Peaceful Science has eclipsed Uncommon Descent. How will that impact TSZ’s reason to be?

The original mission of TSZ, as intended by the U.K.’s Dr. Elizabeth Liddle, who promoted the site to apostate peers & ‘skeptics,’ often at anti-religious online forums, lists & discussion boards, has passed its due date. She & they (many of the early people who joined) shared the experience in common of being ‘expelled’ (banned) from the IDist blog Uncommon Descent (UD) & to have their own sandbox to critique UD was the main mission of TSZ. There was no ‘inspirational’ core that Liddle offered upon departure from her own site, but returning to it in November to talk mainly about UD again could only be a fool’s errand.

My argument here is that UD is by now pretty much outdated. UD is generally seen as oddball &/or gutter-level IDist discussion, far adrift from serious conversation on the topic. It is shrinking in relevance now year on year. It thus isn’t really worth ‘reporting’ on or ‘opposing’ UD at TSZ anymore, though that IDist site was the early focus of TSZ & what brought many (most) of the early participants together. Is UD really worth time for ‘skeptics’ nowadays?

More importantly, the new blog Peaceful Science (PS) has recently surpassed BioLogos in terms of daily & hourly regular traffic & far outreaches the topics that UD used to breach. It has actual scientists, elderly or retired ‘science & religion/worldview’ people who contribute often a LOT, woolly protestants & ‘unitarian’ (or maybe just one who posts as much as 5 people), pedantic ‘natural theologians’, & S. Joshua Swamidass actually just called one person a ‘prophet’ as a welcome greeting. PS even ‘welcomes’ atheists (Swamidass has made it a point to defend Freedom From Religion Foundation proponent who is a self-described ‘militant atheist’ against multiple Christians) & agnostics & patiently fields all legitimate ‘scientific’ questions. Are you skeptical of ‘Peaceful Science’ and a ‘Science of Adam’ as proclaimed by quasi-creationists, ideology-starved geneticists & fence-sitting ‘reformers’?

Well, regarding atheists, that is, they are apparently welcome at PS until they behave like a recent atheist visitor from TSZ who was banned there & subsequently also temporarily suspended here for making a post about PS & Swamidass that violated site rules. Nevertheless, one of the 2 atheist/agnostic TSZ moderators has started to post there, showing that TSZ has already begun taking an interest in PS. Indeed, I encourage more people from here to go there to participate as it is much more lively & interesting than here or UD.

What are the atheists/agnostics here waiting for when you can go discuss with ‘scientists’ (the ones you count as having the ‘most real’ or ‘most valuable’ knowledge) there too?

The author of this writing was likewise banned years ago from Uncommon Descent & considers it in hindsight & with distance now as one of the historically filthiest instruments of the IDM, though few from the DI post there anymore. ENV would quickly descend to the same level if it opened comments, which is why it doesn’t. UD, however, is much less active & important now than it was 3-7 years ago, after being founded by once-ID Poster Boy, then disgraced retiree, now reinvented ‘intelligence’ apologist, William Dembski.

At this point I will not discuss my distant personal relationship with Swamidass, only to say that I find his views highly distorted by an insidious ideology that he simply refuses to acknowledge openly & thus tosses himself into fits about each time we meet in public. Such philosophistry has a cure with time, Joshua! Nevertheless, I am quite pleased to see Swamidass’ founding & participation at Peaceful Science during the summer months. He has held back on Patreon for now (bombast necessitated he set up the page at least, right?), but will surely be looking for a sponsor to become the mantle he seems intently desirous to build for himself as ‘5th Voice’. If he keeps this up, he *will* find a sponsor soon, though TSZ won’t ever find a sponsor because it is largely valueless & merely ‘skeptical’ of what is full of value and good in comparison. I will continue to watch with interest as Dr. Swamidass is putting forward a position that looks like it will be thoroughly crushed by scholars and scientists alike, across the spectrum of atheist to theist. That is, if ever it enters the ‘actual’ arena that he has only pretended to have entered already; the arena of ‘strictly natural science’ with his almost Feyerabendian anarchism & scientistic views of biblical/scientific ‘Adam & Eve’. It’s a rather unique combination of views & more importantly attitude, that in its current discombobulated state is destined to collapse or just constantly ‘re-invent’ & ‘reform’ itself (as Luther’s shadows lately darken with discontent over PS & BioLogos). 

