Unscientific internet poll alert

The Baylor Lariat is running a silly poll in which they ask how Baylor ought to approach ID: encourage it, discourage it, prohibit it, or support it. The creationists have been having fun with it, and “encourage” is winning by a landslide. Let’s everyone head over there and skew it the Pharyngula way!


  1. Tex says

    Research? What research? If there actually is any ID research it should be supported, just like any research program. However, so far all we have seen is lying for Jesus. I guess a Baptist university should support that, too.

  2. anon says

    Heh heh, I love he deep consideration of science in these online polls. There is no limit on how many votes you can cast. Never mind skewing the Pharyngula way, skew it _your_ way.

  3. procyon says

    I say let them do all the research they want. I’m sure the DI would give them all the money they need. It would truly be amusing to see what they would spend that money on. They are,after all,their own worst enemies. How long would the DI subsidize trying to prove the existance of God? Besides, it would keep them from whining that there’s a Darwinist conspiracy keeping them from doing research and publishing. They’ld actually have to put-up or shut-up.

  4. says

    Hmm. anon, I’m trying to vote a couple dozen times, but I don’t think the total is increasing because of it. It’s probably all the other Pharyngula readers driving up the total.

  5. Michael X says

    Well I just voted 3 times in a row and they all counted. I think the editor of the Baylor Lariat might get confused when the total number of votes outnumbers the total number of Lariat readers… Wish I could be there for that.

  6. Dan says

    Playing the devil’s advocate: It makes them look even stupider than usual if they get a lab and then don’t do any research. Therefore, encourage!

  7. ChemBob says

    Just seeing this type of nonsense being included as a poll on a university website is bad enough, but for the IDiots to be winning? I know it’s Baylor and all, but come on!

    I was flipping through the channels the other night and saw Larry King interviewing a gaggle of daft persons who claim that they see and talk to the dead. Did you know that they typically see them in the clothes in which they were buried? They all pretty much seemed to agree that was typical dress for the dead. Just how screwed up have the media become to countenance such fraud? Never mind, I guess after GWB and Iraq, that is a self-answering question.

    The US has become the Bizarro world of the old Superman comics, but somehow even nuttier and less logical.

  8. says

    Does it really make sense to try to infuse a bit of reason into the idiots’ debates? Doesn’t it just encourage the idiots to have people take them seriously?

    Maybe you should just have your own poll on the IQ of Baylor.

  9. says

    I am kind of torn. So I finally voted “encourage” – in spite of the fact that I know that what I meant and what they were asking are not the same thing.

    See, the problem is – I think we really need some “intelligent design research.” Good, solid scientific theories and supporting evidence. Best would be some kind of experimental results. And, of course, if they’re done in the context of a university science program those results should be publication-quality. Right?

    I can’t even conceive of what some useful “intelligent design research” might be, to tell you the truth. But that’s what science departments are supposed to do. There’s this theory (“an intelligent designer created the universe and life”) that so far hasn’t been backed with any evidence or even testable hypotheses so far.

    Looking forward to an article entitled, “We tried to think of an experiment that would produce evidence supporting the theory of ‘intelligent design’ but couldn’t.”

  10. Quiddam says

    From the extraordinarily slow response times (about 10 minutes) and huge number of rows (10,267) showing in the Poll Results, I’d say that someone has written a bot to flood the poll and in the process deny service. Or is it just me?
    How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

    Encourage it 1034
    Discourage it 326
    Prohibit it 151
    Support it 80
    … 0
    and then 10257 rows of zeros

    Total Votes Cast: 1591

    International Voting Center Poll
    This is a professional web poll provided by the IVC. [/quote]

    Something smells fishy.

  11. DLC says

    Did you notice the headline in the page “BU had role in Dembski return” ? I followed the link to the article.
    Dembski was granted a position as an anonymous “post-doctoral researcher” in a “study” by cDesign Proponentist Dr. Robert Marks. The grant came out of the pockets of the LifeWorks foundation. According to the article, BU closed the study, returned the 30,000 USD grant and sent Dembski packing.

    I can only say — Good for Baylor. perhaps there’s hope for Texas Education yet.

  12. Hank Fox says

    When I peeked in there just now, the total was 1,117 for combined “Support” and “Encourage,” 638 for combined “Discourage” and “Prohibit.”

    So far, 64% are in favor of it.

    Take note that this is a campus newspaper, and may not reflect the opinions or policies of the university itself.

    I couldn’t find a list of staffers, but I’ll bet it’s mostly written by students.

    If *I* was a student there, I can imagine putting up just such a poll … so I could do an opinion piece afterwards on “ID Poll Results In! Just How Stupid Are We?”

  13. Atheist In A Kilt says

    I voted to “prohibit”.I never want to see ID taught in school, period. This supernatural BS deserves no respect, and certainly should find no place in a science class.
    That being said, I did have a thought. What if it was taught in a heads up comparison to evolution?

