Oh, this is a cunning ploy to foil pharyngulation: a whole page of creationist polls, thrown up like chaff to distract us so we won’t slam any one of them too hard. You can still play, though, and skew them some. Here are three:
Do you believe dinosaurs and humans ever lived at the same time?
They probably have.
How old is the earth?
Billions of years
Around 6000 years
Closer to 10,000 years
Millions of years
Close to 100,000 years
Do you believe that humans were created or that they evolved?
I believe humans were created as humans in the beginning by God.
I believe humans evolved from ape-like creatures with no intervention by God.
I believe something different from all the options above.
I believe God created humans and then they evolved.
Right now it looks like a third to half of all respondents picked the stupidest answer possible, which is quite an accomplishment.
What is the most popular random number!?
Ah, the infamous dinosaur question again.
Do we answer accurately that no, evolutionists do not believe that, because evolutionists hold that birds are technically still dinosaurs, or do we answer with a simple No in spirit of the question and the website’s ideology?
I’ll go with the latter.
The “random number” question is so funny. It is the kind of question I would put on a spoof to queue people into the fact that it was a spoof.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about creationists displaying an ignorance of mathematics.
Did my bit, sir PZ sir.
Free Lunch says
I thought that Australia had exported all of their creationist loons.
Actually, the random number thing is really interesting:
I thought the most popular random number question was kind of clever, since the responses themselves create the answer.
Looks like a site for homeschooled teenagers.
I like the “most popular random number” question – that one’s fairly funny.
I love their “About Us” page with the standard boilerplate nonsense about “evolutionists and creationists have the same evidence”. Always means the same thing – when faced with empirical evidence that contradicts the Bible, the Bible must be right and the empirical evidence must be wrong.
Well, that was fun.
I loved the random number one, just because it was something a little different. These fundies tend to be terribly repetitive.
progressive homeschooler says
Of course all the default answers are the creationist ones. Even with that, reality is winning.
I’m thinking this place might have received a bit of attention from reasonable people beforehand. The initial numbers seem a little high for a place where the primary audience would no doubt be young earth creationists.
Heh, I agree, they can get as boring as stoneheaded – which is no small feat :)
Besides all the obvious fact-vs-hogwash answers, and the ones dealing with religious life (I never go to church, I never pray, I never read the bible), the “random number” question and the “what would you never read in public” were refreshing at least.
The random number experiment is an interesting one, but one that is aimed to detect cognitive bias. Turning that into a childish “are some numbers more random than other” just goes to show the kind of people we’re dealing with. Or rather, not dealing with, just laughing at :)
The reading experiment is just meaningless… I would never read an adult magazine in public, just as I don’t read the bible in public (or in private). I don’t care about either kind of self-arousal method. So if I put the magazine in my vote, does that mean I am a bible supporter? And if I vote for the bible, does that make me a rabid atheist? (which I am, but that’s another matter). Just stupid :)
At this point, the Apache chief turned to his trusted friend, and said “They’ve laid out their women, children, and wagons like a feast. They expect us to dine. But,” he said, and here he displayed the wisdom that made him chief, “While we’re busy off doing that, what are their menfolk doing?”
I imagine the random number question is intended to produce a non-uniform distribution and so prove the existence of the supernatural. Or feedback, since people are urged to watch the distribution develop.
I wonder if they’ll be correlating the answers and proving that atheists don’t pray?
Just did the poll. It seems thoroughly Pharyngulated already. Heh.
I guessed 7 for random number. Seems I was right!
I noticed that the default answer for each poll question tends to be the maximally stupid one. A coincidence? (Or part of God’s plan!?)
“Do you believe dinosaurs and humans ever lived at the same time?”
I understand that it isn’t what they mean, and correct me if i’m wrong.
But in the same way that humans are still monkeys and apes, aren’t birds dinosaurs?
So yes, humans live at the same time as dinosaurs.
Furie – yeah, I thought about that too, but I figured that I should answer the question in the, uh, spirit it was intended.
