Why be skeptical about Swamidass’ ‘Peaceful Science’ pitch?

This thread is meant to be a resource for people to express their hopefully sincere & proper skepticism about Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass’ so-called ‘Peaceful Science’ project on an on-going basis as issues & challenges arise. The purpose for starting this thread now is the announcement of a grant to Peaceful Science (PS) by the mutual fund wealth-based John Templeton Foundation. http://peacefulscience.org/new-voice/

I will express some of my skepticism about PS in a few words: Joshua is strangely aiming by ‘inviting all positions as equal’ to relativise the names ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve,’ while at the same time trying himself to become a ‘genealogist’. The woman in the pair he apparently has some kind of a gender bias against, since he hasn’t laid out why he sometimes omits her & only sometimes brings Eve into the conversation. I predicted here a few months ago that Joshua would eventually change his almost exclusively ‘Genealogical Adam’ talk to finally start being more inclusive with ‘Genealogical Adam & Eve.’ Joshua hasn’t taken the hint by adapting his language & thinking yet, though he has been known to change his mind about things in the past.

Once others realise the relativistic, ‘diversity-driven’ goal of his enterprise, even while he speaks about that goal only indirectly, he will hit his ceiling much like BioLogos has in its mission to convert evangelicals to ‘evolution-accepting,’ kinda like Joshua but different. BioLogos stands as the USAmerican-made role model for Joshua to go his own way, not long after he actively alienated himself from Deborah Haarsma & BioLogos leadership publicly. Example 1 of borrowed modelling: PS uses the same software as BioLogos. (TSZ is behind & should likewise adopt Discourse asap.)

While the explicit intention of making an attempt to bring people of different ‘faiths’ into a dialogue about ‘human origins’ for the improvement of relations between people drawn along what Joshua labels as ‘secularist vs. confessionalist’ lines may sound good on the surface for valuable social & cultural purposes, unfortunately, at the end of the day it’s a USAmerican production of the creationist & IDist flavour that could not have arisen elsewhere the way Swamidass has been promoting himself & selling it. Because of this I don’t think Joshua can actually ‘act peacefully’ in his own community due to his sometimes loud, brash attitude, which I have witnessed now on several occasions in arrogant dismissals & self-justification of wrongs at the cost of relationships with others who he seems to consider as ‘below’ him or simply ‘non-scientist’ & therefore less suited for the broader science, philosophy & theology conversation. Ann Gauger has already expressed how uncomfortable she feels in the way she has been treated at PS, despite Joshua’s efforts at pleasantries. This is largely due to Joshua’s hierarchical structure of participants through which he finds himself compelled to defend one of his largest boosters & fanboys, an atheist friend of FFRF who has made over 3,600 posts at PS, as well as a self-described ‘frantic’ unitarian universalist with 2800 posts.

As for the TSZ & PS relationship, it has been growing & I am delighted to see more and more atheists & agnostics (i.e. ‘skeptics’) from this site visiting there, which is surely more inspiring & enlightening than here. TSZ moderator Neil Rickert a.k.a. “Agnostic Mathematician” has posted over 730 times there in the past 4+ months. Former TSZ moderator Alan Fox “Secular European” has posted almost 160 times. Once volunteer moderator Vincent J. Torley “Catholic Philosopher” has posted 174 times. New TSZ moderator Mung “Theistic-ID Evolution” has posted almost 1,000 times already at PS in just 3 months. John Harshman “Secular Avian Phylogenist” ( I have no idea why he uses the term ‘secular’ there other than following Joshua’s main dichotomy of secular vs. confessional) has created more than 1,200 posts there. This is a record transfer of attention from TSZ to PS, just as I had hoped! There is really no need to turn back to UD or continue to give it attention when PS is available now & growing. http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/peaceful-science-has-eclipsed-uncommon-descent-how-will-that-impact-tszs-reason-to-be/

Nevertheless, the absence of balance is obvious. Joshua has only a few times comes to TSZ to share or explore his views in a more challenging environment than in his own ‘safe space.’ Perhaps he is daunted that he might have to actually face ideological scrutiny, which so far he has proven himself unable to handle carefully, properly or sufficiently, either when he started going public only with his ‘science vs. religion’ views over at BioLogos or now at his own site.

