PvM posted Entry 2709 on November 8, 2006 10:00 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2701

On UcD our dear friend Salvador Cordova shows how the recent political, scientific and legal disasters to Intelligent Design have made the movement desperate for some ‘good news’. According to Sal, the good news comes in the form of 30% of community college professors considering ID to be science.

So let’s look at the study in question:

The study was done by two sociologists, Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University. They contacted 1,471 professors at religious and secular colleges and asked about politics and faith.

Source: Praying for an ‘A’ might not impress your prof

We also asked respondents to weigh in on the controversy over intelligent design. Our question asked respondents how much they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “The theory of intelligent design IS a serious scientific alternative to the Darwinian theory of evolution.” Overall, 84.1 percent of professors surveyed disagreed with the statement, with 75.3 percent registering strong disagreement. Agreement was strongest at community colleges, where 30.6 percent of professors see intelligent design as a serious scientific alternative, and weakest at elite doctoral universities, where just 5.6 percent of professors do.

Sadly enough the data to do not allow one to determine if community colleges tend to be more religious in nature, nor if these professors where involved in the science. In fact, is there a difference in the distribution of courses on colleges and universities versus community colleges?

Nevertheless, if the news that 30% of community college professors support the concept that ID is a serious scientific contender, is the best news ID has to present… Of course, Sal’s posting is nothing compared to the incomprehensible mutterings of Denyse O’Leary. Then again, she has the excuse that she is not really a scientist at all.

The survey however does indicate that professors are hardly the atheists some Christian make them out to be.

Interestingly enough a relatively large amount of professors proclaim themselves to be born-again

Nor are born-again Christians only to be found at religiously-affiliated institutions, though they are present there in greater numbers. 17 percent of professors at secular schools describe themselves as born-again Christians, as compared to 29.6 percent at religiously-affiliated schools.

At elite doctoral institutions, the numbers are significantly smaller

Professors who are born-again are extremely rare at elite doctoral institutions, composing only about one percent of professors at such institutions,

Would be interesting to see if religious beliefs and the belief that ID is a valid scientific alternative also correlate. I am not sure that Sal should be happy about these findings, but then again, good news is slim pickings nowadays amongst ID activists.

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Comment #143453

Posted by Zeno on November 9, 2006 12:44 AM (e)

As a community college faculty member myself, I’d be curious to learn more about where they found the reported support for ID. It sure wouldn’t be in my math department. My colleagues in biology wouldn’t put up with it. Maybe some of the folks in humanities? I don’t know them as well.

Community colleges have most of the same academic departments as four-year schools and universities, but we focus on introductory courses, including a whole bunch of remediation. (We teach a lot of algebra classes for folks who didn’t manage to learn it in high school.) Our faculty and our students therefore don’t get to spend much time on the finer points of scholarship, so I can see where we would be more susceptible to false notions of science than people who are actively researching and publishing in the field. Still, if colleges like mine are the ripest ground for exploitation by the ID creationists, their situation is stark indeed.

Comment #143454

Posted by Registered User on November 9, 2006 12:45 AM (e)

Professors who are born-again are extremely rare at elite doctoral institutions, composing only about one percent of professors at such institutions,

In other words, 99% of professors at elite institutions are going to suffer enternal torment in hell unless they heed Sal’s call before the oxygen flow to their brains is permanently stopped.

Buh-bye, fundies. It sucked and I won’t miss you.

Comment #143462

Posted by chemical odie on November 9, 2006 3:05 AM (e)

Professors who are born-again are extremely rare at elite doctoral institutions, composing only about one percent of professors at such institutions,

Well, being a professor at an elite doctoral institution is normally not compatible with being…well…a moron

Comment #143468

Posted by BC on November 9, 2006 4:00 AM (e)

Since community colleges allow people with bachelor’s degrees to teach, were they included in those numbers? Are the numbers broken out by discipline? I didn’t really find answers to those question, but I did find a PDF of the study:
http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/gross/religions.pdf

Comment #143471

Posted by BC on November 9, 2006 4:10 AM (e)

Oh, and here’s a quote from the article. It doesn’t say directly what percentage of biologists think ID is a serious contender, but I’m sure we can indirectly infer that professors of Accounting, Elementary Education, Finance, Marketing, Art, Criminal Justice, and Nursing probably ranked highest in that ID belief, while biology professors probably rated ID poorly.