Besides, having thought about it some more, I don’t think anyone thinks “birds” ARE “dinosaurs”, unless they’ve subscribed to some sort of essentialism. Certain archaic birds were — and here the experts, no doubt, will correct me — late-model dinosaurs, but I’m fairly certain the species extant now are the result of oodles* of years of further evolution.
*whichever number might be correct
I left the random number page without making a selection (no 666, no damned vote!). I wonder if the default got counted as my vote for my favorite numeral.
No wonder the idiots don’t do real science.
The reading experiment is just meaningless… I would never read an adult magazine in public, just as I don’t read the bible in public (or in private).
Not meaningless – designed specifically to get the answer that they want. They needed an obvious “dump” answer because it isn’t clear that any other entry on that list would rank to the level of “wouldn’t be caught dead reading” for their audience.
(And while I do read the Bible – it’s on my shelf next to my other mythology books – I’d hesitate to read it in public. Reading the Bible in public makes some weirdos think it’s an open invitation to walk up to you and start yakking about their “personal relationship” with Jesus. I’d imagine that reading an adult magazine in public might also attract weirdos, but I’d be hard-pressed to figure out which type of weirdo would be more unpleasant to deal with most days).
Peter H says
Fun set of questions. The “what would you NOT read in public” didn’t offer “creationist trash” as an option. So I chose romantic novel; haven’t read one since “Dear & Glorious Physician.” The other choices – maybe, just maybe. In public is not where I do my reading anyway
I left the random number page without voting (no 666, no damned vote from me!).
These idiots clearly have no clue of random or of numerals. It’s no wonder they don’t do real science.
I think it’s their as a mangled attempt to describe theistic evolution but “God created humans and then they evolved,” what Bible-believing creationists are supposed to believe? Specifically that all genetic variation between and within human populations is the product of (weirdly rapid) “micro”evolution after the time of Noah.
I was disappointed at the Pharyngulated response to the question about reading the bible. I find the bible is the best source of arguments against creationism. What better tool to fight ignorance than their own book?
I love finding things that are complete nonsense in the bible and it isn’t hard to find them. The craziness starts right in chapter 1 of Genesis when it mentions god creating the firmament to separate the waters above from the waters below. The firmament is a solid canopy that covers the Earth according to what some ancient people believed.
Nerd of Redhead, OM says
Reading the bible in public is now more shameful than an adult magazine. As it should be.
I don’t bother with poll-smashing (not that it doesn’t sound like fun) but Zeno’s comment at 16 suggested something to me.
It’s known that during elections the person who is at the top of the list of candidates has an advantage in getting votes. (At least I think it is. I don’t know of any studies personally, but among politicians it’s commonly accepted wisdom. Which, now that I think about it, might make it suspect.) This is so generally understood that in mt least my state, by law each precinct in a legislative district must rotate the candidates names so that no one candidate is on top of every list in every precinct. (This adds quite a bit of time and money to the process of printing and testing the voting machines.)
So, what comes to mind is whether anyone has done a study, and it could be a internet web-poll, on whether there is a bias toward the default answers?
You wouldn’t care about the poll questions, or the results, you would simply set up the default answers to rotate through the choices and see if the poll-taker matched the default answers.
The results would be interesting, although I could see a couple different conclusions drawn should a correspondence crop up.
First, the poll-taker didn’t read the question and simply bashed on the enter key.
Second, the poll-taker agreed with the random answer. Although if the default answer is randomly selected by the poll itself, the noise this result generates should be able to be teased out statistically.
Third, the poll-taker has a subtle but measurable disposition to thinking that the default answer is, in fact, the correct one.
If the third case can be shown, it means that these types of polls, ones with a default position filled in, are in fact a form of push-poll. Where rather than trying to gather information about the poll-taker, they are instead feeding ideas to them.
If this is true, and I’m not claiming it is, this same tactic could be used to further educate people about science. After all, I know my finacee gets and takes a couple face-book polls every day. She’s not alone.
Just a thought.
Voted with the creationists four times:
1. I attend Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, North Texas Church of Freethought, and Fellowship of Freethought.
