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More on Pew's evolution survey & valid inferences about polarization

Not here-- but over on  Stats Legend Andrew Gelman's Statistical Modeling & Causal Inference blog.  AG also featured the issue on the Monkeycage couple days ago.

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Reader Comments (18)

Well done, Andrew!

I count myself in the tribe of Prof. Kahan, and his acolyte: Andrew—rigorous analysis, skeptic of partisans, and finding a theory to fit the facts, instead of the reverse. These principles cut across belief as a matter of faith, whether in science or religiosity.

As a Tea Party sympathizer and believer in intelligent design, I pass Groucho Marx’s insightful test: “I wouldn’t want to join any club that would accept me as a member.” Dan rejects intelligent design as “goofy” and seems to regard the Tea Party as a fringe. Are Token Memberships available?

Re list item 1 on supreme-being: yes, of course. It’s the only way to reconcile evolution (a very intelligently-designed process) with intelligent design.

Where did the list come from? A lot of it is over my head, but I smell a learning opportunity. Are explanations available, or do I have to dig?

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

Well, I broke down and started a blog in order to better display data and have more flexible responses to the things we consider here. Regarding the Pew data for 2009 and 2013, triangle plots are availiable at

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL

Pretty sure Andrew cannot be characterized as an acolyte of anyone except maybe Rev. Bayes. (And the frequentists are much more tribal)
On the list-- I assume you mean the particular response options for Pew's evolution question? I don't know, in fact, what the history of Pew's survey item is. Notice that it is similar to Gallup's-- the history of which I also do not know. Maybe you will be moved to research & report?
Reaction to Pew's study was 1st time that I saw media treating "diving being" & "natural selection" answers as equivalent forms of "belief in evolution." Similar to recent trend in advocacy group poling to disregard "human caused" vs. "natural cycles" in survey responses to question "believe in global warming?"

January 11, 2014 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@FrankL-- I'm having trouble w/ link ... Am eager to see!

January 11, 2014 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

FrankL - not that I would understand your stuff anyway, but I was unable to register at your site. Could be some kind of glitch?

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Grr - It seems to work on my computer, and another that I am not a user on.

• Try the home page at
• Maybe you need a password? Try CommTools
• Let me know exactly what the "symptoms" are and I will track it down.

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL


I have been able to register, and leave a comment in the "guestbook."

However, I seem to be unable to leave any comments on your posts. I can see some possibilities:

(1) You are writing posts but aren't inviting comments
(2) You are inviting comments to your posts, but I am having some technical difficulties, or
(3) You are inviting comments, only not from me (which would be quite understandable).

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The pages are viewable now (thanks for the confirmation Joshua). I am working on making a page that accepts comments, but I am fine with any comments being posted here until I figure it out.

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL

Ok, the webpages ( has a comment section now. Unfortunately, I cannot generate multiple pages, each of which accept comments.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL


FYI - can't get on your site now!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@ Dan re list:

Sorry I wasn't clear about the list. No, not Pew. More profound I think.

It doesn't appear on the displayed portion; it's below the chart.

Clicking on the graph reveals the rest of the article. The 3rd paragraph down begins with: "But as Kahan notes...." and ends with a LINK "this list".

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

@Joshua - I've asked a number of friends to check the site availability from their computers, and they all can do it. Maybe it was a momentary problem?

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL


Oh, that list!

Looks like a lot of inside jokes for members of the "Bayesian tribe." You'll have to ask Gelman about the ones that seem mysterious -- or simply hang around his blog enough to learn their ways!

January 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

FrankL -

Weird (especially since I was able to access your site originally). Just for the hell of it I tried two different browsers and got a "Page not found" with each one.

And I'm not in China and my parents are no longer capable of restricting my web access (unless they have wireless in the afterlife).

Look - if you don't want me to leave comments at your site you can just say so. You don't have to go to these lengths prevent my access.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


Look - if you don't want me to leave comments at your site you can just say so. You don't have to go to these lengths prevent my access.

Of all the people in the world whom I would most welcome comments from are the people who discuss things on this blog, *particularly* the people with whom I have principled disagreements, such as yourself. Discussions with people who persistently agree with me, or who are mindless cheerleaders for a group that disagrees with me, have little information content, they are of less interest to me. I think you are neither. So there is a technical problem here. All I can think of is to clear your cache and/or use another browser, and be sure the address is correct. ( ). Please let me know if you still cannot get access.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL

OK - I'm back on again for some reason. Halleluiah! And really, FrankL, I was just having some fun, not serious about you shunning me nor fishing for complements (which I will take, however, as they are few and far between for me in these Internet dialogues).

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua-- @FrankL's site is really cool. I'm avoiding the enticing Bermuda/Pascal's triangle & digging into SCOTUS 2010

January 17, 2014 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Joshua - ok, good. Sorry I took you seriously. (Wait, that doesn't sound right :)

@Dan - I have to stop playing around with SCOTUS and get to the heirarchy stuff - I did the SCOTUS 2011 data and again, the left/right is crystal clear, and there is something else going on, certain consistencies, but I'm not sure what. I guess you'd say I am in the "confirmatory" phase now.

I notice the Ruger et. al. SCOTUS prediction scheme uses classification trees, just like Zachary David was talking about on the "explain my noise" thread.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankL

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