Target-rich polling environment

AOL is running several polls on Bush's recent statements — they seem more shocked by the fact that he didn't believe the bible was literally true than that he doubted evolution. Anyway, have fun, but keep in mind that these are polls that are heavily trafficked so we probably won't make that big a dent…but let's shift 'em our way as much as we can.

Here are the four polls and their results so far:

Do you believe the Bible is literally true?
No50%
Yes50%

How close are George W. Bush's views on religion to your views?
Not at all41%
Somewhat36%
Very13%
Not sure10%

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?
Creationism47%
Evolution34%
Intelligent design13%
None of the above6%

Do you think Bush's religious views affected his policies as president?
Yes, and that bothered me39%
Yes, and that's fine35%
No26%


If you would like an easier poll to roll over, here's another on a different site:

What's Your View of Evolution and Creationism?
God created heaven, the Earth and all life in six days. Evolution explains nothing. 4% (10 votes)

Evolution and creationism are compatible. 20% (46 votes)

Evolution makes creationism very unlikely. 11% (24 votes)

Evolution explains life. Creationism is just a primitive story. 65% (146 votes)

It's a science site rather than AOL, which explains why the results so far are much more sensible.

More like this

People still use AOL? It boggles the mind.

The polls are freaking stupid:

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?
Creationism 47%
Evolution 34%
Intelligent design 13%
None of the above 6%

I assume they mean the diversity of life.

How close are George W. Bush's views on religion to your views?
Not at all 41%
Somewhat 36%
Very 13%
Not sure 10%

That assumes what uttered by Bush was a description of a coherent philosophy.

Idiots.

By LotharLoo (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?
Creationism 47%
Evolution 34%
Intelligent design 13%
None of the above 6%

The correct answer is None of the above, right? Since evolution doesn't talk about origins... Also, how did they manage to split creationism and intelligent design? What's the difference?

And then there's this one-
"Do you believe the Bible is literally true?" Y or N

Always the presupposition that you find SOME kind of "truth" in it at all.....

*sigh*

Do you think Bush's religious views affected his policies as president?
Yes, and that bothered me 39%
Yes, and that's fine 35%
No 26%

Hey, what about the response "No -- and that bothered me." It would be interesting to know how many people were very upset that Bush didn't let his religious views affect his policies enough.

Indeed Mike @ #3, I'm a little curious about how to respond to the origins of life question myself.

I've chosen to answer evolution, while it's not strictly true, I think it best fits what the person asking the question was getting at. None of the above is technically right, but *shrug*

Sastra- "Hey, what about the response "No -- and that bothered me." It would be interesting to know how many people were very upset that Bush didn't let his religious views affect his policies enough."

I wish that choice was there, also. Judging by the current flailing and hand-wringing in the GOP, my guess is that answer would be the favorite.

Science site?

George W. has Korsakoff's psychosis - cut the poor disabled fellow some slack!

By mindlesley (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

I'm surprised creationism is still in the lead right now.

By Sydney S. (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

So re; the origins of life and evolution.

Given that today we have many concepts that we view as evolving that are not life, and given that most likely the beginning of life was a slow process of chemical changes over a long period of time, rather than a single sudden reaction that turned non-life into life, I think it's accurate to say that evolution accounts for origins of life, at least in laymen's terms, which are the correct terms to be using in a mainstream poll.

While not out of Darwin's mouth (or pen), evolutionary ideas have come up with hypotheses on the origins of life. Natural selection applies to systems not classically alive (see PZ's Mona Lisa post for an example) and it has been supposed for years that some randomly varying organic molecules could autocatalyze reactions of replication, thus making the first "gene" in the pure information sense.

I would count that as an evolutionary idea (natural selection) that formed a valid hypothesis on the origins of life, wouldn't you? Evolutionary theory has come a long way since the days of the Beagle.

"Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?"

::sigh:: I don't think we'll have much success in winning over the creos before our science journalists (or whatever fucktard can claim responsibility over at AOL) start representing science accurately.

One more thing: the poll in #7:

What's your view on the accuracy of the Bible? * 400097 responses
Every detail is literally true.
34%
Some details may be inaccurate or exaggerated, but the fundamentals are true.
32%
The Bible is fundamentally fiction, incorporating some historical facts.
28%
None of the above.
5.4%

Most of the readers here will probably pick choice 3 (we acknowledge that Herod and Augustus were real rulers of those times) so the results so far aren't that bad.

It's very close!

Do you believe the Bible is literally true?

Yes
50%62,368
No
50%61,607

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

For those complaining about using the word 'evolution' about origin of life, see What critics of neo creationists get wrong.

