of my earlier scholarship will be disconcerted to see this data, which powerfully supports my arguments about the way that Darwinism devalues human life, a key point I explain further in my new book.”