A new poll says the majority of Americans don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory, but scientists are doubting the accuracy of the survey.

In late March 2014, the Associated Press conducted a survey of just over 1,000 individuals. Much to the shock of the scientific community, the majority of survey participants (51%) do not think the concepts underlying the Big Bang Theory truly happened, and 40% of contributors do not believe in global warming or evolution.

Although scientists are suggesting that these numbers prove historical and scientific ignorance amongst the general American population, perhaps the study itself is not the most authentic representation of the nation’s people. With more than 300 million citizens living in the United States, the sample size of this particular survey is equal to less than 1% of the entire population.

Even if the methods of data collection used by the AP are shown to be fair and unbiased, any scientists or mathematician should side eye such a small sample size that is claiming to represent something so much larger. Not to mention, survey participants were recruited through telephone, mailing address, and eventually an internet interview. All of these technological advancements require that participants have a certain socio-economical status that allows them access to these devices.

If the methods of the Associated Press had captured a fair sample size that accurately represents the general American population, only 1%, or 10 people out of 1000, truly swayed that majority vote. From the perspective of a scientist, that 1% away from half of the study sample size is not enough to be considered significant.

During the same survey, the question asked all participants whether they considered themselves to be Christian, and 65% responded ‘No.’ Although it might be easy to assume that anyone who does not believe in the Big Bang automatically deems creation to a higher power, this theory is not necessarily the case.

Participants were not given the option to verbally describe how they truly felt that our Earth was created, so without having that information, it is not accurate or fair to make assumptions about their level of scientific understanding, much less the scientific appreciation of the entire US population.

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