Sunday School Syndrome

“Do you believe that God used evolution to create human beings?”

  • yes. 24.6% of those who attended Sunday school
  • yes. 18.5% of those who did not attend Sunday school 

Answers in Genesis

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Larry Nelson's picture

 

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Two population subsets are differentiated in the survey: 1) "those who attended Sunday school," and 2) "those who did not attend Sunday school."

Could it be assumed that those who "attended Sunday school" are: 1) More likely to believe in God, and are 2) More likely to believe that God created human beings?  (Let's make that assumption for the purposes of this argument.)

Let's say for the purpose of argument that 90% of those who attended Sunday school believe in God, and moreover they believe that God created human beings.  Of those 90% (out of 100%), 24.6% believe that "God used evolution to create human beings?”  That would leave 65.4% (90% minus 24.6%) who believe that God DID NOT use evolution to create human beings.   (Not to mention the other 10% who do not believe in God.)

Now let's say for the purpose of argument that 65% of those who did not attend Sunday school believe in God, and moreover they believe that God created human beings.  Of those 65% (out of 100%), 18.5% believe that "God used evolution to create human beings?”  That would leave 46.5% (65% minus 18.5%) who believe that God DID NOT use evolution to create human beings.  (Not to mention the other 35% who do not believe in God.)

Under the plausible scenario in which a higher percentage of those who attended Sunday school believe in both God and in the fact that He created human beings versus those who did not attend Sunday school, it perhaps isn't unreasonable to get the results indicated.  When factoring both those assumptions into the question, what the question is REALLY asking (since it presumes a belief in God) is "Do you believe in THEISTIC evolution?"  (Through that lens, it's probably not unfeasible that those who attended Sunday school would answer in the affirmative at a higher percentage than those who did not attend Sunday school.)   To put it another way, if one is statistically less likely to believe in God, it follows that such people are less likely to believe that God was involved (via any means) in the creation of humans. 

If the question were rephrased, such as "“Do you believe that NATURALISTIC evolution led to the existence of human beings?", I'd guess that in all likelihood the results would go in the opposite direction. 

The percentages in the OP question might simply be the result of the presumption of a belief in God in the question itself.

(Before anyone somehow misconstrues anything I just said, I believe in fiat Creationism.  I do not believe in either theistic or naturalistic evolution.) 

Bert Perry's picture

Beyond Larry's points, it strikes me that you're going to get some differences in groups between those who go to Sunday School, and those who don't.  I would guess those who attend have parents who might care enough to see they do well at school, which would correlate to taking seriously a lot of lessons not presented in Sunday School.  Plus, we're mixing basically every denomination that worships on Sunday....could be a wee little problem with that, too.

Don't get me wrong; I value what AIG does, but I think they need to think a little more deeply on this one.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Yes: those who prefer black socks: 92%
Yes: those who do not prefer black socks: 46%

There's no sense at all in polling a group of people and selecting one variable as causal unless you have a control group. Even then, correlation is not causation.

The question is, what do those who had SS believe vs. those who did not, all other things being equal?

post hoc ergo propter hoc