The Guardian's own creationism
Claiming that "biblical literalism is on the march in America", it presents as evidence the fact that:
A recent survey found only 26% of Americans believe, with Darwin, that life on earth has evolved through natural selection.Clearly the implication is that the rest believe in the "biblical literalism" previously mentioned. Unfortunately, The Guardian didn't think it was necessary to reveal just what survey it was talking about. However, given that a Pew Forum survey from August produced precisely that 26% number on precisely that topic, it is probably reasonable to assume that it is this survey which The Guardian is talking about. A closer look at the survey, however, reveals that The Guardian is not being entirely upfront with its readers.
In fact the survey showed that, far from a small minority, fully 48% of the people surveyed accept the notion of evolution, or put another way, an even larger population than the 42% which believe that living things have only ever existed in their current form. From whence, then, comes The Guardian's 26% figure? Well, it turns out that the survey broke down the population of evolution believers into two further categories: those who think that a supreme being guided the evolutionary process (18%) and those who accept only "natural selection" and no divine guidance (26%). (4% did not know).
This deceit by omission is bad enough. Far worse is The Guardian's repeated attempts to convince its audience that biblical religiosity in America is on the rise. At various points it claims that biblical literalism is "on the march" and is "growing" and it refers to a "tide" of Christian fundamentalism. At no point, of course, does The Guardian offer any evidence at all of this growing tide of biblical literalism. And it is no wonder.
Gallup has been doing the same poll and asking the same questions, regarding beliefs about evolution, since 1982. The results (page down a couple of times) are remarkably consistent year after year, with those who reject the notion of evolution ranging between 44% (1992, '97) and 47% (1999), and those accepting either theistic or natural evolution ranging between 46% (1993) and 51% (2004). Whatever one may think of American views of evolution, it is clear they have not substantially changed.
And indeed other statistics suggest that not only is The Guardian's portrayal of the US as a nation increasingly under the sway of religious belief wrong, it is the direct opposite of the truth. One major study of religious trends in America showed that between 1990 and 2001, the percentage of adults who identified themselves with one religious group or another actually dropped from 90% to 81%; the percentage of Christians dropped from 86% to 77%; those who subscribe to no religious identification rose from 8% to 14%.
Although The Guardian warns its readers about "the kind of country that George Bush's America is becoming", those readers would do better to be warned about the kind of journalism that is being practiced at The Guardian. Ironically enough, its own view of America has no more basis in reality than does the creationism that it finds so derisory.