It appears that there’s enough of a taste of PS & Swamidass’ view of managed ‘peace-seeking’ already from people here. So, what do you think? Why are you skeptical about Swamidass’ ‘Peaceful Science’? Or, on the other side, what do you believe in about this ‘new voice’ on ‘human origins’ (which sounds mostly palaeological, rather than contemporary anthropological, sociological or psychological) now funded to expand its platform?

344 Replies to “Why be skeptical about Swamidass’ ‘Peaceful Science’ pitch?”

  1. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    “I am delighted to see more and more atheists & agnostics (i.e. ‘skeptics’) from this site visiting there, which is surely more inspiring & enlightening than here.”

    You are delighted to see more people from TSZ visiting PS the very forum you were banned from? I think we all understand why…

  2. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    You forgot to mention me, J-mac naval gynecologist, who got banned after few comments that made the host and his militia look like Darwinian Gestapo…

  3. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Peaceful Science-bending the truth a little bit for a good cause of exaltation of mindless processes over Christian God in the name of peace…
    What could be better than giving credit for the act of creation to dumb luck over the Creator? Why would he mind? He understands…Wouldn’t Da Vinci understand if some give credit for painting Mona Lisa to sheer dumb luck? He wouldn’t protest… Why would God?

  4. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox,
    Now I understand what you meant by saying: ” What’s the appeal of Christianity?”
    In this context it’s appeal is worse than atheism…
    From my point of view atheists believe in one deceit…
    Theistic evolutionists believe in two…

  5. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “I think we all understand why…”

    Yes, because PS “is surely more inspiring & enlightening than here.” Enough with the innuendo.

    “J-mac naval gynecologist.”

    With an attitude as yours, that sounds about right. =P

  6. EricMH
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not a fan of the discourse rapidly fragmenting thread model. I prefer the TSZ and UD monothread. I can easily search and catch anything I missed.

    I find the discussions at TSZ a bit less annoying than at PS. Echoing J-Mac, I prefer out-and-out skeptics, instead of skeptics in believers clothing.

  7. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    With Discourse, threads do not have to rapidly fragment if moderation chooses not to lead it or allow it. The advantage of having statistical data & different levels of participation is significant.

    Really, EricMH, you think Joshua Swamidass is a ‘skeptic’, rather than a ‘believer’?! Or you are anti-LCMS? As you are an IDist working with Marks & Ewert & who posts at PS, I’m quite surprised you are openly questioning Swamidass’ faith this way. I will at least agree with you that he is wearing ‘believers clothing.’

    As for my tastes regarding PS, I certainly do not prefer Joshua’s choice to allow an atheist & a UU to dominate the conversation with posts the way they do. In the early days Joshua was prone to flattery by those two in an unhealthy way. His new site is still better than anything the DI has (Uncommon Descent is a cesspool nowadays & the O’Leary-Klinghofer combination is toxic) & actually invites conversation unlike ENV.

    How have you fared there with your ID-promoting mission?

    ETA: I agree that the way Joshua manages & splits threads at PS is a major issue there

  8. EricMH
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Really, EricMH, you think Joshua Swamidass is a ‘skeptic’, rather than a ‘believer’?!

    This is a tricky sort of thing. I don’t question his sincere belief in Jesus. So my phrasing is off.

    What I do question is the same fundamental issue I see with the TSZ skeptics, is a divorce between metaphysics and science, as exemplified by his claims that “everything is random” and “entropy is information.” His overriding agenda is shared with the atheists, which is to keep science metaphysically neutral, but I don’t think that’s possible to do while being faithful to the mathematical truth.

    And I don’t see myself as an ID evangelist. I like to think of myself as a sincere seeker of truth, who has found ID to be quite convincing, but is still looking for good counter arguments.

  9. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH: I find the discussions at TSZ a bit less annoying than at PS. Echoing J-Mac, I prefer out-and-out skeptics, instead of skeptics in believers clothing.