Psychology and biology have the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics, at about 61 percent. Not far behind is mechanical engineering, 50 percent of whose professors are atheists or agnostics. Behind that is economics, political science, and computer science, with about 40 percent of professors falling into this category each. At the other end of the spectrum, 63 percent of accounting professors, 56.8 percent of elementary education professors, 48.6 percent of professors of finance, 46.5 percent of marketing professors, 46.2 percent of art professors and professors of criminal justice, and 44.4 percent of professors of nursing say they have no doubt that God exists.

http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/gross/religions.pdf

Comment #143474

Posted by BC on November 9, 2006 4:35 AM (e)

Anyone want to contact the professors and ask them what the breakout of ID beliefs were by the professor’s discipline?

Comment #143475

Posted by Popper's ghost on November 9, 2006 5:04 AM (e)

Sadly enough the data to do not allow one to determine if community colleges tend to be more religious in nature

Yes, the data do (unless “in nature” refers to some non-statistical factor):

professors at elite doctoral universities are much less
religious than professors teaching in other kinds of institutions. 36.6 percent of
respondents with appointments in elite doctoral schools are either atheists or agnostics, as
compared to 15.2 percent of respondents teaching in community colleges, 22.7 percent of
those teaching at BA granting institutions, and 23.5 percent of those teaching in non-elite
doctoral granting universities.

There’s also a color graph in the paper.

Comment #143477

Posted by fusilier on November 9, 2006 7:01 AM (e)

One point to remember about community colleges is that our mission (I teach at one, here in Indiana) specifically emphasizes what is often referred to as “Workforce Development.”

That is, we have programs in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Welding (in order to get a job welding at Eli Lilly and Company, you have to pass a course certified by the FDA!), Millwright, Computer Assisted Manufacturing, Electronics for Industrial Control, and so forth. The program instructors (not the lab TAs) all have masters or better - but it is mostly in the field of education.

Just FYI.

fusilier, off to give an exam on the musculoskeletal system
James 2:24

Comment #143482

Posted by Flint on November 9, 2006 7:46 AM (e)

Would be interesting to see if religious beliefs and the belief that ID is a valid scientific alternative also correlate.

Offhand, I’d estimate the correlation to be about the same as the correlation between the earth’s rate of spin and the frequency of sunrise. And for pretty much the same sort of reason. (Hint: ID is a religious doctrine, and nothing else.)

Comment #143485

Posted by Aagcobb on November 9, 2006 9:05 AM (e)

One of the comments to Sal’s post on UcD said I recently had a run in with a pro-ID professor at a local community college. I teach middle school science and take courses to keep my certificate up to date. Having in interest in biology and geology, I signed up for a course on the geologic history of our planet. The professor, was a YEC and also supported ID. Numerous students were outraged at the unfounded claims he made and complained to the dean of instruction.

How depressing; can you imagine paying to learn geologic history at a CC, then having some YEC tell you the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah’s Flood, and expecting you to regurgitate that garbage in your final? I would have demanded a refund of my tuition; I hope they canned that idiot.

Comment #143486

Posted by Whatever on November 9, 2006 9:10 AM (e)

Run that survey with the question of whether YEC is a “serious” contender as well…

I bet that would flush out the feeble minded.

Comment #143491

Posted by Jake on November 9, 2006 11:21 AM (e)

Yeah, I thought that post was pretty hilarious too. Basically, he’s touting the fact that the more prestigious your university, the less likely you think ID is science. This is good news for them? Hilarious.

Comment #143498

Posted by TLTB on November 9, 2006 12:12 PM (e)

Well, I’m a born again prof at one of those elite Ph.D. granting university, so I’m feeling pretty special…or lonely, I guess :)

I have often wondered what the breakdown would be between physics profs (who are often stereotyped as religious) and biology profs (who are often stereotyped as atheistic).

Comment #143500

Posted by hooligans on November 9, 2006 12:25 PM (e)

Aagcobb, I was the one who posted at UD about my experience with a CC professor who endorsed YEC and ID. The reason why I knwo visit The Pandas Thumb is becasue I was so outraged. I also read at UD just for kicks.