This has all happened just in the past 2 years, with Swamidass loudly clawing at the hearts of Francis Collins’ BioLogos with his racism scandal involving Deborah Haarsma, Jim Stump & Dennis Venema that continues to rock Swamidass’ tense relationship with their all-white leadership. Three years ago the guy didn’t exist on the scene; now with tenure in hand he wants to genealogically & genetically relativise ‘Adam & Eve’ as loudly & defiantly of Christian orthodoxy as he can muster backed by naturalised authority & laboratory money. Thus, he continues to feud with BioLogos about how ostracised by fellow evangelicals he feels himself to be, while acting just as evangelically as ever before, armed to proselytize his own sketchy & often-changing personal ‘confessions’ as a ‘practising evolutionary scientist.’

At the same time, Seattle quakes its protective, sheltered voice with Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Ann Gauger & Paul Nelson now partially engaging people at PS too. Hurrah, Joshua! IDists are usually quite simple opponents in debate. Yet they claim they are not & puff up the DIs PR machine to protest otherwise. Still, when it really comes down to arguments, ‘Intelligent Design’ the way the DI means it & its political & (natural) theological proponents have aimed it, isn’t much to take apart, easy to set aside & quick to move safely beyond, though it still snares some people. Even for Abrahamic monotheists, who already accept the theological ‘design argument,’ it is not that difficult to politely & properly put away from polite conversation the sincere, often kind, usually earnest appeals of either naively misinformed, or chronically double-talking IDist authors from the DI.

With the recent arrival of the IDM’s gentle, wordy dragon Eddie Robinson at PS via retired MD & amateur social psychologist Jon Garvey’s blog of protest-oriented theological musings, fireworks seem set to ensue. This is largely because Eddie Robinson displays DI’s hyper-conservative fear-concocted ‘Expelled Syndrome,’ a psycho-social complex that several leaders of the IDM have developed, though Dr. Garvey leaves them all out of his analyses as ‘still reforming good guys’ & thus not actually in need of healing from Expelled Syndrome at all. Swamidass obviously welcomes too ‘non-denominational’ religious studies iconoclastic IDism as part of the promotion of defiant peace-making. They’ll have to do a LOT of off-site or private scripting to find a ‘middle road’ among them. Let us hope that together they can appeal to a greater good & find a better way forward than the warring & conflict language Swamidass so often returns to, using repetitive conflict-oriented, almost militaristic language (he gladly accepts self-described ‘militants’ at his site, which shocked this Canadian) in order to try to promote peace. I guess USAmericans have their own vision of ‘peace’ that most of the world simply does not accept & which makes it a rather difficult conversation given that most of the coordinated action on this topic is still USA-centred.

As a sociologist of this conversation for @15 years, I foresee major problems ahead at PS between George & Patrick, Eddie & Patrick, Eddie & George & between Swamidass & his embrace of evangelicalistic institutional power. Swamidass’ low-level philosophical relativism will ruin many opportunities that could have been achieved had he not started with unrealistic expectations placed upon himself & ‘Peaceful Science.’ There is Jeremiah 6:14 and yet Swamidass tries valiantly to be a peace-monger in a war-drenched, hyper-competitive nation of people. Again, he will deny all of this because it is outside of what he was ‘scientifically’ trained to understand, nevertheless, Swamidass’ ‘charming’ (word fumbling & stumbling) relativism may indeed be exactly the opening people here need to enter a conversation that has oftentimes eluded them. Why not visit PS to try it? Mung certainly won’t be waiting to test his IDist faith out there, right?

Swamidass seems to consider his own personality & family story as a force of Adamic empowerment. His desire is for people to sit up on the ‘Empty Chair’ he is showing everyone from right next to that Chair, in order to provide what he considers (after the BioLogos racism fiasco in which Swamidass basically dismissed himself) a much-needed ‘5th Voice’ – true Justice delivered by what he himself coined as ‘the Swamidass Model’ – among a larger cohort of mainly Millennial USAmericans. This is the ‘same approach, but different’ from most evangelical creationists, while at the same time Swamidass is vying for mainly evangelicals’ time, attention & missionary support. Swamidass sets himself up like a protestant guru of ‘genetic/genealogical Adam & Eve’ discourse, as if his message should be pertinent not only for every scholar in the academy, but specifically for non-evangelical Christians, Muslims, Jews & even Unitarians & Buddhists to embrace & celebrate GAE.

