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Author Topic:   Discovery Institute's "400 Scientist" Questionaire
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 1 of 22 (237913)
08-28-2005 4:33 AM


step two: questions and format
background:

with the recent request of dr. robert davidson to be removed from the discovery institute's infamous "400 scientists" list of darwinian dissenters, and his charge that he misunderstood what the organization was about and what he was signing, we began questioning the motivation of the signers. someone (maybe monk, maybe me) suggested that he just signed up to get a free dvd or two. the idea came up in The DI loses one to email him, and find out precisely what he thought, why he joined the list. was his name used with permission?

the thought also crossed my mind that if davidson felt misled, maybe others did too. so let's email ALL of them. in Discovery Institute's "400 Scientist" Roster we are working on compiling a list of the emails of every "scientist" on the list. the quotes are used because, as it turns out, many of these people are very hard to find because they're not actually scientists. many appear to be post-docs who don't even work in the field anymore (let alone studied an applicable field, period). this thread is for:

step two: drafting the questions we are to ask.

my suggestion is that we make the questionaire multi-part, with a few yes or no questions in each section, but allow them to explain too. i think we should ask questions regarding:


  • personal background and education, current career
  • god
  • religion
  • science (and geology?)
  • evolution/biology
  • intelligent design
  • creationism
  • education

i think if we break it up into enough specifics (without making it overly long) we could concievably allow for very intricate positions, and compromises, such as theistic evolution, etc. the idea is not to take a pot-shot at DI, but to find out exactly who these people are, and where they really stand on the issues. DI's original statement is very vague:

quote:
I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.

any good scientist is skeptical by nature, and by practice carefully examines evidence and encourages others to do so as well. it also says "evidence FOR darwinian theory" not "against." this wording seems to be designed to trick people into agreeing, imho. but that's wort of what we're aiming to find out. so we need to be specific.

side note:

also, i'm thinking of getting my little brother involved -- it might prove to be an interesting science fair project and the "scientists" might be mroe prone to answer a 13 year old doing a research project than a bunch of message board geeks.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 08-28-2005 04:38 AM


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 2 of 22 (237915)
08-28-2005 4:36 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by arachnophilia
08-28-2005 4:33 AM


some sample questions
sidelined writes:

If we were to ask of each member on the list,

"Is either evolution or intelligent design a sound scientific theory? Why or why not?"

would this be neutral enough a question to elicit a reply that requires input from the respondent that needs a definite stance outlining their viewpoint or is there a better means of enquiring?

personally i think we should ask doubly-leading questions. for instance, ask:


  • do you believe in god?
  • do you believe the bible to be the literal/inerrant word of god?
  • do you believe in special creation?
  • do you believe in creation ex-nihilo?
  • do you think evolution is the best model currently available for explaining the complexity of life on earth?
  • do you think speciation occurs?
  • do you think natural selection occurs?
  • do you think microevolution happens?
  • do you think macroevolution has happened?
  • do you think there are legitimate problems with darwinians theory as a whole?
  • do you think there is a controversy in the scientific community?
  • do you think that there is more than one explanation that should be taught in public schools?
  • ... universities?
  • do you think that 'intelligent design' has merits as a scientific field of study?
  • do you think that intelligent design offers a better explanation for complexity than darwinian evolution?

etc. basically, if we ask enough of the RIGHT questions, we should be able to get an exact position regarding religion, science, god, darwin, evolution, and id.

for instance, i'm willing to bet that a substantial number of these people believe in god, but that most accept evolution as the best current model.


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AdminBen
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 22 (242255)
09-11-2005 11:30 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
AdminBen
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 22 (242256)
09-11-2005 11:32 AM


I moved this to "Is it Science" because at the heart of the discussion seems to be the question, do these 400 scientists REALLY believe ID is scientific?

So I assume the discussion of good questions to ask will be very relevant to the question of "How do we deterimine if something is science or not?"

I also wanted to provide a link to the Discovery Institute's "400 Scientist" Roster / thread: www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=17&t=113&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=17&t=113&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=17&t=113&m=1

Thanks.


  
Monk
Member (Idle past 2031 days)
Posts: 782
From: Kansas, USA
Joined: 02-25-2005


Message 5 of 22 (244403)
09-17-2005 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by arachnophilia
08-28-2005 4:33 AM


Keep it short and simple
You raise a lot of good questions. My concern is that these are busy people. Like most of us, we can assume they get tons of e-mails everyday. Who has the time and/or inclination to respond to a lengthy survey questionaire?

We should reproduce the statements on the 400 list as published by DI and ask if they agree with it, (the e-mail should include a link to the actual list). We should also ask if they agree to the use of their name by DI. We could ask for any additional comments and, IMO, that's about it.

From my experience, I usually don't respond to questionaires. But when I do, I'll answer the first few questions in a short questionaire. If it's a long questionaire, I'll skip it altogether regardless of how interesting I find the subject matter.

