Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Survey of CoE readers - results

34 people took the survey of CoE readers (31 completed it). Here are the results:

1. For how long have you known about Carnival of Evolution?
Since the beginning (August, 2008): 38.2%
Since sometime in 2009: 32.3%
Since sometime in 2010: 35.5%

2. How often do you read Carnival of Evolution?
Every month/edition: 44.1%
About every other edition: 32.4%
Less than every third edition: 8.8%
This is my first time: 14.7%

3. On average how many posts featured in the Carnival do you click through to read on the authoring blog?
0: 2.9%
1: 5.9%
2: 17.6%
3: 32.4%
4: 11.8%
5: 17.6%
6: 5.9%
More than 6: 0.0%
All: 5.9%

4. How often do you contribute blog-posts to Carnival of Evolution?
Never (I don't blog): 32.4%
Never (I don't write about evolution): 2.9%
Never (other reason): 11.8%
Every month: 11.8%
Other: 11.8% (most answers were every other or every third edition)

5. Is evolutionary biology your main interest in science?
Yes: 50.0%
No: 50.0%

6. What is your highest level of education?
High school degree: 5.9%
College degree: 14.7%
Master's degree: 35.3%
PhD degree: 32.4%
Something else: 11.8% (all four getting degrees)

7. Do you work in science?
Yes: 61.8%
No: 38.2%

8. Do you believe in evolution?
Yes: 91.2%
No: 5.9%
Unsure: 2.9%

Why/why not?
1. Evidence
2. "believe in" ?? that's mighty weird wording!
3. Biology is kinda pointless without it...
4. But you should rephrase "Do you accept evolution?"
5. However, Evolution is NOT a matter of belief. It is a matter of fact. Poor phrasing of the question on your part.
6. Evolution is a fact.
7. "Believe in" is a dymb way to put it. I accept evolution.
8. Because of all the mountains of evidence!
10. Really - I ACCEPT evolution. One should not use 'believe' in this context!
11. Best explains mountains of evidence.

★ ★ ★

Thanks to all who took the survey. Also to those whose pet peeve is that one should not say 'believe in evolution'. To those of you: You need to look up what 'believe' means. It does not only refer to a faith-like belief, but can be a belief grounded in evidence, such as "I believe that E. coli have evolved an ability to metabolize citrate" or "I believe whales evolved from land animals". To believe irrespective of evidence - on faith - is only one meaning. Don't let the 'believers' distort the meaning of the word 'believe', please.

Merriam-Webster | Cambridge | Urban | Encarta | Newbury House


  1. Great point about use of the word "believe" in this context. It adds credibility to creationists who criticise evolution as a belief system, in much the same way as those who criticize it as "just a theory." "Believe" and "Theory" both have broader meaning than what the creationists would have everyone "believe."

  2. So what do you think, Ted? Should we stop saying believe and say 'accept' instead? AS I said, I don't want to change the language because hicks can't use it properly.

  3. Not at all - I meant to say that your point on using the word believe was a good one. Evolutionists shouldn't be forced run away from valid terminology just because creationists try to coopt it for other meanings.

    For the record, "accept" is also not without unintended connotation - it implies that to not accept the evidence is a valid choice as well.

  4. "The dictionary says..." is a unimaginative lead for boring speeches and a weak buttress to any argument. BELIEVE is on every sappy t-shirt, cheap coffee cup, teeny bopper feel good poster produced. Evolution is not a matter of belief. We confirm, acknowledge evolution is a mortal lock fact.