What’s great is that when I complained to the dean of instruction he was removed from teaching that course. Of course, I was not the first to complain to the dean. Numerous other students had previously gone to the dean saying that the geology prof. was making unfounded claims and not presenting the entire picture. I was happy that they stuck up for good science instruction.

What’s interesting is that in my post, I stated that the professor didn’t even understand ID (who does anyways!?) and had an even worse understanding of evolutionary biology. Commentators at UD took this to mean, “what a shame that CC professors don’t understand ID, because if they did, they would probably believe in it.” When in reality, I was saying that this prof was an idiot and really didn’t understand anything. Basically, this guy completly misunderstood evolutionary biology and the ToE, used his misunderstanding as a basis to cast doubt on the ToE’s acceptance in scientific circles, then explained all these geologic and biological conundrums with a skewed understanding of a faulty theory. Frankly, even if he had understood ID I still would have been outraged.

I was thinking how ignorant most kids who go to CC’s are, and how they would look up at their new professor with admiration and actually believe his outrageous claims. It saddened me, I had to report hi mto the dean.

Comment #143503

Posted by Russell on November 9, 2006 1:02 PM (e)

TLTB wrote:

Well, I’m a born again prof at one of those elite Ph.D. granting university

I’ve never been entirely clear on what “born again” means. There’s no doubt that some people who define themselves as “born again” include biblical literalism - including creationism - as part of the all-or-none, take-it-or-leave-it package. The most famous “born again” that I know of is former president Jimmy Carter - a man for whom I have tremendous admiration. But Carter’s “born-again-ness” does not seem to entail the pledge of allegiance to anti-intellectualism that I find so off-putting about the literalists.

A science professor (at least a professor in a field that creationism cripples), who subscribes to the first kind of definition, I would not want in a position of teaching at any institution I have anything to do with. The Carter kind - no problem.

Comment #143510

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 9, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Indeed, it is an odd bit of triumphalism.

Not to put down CCs, but clearly it would only be impressive at research schools for a significant percentage of IDists or creationists to exist (in the departments where it would make an impact, anyhow). If you’re only teaching, well, anything could be taught.

I think, though, that part of the reason for putting it up there is to tell UDers and others the sorts of institutions that are vulnerable to proselytization. They aren’t simply trying to spin CCs as the non-censorious places where ID can exist, they’re identifying targets, is my guess.

Sure they’d like to get rot into the elite schools, but barring that (and it looks to be barred), the CCs will do. Lack of research, plus a culture less aware of the relevant arguments and evidences (I agree, though, that few in the science depts. at CCs are likely to believe in ID), lends some potential hope of corrupting science for the inconvenience of the less fortunate secondary school students.

Don’t get me wrong, I doubt there is or will soon be a serious effort to get ID into the CCs. Yet local pressures not to teach evolution and/or to teach ID (or bogus “critical analysis”) may be placed on the CCs by those who believe them to be vulnerable to their nonsense.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #143512

Posted by Henry J on November 9, 2006 2:02 PM (e)

Re “I stated that the professor didn’t even understand ID (who does anyways!?)”

Yeah. If there actually was anything there, I’d think one of the first things they’d do is clarify where ID gives different expectations from those given by ToE by itself. Whenever some part of physics got rewritten, they’d show that the previous theory follows as a special case of the new one - so if there [i]was[/i] actually an I.D. theory, they should have done that already.

Henry

Comment #143513

Posted by The Ghost of Paley on November 9, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

This point has probably been addressed multiple times, but I can’t believe that the opinions of college professors (especially ones who don’t research or teach higher-level courses) can be taken as evidence of anything. ID must succeed either in the scientific literature or in the patent field to be useful. They have not budged an inch towards this goal. Therefore, they fail. Their focus on opinion polls in lieu of these tangible achievements says a lot about where their true priorities lie.

Comment #143518

Posted by Flint on November 9, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

Their focus on opinion polls in lieu of these tangible achievements says a lot about where their true priorities lie.

But of course, ID is nothing more than the PR agency of creationism. The goal isn’t to explain evidence, but to win converts. Opinion polls ARE the measure of success of a PR effort.

