It’s a good thing research isn’t defined by a poll

A perfectly reasonable article on animal research ends with a pointless poll. After explaining the specifics of the research — this was a lab studying Parkinson’s disease, a serious and incurable human problem — they ask their readers whether research is justified, and apparently all they saw were cute widdle monkeys.

Is medical testing on animals justified?

YES 25%

NO 75%

Anyone who votes no is required to offer an alternative path for the biomedical work to treat this debilitating disease.

Pickles Poll

A minister with the silly sounding name of Eric Pickles is insisting that Britain is a Christian nation, the Telegraph is blithely reporting on it as news, and they have a poll which is running neck and neck with the contrasting views. Those of us in the United States can contribute our perspective on the matter: compared to our political apparatus, England is practically satanically godless. Maybe we should all let them know what we think of these wanking faithheads constantly trying to demand that entire diverse nations are ‘owned’ by single religious traditions.

Do you agree with Eric Pickles’ comments?

Yes, Britain is a Christian nation  50.08%

No, Britain is a secular country and religious beliefs should be kept private  49.92%

A poll! To benefit my campus!

This is terribly self-serving, but I finally aim to use my poll-crashing powers for personal gain. UMM is competing in a video contest, and we’re currently a distant third. This is the contest:

For the third straight year, Planet Forward is partnering with Second Nature to host the Climate Leadership Awards Video Voting Competition. Second Nature, which seeks to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education, has selected the top climate-related ideas from colleges across the country.

All of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Award Finalists were asked to create a 1-3 minute video highlighting climate innovations on campus. We’re asking our online community to select the most innovative campus.

And this is UMM’s entry:

Go ahead and browse the many videos, and vote. I’d prefer you voted for us, but there’s a lot of worthy entries there, and I won’t hold it against you if some other college’s entry appeals to you more.

You’d just be wrong.

An Australian survey

It’s terrible. It’s nothing but loaded question after loaded question, with no opportunity for nuance. The Australian Christian Lobby is begging for you to tell them to kick Christianity out of the curriculum. These are the kinds of questions they ask:

Faith-based school communities and families who homeschool should have the flexibility to teach creation alongside evolution and the big bang theory.

Let us teach nonsense in the classroom!

While sustainability, Indigenous and Asian themes may be interesting and important, the current curriculum emphasises these issues at the expense of other important themes that should also be addressed by the Curriculum.

We’re teaching too much crap about non-white people!

You know, there should be some instruction in general religion in schools — I consider it to be along the lines of telling kids not to eat poison. But this survey is all about teaching only a biased, emphatically fundamentalist position to them as good. How about giving them a secular education instead? Is that too much to ask?

Hmmm. I know some people who might provide a counterbalancing perspective.

Shall we decide who won the #creationdebate with a poll?

Sure, why not. Especially since it’s a landslide even before I start pharyngulating it.

Who won the debate tonight?

Ken Ham 9%

Bill Nye 91%

That’s a poll on Christian Today — so even the faithful saw Ham’s undeniable defeat.

This result makes it even more interesting that Answers in Genesis has committed to selling boxloads of DVDs. What are they going to do if this effort is ultimately anti-evangelical?

Ham on Nye


Tonight’s the night that Bill Nye and Ken Ham flail at each other in one of the more widely publicized creation/evolution debates of the year. I think Nye made major mistakes in setting this up — handing over total control of the venue and the revenues to Ham was just a tremendous error — but I’m hoping he’ll persevere through force of personality, if nothing else. Ham is this charisma-free guy who relies on a gospel-based script, while Nye has lots of charisma, but is going into an unknown situation where he’ll have to ad lib a lot. Could be interesting, could be a disaster.

The Cincinnati newspaper has Ham’s bio (I notice they didn’t return the favor for Bill Nye).

There are a couple of sites where you can watch the live debate, presumably. 7pm EST tonight will be your only chance to see it streamed for free; after that, your only access will be to buy the video from Answers in Genesis (see what I mean? Big mistake). If you really want to watch the debate, AiG is selling preorders of cases of 60 DVDs — they seem to know that this is going to be a big success for them, no matter what. Of course, that also means that evangelists will probably be handing these suckers out like candy, so you might be able to get a copy after all.

Don’t get your hopes too high for the streaming event, though. The tickets for the event sold out almost instantly, and it wouldn’t surprise me if demand overwhelms the streaming service, too…or if it mysteriously dropped out accidentally. I’ve been dealing with creationists for too long — I’m cynical, and they are the sleaziest mob of lying frauds around. I’ve only done a few debates, but every time, I get a call a few hours before asking to change the topic, for instance — they are all about the dirty tricks.

It’s that Christian morality, you know.

By the way, here’s a poll. It’s going the right way, but it’s kind of meaningless — the house at the debate is going to be packed with creationists.

Whose side are you taking on the origins of Earth and life?

Bill Nye – Evolution 76.52%
Ken Ham – Creationism 21.46%
Neither 2.02%