The emergence of Swamidass’ loud, ambitious & currently active position certainly has added many surprises to the conversation involving natural evolution, divine Creation & ideological IDism. I will be watching Swamidass’ new site curiously at a distance while working on other things. TSZers, they are inviting you there to engage ‘them’ in quite a new way. How many skeptics will dare challenge their skepsis with Swamidass & co.?

84 thoughts on “Peaceful Science has eclipsed Uncommon Descent. How will that impact TSZ’s reason to be?

  1. colewd: What science really challenges Christianity?

    I guess that depends on what you define to be essential christian doctrine.

    Somewhere in Genesis there’s the claim made that Jacob took out his goats to have them copulate, and in order to “induce” them to look differently he takes some branches from different trees, cuts some nice lines and patterns in the branches, and then he sticks these branches and rods in the ground next to the copulating goats. Then later the goats give birth to baby goats that are now spotted, striped, and speckled.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not why goats (or indeed any animal) has stripes or dots and science would have something to say about what is causing animals to have dots or stripes. And it isn’t “magical” sticks that you’ve cut some pretty markings on, that you put into the ground next to copulating livestock.

    ETA: It’s in Genesis 30:37-39.

    Of course, is that particular fable obviously written by someone before the age of mendelian genetics, even essential christian doctrine? I suppose you could just say no and then not see any conflict between christianity and science.

    And then we could just move on to other stuff, like the sun or moon standing still, the sea being parted, a speaking burning bush, sticks turning into snakes, rivers turning to blood, talking donkeys and serpents, walking on water, curing blindness and what have you by laying on hands, turning water into wine, feeding hundreds with a few loaves of bread etc. etc.

  2. Neil Rickert: But a sensible Christianity is not challenged by science.

    Is there any such thing? I mean, many things about Jesus are at odds with science, like the resurrection or being born off a virgin, and those are central christian beliefs

  3. dazz: Is there any such thing? I mean, many things about Jesus are at odds with science, like the resurrection or being born off a virgin, and those are central christian beliefs

    I think it is mainly catholics who see the virgin birth as central. And some Christians take the resurrection to be an entirely spiritual thing (the soul was resurrected, but not the body).

  4. Neil Rickert: I think it is mainly catholics who see the virgin birth as central.

    Oh, interesting. I would have thought bible literalists do agree on that one with catholics

    Luke 1:34–38

    34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

    35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

    38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

    who cares anyway

    Neil Rickert: And some Christians take the resurrection to be an entirely spiritual thing (the soul was resurrected, but not the body).

    Now that’s news to me

  5. Alan Fox: Not sure science or the scientific method challenges Christianity as such. It’s when religious claims are testable it becomes a problem. The classic example being YEC claims that the Earth came into existence 6,000 years ago.

    Alan,
    For this to be fair, the scientific method should apply equally to both sides of the controversy… Unfortunately, people like Swamidass neither help religion nor science… No wonder people lose faith in religion…
    I doubt very much Earth will ever turn out to be 6000 years old, which means that the creative day would have to be not literal…
    My kids say that to God one day is like a 1000 years and a 1000 years like one day…
    They must be quoting some scriptures ….

  6. Neil Rickert: The truth” — what is that, other than your own subjective viewpoint.

    It’s true but it there can’t be two truths just like there can’t be two different mathematical results that are true. Either 2+2=4 is true or 2+2=5 is false. Both can’t be true…unless you are Lawrence or the Arabia Krauss…. lol

  7. Gregory: That’s a pretty big horse you rode in on.

    Are you surprised? Have you been following TSZ for a bit? That’s all I do… I’m tired of catering to peoples unfounded beliefs… I don’t care if I get banned at PS… The very few people over there are a waste of time…if they are real…Ane Gauger is real… lol

  8. Neil Rickert: That depends on which branch of Christianity.For sure, science challenges (refutes) the YEC version.But a sensible Christianity is not challenged by science.

    What Christianity is that? I’ve been looking all over for it…

  9. Rumraket: And then we could just move on to other stuff, like the sun or moon standing still, the sea being parted, a speaking burning bush, sticks turning into snakes, rivers turning to blood, talking donkeys and serpents, walking on water, curing blindness and what have you by laying on hands, turning water into wine, feeding hundreds with a few loaves of bread etc. etc.

