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Expectations and Results

Ignoring hermeneutical issues as most likely of secondary import, we have several expectations; a few of these are as follows. Christians who trust science will be more likely to accept evolutionary theory as compatible with Christian theology (question 12a). Christians who accept natural theology (natural events are part of the workings of God) as an intrinsic aspect (and dominant aspect) of Christian theology will be more likely to accept evolutionary theory (Q4 and 11l). Thus, we would predict positive correlations between question 8 and the questions 4,11l, and 12a and negative correlations between question 8 and the inverse questions Q1, Q5, Q11d, and 11k.

The results bear out these expectations. These results support the notion that people use the more credible sources of information in their lives to help interpret the less credible ones or, if no harmonious interpretation can be found, to dismiss the less credible ones, where the notion of credibility is not necessarily based on logic nor even on experience, but may also depend upon desires. One particularly strong suggestion of this causal mechanism is the very high correlation between the question concerning the impact upon society given that humans evolved solely through natural processes, (Q11a), and the question concerning belief in the evolutionary origins of humans (Q9).

On the other side, we expect that Christians who believe that the value of the Bible depends upon its historical accuracy in regards to creation (Q10) will not be able to accept the evolutionary account of human origins (Q9). Our data strongly support this expectation. This result suggests that the rejection of the evolutionary theory of human origins by some Christians may be caused by desire to protect dogmas affirming biblical historicity.

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