Cognitive Daily

Everyone on ScienceBlogs seems to be talking about the latest Intelligent Design debacle. Apparently the extremely famous blogger PZ Myers attempted to attend a free screening of Expelled, a Ben Stein screed against “Darwinists.” The security folks at the screening had been alerted that he would be there, and refused him admission. Yet the even more famous writer and anti-religion activist Richard Dawkins was allowed in.

Oh, the embarrassment! How could the ID movement neglect to ID one of its greatest enemies? Are they really that stupid?

On the other hand, maybe it’s not so easy to identify even famous people when you’re scanning a crowd. Put yourself in the position of one of the guards at the event. How easy would it be for you to pick your enemies out of the crowd?

This week’s Casual Friday study attempts to find out. You’ll be presented with a quick slide-show movie (QuickTime required) that may or may not contain a picture of Richard Dawkins, along with other famous and not-so-famous people. Then you’ll be quizzed on what you saw.

We’ll soon see how easy it is to be an ID movie screener.

Click here to participate

There are just a few questions, so the survey should only take a couple minutes to complete. There is no limit on the number of respondents. I’m going to be out of town next week, so you’ll have an extra week to respond — until Thursday, April 3. Then don’t forget to check back on Friday, April 4 for the results!

Comments

  1. #1 Lucas
    March 21, 2008

    Hmm. I know who most of the people in the list are, but I couldn’t pick many of them out of a line-up. (E.g. I have no idea what Meyers, Dembski or Behe look like.) A better designed study would have had a third page which asked the viewer to identify people from pictures

  2. #2 Anthony
    March 21, 2008

    Was Richard Dawkins actually on the list of enemies? If I made that movie I’d allow in my biggest (respected) competitor, but not some annoying schmoe blogger…

  3. #3 Anthony
    March 21, 2008

    Took the quiz honestly. Then went back and reviewed screen by screen. I honestly only recognized ONE guy out of the list…the younger girl and one other guy seemed kind of familiar, but don’t know their faces well enough to match them to any of the names provided.

  4. #4 libbyblue
    March 21, 2008

    the younger girl would be hayden, heroes cast member and recent popular cover girl. you’ve likely passed by her for months at the supermarket.

  5. #5 Kristjan Wager
    March 21, 2008

    Was Richard Dawkins actually on the list of enemies? If I made that movie I’d allow in my biggest (respected) competitor, but not some annoying schmoe blogger

    If I had made the movie, personally, I would have chosen to let anyone in who actually was featured in the movie. If Myers is worth interviewing, it would seem that they consider him a tad more than a “schmoe blogger”.

  6. #6 ChrisF
    March 21, 2008

    Is this really representative at all? The Expelled crew presumably had a list beforehand. They knew who they were looking for before they saw the people. They then had the opportunity to scan the crowd with the ability to quickly dismiss certain people and spend more time identifying the evil atheists. This survey was an interesting way to prove that people don’t generally have great recall skills, but it doesn’t seem representative of the actual Expelled incident here.

    BTW… my in-memory vision of Richard Dawkins is from the back cover of a ca. 1990 copy of the Selfish Gene. I’m pretty sure I would have a hard time identifying the actual Richard Dawkins from a crowd even if I had that source in my hand.

  7. #7 Mike
    March 21, 2008

    Since people attending the screening were required to show ID and sign in so they could be checked against a list, I don’t see why the ability to screen a crowd for faces would really have been all that necessary.

  8. #8 ChrisF
    March 22, 2008

    Wow, the first time I watched it I was sure I saw Michael Behe. After watching it again in slow-mo, I see that it was really PZ. Count me as a probable zero on the survey.

  9. #9 Jon Nordland
    March 22, 2008

    Too bad not all of us have that ungodly quicktime player. But sitll. Thanks for a nice site. I love your RSS feed!

  10. #10 tigtog
    March 22, 2008

    Since people attending the screening were required to show ID and sign in so they could be checked against a list, I don’t see why the ability to screen a crowd for faces would really have been all that necessary.

    Dawkins apparently got through the ID screening by the extremely sneaky measure of having planned well ahead and thus been registered at birth as Clinton Richard Dawkins, which is the name on his passport.

  11. #11 Brendan Maher
    March 27, 2008

    Great idea! Nature’s news blog is running a similar facial recognition quiz here

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