    You were there?
    How do you know that the pretty well known technological forces were not used there?
    Maybe you are just uninformed, just to put it lightly…

  10. Who needs KairosFocus of UD to keep TSZ alive when you have these developments. BWAHAHA!

    http://sciencenordic.com/scientists-warn-creationism-rise-Europe

    February 24, 2015 – 06:25

    More and more people in Europe are beginning to believe that a god — not evolution — shaped life on Earth and there are no signs this development will stop.

    Creationism, the belief that a god — not evolution — shaped life on Earth, is by no means restricted to people from the Bible belt in the US or illiterates in remote corners of civilisation.

    Not at all, in fact it’s spreading in the very stronghold of evolution, Europe. That’s the conclusion of five years of research that’s been put into new book on creationism. The book details how creationism is on the march throughout most of Europe.

    Creationism has particularly been on the rise in step with the internet, which according to Peter Kjærgaard has made it much easier for people to become activists and hurl out statements in favour of creationism which look as though they carry just as much weight as scientific results.

    The scientists’ 296-page book ‘Creationism in Europe” has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

    and

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-schools-largely-avoid-teaching-evolution-report/

    30 August 2018

    > Several teachers who spoke to Channel 10 said the Education Ministry prefers they teach as little about evolution as possible. The educators said they received no training on the topic and received hints from the ministry that it was better to focus on other subjects.

    > Biology classes in kindergarten and elementary school do not mention Charles Darwin’s theory that all life evolved from common ancestors, and in middle school it is only alluded to as part of general discussions, the TV report said.

    >Four years ago, the high school curriculum was revised, the report said. Previously there had been one unit on evolution in the matriculation exams. In the new curriculum, the religiously sensitive theory of common descent has been omitted, and replaced with classes on species survival and genetic modifications and adaptations based on environmental factors.

    > A 2016 Pew Report found that just over half of Israeli Jews believe in evolution (53%), but huge disparities were found between religious groups on the subject. Just 3% of ultra-Orthodox Jews, 11% of Modern Orthodox, and 35% of traditional Jews believe in evolution. Among the secular, 83% believe humans and other living things have evolved over time, and those with a university education subscribed to the belief more readily – 72%– than those that didn’t – 50%. Some 80% of Russian-speaking Jews believe in evolution.

    BWAHAHA!

  11. J-Mac: What’s your point Sal?

    I was pointing out TSZ will always have a reason to exist because creationism will always exist even if UD goes away.

  12. stcordova: I was pointing out TSZ will always have a reason to exist because creationism will always exist even if UD goes away.

    Why kind of creationism? The one that might fit some sketchy scientific evidence? Or the one that doesn’t fit it at all?

  13. stcordova: Any and all kinds. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    This is bs Sal, and you know it…If you can’t acknowledge this, you are lost…

    BTW: The reason why I encouraged you to go back to QM is that quantum biology may become big… I mean really big… I’m clueless how far it can go but if my predictions are even 10% right, it will kill a lot of the science you do…

  14. Neil Rickert: But a sensible Christianity is not challenged by science.

    Agreed. I’ve always been puzzled by the idea that Christianity is challenged by evolutionary theory.

  15. Kantian Naturalist: Agreed. I’ve always been puzzled by the idea that Christianity is challenged by evolutionary theory.

    How about Christianity challenging science? Have you ever thought of that?

  16. Seems odd that someone like J-Mac would then be so keen for his children to read the bible. If Christianity is incoherent why are you teaching it to your children?

  17. OMagain:
    Seems odd that someone like J-Mac would then be so keen for his children to read the bible. If Christianity is incoherent why are you teaching it to your children?

    I don’t make my kids to read anything… They have inquiring minds… That leads to many questions, which often inspired me to write the OPs here…

  18. Alan Fox:
    J-Mac,

    Yes. How could Christianity (assuming for the sake of argument there is such a coherent entity) challenge science?

    If Christianity supports the Genesis 1:1 account for example…

    Up until not that long ago, scientist had believed that the universe had no beginning, contrary to the biblical statement “‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'”.

