Poll-Crashing Fun

02 May

PZ Myers and friends have been at it again. Check out the evidence of yesterday’s poll-crashing activities.

This is how the poll was going on the morning of May 1, when PZ alerted his readers of the fun to be had:


These are the results that were posted at CT as of 10:00 a.m. EDT, on May 2:


I have to give CT credit for posting the results, even though it seems clear to me that many non-Christians voted (assuming that Christians who accept evolution would have voted for “theistic evolution” rather than “naturalistic evolution”).

The link at the bottom of the CT poll leads to an entertaining book review. It’s not very long (seven brief paragraphs), so you can read the whole review in 2-3 minutes. If you don’t have the time, I’ll provide the conclusion for your convenience (‘coz I’m nice like that):

Young-earth creationism is a complex system. YEC’s conception of history includes not merely a six-rotational-day Creation, but also a young age of the earth, miraculous creation of plant and animal life, a commitment to a historical Adam and Eve, a historical Fall with universal spiritual and physical consequences, and a global catastrophe.

This comprehensive framework fosters understandings of sin, the problem of evil, divine nature, judgment, Christ as the Second Adam, salvation, and eschatological redemption. A full view of the Creation can only be acquired from the whole of Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation—not by focusing, even intently, on but one chapter.

I used to read Christianity Today faithfully back in the day. At the time, it didn’t strike me as an unusually conservative journal. Since it’s not likely that CT has moved radically to the right in the past couple of decades, I can only conclude that I’ve moved a lot farther to the left in that time. What can I say? I was young and foolish once.

— the chaplain


Posted by on May 2, 2009 in evolution, humor, rationalism, society


32 responses to “Poll-Crashing Fun

  1. PhillyChief

    May 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Much easier to ignore the niggling details when you just accept some “full view”.

  2. quantum_flux

    May 2, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I think you’re confusing conservativism with the religious fundies.

  3. Kagehi

    May 2, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Well, the religious fundies have stolen the words and redefined it, and, for the most part, no one in “conservatism” has complained about either the latest take over of the term, or the prior one which cause liberal and conservative to “flip” places at one point, so.. If they are not going to fight for the term, why should we do it for them? ;) lol

  4. the chaplain

    May 2, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Some say God is in the details, others say the devil is. Which is it?

    I know that most conservatives are nowhere close to fundamentalist in their thinking. That book review is written from a fundamentalist position rather than a merely conservative one. Granted, it’s been years since I’ve read Christianity Today from cover to cover, or with any regularity. The journal may still be the moderate one that it was (as I recall) years ago. They used to publish “debates” in which two authors would present opposing views on controversial issues. If the editors had linked to two contrasting reviews of the book, or two contrasting reviews of different books on the same general subject matter, my impression of the journal would have been very different than it was this morning. They seemed to present a one-sided, fundamentalist, ultra-conservative (not merely conservative) view of the poll question.

    The fundies are working very hard to be the standard-bearers for conservatism in this country.

  5. (((Billy)))

    May 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    The neat thing (to me, at least) about the great Squidward’s poll-crashing is that it actually accomplishes two things: first, it shows the absurdity of on-line poles; second, it wakes up political and religious conservatives to the idea that they are not alone in America. Both laudable effects.

  6. Lorena

    May 2, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Yeah! I was a mid-age foolish woman once…about 4 years ago. At the end of my tumultuous Christian life, I found refuge in Philip Yancey’s books (Where is god when it hurts, How I survived the church, etc), and he is one of the editors at large of Christianity Today.

    I was foolish enough to trust the magazine just because of Yancey. In my defense, I’ll say that, as Christian publications go, Christianity Today is way more decent than others like, for example, Hank Hanegraaff’s Christian Research Journal or anything by Focus on the Family.

    As for the survey, I wonder if some Christian responders didn’t even understand the options. It’s not that in church they tell people, “Today we’ll study Young Earth Creationism.”

  7. the chaplain

    May 3, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Both of your points are good ones.

    CT is/was one of the better Christian magazines in North America and Yancey is one of the most balanced and realistic of the popular Christian authors. You raised a good point about the possibility that many people may not have understood the alternatives.

  8. Sabio

    May 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Economic Conservatives (like myself) can still be Atheists !
    Any other libertarians Atheists out there?

  9. bitchspot

    May 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    The theocrats have stolen the banner of “conservatism” and turned it into something very non-conservative, just as they’ve stolen control of the Republican party and turned it into something very non-Republican. For those of us who were around back in the day when conservatism didn’t mean sticking your nose into other people’s business, it’s a very disturbing trend, especially since traditional conservatives are left without a single party representing them.

  10. quantum_flux

    May 3, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I think the Devil is in the Vagueness and God is in the Details. In that case, the Devil wrote the Bible and the Communist Manifesto, while God wrote all of the Math, Science, Engineering, and Business books. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have such a problem with being grouped with the Religious Fundies, perhaps I’d even be considered a Religous Guru on God’s Divine Writings. But of course, any dope can tell you that there are no Gods or Devils, and that all these books were written by humans….in that case, it is the Wiseman that is in the Details and the Fool that is in the Vagueness.