The other reason for keeping it short is that some folks might be concerned that their answers on religion, background, etc as part of a lengthy questionaire could be twisted and misused. These folks will not respond.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
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From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 6 of 22 (244408)
09-17-2005 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by arachnophilia
08-28-2005 4:36 AM


one question
I think we should cut to the chase and only ask one question:

Do you think this statement:

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged"

(1) Is a normal statement of scientific skepticism, and that similar statements can be made about any scientific theory, that it is not any more critical of evolutionary theory than most other sciences, and that it in no way promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative,
(2) Is a normal statement of scientific skepticism, that some similar statements can be made about other scientific theories, that it is critical of some aspects of evolutionary theory more than most other sciences, but that it in no way promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative,
(3) Is a more than normal statement of scientific skepticism, that similar statements cannot be made about most other scientific theories, that it is critical of some aspects of evolutionary theory more than other sciences, but that it in no way promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative,
(4) Is a more than normal statement of scientific skepticism, that similar statements cannot be made about most other scientific theories, that it is critical of some aspects of evolutionary theory more than other sciences, and that it promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative,
(5) Is a normal statement of scientific skepticism, that some similar statements can be made about other scientific theories, that it is critical of some aspects of evolutionary theory more than most other sciences, and that it promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative,
(6) Is a normal statement of scientific skepticism, and that similar statements can be made about any scientific theory, that it is not any more critical of evolutionary theory than most other sciences,and that it promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative.

And let the cards fall where they may.

{{edited to add radio buttons, thanks ben}}

This message has been edited by RAZD, 09*17*2005 08:28 PM


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Monk
Member (Idle past 2031 days)
Posts: 782
From: Kansas, USA
Joined: 02-25-2005


Message 7 of 22 (244449)
09-17-2005 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by RAZD
09-17-2005 1:51 PM


one question
If its only one question, then shouldn't it be:

"Is random mutation and natural selection adequate to account for the complexity of life?"

This message has been edited by Monk, Sat, 09-17-2005 06:33 PM


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1729 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 8 of 22 (244456)
09-17-2005 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by RAZD
09-17-2005 1:51 PM


Re: one question
Wow, it's nice to have one question, but you've basically conflated four quesiton in one by making the answers REALLY complex. How about this:

Do you think this statement:
"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged"

(1) {Yes No}: Is a normal statement of scientific skepticism

(2) {Yes No}: Is similar to statements that can be made about any scientific theory

(3) {Yes No}: Is critical of some aspects of evolutionary theory more than other sciences

(4) {Yes No}: Promotes Intelligent Design as a valid alternative


This message has been edited by Ben, Saturday, 2005/09/17 04:47 PM


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19815
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 9 of 22 (244473)
09-17-2005 8:15 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Ben!
09-17-2005 7:45 PM


Re: one question
I realize that, but I was trying to create a spectrum of possibilities and allow only one {answer set} per person out of 6 possibles (now 16?) to simplify analysis.

Nice radio buttons.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19815
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 10 of 22 (244474)
09-17-2005 8:20 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Monk
09-17-2005 7:32 PM


Re: one question
That's a totally different question than what the ID statement is promoting.

And if you ask evolutionary biologists you will likely get a {No} answer -- there are other mechanism proposed, especially in the early bacterial stages of life formation of a lateral transmission of genes between different individuals (viruses may be a left over of this process).

This also raises the question of how sex came to be a part of the equation.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Monk, posted 09-17-2005 7:32 PM Monk has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 11 of 22 (244753)
09-19-2005 12:03 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Ben!
09-17-2005 7:45 PM


Re: one question
i think that's probably the best idea so far. it's a lot less confusing that razd's (no offense).


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 12 of 22 (244754)
09-19-2005 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Monk
09-17-2005 7:32 PM


a question about the question
If its only one question, then shouldn't it be:

"Is random mutation and natural selection adequate to account for the complexity of life?"

well, we're basically checking the accuracy of the 400 list -- not how many scientists believe in strict darwinian evolution.

however, it might be an interesting question to ask, as a second question set. maybe we could ask "how WELL do natural selection and random mutation account for the complexity of life" and give a scale of 1-10?


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 13 of 22 (244757)
09-19-2005 12:07 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Monk
09-17-2005 1:39 PM


Re: Keep it short and simple
From my experience, I usually don't respond to questionaires. But when I do, I'll answer the first few questions in a short questionaire. If it's a long questionaire, I'll skip it altogether regardless of how interesting I find the subject matter.

right. and we want to get as many answers as possible. so a short set would be nice. we also don't wanna bother these people too much...

The other reason for keeping it short is that some folks might be concerned that their answers on religion, background, etc as part of a lengthy questionaire could be twisted and misused. These folks will not respond.

well, we're also basically keeping it anonymous. we won't know the specifics of who answered what. we should make sure they know that, too. it might affect the answers (you know, in case there's a evolutionist conspiracy, right?).

We could ask for any additional comments

the option of adding something might be a good one.


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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 14 of 22 (252799)
10-18-2005 3:05 PM


Bump - "Links and Information" version of this theme closed
Here's where the discussion should be.

Adminnemooseus


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 15 of 22 (252935)
10-19-2005 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Adminnemooseus
10-18-2005 3:05 PM


Re: Bump - "Links and Information" version of this theme closed
if we're talking about what questions should be asked, sure... otherwise it should go here.

although the ROSTER thread was supposed to be for collecting info, something we haven't done in a while. do people still want to do this?


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