A “Poll” on Discovery Institute vs. Methodists

The Discoveroid frenzy, which we last reported in Discovery Institute vs. Methodists, Continued, shows no sign of abating.

This appears today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, and it has no author’s byline: New Poll: Most Americans Turn Thumbs Down on United Methodist Ban on Intelligent Design. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

According to a new poll released today, a super-majority of Americans oppose the decision of United Methodist Church (UMC) officials to ban the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute from sponsoring an information table at the UMC’s upcoming General Conference in May. An even greater majority believes that the UMC’s ban contradicts its stated commitment to “open hearts, open minds, open doors.”

Oooooooooh — the Discoveroids are supported by a poll! This is getting serious! We’re told:

More than 70 percent of the 1,946 respondents to the nationwide survey agreed that “the United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.” More than 78 percent of respondents agreed that “the United Methodist Church’s ban on the intelligent design group seems inconsistent with the Church’s stated commitment to encourage ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors.'”

Wow — those are impressive numbers! But a few questions immediately arise: Who conducted this poll? What was the methodology? What questions were asked? You’re about to find out, dear reader. Skipping a bit, we come to this:

The poll was conducted by Discovery Institute using SurveyMonkey Audience, which randomly sampled the adult members of its nationally representative panel of more than 6 million U.S. residents. Survey responses were collected from January 5-9, 2016. SurveyMonkey Audience panelists are recruited from the 30+ million people who take SurveyMonkey surveys each month.

This seems very peculiar. The Discoveroids conducted the poll? They used a previously existing audience? Who is SurveyMonkey? Wikipedia has an article on SurveyMonkey, but it doesn’t tell us very much.

This is their website: SurveyMonkey, which tells us: “We’ve got millions of real people in our survey panel ready to tell you what they think.”

That sounds odd. Most people hang up when a polling outfit calls. But SurveyMonkey has a population they’ve already selected that wants to be polled. It sounds like they’ve got a bunch of people eager to sound off on whatever is presented to them. And although their website doesn’t specifically say so, it appears that whoever wants to make a survey of this pre-existing audience can write their own questions.

The Discoveroids provide a link to the results they obtained, and it gives us the questions that were put to the SurveyMonkey audience. The questions begin with this introductory statement:

The United Methodist recently banned a group from renting an information table at the Church’s upcoming general conference because the group suports intelligent design — the idea that nature is a product of purposeful design rather than an unguided process. Some have criticized the ban as contrary to the United Methodist Church’s stated commitment to encourage “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” Rate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statements:

Paraphrasing the questions put to the poll’s audience after that one-sided statement, they were: (1) The church shouldn’t have banned the group from renting a table; and (2) the ban seems inconsistent with the church’s statement.

Well, dear reader, are you impressed with the Discoveroids’ neutral questions? Are you impressed by the poll results? Let us know what you think.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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39 responses to “A “Poll” on Discovery Institute vs. Methodists

  1. Wow, what an impressive survey. Apparently the basics of statistics are unknown at the DI, in addition to evolution, geology, astrophysics, and a number of other modern subjects.

  2. Survey Monkey is a reputable enough company. I’ve used them for business surveys so that part is OK. You can send out surveys to particular people or as just general questions. So how targeted was the survey would be my question.

  3. Same old TooterTot dishonesty at play here, methinks. I can’t figure out if they are deliberately dishonest, or if they just don’t know how to be honest.

  4. IOW, they polled creationists and ID supporters across the land. Out of 6 million potential respondents they only got 1946 answers and 1362.2 said they supported the Dishonesty Institute? That ranks up there with the 600+ anti-Darwin petition signers. I’m impressed.

  5. 18% of me thinks the poll is intelligently designed to secure the DI’s desired result, and is therefore invalid.

    81% of me thinks the whole exercise is an absurd steaming pile of [beep beep boop], and is therefore disgusting.

    1% of me is undecided, but still missing Casey…

  6. SurveyMonkey – entertainment for the terminally bored.

    Westie needs to go back to his ORIGINAL posting where he said “of course the UMC can do anything they want, but” and take out the “but.”

    Who could be that dense that they just don’t get it?

    Wait a second! Could it be? Naw, that’s impossible. But, come to think of it you never see them together. OMG, it’s true!

    Westie is really Dense O’Dreary in disguise!

  7. It would be interesting to know what percentage of DI’s readership is supportive of them, and what percentage are people who go there for the guilty pleasure of intellectual slumming.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    Because religion and doctrine are *SO* influenced by popular opinion of those who aren’t part of that religion. If the whining gets any louder, they’ll have to get Sarah Palin to blog for them next.

  9. michaelfugate

    Only the DI could claim ID is a scientific theory and yet doesn’t think ID should be taught as science in public school science courses. And if it is a scientific theory, why are they lobbying church groups for a convention booth? Why not a booth at the Society for the Study of Evolution convention?

  10. michaelfugate

    Charles, the DI should commission a poll in Saudi Arabia asking if “Jesus is God” and accept whatever answer is given.

  11. 6 million possible respondents and they could only find ~1400 to agree with them and fewer than 2000 bothered with the survey?
    The results don’t seem to be agreeing with the tooter’s.
    DI = data ignorant

  12. The whole truth

    The tooters spewed: “New Poll: Most Americans Turn Thumbs Down on United Methodist Ban on Intelligent Design”

    “Most Americans”? “Most”? Really? 1362.2 people is “Most Americans”?

    The population of the USA is about 320 million and the USA isn’t all of “America”.

    I live just a few miles from Portland, Oregon. If the tooters get their way I could go to the UMC conference and tell whoever the toot sends there what I think of their demanding, dishonest behavior.