4. Old fart. (The trend always seems to be younger = smarter, and gives me hope.)
9. Reading an adult magazine in public. How embarrassing to be caught with a paper copy of Scientific American when it’s available online.
10. 7. My authority:
If only the real world had been represented in how that poll stands now!
Reading the bible, #24?
There are dirty books, there are very dirty books, and then there is the bible. Shooter’s Bible on the other hand . . .
Rey Fox says
Awfully nice of them to split the young-earth vote on the age of the earth question.
That was a fun distraction during budget week.
It annoyed me that the “correct” answer was already pre-filled in. Even in a poll, there’s the attempt to manipulate thinking.
Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo. says
I think people have answered the Bible question wrong. You should read the bible as valuable arguments against fundamentalist.
Also, according to the last question, I assume they don’t believe irrational and fractional numbers to be numbers.
Hank Fox says
For the most popular random number, 6 of the top 7 were prime numbers. This is too weird to be an accident. It must be a message from God.
It threw me for a second when the poll results came up in the order of most votes, rather than the usual question order. It gives, initially, the impression that the stupid answer won.
I went ahead and voted “Don’t read bible”, though I actually do for ammunition. But I had to pick the romance novel in public. Can’t deal with that drivel for any reason.
I would be seen in public reading the rankest romantic porn or Big Bybul Comix before I would be seen reading a self-help book.
Paul J. says
All the polls are utterly pharyngulated. I’d so like to see the admin’s face when he checks on the results of the polls…
They didn’t list Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis!
The random number question is an old magic trick. Asks a person to pick a number between one and 20. Then guess that their number is either 7 or 13. You won’t be right most of the time, but you’ll have a significantly greater chance than the 5% chance that would be predicted if people chose numbers at random. A computer might be able to pull random numbers, but people tend not to. If you ask people to choose a random number between 1 and 20, 7 and 13 tend to be the most popular answer. (Seven beginning associated with luck, and thirteen beginning associated with bad luck).
< a href = "http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=39736572">Pac devil
I’m lovin the alternatives to “Billions of years” for the world’s age. I understand that religious fundamentlism retards critical thinking; I know where the 6,000 years thing comes from.
But 100 000? Why?
Those poll results, before PZ’s minions voted, are about correct for Idiot America.
ITA with bungoton @ #24. I answered the question about which bible do you read with the version I have from a college Humanities course. Don’t want to give them the notion that the reason we don’t believe in their book is because we’ve never read it. After all, how much of their ignorance about science can be attributed to the fact that they won’t/can’t read “our” books?
How often do you go to church? – Never (66.95%)
Do you believe that humans were created or that they evolved? – I believe humans evolved from ape-like creatures with no intervention by God.(78.01%)
How old is the earth? – Billions of years (83.72%)
Were Adam and Eve real people? – No (83.62%)
Do you believe dinosaurs and humans ever lived at the same time? – No (84.86%)
Love the pointless polls
Part of crashing a poll is inferring what they really meant when they asked the question. They aren’t going to look at the result and say “98% of people read the Bible as fiction“. When they say “read the bible” they imply “and believe it”.
Poor Wandering One says
Hey don’t knock the romance novel. Just bewcause the modern ones are less than wonderful does not mean the genre is worthless.
Read Sabatini. Read Dumas. Then rell me that the genre is toast.
Wait a minute…..”Which version of the Bible do you read most?”
I thought this was God’s word……versions? Sounds problematic….
Poor Wandering One says
Word fail at 44. “Then tell me the genre is toast.”
Damn keys are too close together.
Well they took the fun out of it by saying they wanted to know what their readers think. Of course they don’t give a shit about the general public, most of whom might have a glimmer of intellect.
Those are some lame ass games. Bible Basher, really just a sideways pong game in ascii says:
Use your Bible to fend off the evil Seed of Doubt.
When you lose:
Oops! You let the Seed of Doubt creep in! Feel free to try again — but try to use your Bible more effectively.
Of course you don’t want be a Doubting Thomas. Looking for evidence would be siiiiinnnnnnnfffuuullllllll!
Word fail at 44. “Then tell me the genre is toast.”
Damn keys are too close together.
