Tegmark and his colleagues didn’t ask the right questions. Or, at least, they should have defined evolution better for their respondents. As I reported in a Huffpost blog on October 6, 2012 titled “Is Evolution Compatible With Religion?,” the same 2010 Gallup poll Tegmark refers to, linked above, found that only 16 percent of Americans believe in “Naturalist Evolution,” defined as the view that “Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life [and] God had no part in the process.” This is exactly the same percentage of Americans who declare themselves unaffiliated with any religion.
It may be that the only Americans who accept naturalist evolution are those who do not participate in any organized religion.
Yet the “Americans who accept naturalist evolution” do not reflect the scientific perspective.
First, science does not teach that humans “developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.” Evolution is not the same thing as developed and mainstream science does not view the human species as evolutionary “advanced.” Ironically, this description of evolution sounds awfully teleological, as if evolution was progressing in accord with some developmental program.
Second, there is no scientific study out there that has discovered “God had no part in the process.” Stenger himself has published no such scientific study. He has not designed or conducted any experiment to determine whether or not God had some part in the process. He, of course, is free to have this opinion, as are the other 16%. But it’s not science.
Sorry Victor, but according to that definition of naturalist evolution, a neo-pagan who believes some Higher Force guided evolution from less advanced states to more advanced states would qualify. Then again, for someone like Stenger, it probably doesn’t really matter if their views of evolution are scientifically accurate as long as they deny the existence of God.