It might be technically correct that biological evolution doesn't apply to origin of life, it's a disingenious response that doesn't help our cause any.

Wow, this is a remarkably crash-resistant poll. Half an hour later and we've barely made a dent!

Thus spake Jason A. #16:

It might be technically correct that biological evolution doesn't apply to origin of life,

If it's technically correct, then it is correct. What other kind of correctness do you propose as being more important than technical correctness?

it's a disingenious response that doesn't help our cause any.

How is conflating the explanation of the diversity of life and the explanation of the origin of life noble and helpful to our cause?

It might be technically correct that biological evolution doesn't apply to origin of life, it's a disingenious response that doesn't help our cause any.

So would it be more correct/helpful to say:

"The ToE as initially outlined by Darwin doesn't make any predictions or explanations regarding the Origin Of Life, but modern research across many different scientific disciplines gives us a really, really good idea as to how life probably did originate. Although we don't know how it happened 100% for certain yet, and we may never know 100% for certain, just like we can't know anything 100% for certain. Regardless, modern research provides a much better explanation than any 2,000+ year-old creation myths."

That seems like a mouthful. Maybe someone else could simplify it for me ;)

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

I think I'm even more disappointed at the 34% Evolution than the 47% Creationism. Evolution is not abiogenesis.

Emmet:
I said it's correct. There's no other kind of correct. But when you use it as a reply, it sounds like you're trying to dodge the question. To the creationists and anyone not familiar with science, you've avoided addressing the creationists main point, which was that we 'have no explanation for the origin of life'. You might be right, but in the minds of everyone listening in, point goes to the creationist.
By all means point out that biological evolution does not apply to origin of life. But don't end the response there.

Also, biology does not have a monopoly on the word 'evolution'. Unless you want to argue that the physicists studying stellar evolution, for example, are confusing their sciences.

Jimminy Christmas:
Well you know, when you're talking about technical topics on the edge of current scientific knowledge, sometimes it gets complicated.

That seems like a mouthful. Maybe someone else could simplify it for me

How about...
"Darwin never specifically applied his ideas to the origins of life, but evo. sci. has since progressed and expanded on the origins of life and other aspects of evolution in the decades since."

Shorter, and maybe sweeter. You can dive into specifics of the theories on life origins (and other aspects of evo sci) from there.

"Evolution is not abiogenesis."

Actually, it sort of is. The processes in chemical evolution aren't exactly the same, but the general idea is. Some things reproduce successfully, some things don't, and those that don't disappear eventually. It's evolution all the way down, as far as I'm concerned.

Naturally, the poll is too simplistic to really cover that, but those that say "evolution" at least have their heads in the right place. I would be relatively happy if everyone could just accept that evolution is responsible for the diversity of life, but of course, the creotards won't give any quarter on that. The big stumbling blocks seem to be 1) How life began (which people ascribe all sorts of "human purpose" importance, even though it really doesn't matter), and 2) I didn't come from no monkey, which is the sort of ingrained attitude that's really hard to shake people out of, even though there ain't one damn thing wrong with monkeys.

It's sort of amusing that both atheists and literal-Bible fundamentalists could answer "Not at all" to the second question.

Unless you want to argue that the physicists studying stellar evolution, for example, are confusing their sciences.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but a lot of creationists (read: many/most) honestly do not seem to understand that stellar evolution and biological evolution are two totally different things. They often mention how the "ToE has failed" because it doesn't explain how stars and galaxies form/evolve. I've seen them mention it in the comments here. I'm just sayin'....

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Also, biology does not have a monopoly on the word 'evolution'. Unless you want to argue that the physicists studying stellar evolution, for example, are confusing their sciences.

I remember hearing an astrophysicist say that after a presentation at a planetarium one of the parents was upset that they mentioned "Darwinism".

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Stupid poll... redundant choices, options that don't pertain to the question. Total bile.

Excuse me, AOL... but should I walk to school or carry my lunch?

Not even going to bother participating... not even for the "pointless poll skewing" aspect.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Thus spake Jason A. #22

By all means point out that biological evolution does not apply to origin of life. But don't end the response there.

Can I suggest, then, that you cast your net too broad and your original point would be better rephrased as "... life, but when used as a complete response, it doesn't help ...", since the way you phrased it, you called anyone who differentiates clearly between origin and diversity (which is perfectly reasonable) disingenuous (ignoble, mean-spirited, and dishonest), which is downright insulting.

