Although “The Big Bang Theory” is America’s most-watched TV comedy, some scientists aren’t smiling over a recent poll indicating about half of Americans question that the universe started with such a cosmic cataclysm.
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed were not confident the universe began about 14 billion years ago with a big bang, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
Another 42 percent weren’t confident that life on Earth evolved through Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
While Americans may not agree on scientific theory, the vast majority believe there is a supreme being behind the universe. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed were somewhat-to-extremely confident that “the universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation.”
Confidence in the Big Bang, climate change or the age of the Earth — other survey questions — correlated with religious beliefs, the survey found. People identified as evangelical Christians and those who regularly attend religious services were most skeptical about scientific explanations.
“Values and belief trump science,” Alan Leshner, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told the Associated Press.
Political values also were closely tied to views on science. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to express confidence in the big bang, evolution and climate change.
But with issues dealing with the here and now, respondents were more likely to agree with research findings. Ninety-six percent of those surveyed, for example, believe that smoking causes cancer.
And 91 percent were confident that inside our cells, “there is a complex genetic code that helps determine who we are.”
The poll, part of a larger survey, was taken in March of 1,012 randomly selected adults. It asked people to rate their confidence in various statements about science.
The survey highlights the “iron triangle of science, religion and politics,” AP wrote.