In reaction to the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s billboards, FoxNews asks, “What’s your reaction to the ‘Imagine No Religion’ billboards?”. Unfortunately, you only get your choice of two poor answers: “I’m not offended…it’s free speech” and “I’m offended…America needs religion”. What about “I’m offended…but it’s free speech”?
Sadly, “America needs religion”, the worst of the two, is currently leading with 56% of the vote.
Greg Laden says
I think FOX does not let you vote in this poll if you previously voted the ‘wrong’ way on other polls on their site.
Neil Vickers says
Oops, we’ve broken their web page. Quick, somebody resurrect the server!
Alright! We’re up to 50.91% for I’m not offended.
Blake Stacey says
I’m not offended.. it’s free speech: 51.08%
I’m offended.. America needs religion: 48.92%
Total number of votes: 601
How do you vote in this poll. I feel like an idiot that i cant figure it out.
here is a link to the local story about these soon-to-be-erected billboards in our fair city:
I’m not offended.. it’s free speech. 53.22%
I’m offended.. America needs religion. 46.78%
Total number of votes: 635
Glen Davidson says
Who notices billboards?
NVM I figured it out :)
There’s also no option for ‘I’m not offended, I agree with it,’ which I would have liked to have voted for.
“I’m not offended … America needs religion like a fish needs a bicycle.”
It would be nice if they had more options. But the “Not Offended’s” are inching upward.
(visualizes those few billboards against countless thousands of church signs and billboards, tax-free property, the adulation of elected officials…)
Jim Lippard says
Glen D: These billboards are 50% funded by FFRF, with the remaining donations organized by the Phoenix Atheists Meetup Group and support from the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.
The mere presence of the billboards has generated the Arizona Republic story and it looks like every TV station in town is planning to run a story about it on tonight’s news. (I agreed to be a local interviewee, and will be interviewed this afternoon by Phoenix ABC News 15.)
i checked out the article Evelyn @ #6 linked. It contained this:
“Phoenix will be the first city to have as many as five signs. But getting the billboards up did not come without hurdles. The five sites chosen by the organization were changed after CBS Outdoor said they had to be 1,000 feet from any schools or churches, Gaylor said.”
i think it is curious that CBS Outdoor won’t allow the signs near schools or churches. is this some sort of censorship? they don’t want a provocative sign near a school, where students think and there is already supposed to be separation of church and state?
oh, wait, i know why they don’t want them within 1000′ of schools and churches. those locations are reserved for all the liquor ads. yeah, that’s it.
Jim Lippard says
I commented on the CBS Outdoor issues here:
“I’m not offended, but I crashed the car because of the daydreaming”.
Ryan F Stello says
What is it with Ford dealerships’ sponsorship of reactionary statments against atheists (Branderson Ford for this one)?
This for context.
Youtube, pretty please?
For a second, I tought you were going to say “50% funded by the FSM…”
“I’m not offended, but my wife was so mad I had to institutionalize her”.
I’m on a roll!
I kinda like the wording of the poll; it points out the fact that religious nuts are anti-free speech, anti-Constitution, anti-Bill of Rights.
Of course they’re pretty much anti-everything.
Natasha Yar-Routh says
That didn’t take long, not offended is up to 74.04% with 1,175 votes. My but crashing polls is fun.
Ugh, I visited a FauxNews web site! I feel so… dirty.
(75% free speech now)
Brownian, OM says
I would have preferred to vote for “I’m offended…America needs religion–just not any of the Abrahamic ones. They’re totally havens for assholes.”
I guess that’s why I’m not a pollster.
76% not offended
It being a Fox news site, I’m surprised the two choices weren’t:
– I’m offended … It’s against everything that is good and holy and completely un-American.
– I’m not offended … I’m a godless commie and more evil than Hitler.
78/22 and you can vote more than once.
I would have liked to have typed in “I’m damned offended that it has come this far when we have to be offened by the damned offensive religionists”!
The power of Pharyngula!!!!
