Discoveroid “Poll” Favors Teaching Nonsense

This is about yet another fake opinion poll by the Discovery Institute. We’ve written about a couple of others — see New “Poll” Supports the Discovery Institute, and also Discoveroids Poll on Teaching Intelligent Design.

None of these “polls” are conducted by an independent polling company, but by the Discovery Institute themselves, 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.

A thrilling report of the Discoveroids’ latest “poll” is presented at their creationist blog in For July 4 Weekend, Poll Shows Huge Support for Academic Freedom in Teaching, Research on Evolution. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Though endangered on campuses, academic freedom couldn’t be more all-American. That includes the freedom of teachers, students, and scientists to speak out, debate, and weigh diverse, even critical scientific ideas about evolution. While demonized by the media, independence of thought on the ultimate question of biological origins finds support across the broadest spectrum of age, sex, political and religious perspectives.

Ah yes — what could be more all-American than the freedom to destroy young minds by teaching religious doctrines that are thinly-disguised as “science”? The Discoveroids tell us:

Indeed, Americans celebrate Independence Day this weekend, and right on time, a new nationwide survey reveals that fully 93 percent of American adults agree that “teachers and students should have the academic freedom to objectively discuss both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re written a few times about what the Discoveroids consider to be weaknesses of Darwin’s theory — see Discoveroids’ Top Ten Problems with Evolution. Let’s read on:

What’s more, 88 percent agree that “scientists who raise scientific criticisms of evolution should have the freedom to make their arguments without being subjected to censorship or discrimination.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What would the poll results be if we asked whether “scientists” who argue that the Earth is flat should have the freedom to make their arguments without being subjected to censorship or discrimination?

Then we’re given a link to the Discoveroids’ presentation of the poll results. It’s an 8-page pdf file. You can see the — ahem! — unbiased introduction shown to the eager poll-takers, followed by the questions the Discoveroids themselves devised.

The post prattles on, but it doesn’t say anything else worth mentioning. We’d like to see the response of the SurveyMonkey audience regarding this question: Should science teachers in tax-supported schools be allowed to teach worthless, wacky, unevidenced nonsense to their students?

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

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12 responses to “Discoveroid “Poll” Favors Teaching Nonsense

  1. The Discoveroids are polling about the freedom to teach “scientific strengths and weaknesses,” and express “scientific criticisms.”

    The poll has no relevance to ID.

  2. Holding The Line In Florida

    Or unicorns, lepricons, Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster as well. What a generalized bunch of nothing.

  3. What about the freedom for the athletic coaches to teach alternative approaches to sports? In races and golf, the lowest score wins. Why not in football and basketball?

  4. David Williams

    The Discoveroids had big plans with their IDEA Centers. http://www.ideacenter.org/clubs/locations.php
    I can find very few if any active chapters on the map above. I do not think any of the IDEA Centers were censored.. I think lack of interest is the main reason they are a flop
    .

  5. Barbara Forrest

    The Discovery Institute doesn’t do these polls just to have something to post on their blog. Whenever they do something like this, they are gearing up for another attack on science education somewhere. This “poll” is very conveniently timed as an effort to influence the views (and probably the selection of) members of the committees and workgroups that will revise the Louisiana science standards. That selection process is presently under way and has to be completed by August, when the committee and workgroup members will be presented to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. That’s what’s going on here. DI may be cooking up trouble for some other state, too, although I don’t know of anything going on elsewhere at the moment. But Louisiana is presently in their crosshairs — again.

  6. Barbara Forrest says:

    This “poll” is very conveniently timed as an effort to influence the views (and probably the selection of) members of the committees and workgroups that will revise the Louisiana science standards.

    That didn’t occur to me. I always suspect these things are done to show their generous patrons how much “progress” they’re making. As for Louisiana, I assume they’ll do the usual creationist stuff that state is famous for.

  7. Barbara Forrest

    Put this together with Jeff Sadow’s column of two weeks ago, and you get a better picture of what is probably going on.

  8. You could be right, Barbara. It seems a bit subtle for the Discoveroids, but maybe it’s not just a coincidence.

  9. One can be clever in activism, even while what is the object of one’s activism is not so very clever.

  10. ’88 percent agree that “scientists who raise scientific criticisms of evolution should have the freedom to make their arguments without being subjected to censorship or discrimination.” ‘

    Actually, so do I, and you. Provided we don’t let words change their meaning between the resolution and the action.

    We are resented with interesting equivocation on the word “discrimination”. No one should be discriminated(1) against by virtue of, say, colour, gender, or creed, but I can without bigotry discriminate(2) between ripe and rotten raspberries, and yes, we should discriminate(2) against flat-earthism in geography classes.

    Also perhaps on the word “censorship”. We should not make it illegal to claim that the world was made in 6 x 24 hours, but that does not mean that this view has a place in the classroom.

  11. Eric Lipps

    I propose a new award for these SurveyMonkey surveys used by the Discoveroids as “proof” that an overwhelming majority of majority agrees with them: the Golden Monkey.

    The Monkey would be bestowed semi-annually on the survey during that period with the most egregiously loaded questions designed to elicit responses the DI’ers want.

  12. Eric Lipps makes an excellent proposal re: The Golden Monkey Award.

    But maybe it should be called The Golden Monkeys, and the Oscar-like statuette given to the happy winner is an inverted version of the famous simian trio to represent ‘See Evil Everywhere, Hear Evil All the Time, Speak [BEEP BEEP BOOP] Constantly’…