A Strange Creationist Poll

Look what we found at the website of Pat Robertson’s Christian News Network: Even Atheists, Agnostics, Nonreligious Americans See Evidence for Creator. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Nearly half of atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious preference in the U.S. see evidence in the universe for a creator, according to just-released polling data from a major research organization.

Who is that “major research organization”? We’re told:

LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based polling group that frequently surveys Americans on matters of faith and culture.

We’ve learned that when dealing with creationists, it’s always wise to check their sources. Here’s the website of LifeWay Research. Their “About” page says:

LifeWay Research assists and equips church leaders with insight and advice that will lead to greater levels of church health and effectiveness. Frequent surveys on today’s church and culture demonstrate our knowledge of the dynamics of ministry today and our understanding of the realities of the culture we live in.

And so, dear reader, you can be absolutely confident that the results of their survey are entirely objective and unbiased. Okay, back to the Christian News Network story:

The group’s latest report, “American Views on Reasons to Believe in a Creator”, shows surprising insights on the number of people who believe in a creator.

We looked at that “report.” It gives the results, but we didn’t see anything about their methodology, which is always described in the polling results we see from better-known outfits. Let’s read on, to see what the poll results were:

According to the study, 72% of all Americans think that because the universe has organization, there is a creator who designed it. Over half of participants — 52% — strongly agreed with that statement, while only 11% strongly disagreed.

Observe that they didn’t ask whether the universe has “organization” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Their question simply assumes that “the universe has organization.” We continue:

The organization of the universe is not the only evidence that points to a creator, many respondents said. Overall, two-thirds of Americans agree with the statement, “Since people have morality, I think there is a creator who defines morality.”

Very logical. Here’s more:

Furthermore, 79% of those surveyed said the very fact that humans exist means someone created us. A relatively small minority, 16%, disagreed with that conclusion.

How could it be otherwise? Moving along:

The fact that so many Americans, including nonreligious people, see evidence for a creator is remarkable, said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. … [Stetzer said:] “The large number of nonreligious people agreeing with some of these arguments points us to a surprising openness to classic apologetic arguments. Or, put another way, even nonreligious people are open to the idea there is a creator.”

That’s enough. Maybe you, dear reader, can study this poll and figure out what’s going on here. But if we accept these findings as accurate, then the future of creationism looks bright. Perhaps your Curmudgeon should consider going into the creationism business. If you think we should, send us all your money.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

17 responses to “A Strange Creationist Poll

  1. Doctor Stochastic

    Studies indicate that 98.6° of all statistics are made up.

  2. There’s a little paperback book that’s been out for a long time and seems appropriate to bring up. It’s called “How To Lie With Statistics.” Likely it was applied in this instance.

  3. These people are REALLY not bothered with lying, are they?

  4. Justin says: “These people are REALLY not bothered with lying, are they?”

    It all depends on how the questions are phrased. I could get even better results if I asked: “Does the fact that the universe was created demonstrate the existence of a creator?”

  5. Just so. It’s a creationist version of “Have you stopped beating your wife?” — a question which presumes something to be true which may or may not be true and traps the answerer if he or she attempts to respond directly.

    In this particular case, since the answerer can’t be coerced into answering the question “yes” or “no” as he or she might be on a courtroom witness stand, the appropriate response is to challenge the question. (Even in a courtroom, it would be a poor lawyer who wouldn’t object.)

  6. Christine Janis

    My best example of a “leading question” comes from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

    “Would you approve of a ban on all animal research, especially if it resulted in health benefits to yourself?”

  7. Those people are lying with a straight face

  8. If you look at the actual statement by the polling organization (which the article at Christian News Network links to), you see that it refers to “nonreligious Americans,” not “atheists and agnostics.” This would include lots of people who don’t go to church but still believe in God and often regard themselves as some sort of Christian (they may even hold that the Bible is the Word of God, without being terribly clear on what, exactly, it says). I would presume that actual atheists and agnostics would fall among the 48% of “nonreligious Americans” who disagree that because we exist, someone must have created us (though I suppose that some agnostics would be among the nine percent who are “not sure”).

  9. Even if you take the 1st statement as true, it don’t mean much as they asked ‘do you see evidence of a creator’ does not mean gawd didit.
    And the later points did not mention atheists but ‘mericans, and we know 85% of ‘mericans don’t exercise their minimum brain power to any great extent, beyond being house broken.

  10. It can’t be denied that the poll has a lot of complex specified information.

  11. Derek Freyberg

    A random dialing survey of 1000 people with no attempt to get representation in the sample to match the nation, leading questions, and slicing and dicing the data 6 ways from Sunday – what more could you want as PROOF, PROOF I tell you?

  12. Remember that people tend to respond to polls in the way that the questioner wants. It is impolite to be disagreeable.

  13. Doesn’t the good book predict this study and its results somewhere?

    With a little faith in hand the mystical minded should realize that far more accurate information is already available in the inerrant tome provided for them by the great designer. Why rely on data derived from the fallible hands of mere mortals?

  14. I did go to the website of RevRob to see if there were sufficient details about the survey method (there weren’t — maybe they asked five friends in a bar). I noticed the site has a “Science and Technology” section and took a look. I was shocked, shocked, to discover it has nothing serious about either science or technology.

  15. This was a phone survey of 1,000 Americans and 60% was from landlines. So who actually spends their time answering phone surveys? I envision a survey answered mostly by old, lonely people sitting at home. Ask Dewey about how accurate phone surveys are!

  16. Pat Robertson:
    “Nearly half of atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious preference in the U.S. see evidence in the universe for a creator”

    Well, 100% of us on this planet can see evidence of a flat earth as well — go out on the open ocean and look at the horizon in all directions. Perfectly flat. Of course, it doesn’t prove it is flat; just that it looks that way.

    And then, perhaps many of us consider the Creator to be the Big Bang. It all depends on how the question is worded. But then, it’s meaningless — there is no poll that can determine reality.

  17. michaelfugate

    My former US rep (before redistricting) always asked poll questions that could only make sense if answered one way.

    I see evidence of natural selection all the time – and it has creative abilities.