Jimminy Christmas:
Oh I know, I've seen it too. I'm not saying it's NOT useful to correct them, but that you should be ready to address their main point too. When they say ToE can't explain star formation, I point out that it's not in the domain of ToE as well as give a quick rundown of stellar evolution. Unfortunately I'm not nearly as up on origin of life research as I'd like to be, but I still try to say something about it or give a link instead of just dismissing it.

Given the drift of this topic, I'd like to add that I found this talk by John Wilkins very interesting. I listened whilst viewing the slides.

By John Morales (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Emmet:
Okay, point taken. I didn't mean to insult people who point out the distinction.

I kinda see a correspondence with the general stupidity of the poll and the stupidity of the poll's results...

By Another Lost Soul (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

If there is a question of whether or not evolution was a force in abiogenesis, I have to answer yes. Natural selection most likely played a large part in it. Mutation was a force, an aspect. Denying that evolution played a part in the origin of life is a poor position to take considering that there is not even a solid definition of the difference between life and non-life.

Mike Haubrich, FCD:

Denying that evolution played a part in the origin of life is a poor position to take considering that there is not even a solid definition of the difference between life and non-life.

Many creationists seem to believe that they know the *exact* definition of the difference between life and non-life. Unfortunately, they only seem to know this when it applies to human sexual reproduction, and they are totally ignorant (sometimes willfully), or simply don't care about, any other definition of life/non-life.

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Uhhh, OT, but why are there ads all over this blog for a religious children's relief organization (World Vision). "All she wants for christmas...just to eat" etc...

From Wikipedia:
As a Christian organization, World Vision participates in strategic initiatives[clarification needed] with Christian leaders and lay people of all denominations through conferences, consultations, training programmes and various educational opportunities. World Vision is an ecumenical organization willing to partner with all Christian churches. Yet, World Vision is respectful of other faiths.

World Vision believes witnessing from Christ is a fundamental part of their relief work. The organization believes that God, in the person of Jesus, offers hope of renewal, restoration, and reconciliation. World Vision seeks to express this message through "life, deed, word, and sign". World Vision's programs and services are provided without regard to race, ethnic origin, gender, or religion.

(I have a hard time believing that they never mention a certain dead Jew)

By Shiftingname (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Mike Haubrich

If there is a question of whether or not evolution was a force in abiogenesis, I have to answer yes.

Agreed... but the poll question doesn't allow for the position the evolution was a factor, or force, in the origin of life... the question specifically asks about what explains the origins of life. It then provides two duplicate answers, and one that does not apply (evolution). As I said, stupid.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Ahh... and keeping with the season, here's another pointless poll, accompanying another goofy attempt at legitimizing christian mythology. Poll is on the right hand side, halfway down the page. Enjoy!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385/

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Life is too complex to have a definition; rather, it has hallmarks. Even definitions of single words are suspect, because dictionaries rely on readers to have sufficient knowledge to parse the subtle differences in how subject, verb, and object are behaving towards each other in example sentences.

Adhering to the notion that life has a definition leads to fallacy and vacuousity. It can't be a coincidence that these are hallmarks of the creationists.

Celtic_Evolution #39:
The one I want to vote for is:

The Bible is fundamentally fiction, incorporating some historical facts.

But that assumes the bible contains historical facts. Other than the fact that some humans may have existed in a very small and isolated area of a planet several thousand years ago, I have difficulty agreeing with that statement. I guess I can vote for that if that's what they mean...but I doubt that is what they mean. heh.

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

I hate the way these polls are worded

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?

Evolution doesn't explain the origin of life. Hence the name of the book, The Origin of Species.

Evolution explains life. Creationism is just a primitive story.

Once again, evolution is no explanation for life, only the varieties of life.

I'm surprised about the results on the science site - almost makes us look like we'd rather attack creationism in a poll rather than actually answer where reason would lead us. hmmmm...


Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?
Creationism 47%
Evolution 34%
Intelligent design 13%
None of the above 6%

I have to ask - what's the usual crowd that visits AOL? With statistics like that, I'm tempted to think school dropouts and victims of Bush's No Child Left Behind policy.

By Twin-Skies (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

SamuelP,

I'm surprised about the results on the science site - almost makes us look like we'd rather attack creationism in a poll rather than actually answer where reason would lead us.

These polls are meaningless - by definiton they form a biased sample.

That's PZ's point, though he gave up announcing it a fair few polls ago.

By John Morales (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

With polls like this I don't like to get pedantic. I just answer what will piss off the creobots the most. That keeps it simple. My experience with polls is that all are bad, just some less bad than others.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Cookie based poll!!!!!!! Need I say more...

By Cookie Monster (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Cookie Monster #46:

Cookie based poll!!!!!!! Need I say more...

COOOOOOKIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Mike Haubrich, FCD,
You raise an interesting point. What is "alive" is a matter of definition, and "abiogenesis" is dependent on that definition. Nowadays, most people don't regard viruses as being "alive" because they don't truly self-replicate, hijacking other organisms' cellular machinery for reproduction rather than having their own. If we acknowledge that viruses evolve, we must recognise that evolution by natural selection applies to non-living things provided that they replicate. A minority regard replication alone as being the defining characteristic of life, in which case no such "addendum" to evolution is required; this view seems less arbitrary to me.
The evidenciary problem is that "evolution" as an empirical fact, directly supported by fossil, genetic, and other evidence, only goes back so far. Before that time, we have no evidence, although it is reasonable to suppose that earlier organisms, whether they meet a particular rather arbitrary definition of "alive" or not, also evolved.What we can say for certain about abiogenesis is that it occurred some time in the period before we have evidence for life. It would seem that, at some point, the conventional definition of life becomes unsatisfactory, since the boundary between an organism and its environment becomes less and less distinct, rendering a clear distinction between "replication" and "self-replication" untenable. If one adopts simple replication alone as being the characteristic of life, then that problem evaporates, and abiogenesis occurs with the first instance of a molecule giving rise to an identical (or nearly so) second molecule and does not require that evolution or natural selection applied before that point.It would seem that, to be consistent, those who adopt the conventional self-replication definition of life permit, and are forced to include, pre-abiogenetic replicators in "evolution", but those who adopt the minority replicator definition shouldn't have to.

It's a science site rather than AOL, which explains why the results so far are much more sensible.

Not nearly sensible enough, at least at this point in time.

I have long held the opinion that AOL is the ISP of choice for ignorant dumbfucks. The poll results and associated posts confirm my suspicions. Basically, any bubba with a Rent-A-Center PC and a modem can now access the internet via AOL. And they have. In droves. Praise Jesus!

To you non-dumbfucks (who are merely cheap bastards)using AOL, I apologize.

By Wolfhound (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

I am amused that "intelligent design" is described as an "explanation" of any sort.

RE #3 & "Also, how did they manage to split creationism and intelligent design? What's the difference?"

Not sure, but creationism I think refers to a completely literalist interp of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Genesis story....all created and done within 6 days.

ID, I think, is an attempt to admit the longer timeframe of evolution, and the evolutionary sequence, but insisting that (as in creationism) God has been there like a David Cooperfield magician at every step to make the transformations. Their refrain seems to be "random mutation and natural selection could not have come up with as complex and marvelous a organ like the _____ (fill in the blank with "eye," etc.). I.e., ID is an attempt to sound more scientific (I think it accounts for all the dinosaur bones, etc, so there are loose ends). It's sort of like the bogus science of climate contrarians, who use scientific lingo and mostly correct science, with one or two sneaky false premises (or calculations) stuck in there, which laypersons would be unable to detect. So it seem to me that ID is a much more harmful belief/ideology to our educational system than creationism.

I'm thinking some of the 6% "none of the above" might be from people of other religions with other origin myths, not necessarily only scientists being overly correct.

Anyway, I voted "evolution," because I'm thinking what they might mean is how did life come to be as we see it today; was it created as is, or did it evolve?

And I think I'll vote again from my home computer (let's do this chicago-style -- vote early, vote often).

Wolfhound @ 52

I have long held the opinion that AOL is the ISP of choice for ignorant dumbfucks.

This is not too far off base. AOL got in on the ground floor of Internet by figuring out how to offer another layer of interface between the user and the net, which was absurdly limited and oversimplified, but worked well for joe blow to communicate with his kids at school with the e-mail whatcha-macallit.

Back in the day when there wasn't much of a world wide web, they did make e-mail, FTP, and Newsgroups easy enough to stumble through.

However, showing up on a NEWSGROUP with an AOL account was a serious impediment as far as being taken seriously by the majority, righteous nerds who despised techtards.

To you non-dumbfucks (who are merely cheap bastards)using AOL

Not sure what AOL is up to now, but they used to be obscenely expensive, catering to to the clueless, whom they soaked by charging them BY THE HOUR, a monthly fee, and by the dial in. So every time their shitty service disconnected, you had to pay to dial in again. Total usury, and that's how they made their millions.

They were impossible to unsubscribe from, because they simply did not answer the phone, and kept sending the bill, taking advantage of the early unregulated wild west status of ISPs. These guys were the AMWAY of the internet.

