Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, June 15, 2007

Did Gallup Cook the Books on the Creation/Evolution Survey?

I get suspicious when I read something purporting to provide evidence for a far-fetched conclusion that goes into great detail about everything but the point that's far fetched. That looks like somebody was trying to hide evidence that might refute the thesis.

In particular, news about a Gallup poll that purports to show that a majority of Republicans but minorities of Democrats and independents do not believe in evolution has been going around the more self-congratulatory parts of the blogosphere. (Some of the self-congratulation is on the right.) The only problem is that the report with partisan identification is unusually crude and other parts of the same article have a far more refined analysis but did not include partisan identification. Was there an unreported survey with a refined analysis that asked for partisan identification but was useless for Republican bashing?

Right now, I suspect that they're cooking the books, but I don't have enough data to know how. I especially don't have enough data to refute the suspicion.

Another oddity of the poll is that a substantial number of Americans (according to the refined analysis) believe in both creation and evolution. That probably means they're distancing themselves from both Biblical literalism and from the various types of “Social Darwinism”. (At least, I hope that's what it means.)

Addendum: Bruce, a commenter on The Swamp, has a plausible explanation:

I would invite commentors to actually read the Gallup question asked.
This is how Gallup defined "evolution" for this question: "Now thinking about how human beings came to exist on Earth, do you, personally, believe in evolution, or not?"

One can believe in "evolution" as Darwin defined it, and still answer no to this question, because Darwinism doesn't address the origins of life--i.e., how life forms came to exist on earth.

We must remember that, at present, all theories of the origin of life are tentative.


Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

We must remember that, now and forever, all theories of how life emerged on this planet are tentative -- because we can't "run the experiment" a second time.

4:28 AM  

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