That didn’t take long.
79% not offended
Paul Burnett says
“Ugh, I visited a FauxNews web site! I feel so… dirty.” – Larry, #21
I refer to it (much more appropriately) as “F-Word News”
Yeah… we fixed it.
Quiet Desperation says
What about “Pure, unsullied ambivalence?”
Ed H. says
The “Fair and Balanced” results right now are:
I’m not offended.. it’s free speech. 81.24%
I’m offended.. America needs religion. 18.76%
with 1690 votes cast.
Pharyngula’s Pwny Express strikes again. =)
I don’t know whether to be amused or appalled if what Greg Laden suggests is true.
But it did make me think of an even horribler possibility: Why not set up polls like this to give the answer you want by simply registering the desired result no matter what is clicker? Perhaps with a little randomisation for show so that the opposition is shown as weak rather than non-existent (it’s easier to demonise “the Other” if it can be shown to be there and listening).
I write as someone trained in the diabolical arts of mass consciousness engineering (Ph.D. program, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania). I’ll try hard not to digress into social “sciences” research methodology, most of which is a sham designed to aggregate and display power and status through furthering topics and opinions most in the interest of the researcher, funder, or communicator.
What I find most interesting, PZ, is the assumption that this sort of polling ever is anything other than a desire on the part of a mass opinion corporation or researcher (or more precisely its funders/profiteers) to claim some degree of Mob Validation for some generally axiological mental construct. This enables effectively oligarchic unities like Fox Broadcasting to give a gloss of “democracy” to its fascistic (see the dictionary definition) shaping of mass consciousness.
As Gore Vidal once noted, corporate advertisers and broadcasters have taken over the US without firing a shot–something the great despots of human history would have marvelled at and greatly envied. I am describing this as a retired consciousness engineer, not someone who listens to Democracy Now to validate my own taste for rebelling against imaginary fathers/men/authorities. My goal was always to try to build better thinking, and at some point I found my entire profession and its methods was against that. You can’t have good thinking where the fundamental rule is aggregation and mass-anything. That is to say, the best thinking in the nation may be held by just one individual whom everyone hates. So the “social” “sciences” are a lie…and I promised I wouldn’t digress there.
But here’s what that leads to. The poll under discussion isn’t about religion in some objectivist-external mode, and what people think. It’s about establishing and advertising false consensus. PZ starts to make the essential point, but draws up short. With all due respect, PZ, scientists as well as godologues can heavily addicted to axiological, rather than subtle, thinking. For instance, why do you consider this a relevant topic if not to make your axiological point that the godbots are idiots and we scientists know the score? I happen to lean in that direction myself…but I hope not to the detriment of the thinking I do or coach others with.
In the case of Fox, creating false consensus OR false disagreement is the squishy log that comes out of Uncle Rupert’s Fun Factory. Then various people cut them with blunt knives into smaller units, for whatever uses they choose. But you only have two choices of Play Doh–A and B–and the log comes out as a star, or whatever, and those colors/shapes are fixed and mutually exclusive, and there is no discussion of the terms, and so on and so forth.
Karl Rove was the absolute master of this technique of consciousness engineering and manipulation…and most liberals I know reacted exactly as he planned (pissily shooting arrows at President St. Sebastian Dimwit for eight years, rather than staying on course with truly progressive thinking and action). I mention this not to get political per se, but to describe methods by which thinking is corrupted for the advance of power. Causing religious thinking (A versus B, good versus evil, god versus man, me versus you, us versus them) to appear in the guise of scientific thinking through quasi-experimentational methods such as polling is an essential part of corrupting and co-opting the human impulse to rationality.
So inasmuch as the poll stages axiological thinking as the only possibility for approaching a complex issue, the poll is, for that reason, religion. So of course it’s going to appeal to and come up with results that further what appears to be advocacy of religious categories.