In brief, the claim that science has found god needs to be *believed* to be effective. Being accurate is basically irrelevant; accuracy has never been an ID priority.

Comment #143524

Posted by Alann on November 9, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

Opinion among college professors would not support there idea, it only show that there idea is being accepted.

Since there is no clear single definition of ID, so its hard to say what those who agreed thought they were agreeing with.

Of course outside their particular discipline professors are often not significantly better informed than the average person.

The good news is that ID is getting its message out there, I mean 75% of the overall strongly disagreed. The more you know the less your bound to like it.

Comment #143533

Posted by Steverino on November 9, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

Again, this is just another attempt to show the validity of ID thru a public opinion.

The fact that it does not require any reseach or evidence on that part ID…is their hallmake.

So, if opinion were to jump to 70% would that move it from concept, straight past Theory to Law?

Comment #143537

Posted by Sam on November 9, 2006 5:49 PM (e)

russel wrote:

I’ve never been entirely clear on what “born again” means.

It means different things to different denominations. It’s referred to by Catholics, Luthorans and Anglicans as part of the baptism - but the typical, american, colloquial usage is more evangelical and refers to the psychologically intense moment when you accepted a personal Jesus into your life.

It doesn’t really say anything about which flavour of dogma you subscribe to - so you’re no more likely to be YEC than ToE (he said charitably, despite the fact he personally suspects being born again indicates an unacceptable level of credulity).

Comment #143542

Posted by TLTB on November 9, 2006 6:20 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #143543

Posted by TLTB on November 9, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

“I’ve never been entirely clear on what born again means”

Amongst evangelicals and (I think) most protestants, it simply refers to an experience of repentence and turning to become a disciple of Jesus. It doesn’t have to be psychologically intense; what’s important is an emphasis on a very personal God and a relationship with him through the person of Jesus.

The term is a little less ‘in vogue’ these days (along with the term ‘evangelical’) because it has been often used interchangeably with the term ‘fundamentalist’ in a negative fashion.

Comment #143548

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 9, 2006 6:59 PM (e)

refers to the psychologically intense moment when you accepted a personal Jesus into your life

ahh yes, your own, personal, Jesus.

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/depeche+mode/personal+jesus_20039367.html

Comment #143556

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on November 9, 2006 10:33 PM (e)

Well, the good news for those wanting more data is that the paper is just a working paper, and the full report will be released later. The authors were disappointed in previous papers that didn’t release the data or detail the methodology, so I would think the odds are fairly high the data will be released with the full length report.

Comment #143558

Posted by PvM on November 9, 2006 10:42 PM (e)

Denyse, who seems to be recycling her material at various blogs observes that

“About 30 percent of community college professors considered intelligent design as a serious scientific alternative. Fewer than 6 percent of professors at elite universities took that position,” according to a study by sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University, who surveyed nearly 1500 US profs. This finding tracks other similar findings, and makes one wonder whether universities go out of their way to encourage and reward materialism.

Sigh… What an argument…. I am glad the ID movement has their Denyse and Sal, what a wonderful couple they make.

Comment #143583

Posted by Flint on November 10, 2006 8:56 AM (e)

This finding tracks other similar findings, and makes one wonder whether universities go out of their way to encourage and reward materialism.

If we define “materialism” as meaning “basing conclusions on observable evidence rather than just Making Stuff Up” then Denyse is quite correct. More prestigious institutions do indeed select for faculty more prone to being tricked by mere reality.

Comment #143601

Posted by PvM on November 10, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

refers to the psychologically intense moment when you accepted a personal Jesus into your life

The born again phenomenon, as well as the common practice of baptism in a lake or pool, strengthens the group dynamic using rituals. Such a practice contributes to internal group stability. While emotionally very powerful, they serve more than a single purpose.

Has anyone noticed that ‘personal jesus’ has been sung by many different musicians?

Johnny Cash, Marilyn Manson..