I was pretending that Scooby Doo had written your post.
huh, I think they are wise to the fact they are being visited by a bunch of people who don’t think their book is a science book.
“Emotions sometimes get charged when it comes to discussing creation and evolution. But take our unemotional poll below and tell us what you believe.”
Is all i get when i click on their polls, with no options to answer their questions. Unsurprisingly, people only like to ask questions when they are sure they know the other people agree with them.
This from the website:
How to handle them if you are a creationist …
@claw #49 The poll is still being served.
Poor Wandering One – My mother reads romance novels. She is 94 and has read some more than 10 times. I know this because she notes the month and year in the cover pages of when she’s read a a book.
Anyhow, I was listening to Focus on the Family on our local christian radio station and was a little dumbfounded when the said romance novels were PORN for women. Needless to say, I didn’t share this bit of news with my mother.
It’s amazing the amount of stupid that comes out of James Dobson’s mouth. Only Bill Donohue of the Catholic League gives him a run for the money
Ok I screwed up and clicked “millions” instead of “billions” so everyone add one to the billions number
At least they’re acknowledging it. Most xtians say “the bible” like there’s only one.
Brownian, OM says
Even the games aren’t propaganda free:
The also offer a “Critter thwacker” game which is supposed to be a “great stress reliever”. Because the bible is useless in that regard too?
C’mon Christians. Please make a modicum of effort to at least appear like you’re trying to live up to the principles you spout.
That poll has been thoroughly Pharyngulated. My only problem with the thing is that they didn’t have 42 as a random number. I mean really, on a website claiming to be about the origin of the universe, they don’t have the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?!?!?! For shame, creaoderthals, for shame. I would love to be a fly on the wall of the person in charge of the site when they see the post Pharyngulated results.
No Gods, No Masters
I clicked through a few links and found their “Best arguments against atheistic evolution” page:
#1 – How did the universe come about?
#2 – How did life come from non-life?
#3 – How could new genetic information arise?
#4 – Where is the proof that apes turned into humans?
Well, the first two aren’t about evolution at all (origin of the universe and abiogenesis != evolution.) Number three is the tired old “mutations are bad” argument. Number four seems to be a subtle “where are the transitional fossils?”
If those are the BEST arguments against evolution, then we’re doing pretty good.
That was a remarkably well worded option for evolution “ape-like creatures”. Not bad.
And I chose 17 …
Standard curve says
That will squash the 7 and 13 nonsense.
Please read romance novels, or at least buy them for your mother. You’d be surprised how many free-lance writers like me make a few bucks cranking that formulaic stuff out now and then. And despite the feminine pen names, we’re almost all male.
I’m trying to start getting published myself, and it’s actually kind of therapeutic to write formulaic stuff when you’re having trouble cranking out a good novel or two. (I’ve actually finished the first draft of my first story, I have to find a way to print 220 pages of text for a massive red-edit)
Romance novels are nicknamed f**k books by a local book store owner; porn for the masses. My wife recently received hundreds of them for leisure reading. Then she acts them out. Every night. I’m getting to like romance novels, but I still prefer Laurell K. Hamilton to many of these hacks.
natural cynic says
Did you answer the “How often do you go to church?” honestly?
Not often would be the best answer. Weddings, funerals, concerts, sightseeing should count, shouldn’t they? Or do they mean “How often do you go to church for regular worship services?”.
For the “What version of the Bible” question, only 51% do not read it at all. Compare this to the ~88% pharyngulated answers for most of the other questions. This makes sense because the higher class pharyngulators do read some version for edification and amusement. And I usually look at the KJV, but also look at other versions for differences in meaning.
According to the “How old are you?”, only about 3% are <14. So this must not be an important source for homeschooling.
“What is the most popular random number?”. Oxymoronish.
These guys also have a section devoted to “fakebusting” dinosaur photographs.
But remember :
I’m wondering why they’re so worried. Are Christian teens everywhere being scammed by fake dinosaur photos?