    For instance,ID could roll out one of the Behe standbys, the complicated eye. They would state that since this eye is just so wonderful and complicated, god, oh wait this is ID not creationism, so a reclusive designer did it.

    Then the evolutionary model for eye developement could be compared to this foolishness, and a satisfying explanation could be enjoyed by all.

    I think that if ID was taught this way, we would simply be giving ID enough rope to hang itself. But as I said I never want to see it in a science class, so this is just an observation.

  14. says

    I’d say encourage it – just as soon as they figure out how they’re going to do it. Show me a means of doing science that allows one to falsify the hypothesis “goddidit”, and I’d be totally in favour of them doing the research.

  15. Sophist, FCD says

    How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

    Not to get all logically positivist, but that is not a cognitively meaningful sentence. You might as well poll people on whether they endorse the domestication of unicorns.

  16. bad Jim says

    Unless one wishes Baylor ill, one ought to vote for “discourage”. Research funds are scarce and they should be discouraged from wasting them, and they should discourage their science students from wasting their time in Bronze Age blind alleys.

    “Prohibit” seems a little draconian. Shouldn’t it be enough to remind the researchers that this isn’t the sort of thing that’s likely to result in a degree or tenure?

  17. LCR says

    I actually think the correct answer is to “demand results” of the faculty that support the ID nonsense. That may fall under “encourage it”, perhaps? Baylor should demand that supporters complete those tedious grant applications and jump through the research hoops to gather empirical evidence in support of this “theory”, just as all other researchers must do to earn and keep their positions. If they don’t (or can’t) produce results, then I am sure that the DI would be glad to take them in.

  18. says

    you have to worry about a University that has a poll asking 4 questions, that has 7 responses:
    Encourage it 1047
    Discourage it 588
    Prohibit it 553
    Support it 82
    _ 1
    _ 1
    _ 1
    perhaps they need to invest in a few net programmers?

  19. Ichthyic says

    I can’t even conceive of what some useful “intelligent design research” might be

    there’s a very simple reason for that:

    it’s simply not possible as the concept is constructed to actually DO any kind of research, or even propose a testable hypothesis, for that matter.

    I suggest rethinking the logic of trying to encourage something that is a dead end to begin with. It’s a waste of time to try and force something scientific onto what is essence nothing more than a marketing scheme.

    the only science that can be done with ID is to study whether it has had the intended marketing effect on the rubes.

    That Baylor would have posted such a poll speaks volumes about the amount of time they have spent even considering the vacuousness of the ID concept to begin with (namely, very little to none).

    science simply isn’t a fucking popularity contest.

  20. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    I say encourage them. All scientific research should be encouraged.

    If they actually do some research then any results, for good or ill, will be available for judgement by their peers.

    If they still don’t, even after being encouraged to do so, then the claims of Intelligent Design will be further exposed as scientifically vacuous.

  21. Azkyroth says

    And yet another Pharyngula poll flood bursts into Asperger’s Syndrome flames.

    What exactly is it you’re trying to say here?

  22. alex says

    after looking at uncommondescent’s comments about this poll, i’d consider changing my vote to “encourage it”, just to see what experimental research could possibly be carried out in scientific conditions.
    if research wasn’t allowed in the first place, the IDers would have a wonderful excuse for their lack of experimentally obtained data.

  23. ChemBob says

    I must heartily, but respectfully, disagree with those of you who would have Baylor encourage ID research in hopes that the negative results would show that ID isn’t science. My disagreement is due to the following reasons:

    1) Negative results of the testing of hypotheses are often not published, this is a well known publication bias; therefore the needed discouragement of this nonsense might never see the light of day,

    2) It would be a gigantic waste of the time of students and their professors, possibly harming their career opportunities,

    3) The ID cultists don’t have to have positive, or even any, results from actual science to promulgate their nonsensical beliefs. All they need is the credence of having ID “research” done at a major research institution to further their agenda.

  24. Helblindi says

    Hell, I am always in favour of design research in information systems, provided it is done in an intelligent fashion. Or, wait, perhaps this is not what the poll is about…?

  25. Erasmus, FCD says

    Hey y’all

    The Banned at ATBC have been spamming the Lariat poll to vote ‘Encourage’. Because we think the idea of ‘intelligent design research’ is about the funniest thing you could say by juxtaposing unrelated words together.

    Don’t get your panties in a knot. Go Vote Encourage. Wouldn’t you like to see those douchebags like Wells and Behe and Wilma Dembski actually to have do some goddam research instead of running around taking 20 grand a pop for being a creationist textbook shill then claiming persecution? Fuck them. give them exactly what they want. They have not even published THEIR OWN JOURNAL in two years. What could this possibly hurt?