Eventually people wised up, but they're still in business which is another proof of PT Barnum's philosophy, with a touch of WC Field's never give a sucker an even break

I guess they've settled into the USA Today of the NET, these daze.

Emmet Caulfield:

It would seem that, to be consistent, those who adopt the conventional self-replication definition of life permit, and are forced to include, pre-abiogenetic replicators in "evolution", but those who adopt the minority replicator definition shouldn't have to.

*switches to self-important condescending creationist voice*

"But then where did first replicators come from HMMMMMMMMMMM?? Evolution doesn't explain that does it? Therefore evolution is false goddidit Q.E.D. why do you hate christians/god/freedom i'll pray for you etc!!!!11!"

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Jimminy Christmas #57,
*grin*
And evolution is the religion of atheists, who are really just Satanists, Muslims, libruls, leftists, and Communists like Obama, are utterly immoral, and will burn in Hell.

I don't think that phrasing it is "origins of life" is really that unforgivable. It may not be very precise, but the way I read it, it actually means the origin of species -- that's why origins is plural. Life in this context seems to refer to all species on Earth, not simply the first single-celled organism or metabolic cycle or whatever billions of years ago. And "origins" is asking about where all of this diversity of life came from, otherwise it would simply say "origin" (although I realize it can be debated whether life arose multiple times or not). So the explanation for the origins of the different forms of life I see around me as well as future species not yet in existence is the ongoing process of evolution.

Good Grief what a depressing AOL poll (thanks PZ) , particularly responses to the first two questions. Didn't we used to make at least a half-assed attempt to educate people in this country before they could graduate high school?

Emmet Caulfield #58

Oh, and then they offer to pray for us, which is just ANNOYING. As if we didn't have enough reasons NOT to believe ^_^

By Another Lost Soul (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

This quote is from a Newsweek story about a lesbian who divorced her partner after "rediscovering God." Now the the relapsed Christian is denying her partner any visitation rights. This shows just how twisted the church makes its followers:

But Miller thinks it's a risk worth taking. "I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with her, and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit," says Miller, who is currently single but hopes to meet the right man someday. "There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game. It has nothing to do with the law. Isabella was saved at age 4, loves God, and knows what's right and what's wrong. We don't hate Janet, we pray for her soul and salvation."

~Note, she says here daughter was saved at four. Was anyone here competent or mature enough to decide on a religion when they were four?

As of 11:15 CST, these stats haven't budged. Are we actually going to lose one?

@Brett S

"There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game. It has nothing to do with the law. Isabella was saved at age 4, loves God, and knows what's right and what's wrong. We don't hate Janet, we pray for her soul and salvation."

She wouldn't happen to mean this homosexual agenda, would she?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robyn-blumner/gay-adoption-in-florida_b_1…

By Twin-Skies (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Pardon the double-post, but it looks like the number of people on AOL who voted Creationism has been upped to 48%

By Twin-Skies (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Thus spake Another Lost Soul:

Oh, and then they offer to pray for us, which is just ANNOYING. As if we didn't have enough reasons NOT to believe ^_^

As you might know, and although I don't know who originated it (It might've been MAJeff, he certainly used it quite a bit), the traditional Pharyngulite reply to "I'll pray for you" is "And a hearty 'Fuck you!' to you too", which, I think you'll agree, captures the annoyance quite succinctly :o)

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?

Evolution is one of the options. We've been crying hoarse for years now. Evolution DOES NOT explain the origin of life. We don't claim it does. Why the fuck can't creationists understand?

I think the Xtian Patriarchal Forces are monitoring your blog and scripting their votes. I know AOL is the favored browser of the uniformed and technology-challenged (my apologies to those of you who have no choice in the matter) so any AOL poll should be expected to be skewered towards the right, but the count seems to be going up rather quickly, considering the hour of the day. (nearly 0100 EST, West Coast tends to be more liberal and most of the bible belt should be sleeping)

just so I can double check in a few hours.

Do you believe the Bible is literally true?
Yes51%
No49%
Total Votes: 198,381

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?
Creationism48%
Evolution34%
Intelligent design13%
None of the above5%
Total Votes: 189,131

How close are George W. Bush's views on religion to your views?
Not at all43%
Somewhat35%
Very13%
Not sure9%
Total Votes: 119,28

Do you think Bush's religious views affected his policies as president?
Yes, and that bothered me41%
Yes, and that's fine34%
No25%
Total Votes: 121,768

It seems odd to me that the number of votes on accuracy and evolution are SO much higher than the other two.

It's pretty sad when the question on Evolution is flawed. Evolution explains the development of life on the Earth. Abiogenesis deals with the origin of the first replicators, which is close, and may follow an evolutionary pattern, but it's still up for grabs. Silly question.

