Polls, Leading Questions and Precision while Speaking

This article entitled Poll finds more Americans believe in devil than Darwin recently came to my attention.  First of all the poll was 2,455 American adults.  Out of slightly more than 300,000,000 total Americans.  That’s less than one thousandth of one percent.

This quote really caught my eye.

“Darwin’s theory of evolution met a far more skeptical audience which might surprise some outsiders as the United States is renowned for its excellence in scientific research.”

America may be known for its excellence in scientific research, but its science EDUCATION is pathetically lacking.  Ask me, I’m a science teacher.  Most of my students are not even willing to consider the evidence for evolution.  Many of my students have said, “I don’t care what the evidence is,  I won’t believe in evolution.”

And these are our future leaders.  Sigh.

The majority of US citizens still think that Darwin said humans came from apes.  Of course, that offends them and anything that offends them is obviously wrong.

I won’t get on my soap box.  If anyone is curious, I can point to a number of excellent scientific resources.

Another question kind of surprised me not because of the question, but the misleading nature of the questions.  (One reason I hate multiple choice polls.)

“The survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus two percent, found that 35 percent of the respondents believed in UFOs and 31 percent in witches.”

If someone asked me if I believe in UFOs, then I would say yes.  There are things that are unexplained.  Do I believe that they are alien starships?  Heck no.  That’s pretty ridiculous.  UFO has come to mean alien, but it really means ‘unidentified’.

If they asked me do I believe in witches, again, I would say yes.  I know several witches.  Do I believe that they can use magic to change their environment (people to frogs, and raise a person with their fingertips), of course not.  That’s silly.  But, technically speaking,  a practitioner of the religion of Wicca is a witch.

I do believe that the rituals they use, much like the rituals of various other religions (Catholicism for example) is used to ones internal mental and emotional state.  Call it magic or religion or divine intervention… whatever.  It’s all the same.

What is sadly lacking in today’s world is precision while speaking (or writing).  Yes, I’m guilty too, but I try very hard to say what I mean and mean what I say with as little ambiguity as possible.

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~ by OgreMkV on December 2, 2007.

2 Responses to “Polls, Leading Questions and Precision while Speaking”

  1. Yours is a clever way of thiiknng about it.

  2. Hola Jon:Como puede leerse en las bases, la viabilidad es uno de los parámetros del concurso y uno importante, pero no el único.Gracias por tus valoraciones.

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