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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Darwinists disbelieve public support for "teaching the controversy"



Darwinists are in a state of denial about overwhelming public support for teaching the controversy about evolution. They are making ridiculous claims that the wording of poll questions skewed the results of a recent public opinion poll about teaching the controversy.

A CNSNews.com article says,

A Zogby poll commissioned by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute says more than three-quarters of Americans would like teachers to have the freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution, with an even higher number reported among Democrats.

According to the report, which was commissioned by the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture, respondents were given the two following statements:

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.”

Of those surveyed, 78 percent said Statement B came closest to their own point of view on the issue, representing a 9 percent increase over 2006, the last time the question was asked . . . .

But Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), told CNSNews.com the poll was “meaningless” because the phrasing of the questions skewed the results.

Branch said asking whether or not respondents believe all evidence should be taught puts them in the position of being for or against freedom of information.

Well, that kind of question really puts the respondents on the spot, doesn't it? Tsk, tsk.

Branch also said,
“(I)f you commission someone to do a poll asking whether we should teach the evidence for and the evidence against heliocentrism, they’d say yes, too,” he argued, “even though it’s scientifically established that the Earth goes around the sun, rather than the other way around.

Typical Darwinist straw man.

-- and

“The very terms of the question presuppose that there is credible scientific evidence against evolution, which there isn’t,” he said.

And Branch is presupposing that there is no credible scientific evidence against evolution, and furthermore that none is going to be found in the future.

So maybe Branch thinks that Statement B should have been worded, "If there is credible scientific evidence against evolution, biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.” However, if anything, that wording would probably have increased the number of respondents supporting the statement, because respondents who rejected the original statement solely because they believe that there is no credible scientific evidence against evolution might be inclined to support the revised statement.

Chris Mooney echoed Branch's statements about option B:

Chris Mooney of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry has criticized Zogby polling methodology in the past, agreeing that their wording accounts for the disparity in their poll numbers.

“The answer to the first question is a no-brainer for anyone who believes in open-mindedness, no matter what they think about evolution,” he said. “Sure enough, Zogby-Intelligent Design polls have shown overwhelming support for option B.”

If, as Branch and Mooney imply, Statement B is just an innocuous statement reflecting a desire to be open-minded, then why have the Darwinists been fighting tooth and nail to keep this statement or similar statements (e.g., "strengths and weaknesses") out of standards for public science education? Apparently the Darwinists think that Statement B implies that there actually is credible evidence against evolution, and the Darwinists don't believe that such evidence exists. The Zogby poll could be considered to be a referendum on whether such statements as Statement B should be included in those standards.

Also, as I have pointed out many times, there can be good reasons for teaching invalid criticisms of evolution: broadening students' education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, preventing and correcting misconceptions, and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms are taught only by qualified science teachers.

The poll is also discussed in here on the Discovery Institute's Evolution News & Views website.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no credible evidence against evolution. And if you think ID is scientific evidence you should do some research.
I would like to see science and critical thinking taught in religious classes and in church. Then we'll see how the cretinists and godbotherers like some reality intruding on their religious fantasies.

Semyon Wainwright.

Friday, August 07, 2009 11:55:00 AM  

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