    You got this one right Eric though I personally prefer to call skeptics in believer’s clothing wolves in sheep’s clothing…I think it captures more precisely the character and true motives of professed Christians…

  10. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: ? As you are an IDist working with Marks & Ewert & who posts at PS, I’m quite surprised you are openly questioning Swamidass’ faith this way. I will at least agree with you that he is wearing ‘believers clothing.’
    I’m just curious how would you define those, like Swamidass, who are wearing “believer’s clothing”?

  11. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH: I like to think of myself as a sincere seeker of truth, who has found ID to be quite convincing, but is still looking for good counter arguments.

    What’s truth in your view?

    One thing I’m convinced of: we are never going to find convincing enough arguments to convert all the skeptics…

    First of all, you can’t convince someone if he/she doesn’t want to to be convinced…

    Secondly, if there was 100 % proof for the existence of God, faith wouldn’t be needed and DI people wouldn’t have their jobs…Neither would Dawkins and hid gang lol
    So, whether we like it or not it is in the best interests of both sides that things are the way they are…

    Thirdly, if you were God/ID would you want the worship of people who wouldn’t have any other choice? I think this subtle but convincing enough evidence for existence of God/ID is deliberate…

  12. Robert Byers
    Ignored
    says:

    I post at both. Why can’t both thrive? origin contentions are worthy of great numbers of thinkers, almost all(or all) constant posters in these circles are very serious thinkers, and lots or people out there would get involved.
    I note there has been too much censorship in dozens of forums/blogs i haunted for ten years now. I note they atrophy soon. YES the evolutionists are worse and end up talking to a fawning choir.
    TSZ and PS really do show a diversity of passion in these matters and are superior therewith. Yes issues of thought/speech control are not settled rightly as I see it.
    yet its difficult to please everyone.
    If origin forums are the cutting edge, i think they uniquely are, then all should nurture/root for a thriving forum.
    Freedom lovers of truth LETS make it work.!!
    Defend your freedom but allow a deference to the hosts. they feel the forums/blogs are MORE of a reflection on them.
    These great, interesting, issues are vastly undervisited on these forums
    We need the bosses to organize and we must put up with errors of bossing.
    Would we do better??

  13. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH:

    His overriding agenda is shared with the atheists, which is to keep science metaphysically neutral, but I don’t think that’s possible to do while being faithful to the mathematical truth.

    Eric: Thanks for that clarification of your worldview. I think helps to explain the root cause of many disagreements.

  14. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t see myself as an ID evangelist. I like to think of myself as a sincere seeker of truth, who has found ID to be quite convincing, but is still looking for good counter arguments.”

    Well, to be fair you do sound quite like an ID evangelist. If you are a sincere seeker of truth, then you at least won’t let yourself be blinded the way the DI is blinded in their promotion of ID without looking at other options. Are you willing to look at other options?

    As I understood, you are also a graduate of the DI’s summer program, are you not? As a result of this program, are you thus not now at least promoting the notion of IDT at PS?

    If you’re looking for a good counter argument to IDT (which I call IDism for clear reasons), then go no further and inquire. If you’re actually seeking truth, then let us clarify what ‘ID’ means & doesn’t mean so that you aren’t exaggerating it’s value & scope, like most IDists affiliated with the DI (e.g. Behe’s ID has “implications for all humane studies”).

    “His overriding agenda … is to keep science metaphysically neutral, but I don’t think that’s possible to do while being faithful to the mathematical truth.”

    Yes, I agree that metaphysical neutrality is Joshua’s overriding agenda & that it will fail. He’s ‘just a scientist’ after all & one who admits his theological ignorance openly. He’s not even close to being philosophically coherent or competent, unfortunately, on a very similar low level to Venema. The problem is that doesn’t matter to him & he thinks it doesn’t make a difference in his message or attitude to challenges based on philosophy, sociology and other fields beyond his own.