“Personal Jesus” is Depeche Mode’s twenty-third UK single, released on August 29, 1989, and the first single for the then upcoming album Violator. The song was covered by Johnny Cash, Lollipop Lust Kill and Gravity Kills in 2002, and by Marilyn Manson and by Richard Cheese in 2004. A Spanish version, titled “Tu único Dios (Personal Jesus)” was recorded by Acusicas for a Depeche Mode tribute album in 2006. The riff was sampled on Jamelia’s “Beware Of The Dog” in 2006 ([1]).

Comment #143611

Posted by Henry J on November 10, 2006 1:18 PM (e)

Re “If we define “materialism” as meaning “basing conclusions on observable evidence rather than just Making Stuff Up” then Denyse is quite correct.”

Well, if you’re gonna insist on a pathetic level of detail…

Comment #143660

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 10, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Pfffffft. ID is dead. Let Sal crow all he wants. (shrug)

Comment #143759

Posted by Ron Okimoto on November 11, 2006 9:44 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

Pfffffft. ID is dead. Let Sal crow all he wants. (shrug)

ID may be dead as political ploy to actually implement in the public school system. Philip Johnson seems to have thrown in the towel and admitted that the science was never there to support ID, but all you have to see is how the ID scam artists are concentrating on hawking their junk in the churches and other religious venues to know that just like scientific creationism before it, ID will survive for the forseeable future as a religious scam. The ICR, CRS, and AIG are still in operation and still hawking the same scientific creationist junk that was too stupid for the ID scam artists to claim to represent.

ID will now be relegated to the status that the ID scam artists relegated scientific creationism to. They will give it lip service and use it as a smoke screen to make it look like the next scam might be viable. They will only put it forward in public where it cannot be slammed in court again unless the rubes mess up and don’t get the message that the ID scam is no longer for that kind of “public” consumption. Like scientific creationism before it it will be relegated to the true believers.

These guys will be writing more books and scamming more rubes for decades if scientific creationism is any indication.

During the Dover trial it came out that the FTE publishing outfit responsible for Pandas and People knew that they would still make a profit on the creationist text that they were working on even after scientfic creationism was found to be bogus. They have that much contempt for their creationist audience. The new book that they are working on will be no different. My prediction is that it is no longer going to be an intelligent design book, but it will read as a list of things that they don’t like about science, or that they can fool the rubes into thinking matters for creationism to look viable. Anyone that thinks about buying the book, should just ask themselves why they can’t mention intelligent design in it? Just look at the model Ohio lesson plan that they have up at the Discovery Institute and you can get an idea of what the book will be like.

It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that ID was bogus when they can’t even mention it in the creationist replacement scam that is being perpetrated by the same scam artists that ran the ID scam, but how many people will be suckered into buying the junk and even believing that it means anything other than that there are people gulible enough to be fooled by guys willing to lie for a living.

Comment #143778

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 12, 2006 7:19 AM (e)

ID will survive for the forseeable future as a religious scam.

Indeed. The IDers will indeed retire to obscurity and make their living selling religious tracts to the gullible.

And as long as they have no political power behind them and no chance to get their crap into public schools, I don’t care if they write religious tracts from now until Jesus comes back. (shrug)

Comment #143835

Posted by Ron Okimoto on November 12, 2006 4:43 PM (e)

Nothing is going to change very much. Just look at creation science and you know that it bit the dust with Overton’s decision in 1981. The ID perps are already hawking a replacement scam to try and get into the public schools and they came up with it back in 1999. They already knew that ID wasn’t going to make the grade over half a decade ago, but it didn’t matter to them. What excuse do guys like ID supporters over at Dembski’s blog have? The guys that ran the ID scam had already come up with the replacement scam half a decade before the ID scam was found to be bogus in court. Not only that, but the new scam is being perpetrated by the same guys that perpetrated the ID scam and the new scam doesn’t even mention that ID ever existed. If ID were even close to being legitimate, why can’t it even be mentioned in the replacement scam?

It looks like there will always be the “next” creationist scam for as long as there are rubes that are willing to go with the scams. It is a no brainer that some of them go willingly. Just look at what happened in Ohio when the state board found out that they had been lied to about ID. The majority of the creationists on the board rolled over for the replacement scam even though it was coming from the same guys that they knew had lied to them about ID. You can’t fight dishonesty and/or incompetence like that with rational argument.

TO and places like the Thumb are going to be up and doing the same thing for quite some time.