Steve Reuland has an excellent post at the Panda’s Thumb shredding the DI’s claim that 2/3 of doctors reject evolution. For nearly 2 years now, the DI has been making this claim and it’s based on a Finkelstein survey that they go to great lengths to selectively distort to try and support their argument. The survey asked lots of specific questions, out of which the ID folks pick out one vague one to misinterpret:
One question gives respondents three choices, each of which requires the respondent to make a statement about his or her belief in God. The choices are as follows: 1. God created humans exactly as they appear now; 2. God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings; 3. Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role. This question is practically identical to one commonly asked in surveys for the general public, which provides a handy means of comparison…
The trick played by Egnor and the DI is to take the answers to 1 and 2 and combine them together, claiming that anyone who agrees with those choices must be an ID supporter, whereas only those who agree with the third option are “Neo-Darwinists” or whatever it is they’re calling us these days. But this is extremely dishonest. The Discovery Institute knows good and well that many people who choose option 2 are ardent supporters of evolution and opponents of ID. In fact, many of their harshest critics, including some of us here at the ‘Thumb, are theists who believe that God guided evolution in some sense. Yet they reject ID and accept Darwinian evolution in no uncertain terms.
Option #2 – God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings – is not ID, it’s theistic evolution. So what do the ID folks say about theistic evolution and ID? Well here’s what Bill Dembski said in a response to theistic evolutionist Howard Van Till:
Howard Van Till’s review of my book No Free Lunch exemplifies perfectly why theistic evolution remains intelligent design’s most implacable foe. Not only does theistic evolution sign off on the naturalism that pervades so much of contemporary science, but it justifies that naturalism theologically — as though it were unworthy of God to create by any means other than an evolutionary process that carefully conceals God’s tracks.
He’s hardly alone. Other ID advocates have also argued vehemently that ID and theistic evolution are conflicting positions, yet here they are trying to grab theistic evolutionists into their camp to reach the result they want. But the intellectual dishonesty doesn’t stop there. In fact, the doctors surveyed were asked quite specifically whether they supported evolution or ID. Needless to say, the DI never mentions the results for that question.
When asked “Do you agree more with evolution or more with intelligent design?” the results are not good for ID. 63% say evolution, while only 34% say ID. And that’s with only 4% of respondents being atheists and over 70% being Christian or Jewish. And it’s with only 25% being politically liberal. Likewise when asked “What are your views on Evolution?” the results are precisely the opposite of what the DI claims: 78% accept it and only 15% reject it. And here’s my favorite: when asked “Do you believe that intelligent design has legitimacy as science or do you believe it is only a covert way of getting creationism into the schools?” nearly 58% agreed that it was religiously-inspired pseudo-science. It appears that doctors aren’t nearly as disconnected from reality as the DI wishes they were.