  13. “…If the whining gets any louder, they’ll have to get Sarah Palin to blog for them next.”
    Careful, they just might do it.

  14. Ban. Banned. You keep using that word. I don’t it means what you think it means.

    You know, the Methodists just didn’t think a table pushing psuedo-science was appropriate for their gathering. But “banned”? Ha ha ha. Makes good propoganda (in a whiney sort of way.)

  15. “Who reads the DI site?”

    Sad but true, it’s me and Curmie! I don’t go there as often as I used to. Sensitive stomach, I guess.

    But, you know, folks, the truth of the matter is that the Tooters are just [edited out] boring. Dull as dishwater. I’ll check out the headlines but I haven’t read an entire article in a long, long time.

  16. Just when I think the DI’s fatwa against the Methodists can’t get any funnier……

  17. The whole truth

    “The United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.”

    “The United Methodist Church’s ban on the intelligent design group seems inconsistent with the Church’s stated commitment to encourage “open hearts, open minds, open doors.”

    What a self-serving, so-called poll. Where’s the third and most appropriate choice: ‘The discotoot should stop whining and stop demanding anything from the UMC and anyone else and just STFU!’

  18. I’m thinking of conducting a poll with the SurveyMonkey audience. The question will be:

    Some scoundrels and deviates claim that the Curmudgeon (who is a globally respected blogger) doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Do you think those creeps are wrong?

  19. In the belief that “it pays to know thine enemy.” I do read he creationist blogs despite the bad emotional response I get. The bilge of the DI is one I check almost daily. I wonder what % of their readers fall into my category. Too bad that ENV allows no comments.

  20. michaelfugate

    My former representative would send me polls for which there was only one possible answer; the alternative was absurd.

    Things like “The complexity of the tax code is aggravating to most Americans. Do you support a reform of the tax code?” or “Do you agree that vital social programs, such as food stamps, should only go to those who truly need the assistance rather than widening eligibility requirements? (One in seven American residents currently receive food stamps)”

  21. C. Meyers Facebook page, however, does allow comments. I’ve been having a “polite” conversation about the Methodist so called banning. Apparently with an employee of the Discovery institute.

    However, i’m starting to think that even Mr. Meyer disagrees with this one. No new posts on the issue have appeared since last week.

  22. What a pity that they give us only the answer to their Question No. 7 (Q7), while Q11 – Q14 were intended to group the data. I’d rather like to know more about Q1-Q7 as well as Q8 and Q9….

  23. @VH
    I think most of the DI readers are watchdogs like us. Face it, the True ™ Tooter supporters are a dumb lot and I would doubt they understand a fraction of what the DI puts out. Of course, the Tooters rely upon their credulous crowd to be clueless, or the jig would be up!

  24. Q10: political orientation
    Q11: age range
    Q12: sex
    Q13: income
    Q14: region

    What I’m missing:

    Q: religion
    Q: education

  25. Judging from the strange enumeration of the pages of the document (1-3 3-1 4-1 5-1 6-1 8-1 9-1) , at least two pages went missing (2-1 & 7-1) when the document was clumsily stitched together. Censorship!!!

  26. The D.I. charlatans can spin their problems however they want, but the fact remains that the U.M.C. is free to allow whoever they want at meetings. The lack of respect the D.I. is demonstrating towards the U.M.C. won’t go unnoticed.

    How quickly the D.I. drops the “land of the free” premise when their demands are not met. Will they approach legislators and ask them to create laws forcing their new “controversy” into church meetings?

  27. If I were a donor, I would be some annoyed that my money was going to pay for polls rather than financing Real Scientists doing Real Science in a Real Lab.

  28. The DI’s donors are giving money to support social, political, and religious objectives rather than science. In fact, if they support the DI, by definition they oppose real scientists doing real science in a real lab.

  29. A poll of 6 million people which yields fewer than 2,000 responses is inherently worthless. It’s absolutely guaranteed that responses will be biased, since such a small response rate indicates that those who did respond were likely zealots on the issue at hand. And when it comes to evolution, the Darwin-haters have it all over evolution supporters with regard to zealotry.

  30. Survey Monkey is reputable, but all they are is a delivery mechanism. The wording of the questions and answers and also the type of audience the poll should be aimed at are all up to the DI. I find it funny that you have to read pretty far into the post to ‘discover’ who actually conducted the poll. All the stuff about Survey Monkey is a smokescreen to hide their specific involvement. For fun, I created a poll that words things slightly different. Have at it, if you wish: Ted’s UMC Survey

  31. Ted Herrlich, I responded to your survey. Nicely worded questions!

  32. If Methodists discriminate, then why are there still SurveyMonkeys?

  33. Ted Herrlich, I took your survey as well. Looking forward to the results.

  34. THREE more Methodist articles! They’re going all Ball State on the Methodists. What’s next, a threatened lawsuit? We can only hope!

  35. docbill1351 says: “THREE more Methodist articles!”

    I hope this doesn’t distract them from all the scientific research they’re doing.

  36. Thanks for taking the survey. All the way up to 15 responses, 100% in favor of the UMC and Evolution. 🙂 I was hoping for more, but it’s only been a couple of days. We’ll see. But when you look at their results. 1946 out of a 6,000,000, 12 out of 6,000,000 is pretty much statistically similar🙂

  37. The Curmudgeon:
    docbill1351 says: “THREE more Methodist articles!”

    I hope this doesn’t distract them from all the scientific research they’re doing.

    (Snort-chuckle!)

  38. Mark Germano

    On numerous occasions, in the comment section of this fine blog, I’ve offered my services to the Discovery Institute to be their token Darwinist Ombudsman. But, here I am, not getting any of that action. I suppose I’ve been banned.