The last poll is pointless.
wrong. RAND produces a uniform distribution between 0 and 1. multiply by 20 for uniform range of 0 to 20, but look what happens when you ROUND. only numbers between 19.5 and 20 will yield 20, while anything between 18.5 and 19.5 will yield 19. same at the other end; 0 and 20 will be underrepresented half as much as the others. What you want is FLOOR(RAND()*20,1)+1 which will give a uniform distribution of 1 to 20.
Fun, fun, fun. But really, do we ever get some sort of explosion from people whose polls are Pharyngulated? Do they ever rant and rave after the fact? That would just add to the fun.
Flex @#26 – Here in Australia, we are forced to vote. We also have preferential voting (number each candidate in order of preference). There are a significant number of us who refuse to take it seriously, or wish to register a protest, so they just have a ‘donkey’ vote, where they number from the top candidate down. It is a recognised phenomenon, though, like you, I have no reference to any studies on it.
I am assuming you are in America (excuse me if I am wrong), where voting is not compulsory. In that situation, it would amaze me if a voter took all the effort to go and vote and then wasted it by simply selecting the candidate at the top of the list. But then, people are stupid, so I can’t discount it.
Disturbingly Openminded says
That is one weird website. Or maybe I really have grown distant from my youthful funding indoctrination.
There is an article about dino footprints all going in the same direction. The best explanation for this stunning find? Dinos fleeing from the rising waters of the flood, of course. Why, it is so obvious!
Disturbingly Openminded says
Bill @ 67
I use to work for a US Senator, which meant I had an alphabetized list of all 100 senators next to my phone. 50 in the left column, 50 in the right column.
Number 50 was usually a name beginning with H or I. I just checked the current list: number 50 is Isakson, the last I. In fact, names beginning with A, B, or C account for 30% of the senate.
The middle of the alphabet, M, (probably not the middle of the name distribution, given the paucity of surnames starting with Q, X, and Z)usually didn’t show up until halfway down the right column. The last M name in the current senate is # 73 on the list.
I’ve never seen the senate name distribution look different.
I don’t know if all jurisdiction list candidates alphabetically, but I know some of the ones I’ve lived in do that. So, yes, I imagine some of our elected officials are the result of laziness and stupidity.
Oh, and since I’m both atheist and my surname is way near the end of the alphabet, I’m obviously unelectable.
I followed some links and thought this one was fun >>>
David Marjanović says
I had to repeat one of the polls because I had forgotten to copy the vote total. It had increased by over 300. So, all of the numbers below are already seriously outdated – formatting this stuff takes a while.
How many of us chose “a different version from all the above”? :-)
For that one I had to turn into a bird denialist for a moment. But it was worth it.
Jadehawk, OM says
I suspect a few of us voted either for that (for SAB or lolcat bible) or for KJV (SAB is a KJV)
Disturbingly Openminded @ #70 – fascinating! I resent being railroaded into voting; I think in a democracy I should be able to exercise my right not to (technically, I still can be not filling in the voting paper, but technically, that is also illegal – I shouldn’t have to break the law to exercise this right). But what you are telling me is that your evidence suggests that people go to all the effort of going to the polling booth, lining up and then waste it! Wow! Perhaps they don’t want to think about their vote, but want the veneer of being seen to do their civic duty?
SteveM @ #71 – thanks, I am relatively new here (only my third Pharyngulation!!!), but I will trawl around for those rants.
Thanks for alerting us to these amazingly stupid polls by amazingly primitive (but dangerous) homo sapiens.
I love voting against them. Bunch of ignorant, uneducated, jerks.
Disturbingly openminded @ 70
I’ve noticed the same thing with class lists (more than half the names are early in the alphabet. I’d have been prepared to bet the phone book’s the same, but I just checked and the halfway point in my local one is Mac. (In Scotland you might expect the Mac section to be so big that it nearly always overlaps the half-way point, but I’m in New Zealand.)
Anyway, it’s got to be non-random that the first 6 numbers in the pointless poll are primes. 19’s a bit further down, and the only other prime between 1 and 20 is 5, quite close to the end. So what’s different about 5? Maybe because it can divide any number that ends in a 0, it doesn’t seem as magic as the other primes?
