Who is interested in the question of origins and where do they go to find information? There are a number of ways to gauge interest but a quick look at web site traffic can be illustrative of what information is getting to the most people. Below I list what I think are the prominent organizational and individual web sites whose reason for being is to promote and defend a particular view of creation and/or the relationship of science and religion.
Two important caveats before you look at the numbers. First, I am reporting average number of visitors per day (I believe this is probably averaged over 3 months) as reported by quantcast.com. I am only reporting US visitors because international visitors are not available for most sites. For the largest organizations the numbers have been validated as accurate while others are estimated in some way that I don’t understand. However, I have found the numbers to be generally reflective of other numbers I have heard reported. Also note that visitors are not necessarily all unique and will include return visitors though probably don’t include administrators of the sites themselves if they are logged into the site. Second, my categorizations are quite general with those that are supportive of Intelligent design/progressive creation also including some theistic evolution material but are all opposed to young earth creation.
So here are the numbers:
Creation Science (Young Earth)
Answers in Genesis (answersingenesis.org) 13.7K/day
Institute for Creation Research (icr.org) 6.3K
Creation Ministries International (creation.com) 3.9K
Creation Museum (another AIG ministry) 2.0K
Creation Science Evangelism (drdino.com) 1.1K
Intelligent Design/Progressive Creation
God and Science (godandscience.org) 2.9K
Uncommon Descent blog (uncommondesign.com) 1.7K
Reasons to Believe (reasons.org) 1.2K
Answers in Creation (answersincreation.org) 510
Other (Theistic evolution, general Christian)
American Scientific Affiliation (asa3.org) 1.2K
Biologos Forum (biologos.org) 1.1K
Non-Christian sites opposed to creationism
Talk Origins (talkorigins.org) 1.6K
National Center for Science Education (ncse.com) 900
Not surprisingly, Answers in Genesis is the 10 ton gorilla of the creation/evolution internet exposure world. Add on the Creation museum site and some other associated sites and there network has a broad reach in the evangelical community. Don’t forget that Creation Ministries International used to be part of AIG before their split. Clearly CMI is not as popular but it has some fairly respectable numbers considering how many resources were stripped away and that these are only US visitor numbers and it has more of a presence outside the US. In fourth place among organizations is Creation Science Evangelism led by a founder who still sits in jail on a tax evasion conviction. Hovind, known better of Dr. Dino makes Ham and Safarti look downright charitable and well reasoned if that is possible. Yet, their organization continues to grow and is now drawing nearly as much traffic as Reasons to Believe and the Biologos Forum. Despite not being regularly updated for many years the Talk Origins Archive still pulls in a large number of visitors but I suspect that many of these are incidental hits to key words on their extensive database of articles.
Although the Biologos Forum has made a lot of headlines in the last year especially with the recent discussion of Adam and Eve, the traffic to their site is far less than the big three creationists groups. I expect that if total donations/budget for these organizations were compared that total dollars spent would probably be correlated with web traffic but not in all cases. God and Science has impressive traffic statistics but is probably not as well supported financially as Biologos. I find the traffic to NCSE traffic interesting. This is a site that is dedicated to the promotion of teaching evolution in classrooms with many well-known biologists have contributed to the site. One would think that school teachers would be directed to this site and be using the resources there more than they are, though 900 visits a day is not insignificant. I would be happy to have a tiny fraction of that traffic!
Other than hits to NCSE and Talk Origins, I expect that the traffic to all the other sites is predominantly evangelical Christians. Non-Christians including most other religions seem to have little interest in the creation/evolution debate. Despite the obvious trends in the data I think it would wrong to automatically assume that evangelicals are overwhelmingly interested in a young earth over other interpretations of the age of the earth as it is likely that those that believe the earth is old aren’t as likely to feel the need to affirm their beliefs by accessing information on web sites. Young earth creationists on the other hand feel there is no other source of science news that it trustworthy and so there is a large number who use these sites for science news/views and as a primary resource for home-school. As a result they are apt to revisit these sites over and over.
I don’t have trends over time for these sites but will update these numbers periodically so that changes in traffic can be recorded.
Young-earthism like AIG specialize in marketing to their target audience with a lot of slick-looking materials and target the home schoolers, convincing them there is nothing else out there. Though earlier this year AIG was kicked out of a major home school conference/show because of the way they were treating other Christians who happened to have another viewpoint. Sadly, AIG’s emotional appeals appeal to many people. The old-earth groups like RTB and godandscience.org focus more on scholarly (theological and scientific) substance. Not a bunch of entertainment and emotion, but lots of info for those willing to do some study. Nor do they try to scare you away from any other views, but encourage one to actually think for themselves and test everything. YECism’s deathgrip is fading away, but like the homeschool event, Christians need to hold them accountable.