  11. the chaplain

    May 4, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Sabio, Bitchspot and QF:
    The branches of conservatism that I have glaring issues with are Religious Right wackos who have no respect for views that differ from theirs and want their religious norms to dominate American society, neo-cons who think that the Iraq War was and is a good idea (along with torture, erosion of privacy rights, etc.), militant Timothy McVeigh-like characters, etc. Most social/political/economic conservatives and libertarians have worthwhile things to say, which is why I wish they’d either take the Republican party out of the hands of the nuts or start a third party that represents true conservativism rather than wing-nuttery.

  12. Sabio

    May 4, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Yooo chaplain,
    I agree with you. When people liken all Atheists to their favorite detested Atheist, I object similarly. I just want people to realize what their generalizations are doing. Thank you for clarifying.

  13. bitchspot

    May 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Unfortunately, you get a lot of people who are all too willing to lump all conservatives together with the religious whack-a-loons and think that they represent the whole of conservatism. They happen to be very vocal today but I think they represent only a small portion of the actual conservative thought in this country, conservatives just have very little they can do because there isn’t anyone running in most elections who does more than pander to the religious and act, fiscally, all the world like a liberal.

  14. Postman

    May 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    [le sigh] If only we all had super powers like PZ…

  15. quantum_flux

    May 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I don’t see any problem with torturing people for the purposes of obtaining information pertinant to matters of national security, but I do think that the information gained from that torture should be subject to a later civilian trial in order to determine whether it was necessary or not. In short, the government needs to torture people at it’s own risk and if there is any abuse or accidental misuse of the power then the checks and balances of the courts should hold the responsible party accountable for compensation….sort of a “torture now and then ask questions later” kind of thing that is inherent in other matters of military law as well. I’d rather have the government compensate a few wrong suspects in civil trials later, than have the government’s national security compromised by terrorists (I’m not going to pretend like the events of 9/11/2001 can’t happen again, or that the Patriot Act hasn’t been of good use, that would be foolish on my part).

    • John Evo

      May 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm

      QF – then I’m glad the issue isn’t up to you. Torture is never OK, even with national security issues at stake. It’s an issue that has been decided long ago by minds much greater than either yours or mine, so I shall not argue the point. I’ll just point out to you, that even within the halls of neo-conservatism and Bush supporters, there was a real fight over this and that ultimately those opposed to it won the day – though not before our country sank to levels we expect from 3rd world tyrants.

  16. Sabio

    May 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I guess this is where our Atheist Meta-Ethicists would jump in and ask how are you all deciding what is right and wrong?
    1) Divine Command [guess that one is out]
    2) Your intuition (born from years of evolution)? [you see the problems there]
    3) Some Utilitarian Calculus
    Have you thought about why you believe the moral things you believe/

    I think torture is wrong because I don’t want to live in a world where torture is permissible. But I also don’t want to live in a world where entire cities are snuffed because we are too nice. Gee, I see everyone’s dilemma.

  17. PhillyChief

    May 4, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    No, none of us have ever thought about why we believe what we believe. :rolleyes:

  18. bitchspot

    May 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I don’t think torture has anything to do with “right” and “wrong” simply because there is no such thing in objective terms. Everyone has their own idea of what’s right and what’s wrong. The more important question isn’t right and wrong, but legal and illegal and under the Geneva Convention, to which we are signatory, there are guidelines that need to be followed.

    Even excepting that, however, there are practical matters to consider. If we routinely torture enemy prisoners, those nations are much more likely to torture our service men and women that they capture. As they say, what goes around comes around. Ultimately, we as a planet-wide group of people need to decide what actions are going to be acceptable and what actions are going to be unacceptable and hold everyone accountable to those standards. That’s really the only way of coming to “right” or “wrong”: human consensus.

  19. John Evo

    May 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    And those aren’t the only considerations, Bitchspot. Torturing tends to make harsher enemies of those who have been tortured and those who care. It’s also a recruiting tool. There are CIA reports showing a surge in “volunteers” when America’s torture program is used as a device. We also turn our own allies against us. Perhaps not entirely, but certainly to the point of making them less likely to support us.

    As far as the “right/wrong” of it – you nailed it when you said we have to support the international laws, particularly the ones we pushed through. The reason for the international laws on torture is based on some very critical thinking about morality.

    Sabio – was your comment at ME?

  20. quantum_flux

    May 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Uncle Sam can and should play dirty. Just like the way the US NAVY Snipers shot those Somalian Pirates. Look, there are people who we just can’t negotiate with or can’t get information from by non-torture methods, and when that happens it’s time to take it up a notch or two.

  21. athinkingman

    May 5, 2009 at 2:05 am

    These figures are scary. It feels like the world is now going backwards intellectually and religion is driving the bus.