Should open homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders be allowed to serve in the U.S. Military?
Currently it is No (56,912) to Yes (3281)
Let’s see if we can right that.
Regarding the random number poll, I remember taking a course on sales and marketing many years ago in which it was stated that an item was more likely to be purchased if the price ended with a 7. It would be interesting to see which number was most often selected out of 1 to 100. Maybe 77?
During elections, one of the annoying things that happens in the US is the campaigns encouraging people to vote. That’s it. Just vote. Don’t get educated about the candidates or the issues. Just vote. Make your voice heard! Even if you’re uninformed (even especially so)! Words like “duty” are trotted out, and some will go so far as to stigmatize those who don’t vote. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out it was true.
It’s amazing what people will do to avoid a $50 fine (which is what appears in the mail after a couple of weeks if you don’t show up on polling day).
If animals never leave a clade they are part of, then aren’t birds dinosaurs still?
Good fun, good fun.
And FYI: if at gunpoint, at this point I would much rather read an adult magazine in public than the Bible. Thats a little bit fun, at least.
Always worth clicking on a vote!
But some of the answers suprised me though – Never read a bible?!? How can you argue if you don’t? (see #24 above)
Which would you be less likely to read in public (and out of several options inc. porn and the bible – the bible comes out on top (as it were!)??
Really? Surely this is just people voting the way to cause most outrage? I am UNLIKELY to read the bible in public, but you’ll never catch me reading porn! (I hide it inside a copy of The Times…)
Disturbingly Openminded says
One more interesting pattern with politicians’ names: the first name/last name syllable count.
The most common pattern is a 1 syllable first name paired with a 2 syllable last name. I don’t have any data at all on how the public at large is distributed but here’s the US Senate* again:
1×2: 44% of the Senate (e.g., Al Franken)
and the remaining 4% are other combos.
Now they can’t do much about their last names but many of them use a 1 syllable nickname in place of their given name. Alan becomes Al; Robert becomes Bob, etc.
And my favorite is that good ole boy, Addison “Mitch” McConnell, Kentucky republican. I don’t think he could get elected if he went by Addison.
It would be interesting to see look at election outcomes by syllable structure to see if, all other things being equal, the 1×2 beats out other patterns.
*The current US Senate might not be such a great group to analyze right now because a large number of current senators were appointed rather than elected. But, anecdotally, I’ve noticed this pattern for decades.
And I’m personally cursed again: 2×3, atheiest, end of alphabet, unelectable.
This is really only means anything if it significantly different from the patterns found in the general population.
Disturbingly Openminded says
tsg ~ Of course. And I’d love to see that research.
That last one there me for a loop. THERE WAS NO RIGHT ANSWER!!!
This was fun!
He has a header now, chuckling at the fact that his polls have been up for a while and never got much attention, and once PZ posted it his site got thousands of hits. He thinks we’re dumb for wasting our time. He’s probably right.
I looked around and learned a lot, though. I learned how to properly blaspheme the Holy Spirit, the one unforgivable sin. It’s not enough to say it’s mom wears army boots or it sucks eggs. You have to deny it completely. I want to make sure to do it right if a missionary comes to my door.
I also learned something about myself. Apparently, “An atheist is like a chain smoker who can’t find a cigarette, or an alcoholic who can’t find a bottle of spirits. They are missing what they need most.”
It is also possible to be a Darwinian evolutionist and still be a Christian, since the Bible doesn’t specifically call for literal belief in itself for salvation. You’re on thin ice though, because “If you don’t believe in the historicity of Genesis, where does the truth start?” Plus apparently Jesus was a creationist.
Really, how can you argue with that?
Oh, how amusing.
Under the heading ‘PZ Myers wrecks our polls pages’ he makes strange claims about the fears of ‘evolutionists’ and asserts that only readers of Atheist blogs can access the polls (so he can count us). Perhaps he will be humbled when he realises that rational people outnumber his usual visitors by a large margin? At least he got the point about online polls being useless and mentions potential advertisers. Does he really want adverts of the kind that will appeal to the large numbers of atheists that have visited his site?