Evolution DOES NOT explain the origin of life. We don't claim it does.

I do, so speak for yourself.

As someone else pointed out, the original said "origins", so it is not just talking about "the first" life form. Anyway, there wasn't a "first" life form, any more than there was ever a "first" human, or a "first" mammal. Any definition of life, mammal, or human is going to have to have fuzzy edges. So there were probably millions of years where there was natural selection happening on chemicals that most people today wouldn't call "life". I would further speculate that within a few decades, someone will demonstrate in a lab this sort of chemical process. (you aren't going to find the process in nature anymore, simply because it would be outcompeted for resources in a matter of minutes)

Regardless, evolution by natural selection certainly seems to me to be a good explanation for how chemical chain reactions gradually turned into what we know today as "life". We don't know all the details, but we don't know all the details of anything biological.

robbrown #71:
Exactly, that's what I was trying to say earlier. I think it's perfectly acceptable to refer to 'evolution' when talking about origin of life, especially in a layman context. They didn't say 'biological evolution' or 'darwinian evolution', it can just as easily mean chemical evolution. We're putting too much emphasis on semantics instead of the actual point.
And we should remember we're talking about a continuum here, there's no clean line dividing 'nonlife/no evolution' and 'life/evolution'.

Forget the stupid poll numbers for a minute and scroll down. You'll find a quote from Bush that is simply fantastic:

"I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president."

A simple president? WHAT THE FUCK?! Even after 8 years, the stuff that comes out of this guy's mouth amazes me.

By Captain Mike (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

It's impossible for an educated person in the developed part of the world to believe that the entire Bible is literally true. And for the uneducated and ignorant, they still don't have a reason to believe either way. So it's either impossible or unreasonable. Therefore, everyone should answer no to that question.

By Liberal Atheist (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

From Canada
Good. He's on your side. Makes sense.
bush came from a liberal establishment origin and his later conversion only helped direct him and fix a few things up.
Finding he's not bible believing or creationist makes sense as our type of people tend to be on the right side of issues.
Bush was wrong about wars in the middle east, wrong in supporting jewish agendas in the middle east, wrong in affirmative action in his appointments and generally, wrong about acceptance of immigration, wrong about no christmas cards but holiday ones, wrong about no passion or action for pro-lifism, wrong for support of ethnic segregated communities and their claims for advantages, wrong about everything in foreign affairs, wrong in seeing any connection between him and Reagan, wrong about anything of importance in the moral and spiritual health of America, wrong about support for immigration, wrong in not attacking the homosexual agenda, wrong in not correcting great errors and listening to better advice,, wrong in not criticizing Obama for his attacks on American character and actions today and in the past towards these African immigrants, wrong in saying there is global warming.
Yup he's one of you guys.
In short it makes sense he doesn't see the bible as true . He's really just what I thought before his first term. A liberal of less intelligence then then the average person.
A flop, a failure, and the manifestation of the origins of America's problems. A liberal establishment that is far from the the intelligence, morality, identity, and visions of main street U.S.A

By Robert Byers (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

hmm... I'm not sure it really it does bother if a politician is influenced by his religion. I think it makes him more likely to make bad decisions but what really bothers me are those decisions. If taped evidence that GWB (or Blair) didn't have a shred of religious feeling and was faking for the voters, I wouldn't suddenly think all the things he did were ok.

bush came from a liberal establishment origin

His. Father. Was. Reagan's. Vice. President.

Unless you mean liberal in (some parts of) European sense of "free marketeer" that is no liberal origin.

Oh good. Byers is here.

By Liberal Atheist (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

These polls annoy me, not just because of their obvious insignificance and selection bias, but because they simply can't ask questions!

"Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?" - well, evolution is NOT an explanation of the ORIGINS of life on earth, so the correct answer is "none of the above", but I expect expect they will interpret the results that way. - It sounds like thy don't understand evolution enough to know that it has nothing to do with biogenesis - a whole separate area of research.

On the second poll, all of the bottom three are technically correct;
* there are ways that creation can be made to fit with evolution - the "gods way of doing it" argument.
*Evolution does make creation look very unlikely.
*Creation IS a primitive story..
- I wish there people would think out their questions properly!

Liberal Atheist wrote:

It's impossible for an educated person in the developed part of the world to believe that the entire Bible is literally true.

You've never been to Ray Comfort's blog, have you?

If you can isolate people from the possibility of being educated in certain subjects then you can have "educated" people who think the Bible is literally true. Why do you think certain websites will delete comments or ban you just for presenting a moderately effective argument?