As for myself, I don’t even UNDERSTAND the questions, so I can’t possibly answer the poll…nor reformulate the questions. They are about as rational as farts, and smell worse. In an urban setting I’m too busy focusing on car and bike users to even look at billboards, and if any billboard could offend me, I doubt I’d get much done in a day.
The other point of this poll is to underscore Fox’s assertion that Americans are stupid, easily offended hicks who spend all their time being stupid and easily offended. And answering or arguing about polls.
We rationalists and scientists have ceded them that terrain. There is no reclaiming it except for us to lobby for more complex thinking, to create rewards for that, and to refuse to lend credibility to stupidity by giving it attention. The question in my mind isn’t whether religion is needed in America or not. Religion is here, for the love of lefse, and Fox knows how to cause or coach people to feel offended…for Fox’s profit.
The real question is how to build safe houses for those capable of thinking in forward-thinking and collaborative ways, not superstitious ones that set people at odds with one another.
The human cognitive categories of Absolute Yes and Absolute No have very little to do with most of what we observe in scientific thinking/inquiry. But they are very very strong constructs in religious belief. Rational inquiry is not for people who seek answers, but those who pose more and more refined and far-reaching questions based on more and more complex sets of data. And occasionally on simple data seen in a new way.
PZ, if “America needs religion” WASN’T leading, *I* would be upset. It would mean that rational people were spending any energy whatever paying attention to Fox.
Another poll pharyngulaized. The “needs religion” is down to less than 18%.
Tony Sidaway says
Jim Lippard | August 25, 2008 1:50 PM, #13
Hi Jim, long time no see.
If these billboards have already generated such a big splash and they haven’t even been put up yet, that’s great!
Perhaps it might be a shrewd move to cancel the campaign, get a refund, and move on to the next state… j/k :)
The comments section is being pwned also
John M. says
The loonies are fighting back; it’s down to an 80% to 20% when I voted just now [at CET 20h45]
Shaden Freud says
84-16 for the good guys currently.
84% Free speech
16% Needs religion
Wow. Talk about terribly lousy answers.
erik Remkus says
84.5 – 15.5 in favor of heathens from the sea.
Jared Lessl says
I’m not offended … America needs religion like a dog needs a brick tied to its head.
Tiffany Taylor says
84.95% not offended; 2,327 votes. Gotta love those numbers.
The problem I have with this poll is that the “I’m not offended” is only because of freedom of speech. Where is the “I’m not offended because I agree with the message”?
It’s Fox News. It never occurred to them that some people may actually like the message. The two answers we get to choose from are basically “I don’t like it but will tolerate it,” and “I don’t like it and won’t tolerate it.”
karen marie says
“i’m not offended” is now at just over 85%.
“Uncle Rupert’s Fun Factory”
The polling is now more at 85% “I’m not offended”.
Haha, fantastic – it’s 85.94% after my vote. That’s a quick turn around since you wrote the article!
I am amazed at anyone who would see these online polls as anything other than a gimmick to keep their readers amused by giving them a false sense of interactivity. I can’t believe that the results of these polls are used by anyone other than the participants themselves to say “look at how many agree/disagree with me”.
Porky Pine says
When I voted, got a “Page not available”. Did they pull it?
Wow… That’s the worst false dilemma I’ve seen in ages. “I’m not offended, it’s free speech” my ass. How about “Right On!”? They really believe that everyone in this country either hates it or is neutral on it? Or can they just not handle the thought of how many votes for the positive option they might get?
Porky Pine says
Nope. It was my “Noscripts” plugin doing it’s thing. :)
Thanks for crashing the poll. Unfortunately once the Christions get their hands on it we are out numbered.
ps Im one of the local Phoenix FFRF members who organized and funded the Phoenix FFRF Billboards. Thanks for the support PZ!
87.93% “Not offended…it be free speech by godless commies”
12.07% for the more idiotic answer.
How about “I’m offended that this billboard was seen as offensive to many people”?
Another day, another poll freeped. It’s up to 88% “I’m not offended”. You’re right though, PZ, yours ought to be another poll answer, as should “I try to imagine it every day”, and “I hate billboards”.
