It’s like a poll, sorta kinda

On facebook, you can vote for a concept by joining a fan group…and right now, there is a group called “We can find 1000000 people who believe in evolution before June.” I think they can; they’re approaching the 10% mark right now. Just follow the link and click on the “Become a fan” button.

Don’t get all pedantic and academic over the word “believe,” either. We know that the nature of our belief in evolution is very different than the creationists belief in their god: we have a provisional, non-dogmatic acceptance of the overwhelming evidence for a powerful theory. It’s just that that phrase is ponderous and pretentious when “belief” is a simple English shortcut to the meaning.


  1. Andyo says

    It’s interesting to see the other pages the fans of either page are fans of.

    Yes… I think that sentence is correct.

  2. Glen Davidson says

    I would, however, like to pre-emptively strike at the morons and dishonest ones who will ignore the fact that we “believe” in evolution because of the evidence, unlike the ignorant and stupid who believe in creation against all of the evidence.

    Not much point, really, in getting a million people to sign on to that statement, except that the other side decided that voting on science is somehow meaningful. Indicating once again how clueless they really are, but there is reason to counter their publicity stunt.

    Glen D

  3. Zeno says

    PZ: “Don’t get all pedantic and academic”

    Geez, PZ, that’s like asking me not to breathe!

  4. SmartLX says

    In fact they’ve put in a disclaimer about “believe” in the Info section. Unfortunately you can’t change the name of a Facebook group once you create it.

    It could be worse. The rival anti-evolution group spells “before” as “befor”.

  5. John Morales says

    I’m still waiting for a good reason to have anything to do with Facebook.

    This ain’t it.

  6. Helen M says

    And don’t bother reading the discussions on the opposition’s page. You’ll have a cracked skull inside of two minutes.

  7. englishbobster says

    Be careful they don’t change the name of the group when they reach the target to something like

    “We can find 1000000 people who know evolution is fake”

    or some other stupid title.
    Its all the rage now on face book so I’ve heard.

  8. jablair51 says

    I’ve been following this group for about a week now. It’s amazing how it has grown exponentially.
    BTW, the name of the group is to reflect the group named “we can find 1,000,000 people who don’t believe in Evolution befor June”. Yes, they actually misspelled the word “before”. And they have just barely cracked the 25k mark. Science wins again!

  9. PZ Myers says

    Weird. I don’t usually stay up until 2am, so I hadn’t noticed — but I know some of you are not in Ireland, where it’s early morning. Is Pharyngula inhabited by insomniacs or something?

  10. Jeff D says

    It’s unfortunate that one can’t sign up as a “fan” without first being sucked into the whole Facebook “thing.”

    Jaron Lanier wrote this about social networking software in the Feb. 2010 issue of Harper’s:

    “Am I accusing all those hundreds of millions of users of social-networking sites of reducing themselves in order to be able to use the services? Well, yes, I am. I know quite a few people, most of them young adults, who are proud to say that they have accumulated thousands of friends on Facebook. Obviously, their statements can be true only if the idea of friendship is diminished.
    . . . But let’s suppose you disagree that the idea of friendship is being reduced. Even then one must remember that the customers of social networks are not the members of those networks. The real customer is the advertiser of the future, but this reature has yet to appear in any significant way. The whole artifice, the whole idea of fake friendship, is just bait laid by the cloud lords to lure hypothetical advertisers — we might call them messianic advertisers — who could someday show up.”

    Jeff D

  11. Strangest brew says

    ‘Is Pharyngula inhabited by insomniacs or something?

    Nope just the usual run of the mill Vampire trash!
    We bleed to feed…where are those creationists we haz nibbles desire.

  12. llewelly says

    I’m still waiting for a good reason to have anything to do with Facebook.

    The best reason is that all of your facebook interactions will go straight into a database upon which marketroids will practice their data-mining woo.

  13. llewelly says

    Is Pharyngula inhabited by insomniacs or something?

    Yes. More importantly, some Pharyngulistas are an as-yet unknown species of Antarctic Octopus, hiding deep under the ice near the South Pole, where changing timezones is easy – and sometimes accidental.

  14. tdanielmidgley says

    I like to refresh the page to see how many people have joined in the last few seconds. Burgeoning!

    And then heading over to the rival creationist page to see how slo-o-owly they get new members. Anemic!

  15. Cath the Canberra Cook says

    It’s 10.30pm where I am. Prime facebooking time.

    You don’t have to like facebook, but there’s no call to mock people who do. I enjoy having a constant trickle of news from friends who now live in the US, China, Singapore, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland etc, not to mention just interstate. We Aussies like to travel, you know.

    Marketers are welcome to try. Two words: firefox, adblock. And you can hide all the mafia games, quizzes, farmville etc; and organise your lists into real friends and game friends. It works for me. (But do come and join my army in Castle Age!)

  16. Andyo says


    Posted by:
    Carlie Author Profile Page |
    February 1, 2010 6:23 AM

    I’m in LA, but I’m at work right now.

    Damn, Andyo. That’s hardcore.

    Ha! Not really, I’m all over the internets and trying not to get distracted while reading a book. The night shift is good for that. I’m not a busy scientist like most here.

  17. JerryM says

    joining facespace just to join a group for a meaningles poll is almost too subversive for me to ignore.


  18. Science Nut says

    Hi PZ,

    Thanks for giving the FB site a plug! It started about 2 weeks ago for the “Believers” and a week or two earlier for the “Non Believers”. Believers are at about 109,000 and the “non Believers” (dontcha just love the irony of the shortened moniker) are at about 25,000.

    BTW…it was started by a member of the “Darwin’s Bulldogs”….a pro-science group in NE Illinois (you can link to them through the links on Pandas Thumb).

