Kansans with college degrees are much more likely to support the teaching of evolution, oppose intelligent design and hold the position that people can simultaneously believe in God and evolution.
Those are the findings of a new Lawrence Journal-World and 6News poll.
"Education has an overwhelming impact," said John Marling, president of Pulse Research Inc., the company that conducted the poll.
Overall, the poll found two-thirds of Kansans support the teaching of evolution and say belief in God and evolution can coexist.
But among those with post-graduate degrees, 86 percent supported teaching evolution and 82 percent said it was possible to believe in God and evolution.
Conversely, of those with only a grade-school education, 39 percent supported both the teaching of evolution and the position that one can believe in God and evolution.
Only about half of Kansans said they knew what intelligent design was.
Of that group, 76 percent of those with some high school education supported teaching it, while 37 percent of those with post-graduate degrees were in support.
Allan Cigler, a political science professor at Kansas University, said the findings show that as people advance in education and learn what intelligent design is, they discard it as a scientific explanation for the origins of life.
Intelligent design posits that certain complexities of life show the existence of a creator; an intelligent designer.
"A lot of people think it's an alternative theory to evolution when really it is not a theory but a critique of evolution," he said.
But Chris Barker, 45, a Federal Express employee from Lawrence, said evolution doesn't hold up to his scrutiny nor fit his Christian beliefs.
Barker, who has an associate's degree, said, "Why don't we have the process happening where we can study it and see it?" he asked.
"I think my feeling is, if they're going to teach evolution, they should teach it as a theory, and not as a fact. Until you have all the gaps filled in, I don't think you can teach it as fact," he said.
Evolution poll: Kansas by the numbersEvolution poll: Kansas by the numbers
- Complete poll results: In Douglas County
- Complete poll results: By district
- Complete poll results: By age
- Complete poll results: By education level
- Complete poll results: By gender
- Graph gallery: Poll results
- Take the survey yourself
- Learning Evolution: Readers' Stories
- 6News video: Poll: Evolution should be taught in schools (10-09-05)
- Can God, evolution coexist?
- Douglas County in line with the rest of Kansas
- Responses appear linked to education level
- More seniors against teaching evolution
- Intelligent design good politics for some on Board of Education