  26. ChemBob says


    Is there any chance you read what I posted at #29 before you posted?

    No, I would not like to see them having research done at a major institution (BeHeeHeeHee et al. would likely fund it, but not do the work themselves), for reasons that I enumerated. You are asking for a slippery slope, imho. They would not consider negative results a failure; they would consider the research itself, i.e., legitimate personages testing it, as proof of credibility.

  27. says

    I voted to encourage research, but as long as they actually do it as “research” rather than just cherry picking some aspects of biology that “look” designed and then making up post-hoc maths to “prove their point. I think it would be good if they would actually research it as science if they want it presented as science. It is not going to go away any other way, make them prove it, and when they can’t they can’t blame the “evilutionists” for expelling them from the campuses.

  28. David Marjanović, OM says

    Voting more often than once does not work (anymore). The 10,000 extra lines are still there, and they take a long time to load.

  29. David Marjanović, OM says

    Voting more often than once does not work (anymore). The 10,000 extra lines are still there, and they take a long time to load.

  30. RHBourdeau says

    Well, I just voted, and it looks to me like the votes about ID “research” are approaching 2:1 against.

    • Encourage it 1065
    • Prohibit it 1007
    • Discourage it 859
    • Support it 85

    Also, there’s a link to an article about Dembski’s return to Baylor and subsequent termination. I’m encouraged by Dean Ben Kelly’s handling of the situation. The slight-of-hand manipulations by the ID proponents is revealing.

  31. Reginald Selkirk says

    The specific question is:

    How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

    How should one approach any nonexistent phenomenon?

  32. Stephen says

    I hope people are voting ‘discourage’ rather than ‘prohibit’. Prohibition would just give the creationists a real issue to complain about, instead of the invented issues they’ve had to make do with up until now.

  33. says

    I wouldn’t encourage Baylor to support ID “research” or to waste students’ or professors’ time on a wild goose chase. But I’m heartily in favor of having Baylor encourage Behe, Dembski, Nelson, et al, to waste their time and energy trying to research ID when they have yet to even produce a quantifiable definition of what “intelligence” or “design” are.

  34. HP says

    You might as well poll people on whether they endorse the domestication of unicorns.

    I vote Discourage. There are some pretty tough obstacles to unicorn domestication to overcome:

    * Unicorns are the only solitary equine. Without a herding instinct, there’s little chance of getting unicorns to imprint on their human handlers.

    * Unicorns are highly territorial, and have strong defenses. Even a polled unicorn has a deadly kick. They’re worse than zebras in that regard.

    * You would need a large number of highly trained and motivated human female virgins in order to get anything like docility out of a unicorn. All it takes is one night of strong drink and regrets, and the next day, bam!, you’re shish kebab. You might fool Mom, but the unicorn, he knows.

    Unicorn domestication would be a colossal waste of funding that would be better spent on more practical programs like finding the leprechaun’s pot o’ gold. Since Finnegan, et al, demonstrated that the rainbow theory is incomplete at best, the field is wide open.

    I understand that Kurosawa & Mifune at Edo Polytechnic are getting remarkable results from their Kappa communication research. More like this, please.

  35. Brian G says

    Current results are:

    Prohibit it: 1543
    Discourage it: 1129
    Encourage it: 1094
    Support it: 92

  36. Erasmus, FCD says

    if ID’ers are forced to go through the usual process of science, publishing in trade journals and being judged according to the rules that everyone else is judged by, it will dissipate immediately. it doesn’t matter if that ‘research’ is done at Baylor or at Yale. these guys don’t put their ideas into the scientific sphere at all, they just hide behind soft money and a PR front.

    Who cares if that makes them look ‘credible’ to some quarters? It won’t last long because it is bad science, and exposing that will ultimately cause them to shit and fall back in it. And given the rate at which Wilma Dembski routinely embarasses himself and Behe gives away the store, that would not take long. These guys are not scientists and putting them onto the spot and forcing them to assume the role would end this charade.

    and then i would have to find something else to do for fun. YEC will survive though, but probably retreat into hiding and work on another postmodern apologetic.

  37. Lurchgs says

    I thought about it for a while, before I read all the posts here. I eventually decided to go ahead and add my unscientific vote to the morass. I voted “Encourage”.

    I did consider the idea that actually conducting research might lend an air of legitimacy. It might, but only in the short term – the instant anything is published, it will be absolutely shredded by true science. Net result: believers still believe. Scientists have direct ammunition to use against ID, not just pointing out that they are a bunch of raving loonies with way more money than sense. Yeah, I oversimplified – but it’s still dead accurate.
    Further, it gives the co-loonies (those people who give DI money) a nice big sink into which to pour their cash, which will eventually end up back in the market instead of the church coffers.

    In all honesty, the only thing they MIGHT prove is that there IS NO God