@Norman Doering:
I totally agree, although its not always lack of education. I'm a recent chemistry graduate and I know a very intelligent (she got a 1st class degree) woman on my course who somehow believes the bible is literally true. My only explanation for this some kind of self induced schizophrenia, splitting her mind in to a bit which deals with chemistry, the scientific method, standards of evidence, even radio-dating methods we studies and a separate compartment where the religion lurks. I'd very interested in hearing other possible explanations for this sort of mental phenomenon.

@Matt Heath:
Yeah, sorry, I realise most of it been mentioned, I just red the last few posts before getting it of my chest, prob should have read the whole thread really. Thanks for pointing the discussion out, it made an interesting read.

When people phrase questions like this, evolution is always used as a synonym for "the entire scientific view of the Universe" i.e. Do you believe in evolution, or do you believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago by a magical pixie?

I mean, Young Earth Creationism directly contradicts so many other branches of science first that the consideration of evolution should only really be an afterthought.

Wow, Bush is a liberal. Never knew that, thanks Byers. You've taught me a lot about evolution and politics.

From the AOL "story" alongside the polls: "It is hard for me to justify or prove the mystery of the Almighty in my life," he said. "All I can just tell you is that I got back into religion and I quit drinking shortly thereafter and I asked for help. ... I was a one-step program guy."

RUMOR CONFIRMED: THe Chimperor is a deeply repressed "dry drunk," as all of us guessed, these long years ago.

Not from Canada

News just in, archeologists have found an old manuscript in the Israeli ruins of Tell mi a'Nutha which appears to be the original introduction to the bible.

An early translation appears to read:

"To my darling Candy

The characters portrayed in this book are entirely fictional and bear no relation to any person dead or living."

By CosmicTeapot (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

I live in a country full of people who have self-selected for morons. So clearly evolution is true. To be "fit," in the environment that is America, you must be both stupid and credulous.

I always said that AOL's were of lesser intellegence. A really funny Joke site put out a warning about the AOL.EXE virus. If your computer was "infected" by this virus, your IQ was 50 points lower than it should be. Here is the hoax that many AOL's believed.

VIRUS WARNING!!!

It has been brought to my attention that there's an insidious new computer virus which has already affected close to 30 million computers.

Even though I'm running the latest McAfee and Norton viri scans, neither have picked up this virus as it's a mutating virus which isn't set to go off until Friday, June 8, 2001.

As many viri are, this one is transmitted by email. I'm required by law to contact everyone that has received email from me in the last six months and warn them about this virus.
TO REMOVE THIS VIRUS BEFORE IT BECOMES EFFECTIVE:

** Click your start button.
** Click on "Find".
** Click on Files / Folders.
** Change the "look in" input box to "My Computer".
** The named input file should have: AOL.EXE

Once the find engine has located the file, highlight it and press the delete button.
Deleting this file will fix a damaged 30 megabyte area of your hard drive and restore it to full functionality.

WARNING: KEEPING THIS FILE ON THE SYSTEM AFTER JUNE 8 WILL COST YOU $2.90 MORE PER MONTH!

FAILURE TO REMOVE THIS FILE WILL KEEP YOUR "UPPER MEMORY MANAGEMENT" MODULE OF YOUR INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT (IQ OVER 85) BLOCKED. DELETING AOL.EXE WILL FREE YOUR IQ TO GO ABOVE 85!!!

DELETING THIS FILE WILL ALLOW YOU TO SPELL CORRECTLY AND USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROPERLY.
BADLY INFECTED SYSTEMS (I.E., SYSTEMS THAT HAVE DESTROYED YOUR ABILITY TO FOLLOW THE SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE) CAN HAVE THE VIRUS REMOVED BY TELEPHONE. CALL 1-888-265-8008 AND TELL THE OPERATOR TO CANCEL THE VIRUS. THE OPERATOR WILL DEACTIVATE THE VIRUS FROM THEIR END.

TECHNICAL NOTE: YOU **MUST** EXPLAIN TO THE OPERATOR YOU'RE ATTEMPTING TO DEACTIVATE THE AOL.EXE VIRUS. THE TECHNICAL SUPPORT OFFICE YOU'RE TALKING TO IS EXTREMELY PROFESSIONALLY EMBARRASSED BY UNLEASHING THIS VIRUS ON THE WORLD AND WILL DELAY DEACTIVATING IT. FOR LEGAL REASONS, THEY MAY EVEN *DENY* THE EXISTENCE OF THE AOL.EXE VIRUS. DON'T FALL FOR THEIR STORY!

