Poll: 42% of Americans believe creationist view of human origin

     (<a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-152934551/stock-photo-michelangelo-god-s-touch-close-up-of-human-hands-touching-with-fingers.html'>The touch of God</a> image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

    (The touch of God image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

    This week, we gauge public opinion on air quality and the implication of proposed federal restrictions on power plants — and we get a sense of how many Americans believe in biblical creation.

    Proposed new federal restrictions on power plants will have big implications for Pennsylvania, currently the fourth-highest coal-producing state in the nation.

    We gauge public opinion with Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

    Nationally, the data suggest that the EPA’s new proposed restrictions on power plants are likely to be positively received, although support for such controls is more muted than it has been. In Pennsylvania, the move looks likely to push natural gas over coal as an energy source.

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    One impact of power plant activity is the quality of air in the areas around them. New state by state data show how residents rank the quality of their state’s air. How do the three local residents evaluated quality of air? Not so good, particularly Delaware and New Jersey.

    To what extent do Americans embrace a creationist explanation for the origin of mankind? Gallup found that, given a choice of three options — God created man; man evolved through a process directed by God; or man evolved through a process not directed by God — 42 percent of Americans say that human beings were created by God in their present form 10,000 years ago. About 50 percent of Americans believe in evolution in some form, though 31 percent say that God directs the process of evolution, while just 19 percent hold the purely secular view that God does not direct evolution.

    Along the same lines, how many Americans continue to believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. Gallup found that 28 percent are biblical literalists.

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