Otherwise, I think there’d be a lot of undecideds.
HRMN of Earth says
[I write as someone trained in the diabolical arts of mass consciousness engineering]
Thanks Mikee. Finally some real brain-food. Off to the book store to find some info on Consciousness Engineering.
“50% off all stats are made up on the spot”
When are you coming to Phoenix? You know, these billboards were put up mainly to attract you to come down here and grace us with your presence like Richard did :)
HRMN of Earth says
*%^$%#$ 50% OF all stats …. :)
Wow. The power of Pharyngula continues to astound me — the “I’m not offended” choice is crushing the opposition.
Wow. The irresistible force of Pharyngula continues to knock over immovable objects — the “I’m not offended” choice is crushing the opposition.
Please use your powers for good, and not for evil. Cheers.
Well, that was embarrassing — remember kids, your first draft is only good for the fireplace.
90.50% to 9.50% Thats funny! We win.
Dr. Karl E. Taylor says
This is the most commented story on azcentral.com. I’m very glad to see these billboards going up in MY state and MY city, at last. What really needs to be done is to have one of the politics billboards put up, right across the street, from the Center for Arizona Policy.
Give them a reminder that they are NOT in charge.
Arthur Rigsby says
Thanks everyone for your support! I’m also a member of FFRF. We would NEVER get permission to put that billboard up in my town. We have a huge ugly black one that says : I love you, and you and you…GOD
My only gripe to FFRF is – no membership card. How am I supposed to be a card carrying atheist with no card! *snort*
93 to 7
David Marjanović, OM says
Are you sure? Remember, the tradition of pharyngulating polls started with one about Expelled!, where it turned out that there are only 900 cdesign proponentsists on teh whole wide intarwebz. Are you sure there are over 4000 easily-offended Christians out there?
Because I just voted, tolerance was at 92.10 %, and there were over 4200 votes, 4273 I think.
I’m with you on that one Dr. Taylor. I’m defiantly glad to see these signs go up here in Phoenix. Once they are all up I’ll have to make a drive by and get a picture of each just for my own giggles.
Patricia @#69: I figure I can just whip out my ACLU card. Thats probably more likely to throw some of these knuckle-dragger’s into a frenzy anyways.
New poll up at AZ Central.
Do you think religion plays to big of a role in politics today?
Yes is ahead 58% to 42%. At least this is an easy and clear answer. Lets bump those bible beaters down a bit more
What about, “I’m not offended, I agree”???
Really, I hate polls that append bogus rationalizations to yes/no answers, so you can’t respond without your opinion being framed.
Scratch that, I just hate polls.
Oh it’s slipping. Down to 57% on that AZ poll…
94.46% for I’m not offended
94.51 not Offended
Up to 94.57% :)
Do you there’s any chance the results of this poll will be broadcast over TV?
Broadcast? When we hit p < 0.05, we can publish!
Whoops, that should read “When we hit p < 0.05, we can publish." Pwned by HTML. What Preview button?
Religion is not the problem. It’s what you believe in that’s the problem.
94.92% to us, now.
Okay, that time I previewed it and it still got munged after the submit. I’m going to concede defeat. The Internet gods have spoken.
ooops is missing my hilarious comment, sigh
SiMPel MYnd says
Thanks to all of you for Pharyngulizing this poll. I live in Phoenix, and was getting frustrated reading some of the comments following the azcentral story last night. (See the link that Evelyn posted at #6 above for the story and comments.) There are a few rational folks around here, but there sure are some batshit crazy ones too. Unfortunately, I think “batshit crazy” is winning right now…
This is too easy, apparently the stations polling software does not attempt to limit one to only one vote, I just voted 4 times, and the counter went up each time. Everybody, vote often, vote freely, before the Westboro baptist people get a hold of it.
Jim Lippard says
My Channel 15 News interview was distilled down to a short sound bite here:
My Channel 12 News interview will apparently air at 6 p.m. MST.
