Discovery Institute: Equal Opportunity Creationism

A NEW Zogby poll privately commissioned by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) suggests that creationism may be returning to its natural Democrat roots. See: Let’s Have William Jennings Bryan Day!

The poll, however, is grotesquely flawed. You can read about it at the Discoveroids’ blog: Zogby Poll Shows Dramatic Jump in Number of Americans Who Favor Teaching Both Sides of Evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

A new Zogby poll on the eve of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday shows a dramatic rise in the number of Americans who agree that when biology teachers teach the scientific evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution, they also should teach the scientific evidence against it. Surprisingly, the poll also shows overwhelming support among self-identified Democrats and liberals for academic freedom to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” evolution.

They give a link to the results of the poll. It’s on Discoveroid letterhead, and it’s not available anywhere else online that we could find. Here’s their link: Report on 2009 Zogby Poll about Evolution and Academic Freedom (a pdf file). It won’t take you very long to discover a problem with this poll. Here’s the question that was asked:

QUESTION: I am going to read you two statements about Biology teachers teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. Please tell me which statement comes closest to your own point of view — Statement A or Statement B?

Statement A: Biology teachers should teach only Darwin’s theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.

Statement B: Biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.

Not too subtle, is it? The question includes within it the assumption that there is scientific evidence against the theory of evolution. Given that question, the outcome is entirely predictable. Here are the results, as described in the Discoveroid blog report:

Statement A 14%
Statement B 78%
Neither 5%
Other/Not sure 2%

Are we surprised? More to the point, are we surprised that such a meaningless poll would be authorized by the Discoveroids? They could have achieved similarly lopsided results by asking: Should the government continue its traditional policy of granting immunity to confessed child pornography producers?

But there’s more. The Discoveroid article also informs us:

Although the media consistently portray support for the freedom to discuss both sides of the evolution debate as coming primarily from conservative Christians, these poll results show something far different and will shatter some preconceptions about who supports letting students hear a balanced presentation on Darwinian evolution. It turns out that:

Democrats (82%) support giving teachers and students the freedom to discuss Darwinism’s “strengths and weaknesses” even more overwhelmingly than Republicans (73%).

Self-identified liberals (86%) favor the freedom to discuss evolution’s “strengths and weaknesses” more than conservatives (72%).

This isn’t surprising, considering that the Discoveroids have shamelessly adopted liberal codewords taken from the civil rights movement to propagandize the teaching of intelligent design (ID). That’s why you always see them asserting that the schools should “teach both sides,” and stop “discriminating,” and that they’re for “fairness” and “academic freedom.”

It all sounds lovely, but it’s meaningless without any science on their side. There is, quite literally, no scientific evidence for ID, so there aren’t two sides of a scientific controversy. Their side is pure creationism. That’s all it ever has been; and unless the Discoveroids actually discover something at that “think tank” of theirs, that’s all it ever will be.

But they’re quite good at propaganda.

Addendum: Here’s an article in the Washington Post that quotes Richard Dawkins on the poll: Missing Links in Darwin Day Poll. He says “Actually I think I’d say a dishonest poll — because the QUESTION PRESUMES that there is scientific evidence against evolution.”

Second Addendum: Here’s a lame response by the Discoveroids to Dawkins’ remark: Darwin Day Poll Elicits Response From Richard Dawkins. They conclude: “It’s no wonder that staunch evolution supporters like Dawkins are now trying to discount the overwhelming public support for teaching the controversy.”

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Discovery Institute: Equal Opportunity Creationism

  1. Scientific evidence by wishful thinking – keep on keepin’ on, DI! Thanks for fisking their methodology, S.C.

  2. James says: “Thanks for fisking their methodology, S.C.”

    It wasn’t terribly difficult to see through that phony poll. Pollsters will apparently sell any results to anyone, especially now that the political season is over. But I enjoyed the bi-partisan spin.

  3. Of possible interest, if six years old, is Chris Mooney’s reaction to a previous poll conducted by Zogby for the Discovery Institute: http://www.csicop.org/doubtandabout/polling/

  4. Glenn Branch says: “Of possible interest, if six years old, is Chris Mooney’s reaction to a previous poll conducted by Zogby for the Discovery Institute …”

    Good article. Thanks. He mentions “… troublesome leading questions have recurred across all of these surveys with little variation in wording.” In fact, it looks like the same question is still being asked. Scuzzy stuff. I’m told that Barbara Forrest’s book mentions this too. I gotta get it one of these days.