    Speaking of that…PZ…can you offer a plug on Pandas? I’d love to see the numbers blow through a million before the end of this month. Who knows where it might be by June!

    Can ya get Dawkins to sign on? :-)

    The whole exercise is very unscientific and might not change things very much, but it is a lot of fun and reaches segments of the public that scientists often fail to reach.

    Thanks again for all that you and the other “Pandas” do for science.


  19. Kathy Orlinsky says

    Do these kinds of FB polls ever make the slightest difference? On the one hand, I definitely want to join my ‘face’ to the evolution ‘believer’ list, but on the other, what’s the point?

  20. Cosmic Teapot says

    Done my bit.


    If you look at the opposition page, it looks like they are claiming to have 100000 members, but the actual number of fans is 25579!

    If they are claiming 100000 members, one has to ask, why do Christians always lie?

    It’s almost as if they have no evidence at all for their claims. ;)


    You will also find one Max Johnson / Johan Swart, who is making the same false arguments as he did here over 2 years ago.

    So we have at least one stupid cretinist helping to put the numbers up. :)

  21. says

    Sorry, I know you said not to be pedantic about it, but the “belief” thing really bothers me. The title just sounds too immature and religious. I’d rather join “We can find 100000000 people who haven’t had their head up their ass for last 150 years before June.”

  22. Kome says

    So many of us spent 4-10 years and tens of thousands of our parents dollars just to be academic and pedantic. Why would you try to take that away, PZ?!

  23. Science Nut says

    From the Wiki oracle:

    “The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy.

    Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge and belief. The primary problem in epistemology is to understand exactly what is needed in order for us to have knowledge. In a notion derived from Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus, philosophy has traditionally defined knowledge as justified true belief. The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true.

    A false belief is not considered to be knowledge, even if it is sincere. A sincere believer in the flat earth theory does not know that the Earth is spherical. Similarly, a truth that nobody believes is not knowledge, because in order to be knowledge, there must be some person who knows it.”

    Lets not conflate belief with faith. Faith is belief in that which can not be proven.

    I agree that using “accept” in place of “believe” might have been better…but we’re stuck with it during this exercise. At least we didn’t misspell spell “befor” like the “non-blievers” did!!!

  24. Sili says

    Miniature poll:

    Should I join FB and/or LinkedIn?
    Can those networks in fact help one to get a job? (Even if “yes”, I have to doubt it in my case since I really don’t have any sorta network. Unless you people are it …)

  25. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I’m still waiting for a good reason to have anything to do with Facebook.

    This ain’t it.


  26. Doc says

    Dear number 30.

    You bet you should sign up. The immature title is because this thing is a direct response to the muppets call for 1,000,000 clowns to sign up before June saying they DONT believe in evolution. As it stands there are 4 times as many righteous non-believers as there are muppets. Am I being naive to think that it would be encouraging for some people with doubts to see they are not surrounded by extremists? Also it would make America look a bit better. (I’m not American).


  27. traustifreyr says

    I actually hate the wording. Believe? More like accept. But fuck it.

    Lets go Pharyngulites!!

    Tell your friends.

  28. JBabs073 says

    I was just about to say something, but noticed that #37 right before I started typing said exactly what I was going to say. There is no “believing”, just accepting.

  29. says

    I found this blog thru FB, a friend of mine was posting links on his FB page to PZ. I was also recommended to read Richard Dawkins from another FB acquaintance and that led me to his books and to and other atheist/science haunts in and about the blogosphere. FB isn’t entirely silly, frivolous and banal.

    I follow/support NCSE, Calif Academy of Sciences, The Discovery Channel and other worthwhile secular orgs thru FB. It’s pretty convenient and you can join under a pseudonym if that’s your preference.

    I’m just a lurker here mostly,since I don’t have the academic background to get in on the discussions, but just wanted to let ppl know that FB isn’t entirely a waste of time. Many of the comments left on the evolution believers page were actually intelligent and articulate. It’s kind of interesting to see the diversity of opinion(at least for me)

    Anyhoo, have a good trip PZ. I was sorry to have missed your lectures when you were up here in NorCal. Hope you will come again. Now that I subscribe to your blog, I will know in advance.


  30. shatfat says

    My friends are cooler than I am. I tried to invite some of my friends to join the evolution fan group on FB and it turned out they were already members.

    Oh well, there’s always family members. Heh.

  31. rcareaga says

    Well, shee-it. I was going to get all pedantic and academic on your ass on the “believe” issue, but OK, I see your point. It’s also true, though, that there are a lot of folks out there who “believe in evolution” (and don’t get me started on that formulation: both Copernicans and Ptolemaics “believed in sunrise” — they had very different explanations for the phenomenon) without even an elementary understanding of what’s involved in natural selection and the modern neo-Darwinian synthesis. It’s good to have these people behind us when, say, a school board is being elected, but I think we’d do well to educate some of those on “our side” whose support for the notion is almost wholly belief with little actual grasp of the concept.

  32. cairnarvon says

    It’s nothing short of mind-boggling how many idiots, many of whom speak English as a first language, don’t seem to realise the verb believe doesn’t necessarily imply blind faith. Dictionaries aren’t that expensive.

  33. BoboHilario says

    Is anyone worried that entering into the competition will only serve to legitimize “the debate.”

    If the creationists were to win (I can see that the numbers are not in their favor), some would fallaciously think it counts in favor of their view. Conversely, science winning a poll doesn’t make the science correct.

  34. Ubi Dubius says

    The count at 3 pm EST:
    Believe: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123,920
    Don’t Believe: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27,910
    Believe in MICRO evolution but not MACRO evolution: 47.

  35. jaybgee says


    [and it looks like the evolution supporters are growing at a rate of 1 fan/minute, judging by the increase each minute I refresh the page]