Many blogs have reacted to my post, "Activism and the problem with blog polls". In this post, I described how I had emailed a poll to ID critics, asking them about intelligent design. The poll consisted of the question, "On which points are intelligent design and creationism identical?", followed by various options, of which the last was: "G. None of the above options accurately describe the relationship between creationism and intelligent design."
But this attempt was quickly dashed, as a few critics used their blogs to tell others what to reply. Within 27 minutes of having received his email, Wesley Elsberry of The Austringer had posted the contents of my letter, advising others to reply by choosing "G". Later, he said, "Hopefully, the issues are now clear to other webmasters and bloggers." John Lynch of Stranger Fruit was hot on the heels of Elsberry, assuring his readers that "The answer is, of course, 'G' and 'G' alone." Tara Smith of Aetiology linked to Eslberry's and Lynch's post, advising people to "check out their comments before sending your answer back." And Paul Myers of the widely read Pharyngula quickly linked to all of these posts, making sure to get the news out to anyone who might have received a poll.
In my post, I put a question to Elsberry that might as well be asked to all of those bloggers: "If the poll was indeed "wretchedly incomplete", as Elsberry claims, why did he see it necessary to notify his fellow bloggers immediately after receiving the poll? Was he worried that some might feel that one or more of my options adequately described their perception of intelligent design?" So far, his only response has been to post a couple of comments on his blog, neither of which answer this question. Fortunately, "Analyysi" is there, trying to get an answer out of Elsberry.
Joshua Rosenau of Thoughts from Kansas tries to defend the practice:
Apparently this was a closed book test, but no one was told about that. And it was people's right not to reply, but not to choose option G. Also, respondents were assured anonymity, but there he is, identifying respondents.
But Rosenau is wrong: It wasn't a test, it was a poll. And when polling people, you usually don't let them coordinate their responses. Imagine that a surveying company had sent out a poll, asking Americans what they believed were the rationale for the war against Iraq. Furthermore imagine that a number of republican bloggers had immediately used their websites to tell people that the correct answer was "To bring democracy to Iraq", and that the war had nothing to do with claims about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Had that been the case, I doubt that Rosenau would have been complaining about it being a "closed book test".
As for the claim that I've dishonestly been identifying respondents, Kevin Parker gets it exactly right: The promise of anonymity was so that people could respond without fearing that their response was made public without their consent. I have no control over people using their own blogs to tell others what they replied.
One of those people is the author of the blog Afarensis, who writes:
If Krauze is saying I am pro-science and an ID outsider, doesn't that imply that Krauze thinks ID is not pro-science?
It is true that I addressed the recipients of my letter as contributing to "a blog which has been identified as a 'pro-science blog'." Which it has been: The Panda's Thumb links to Afarensis from its list of "Science and Evolution Blogs". So, rather than being some damning admission, this is just an example of the common-sense practice of using the terms that a group uses to describe itself.
Added Later: krauze is claiming some sort of conspiracy about the poll he sent out. So let me clear it up for him, we did not receive marching orders from Elsberry. The response was the same because we all recognize a poorly designed survey (you didn't mention choice H: 'Intelligent design' is a subset of the arguments previously labeled 'creation science' in your post, by the by) when we see one.
Of course, I didn't say anything about a "conspiracy" or about "marching orders from Elsberry." I'm simply pointing out the likelihood that respondents were being influenced by the public pronouncements from ID critics that the poll was flawed because it lacked 'the only answer an ID critic would give'.
Finally, Jeffrey Langstraat of culturekitchen points out that my poll wasn't phrased like a professional survey (e.g. instead of having one question with multiple options, I should have had several questions with only a few possible answers to each). This is hardly surprising, considering that I dashed the thing off on my lunch break. As I said, it was just an informal survey. Some of the criticisms of the survey are a bit more severe if true, though, and I'll be looking at them in another post.