Discoveroids Poll on Teaching Intelligent Design

We recently wrote A “Poll” on Discovery Institute vs. Methodists, in which we reported about a poll conducted by the Discovery Institute, using the audience provided by SurveyMonkey (Wikipedia article).

At the SurveyMonkey website, they tell us: “We’ve got millions of real people in our survey panel ready to tell you what they think.” In other words, although most people hang up when a polling outfit calls, SurveyMonkey has a population they’ve already selected that wants to be polled, and are eager to sound off on whatever is presented to them. Also, it seems that if you want to make a survey of this audience, you can write your own questions.

The Discoveroids think they got some propaganda value out of their poll on the Methodists’ ban of intelligent design, so now they’ve conducted another poll. They just posted about it at their creationist blog: For Darwin’s Birthday, Poll Shows Broad Support for Teaching Evidence For and Against Darwin’s Theory. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Just in time for Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12, a new nationwide survey reveals that 81 percent of American adults believe that “when teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, biology teachers should cover both scientific evidence that supports the theory and scientific evidence critical of the theory.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s how the Discoveroids worded the poll question? It assumes that there actually is “scientific evidence” critical of evolution. It’s not surprising that 81% of those who responded felt that such evidence shouldn’t be suppressed.

Okay, we know up front how to evaluate the merits of this “poll,” so lets see what else the Discoveroids have to tell us about it:

Only 19 percent of Americans believe that “biology teachers should cover only scientific evidence that supports the theory.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! A more objectively-worded question would be whether biology teachers should cover only scientific evidence — period — without the built-in implication that some evidence is being suppressed. Let’s read on:

“Americans agree by an overwhelming margin that students should learn about all of the scientific evidence relating to Darwinian evolution, pro and con,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. “This is a common-sense approach. Most people understand that it’s not good education to present a one-sided review of the data, especially in science.”

This is one of those rare occasions when your Curmudgeon agrees with Westie. If there were verifiable data that supports the existence and activities of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — such data certainly should be taught. The Discoveroid article continues:

“There is growing peer-reviewed research that questions the adequacy of the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural selection,” added Discovery Institute biologist Ann Gauger.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ann Gauger (a/k/a “Annie Green Screen”), is Casey’s replacement in the blogging department. Annie was previously toiling in obscurity at the Discoveroids’ clandestine creationist research facility, Biologic Institute, but her work there was apparently deemed less important than pumping out propaganda.

Then they give some details about the poll results, but there’s no link to the actual poll results. Here’s one last excerpt:

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, and the survey included 2,117 completed responses for this question.

A substantial response! Are you impressed, dear reader? That doesn’t matter. The only important consumers of this “information” are the generous patrons of the Discovery Institute, and we imagine that they’re thrilled with the results.

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

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20 responses to “Discoveroids Poll on Teaching Intelligent Design

  1. As for teaching the evidence against evolution: as a mathematician, I approve of teaching about the empty set.

  2. So SurveyMonkey provides the packaged ‘services,’ but the Dishonesty Institute formulates the questions biased in their favor?

  3. Annie Green Screen always, always, always misrepresents the theory of evolution truncating it to “random mutation and natural selection.”

    I’m glad in this election year the Tooters have discovered polls! We should create our own polls. Let’s see, what to poll, what to poll …

  4. SurveyMonkey is a great tool to get polls quickly – and cheaply: the Discovery Institute most probably bought a plan which allows it to produce as many polls as they want…

    But every tool can be misused, and Evolution New & Views has proved time and time again that they distort anything…

    Now, that Evolution New & Views has discovered this new source of misinformation, we can expect to be hammered with polls in the future – the more bizarre the outcome, the more probable that it is quoted by another media outlet – the ultimate goal of EN&V.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    Forget the survey, surveys always trend toward BS. I want specifics from this statement: “There is growing peer-reviewed research …”

  6. Columnist Leonard Pitts recently used a term that fairly well sums up the DI and sadly, much of our culture – the post-empirical era.

  7. Survey results like this show two things: 1) Most Americans are woefully under-informed on matters of science and 2) they are generally fair-minded about topics (or want to be perceived that way).

    It follows that on something they know very little about, they would espouse the general approach of “present both sides.”

    I’d like to see a similarly designed survey that asked without defining the terms: “Should science teachers instruct students on the theory of heliocentrism alone or should it be taught alongside geocentrism with the evidence for each presented equally and fairly?”

    I’d predict about a 50/50 split. I’d say that even if you defined the terms you’d still get it at about 80/20.

  8. My complete list of things I’d like the Discovery Institute to publish:

    1. The strengths of evolution theory.
    2. The weaknesses of intelligent design.

    Also, SC, your last paragraph starts with the wrong article.

  9. Derek Freyberg

    I think you’re right on heliocentrism/geocentrism; and I expect that if you could rename “flat-earthism/spherical-earthism” in some more “scientific” way with Latin or Greek, you’d probably get an evenly split vote on that too. Cryptozoology should be taught too, don’t you think – it sounds like something all our students should learn about.

  10. Mark Germano says: “Also, SC, your last paragraph starts with the wrong article.”

    Right. It originally said “An impressive response” but I changed the adjective. It’s all fixed now. Thanks.

  11. Well, I’m sure the students would enjoy the short lecture on the evidence against evolution: “None”. As Neil Rickert said above, a null set.

  12. New Curmudgeon poll! When asked: “Should the government release its long-suppressed evidence of creationist cannibalism?,” 98% of the American people said “Yes!”

  13. Surveys are an excellent way to measure SOME things, like public perception and general trends, but even then it has to be worded carefully.

    For decades restaurants served coffee that was strong, black and hot because when people were asked how they liked they’re coffee that way, they agreed. It’s how Mickey Spillane likes it, it’s how all the tough people like it, so it’s what they responded with.

    When the surveys switched to asking questions of people who had just completed a taste test of their opinions on which was better, the aggregate was that most people like their coffee weak, milky and cold. And the iced coffee was born.

  14. Seriously, any teacher who would teach the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches to the variety of life would get in hot water. Can you imagine the reaction of the “bible-believing christians” when their kids would be taught the full truth about YEC?

    Weak, milky and cold – isn’t that ID creationism?

  15. I created a Survey Monkey of my own. Try it out HERE!

  16. I voted “gerbil.”

  17. Me too, mostly because one of my kid’s gerbils bit my finger years ago. They didn’t have hamsters, so I have no basis for comparison, and there was no “none of the above” answer in the survey!

  18. “There is growing peer-reviewed research that questions the adequacy of the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural selection,” added Discovery Institute biologist Ann Gauger.

    And just who are these “peers”? Ms. Gauger’s fellow creationist quacks, er, I mean researchers? (No, I mean quacks.) A growing pile of garbage remains garbage.

  19. Barbara Forrest

    Purchasing polls is a very old tactic by the Discovery Institute. They are probably trying to influence the outcomes of the Oklahoma and South Dakota bills. But since they are losing money, they probably can’t afford to buy polls from Zogby any more.

  20. I didn’t spend any money on my poll because I’m a cheap, miserable old [edited out]! I posted it on my Facebook page and scattered a few links around my haunts.

    The results are clear! Attack Gerbil is preferred 2:1 !!!

    I even put Hamster first so as not to bias the results.

    Poor Annie Green Screen. Her days are numbered.