I’ll post the links here:
Jim Lippard says
NBC 12 did a better job:
Jim Lippard says
A better link for ABC News 15:
Ed Darrell says
P.Z., you failed to mention that the poll is sponsored by that oleaginous Sanderson Ford dealership.
Actually now (10:33pm in florida) it is 94.76% not offended.
I do…well, I did. Back in ’94, I was driving with friends on the Florida Turnpike and we saw a billboard which stated “Jesus will pay your toll.” Being poor teenagers, we all thought, “Brilliant!” Well, needless to say, the toll booth worker didn’t think as much of Jesus as we thought she might being in boonie central Florida and all :/
#73 – Mercurious – I gotta hand it to you – whipping out an ACLU card would impress me! But here, in Fucktardareligioustan atheists are the most hated species on the planet…er well then there’s the gays and uppity womenfolk.
Maybe if you try real hard ACLU membership will be equated with demon possession. Then you can really whip it out with elan!
@ Mikke,No 35 :
I think your post didnt quite get the attention it deserved,you make some very valid points IMO.
//What I find most interesting, PZ, is the assumption that this sort of polling ever is anything other than a desire on the part of a mass opinion corporation or researcher (or more precisely its funders/profiteers) to claim some degree of Mob Validation for some generally axiological mental construct. This enables effectively oligarchic unities like Fox Broadcasting to give a gloss of “democracy” to its fascistic (see the dictionary definition) shaping of mass consciousness.//
Mob Validation,and by creating a false dilemma too,is exactly what this is.But more important is this :
//Causing religious thinking (A versus B, good versus evil, god versus man, me versus you, us versus them) to appear in the guise of scientific thinking through quasi-experimentational methods such as polling is an essential part of corrupting and co-opting the human impulse to rationality.//
We are all constantly bombarded with black-or-white scenarios,complexities or shades of grey fall by the wayside,and your post clarified the essential fascist or religious connection of this for me:
//The human cognitive categories of Absolute Yes and Absolute No have very little to do with most of what we observe in scientific thinking/inquiry. But they are very very strong constructs in religious belief//
And we should be wary to play their games and think along those absolute category lines.
//PZ, if “America needs religion” WASN’T leading, *I* would be upset. It would mean that rational people were spending any energy whatever paying attention to Fox.//
Good point again.Still fun to crash it,of course.But keeping the caveats you mentioned,and the temptation this poses for sloppy thinking,in mind.
These internet polls are garbage. It’s important to teach people that. One effective method of teaching is demonstration. Every time pharyngula crashes a poll, the idiocy of online polls is demonstrated.
Total number of votes: 11454
i’m not offended.. 94.72%
I’m offended.. 5.28%
94.86% for the good guys
Slightly o/t but for firefox users the ‘stealther’ addon allows easy multiple voting on such polls just close the tab after voting click the link to the poll page again and away you go.
Jim A says
At a fundamental level, you’re right. There ARE people in this country who realize that there is no right to “not be offended.” I am often trying to point out to “There ought to be a law,” types that I work with the set of things that people shouldn’t do is MUCH MUCH larger than the set of things that should be illegal.
This is just practice. Next step is to crash elections.
John M. says
But will we be able to gerrymander as easily and effectively as we just did on Faux News?
Robert Byers says
Well if you can have a freedom from religion billboard how about these.
Freedom from ethnic/sex quotos for work, education, government assistence.
Freedom from legal homosexuality and any acceptance of gay agendas or lifestyle.
Freedom from evolution propaganda in schools. (I’m sure that would do well)
Freedom from continued immigration.
Freedom from multi-culturalism as a alternative to assimulation.
Freedom from the interference from women, ethnic, gay agendas to take oppurtunities and jobs and promotions from True american s especially men.
it is the establishment that decides which billboards can be put up for all to see without censorship.
Think it through. This is what destroyed liberalism as a legitamate political identity. Not thinking things through.