WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that God had a hand in humans’ present form, with 42 percent of Americans saying they believe God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, and an additional 31 percent believing humans evolved from simpler life forms – but God guided the evolutionary process.

A new Gallup poll finds that more than four in 10 Americans have held strong for three decades on the creationist view that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago. Half of Americans believe humans evolved from simpler life forms, with the majority of these people saying that God guided the evolutionary process.

Only 19 percent of Americans said they believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life and God had no part in the process.

However, the Gallup poll shows that Americans are significantly less familiar with “creationism” than they were seven years ago. In 2007, 86 percent were familiar, including 50 percent who were very familiar. Currently, 76 percent are familiar, with just 38 percent being very familiar.

The percentage of Americans who take the creationist perspective has only narrowly fluctuated between 40 and 47 percent since the question’s inception for the 1982 Gallup poll.

And although there is little indication of a downward trend among creationist belief, the percentage of the U.S. population who take the strict secularist viewpoint – that humans evolved for millions of years without any relation to a god – has doubled since 1999.

Education and age show a widening divide between those taking a creationist viewpoint and those embracing evolution.

Americans with no more than a high school degree show a 57 percent belief in the creationist perspective, while less than half of that number (27 percent) are those with a college degree. Those with college degrees are significantly more likely to agree with one of the evolutionary viewpoints.

Thirty percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 said that humans have evolved without any influence of a god, while only 11 percent of U.S. adults ages 50 to 64 agreed. Exactly one-half of Americans over the age of 65 said that God created humans in present form within the last 10,000 years. Twenty-eight percent of those ages 18 to 29 agreed.

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