Enjoy

From the interview,

He said he felt like God was with him as he made big decisions, but that the decisions were his.

"George W. Bush has to make these decisions."

Remember when Bob Dole kept referring to himself in the third person? It always seemed like he was senile, egotistical or robotic.

Methinks Bush has punched his ticket on the crazy cruise after getting off the stupidity train.

By Ryan F Stello (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

#1 "People still use AOL? It boggles the mind."

No more than people still believing in creationism (and I suspect that there's a large overlap between those two groups).

filter blocks out the AOL polls, so I can't vote there. That's why it's difficult to pharyngulize them. It's all because of me....

:)

By CrypticLife (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

But that assumes the bible contains historical facts. Other than the fact that some humans may have existed in a very small and isolated area of a planet several thousand years ago, I have difficulty agreeing with that statement. I guess I can vote for that if that's what they mean...but I doubt that is what they mean. heh.

Biblical Palestine was certainly small, but not "isolated" - a brief study of the map should show why it couldn't have been.

Also, quite a few people, places, and events in the Bible are known also from independent sources. Are we to assume you believe the Assyrians put names into their regnal lists to create agreement with Hebrew fiction?

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

God, even with the ID nuts and creationists being split, evolution is STILL behind.

Also in the AOL hot seat polls it has this:
"What quality should Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindall run on in 2012?"
*Age
*Skin Color
*Funny Name

...I mean really? (Age is winning).

The word "Science" is anathema to these religious retards as creationism is to us. You wonder how they can even think how their lives are influenced by science and still not in the least divorce it from that superstitious crap.

The AOHell results hardly budge. 47 % Creationism, 12 % Intelligent Design, 35 % evolution... 195,849 votes on that question in total. Still 50 % out of 205,325 who imagine they're literalists, and so on.

The other one, which is by polldaddy.com, has a much lower vote total and was therefore easy to pharyngulate:

God created heaven, the Earth and all life in six days. Evolution explains nothing. <1% (20 votes)

Evolution and creationism are compatible. 3% (111 votes)

Evolution makes creationism very unlikely. 7% (242 votes)

Evolution explains life. Creationism is just a primitive story. 90% (3313 votes)

Total Votes: 3686

Also, biology does not have a monopoly on the word 'evolution'. Unless you want to argue that the physicists studying stellar evolution, for example, are confusing their sciences.

I do think that they should stop calling it "evolution" and start calling it "development". Evolution means "descent with heritable modification"; stars don't inherit, they are single individuals that don't reproduce.

RUMOR CONFIRMED: THe Chimperor is a deeply repressed "dry drunk," as all of us guessed, these long years ago.

Why are there still people who believe he's dry??? There is no evidence for it except his famously reliable word, and quite some evidence against it. Did you see him on TV on his birthday two years ago?

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

Also, quite a few people, places, and events in the Bible are known also from independent sources. Are we to assume you believe the Assyrians put names into their regnal lists to create agreement with Hebrew fiction?

No, we're to believe that Hebrew fiction was loosely situated in reality. Just because Harry Potter gets the train to Hogwart's from King's Cross Station in London, and both King's Cross Station and London exist in reality, does not make Harry Potter or Hogwart's any less a product of J.K. Rowling's imagination.

Sorry, but I had to be a pedant and vote "none of the above" on the third question because it says "believe in" and "origins of life on Earth". A comet seeding the earth with life that developed elsewhere is a plausible explanation. A better question would be "What is the best explanation for the origins of life?" Then evolution would be the clear choice. I still wouldn't "believe in" it though.

By Don Smith, FCD (not verified) on 10 Dec 2008 #permalink

These polls just disturb me. I cannot believe that so many people believe in creationism. Not even ID, full out creationism. The ID movement is falling apart, but not how we would like it.

I am proud of Bush for having some doubt in the bible. Even if it is to ire the fundies.

Do you believe the Bible is literally true?
No 50%
Yes 50%

Keep in mind, not all Christian Churches take the bible literally. The Catholic, Orthodox traditions, long with most Lutheran, Episcopal, and Anglican do not take the bible literally. They take into account historical critical, archeology, science, etc into their interpretations. This is why the Catholic (East & West) are officially against creationism. And why the stories about Galileo are greatly mythical than true. So this poll may be good fodder towards Evangelicals but not towards more of the mainstream Christian groups.

Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in?

Abiogenesis isn't there? Evolution doesn't really explain the origin of life. That isn't its job really.

Hey, look! A poll you can't Pharyngulize. With over 200,000 respondants, these results are probably quite representative.

And that's pretty frightening.