  22. PhillyChief

    May 5, 2009 at 8:40 am

    How is using snipers “playing dirty”?

    Your responses, QF, sound like a 12 year old’s who watches 24 religiously

  23. bitchspot

    May 5, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Evo: I never said they were the only considerations, just that using ideas like “right” and “wrong” ought never be a consideration because they have no objective meaning. You brought up even more excellent reasons why we shouldn’t torture as a matter of due course.

    Quantum: There’s a big difference between shooting pirates holding an American hostage and shoving a gun in his back and taking those same pirates off the boat and torturing them. If you can’t tell the difference, seek professional help.

  24. Postman

    May 5, 2009 at 10:47 am


    As a veteran, I find it offensive to equate shooting pirates and torturing prisoners. Actually, scratch that. As a human being I find it offensive. By your argument, targeting officers during the battle of Bunker Hill is the same thing as torturing suspected terrorists.

  25. quantum_flux

    May 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Well, either way, shooting pirates is not the same thing as negotiating with pirates. Every other country would have put up ransom money to get their captains back, so, therefore sniping the pirates WAS playing dirty.

    Now, let’s say the Somalians had more Americans hostage in secret bunkers in Somalia….I’m not going to pretend like I have “morals” here. I WOULD warrant torture in that case, in order to find out where they’re hidden, and I WOULD warrant sending in the NAVY Seals.

  26. quantum_flux

    May 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Bitchspot, I think that Democrats need professional help because they think that giving people “free” tax-money is going to motivate them to go out and make money the old fashioned way.

  27. bitchspot

    May 6, 2009 at 9:49 am

    You’re probably right, but that has nothing to do with the debate at hand, try to stick to the topic.

  28. PhillyChief

    May 6, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Every other country would have put up ransom money to get their captains back, so, therefore sniping the pirates WAS playing dirty.

    Unless you’re defining “playing dirty” as simply “not doing what others do or would do”, your statement is ridiculous, and I’m eerily reminded of my mother asking me if I would also jump off a bridge if all my friends were doing it. Would not jumping off the bridge be “playing dirty” if everyone else was jumping?

    In your torture Somali pirates scenario, it’s quite likely that the pirates would say anything to make the torture stop, and time and resources spent exploring the “information” gained from the torture would not only be wasted, but would be taken away from ACTUALLY hunting for the hostages. Furthermore, as we’re seeing with Gitmo detainees, many will no doubt be released due to the evidence that they were tortured, and it’s certainly possible that some of them may in fact be terrorists. Hell, even if they weren’t, after being tortured, they might just become terrorists. I know I’d be looking for some sort of revenge, and perhaps those who care about me would likewise want to avenge me.

    You said you’re not going to pretend you have morals? That’s fine, because you don’t need morals to see that torture is a flawed approach.

  29. Sabio

    May 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Democrats need professional help — QF

    @QF — Would you agree that you pride yourself in being a rationalist (if not ignore the following)? Would you agree that rationalists should try to avoid logical fallacies? Would you agree that the genetic fallacy is one of those fallacies worth avoiding (when we can remember)?

    No, none of us have ever thought about why we believe what we believe. :rolleyes: — Philly Chief

    @ Philly Chief – your site looks fascinating, I will start following it. Sorry, I did not mean to put it that way — too fast typing the comment, I guess. I, for one, would love to spend more time thinking about what I think about meta-ethics and THEN about ethics. I know what I feel about my preferences and have thought about those a lot (of course) but I am very sloppy about the others, and I even use to teach ethics to grad students. When I taught ethics, my course emphasized understanding HOW people made ethical choices, not on what rationales they used to support their choices. Sometimes, these two can be largely different — I am sure they are for me, but then, I am a rather confused lad. Anyway, thanx for your site. Hope this says it better.

  30. (((Billy)))

    May 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    QF said: “Every other country would have put up ransom money to get their captains back

    I would like to remind QF that Ronald Reagan sent weapons and spare parts to Iran so that a couple of Americans being held in Lebanon would be released. They were. You do remember Reagan, right? The patron saint of modern conservatism?

  31. quantum_flux

    May 7, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I don’t worship ex-presidents. I just so nothing wrong with torturing people dammmit! Hey, “if: it works, then: it works” …. hows that for logic and objectivism? The Law of Identity holds true, plus torture does work, so I don’t see where my error is here.

    How about this flow diagram for you all…. “If: it doesn’t work, Then: Keep on torturing until it does work, Or Else: Perhaps the Wrong Guy is Being Tortured”

    “If: Wrong Guy is Being Tortured AND a Trial Court Has Determined This To Be The Case, Then: Hold the Executive Order Giver Accountable AND Pay The Torture Victim Proper Compensation”

    Also If: Tortured Person Gives Erroneous Information AND the Person Knew The Correct Information AND a Trial Court Determines That, Then: The Tortured Person Gets Re-Allocated To a Federal Prison Indefinantly”


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