    Christianity, and other Abrahamic religions that had stuck to the biblical idea of the universe that had a beginning, were mocked and bullied…

    However, they have been vindicated when the evidence of the expanding universe could no longer be ignored…

    Unfortunately, the evidence of the beginning of the universe didn’t make many scientists happy… especially those who had committed their beliefs to materialism…
    Scientific mind is supposed to be objective… though we learn everyday that is not the case… especially when the evidence conflicts with the scientific belief….

  19. J-Mac, it isn’t looking pretty for you over at Peaceful Science.

    Neil is doing much better, by actually having a conversation instead of just posturing & boasting of what you think you know to people who certainly appear to have considerably more knowledge than you & ability to clearly & concisely articulate it.

    Most of the people you are ‘challenging’ at PS are simply amused, because you are trying to teach professional physicists about physics.

    This a case where, if J-Mac were actually to show what ‘science’ he has done with his hands vs. what he simply pretends to know, the conversation would be quickly over.

    There are indeed some theists, who do much more damage than good in these conversations. J-Mac fits into that category for me. It doesn’t seem he’s actually a theist though, since people ask & he/she never answers. A kind of pomo new agey thing, J-Mac seem to have got going, while puffing up ‘intelligence’ against evangelicalistic protestants at PS & being shown lacking each & every time by them who are more orthodox than he is. Tragic confusion. A better way is available…

  20. Gregory:
    J-Mac, it isn’t looking pretty for you over at Peaceful Science.

    Neil is doing much better, by actually having a conversation instead of just posturing & boasting of what you think you know to people who certainly appear to have considerably more knowledge than you & ability to clearly & concisely articulate it.

    Most of the people you are ‘challenging’ at PS are simply amused, because you are trying to teach professional physicists about physics.

    This a case where, if J-Mac were actually to show what ‘science’ he has done with his hands vs. what he simply pretends to know, the conversation would be quickly over.

    There are indeed some theists, who do much more damage than good in these conversations. J-Mac fits into that category for me. It doesn’t seem he’s actually a theist though, since people ask & he/she never answers. A kind of pomo new agey thing, J-Mac seem to have got going, while puffing up ‘intelligence’ against evangelicalistic protestants at PS & being shown lacking each & every time by them who are more orthodox than he is. Tragic confusion. A better way is available…

    Thanks Gregory! This is one of the nicest things a blogger has ever said to me…
    Someone, not that long ago, called me a Quantum Christian… would that mean my God is Quantum as well?

    BTW: A good buddy of mine recently got tired of my QM and told me that he’d rather avoid the imponderables…
    I responded with: ” There are no imponderables. There is just a void of imagination”.

  21. graham2:
    J-Mac,Gregory was calling you a buffoon in just about every line.

    Technically, that’s one of the nicest things a blogger has ever said to J-Tard

  22. This is a reason TSZ will continue to exist. From Johns Hopkins University Press:

    https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/creationism-europe

    The irony is that Johns Hopkins University Press adopts the attitude that the rise of creationism in Europe is a bad thing when one of its favorite sons, Ben Carson is a creationist, and 3 endowed Medical Professor Chairs are through a Creationist James Gills! Ah the irony!

  23. stcordova:
    This is a reason TSZ will continue to exist.From Johns Hopkins University Press:

    https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/creationism-europe

    The irony is that Johns Hopkins University Pressadopts the attitude that the rise of creationism in Europe is a bad thing when one of its favorite sons, Ben Carson is a creationist, and 3 endowed Medical Professor Chairs are through a Creationist James Gills!Ah the irony!

    Any rise of creationism in europe is great. Its a sign they see something is wrong. people just need a hint, a clue, a proding, to look intellectually at the claims that God/genesis are not a option or the obvious option, or worthy of consideration when so many think its true.
    Ben Carson was a great voice, and more to come.
    It satisfys me to see the bad guys always afraid. I think its a deeper fear. I think they think the present acceptance of evolutionism amongst the public is not based on analysing its merits but mere acceptance of authority.
    with a challenge to the authority they fear they could lose a great heap also not based on analysis.
    i suspect the upper classes believe the people believe things based on authority.
    so threats are not from the merits of a case but a authority challenge.
    ID does this in high educational circles and YEC does this with the common people.
    Evolutionism is the new sick man of europe.
    Once they get the bug accomplishment in opposition from Europeans could blossom.

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