If you are interested in this kind of things, you will have noticed the tantrum John G. West and his friends are collectively throwing over at Evolution News & views (EN&V) because they were somewhat rebuffed by the United Methodist Church (UMC). Here is some background as it presents itself to me (EN&V's viewpoint may differ): The UMC is holding its ''General Conference'' once every four years. In May 2016, it will be taking place at the ''Oregon Convention Center''. ''Sponsors and exhibitioners'' may rent booths at the center to present themselves to the estimated 6,500 participants of the event. The DI was willing to pay the 900 Dollar - 1200 Dollar fee to become an exhibitioner, but their application was turned down. There may have been various problems, but unfortunately for them, it did not seem to match the fourth criterium for eligibility:
Proven Business Record: Purchasers must have a proven business record with their products/services/resources. Exhibits are not to provide a platform to survey or test ideas; rather, to provide products/services/resources which are credible and proven.It is fair to say that the DI has not recovered from this blow yet- over the last eight days, there have been at least fourteen articles been published on this matter at EN&V. One of the highlights was this New Poll: Most Americans Turn Thumbs Down on United Methodist Ban on Intelligent Design: The DI spent the money it has saved on the booth to have a survey performed by SurveyMonkey. It asked:
The United Methodist Church recently banned a group from renting an information table at the Church’s upcoming general conference because the group supports intelligent design—the idea that nature is the product of purposeful design rather than an unguided process. Some have criticized the ban as contrary to the United Methodist Church’s stated commitment to encourage “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” Rate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statements:
1. The United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.
2. The United Methodist Church’s ban on the intelligent design group seems inconsistent with the Church’s stated commitment to encourage “open hearts, open minds, open doors.”What surprised me: thought the question was obviously leading, still 30% didn't agree with the first statement and 22% didn't agree with the second one! Or, as the DI describes it:
More than 70% of the 1,946 respondents to the nationwide survey agreed that “the United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.” More than 78% of respondents agreed that “the United Methodist Church’s ban on the intelligent design group seems inconsistent with the Church’s stated commitment to encourage ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors.’”But here is the cinch: Though EN&V announced that the "full report" can be downloaded from here, it is obvious from the pagination that at least two pages are missing!
Enter panic mode: OMG! The Discovery Instituted is censoring its report! What are they covering up? Are they beating puppies? Like Darwin! They should get their own Censorship Award!!!!11!!1
The truth is a little bit less sinister: Survey Monkey asks you about your age (Q11), your gender (Q12), your income (Q13), your party affiliation (Q10) and the region you are living in (Q14). What is surprisingly missing are questions about your religious orientation and your education. These two characteristics are of obvious interest for a poll like this one - so, I am guessing that the questions Q8 and Q9 were about these matters. Maybe the results did not please the DI and thus, were omitted from the final report.
Edit: Instead of trying to claim that it was meant to be ironic, I just corrected an embarrassing spelling mistake in the headline...