    “His overriding agenda is shared with the atheists”

    Yes, at least in part. However, to be fair, the same can be said for many IDists. This is why they mistakenly call ‘Darwinism’ a ‘science’ and try to claim that IDT is ‘strictly scientific’ when of course that isn’t a sustainable position. Dembski, Meyer, Nelson, Wells & West are fixated on atheists, thus have picked up some tactics, strategies & attitudes from them. BioLogos, AiG & RTB don’t share this problem.

  15. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS,

    BruceS “Non-Religious IT Professional” has created 96 posts at PS & 1 topic. I wonder what constitutes his ‘skepticism’ of PS or satisfaction there?

  16. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    Need a different verb, Gregory, is all.

  17. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:

    “Non-Religious IT Professional” has created 96 posts at PS & 1 topic. I wonder what constitutes his ‘skepticism’ of PS or satisfaction there?

    I don’t have any skepticism of PS. I am not sure why you said I might. I am satisfied to participate in some threads there.

    I am satisfied to participate because agree with a Swamidass’s goal as described by Eric and I contribute on that basis.
    That is, I disagree with Eric’s view that “to keep science metaphysically neutral, [is not] possible to do while being faithful to the mathematical truth.”

    I think instead that metaphysics must be informed by science and that we use science to decide what mathematics best models reality. I also disagree with any position that philosophy (or theology ) can dictate norms for best scientific explanation (but philosophy may very well be used to dictate what science should study or where science should be applied).

    Now some questions for you, Gregory, as someone who (I think) has academic expertise in the subject matter of these questions:

    1. Did I get your academic discipline correct when I responded to you in another thread when you asked what I though it was? (I said history, sociology, philosophy of science).

    2. Was it justifiable for me, based on the concept of worldview studied in your discipline, to call Eric’s position his ‘worldview’?

    3. Is it possible to hold rational debate on the correctness of a worldview? If so, how? If not, why not?

    ETA: Several corrections and clarifications.

  18. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “Gregory: ? As you are an IDist working with Marks & Ewert & who posts at PS”

    That is untrue about me. It is what I wrote about EricMH.

    p.s. thanks. That’s the first time in several hundreds of posts here that a Mod has made a constructive suggestion to save a lost post.

  19. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    The purpose for starting this thread now is the announcement of a grant to Peaceful Science (PS) by the mutual fund wealth-based John Templeton Foundation.

    Will PS turn into another DI seeking to advance JS’s hidden religious agenda into the public schools?

  20. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Well, to be fair you do sound quite like an ID evangelist.

    Do I sound to you like an ID evangelist?

  21. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH:
    What I do question is the same fundamental issue I see with the TSZ skeptics, is a divorce between metaphysics and science,

    It’s not possible to divorce metaphysics and science. I suspect that, like other creationists, you mistake your religioius beliefs and our lack thereof for “our” metaphysics. beliefs are not what metaphysics means. Metaphysics is an area of study in phylosophy. That you try and “divorce” serious metaphysics to substitute for your religious beliefs doesn’t make your beliefs into metaphysics.

    EricMH:
    as exemplified by his claims that “everything is random” and “entropy is information.”

    I doubt that Swamidass has said that everything is random, but there’s a clear relationship between entropy and information, and it’s easy to equate the two, since describing a system with maximum entropy would require a lot of information, and, once done, the equations would end up making them the same. This is a, ahem, “mathematical truth,” which is to say, a result of the ways in which entropy and information have been defined.

    EricMH:
    His overriding agenda is shared with the atheists, which is to keep science metaphysically neutral,

    Nah. His “agenda” is clearly what he claims it to be, to make both science and religion live in peace. That you mistake metaphysics for whether someone believes in magical beings in the sky or not is another story.

    EricMH:
    but I don’t think that’s possible to do while being faithful to the mathematical truth.

    It’s not possible anyway, since, again, metaphysics is not the same as beliefs in magical beings in the sky, and it doesn’t matter that you substitute serious studies on metaphysics for your religious beliefs. Here you’re making, by the way, a metaphysical mistake. Mathematical “truths” derive from the inputs you put into models. They don’t trump reality, and thus cannot change the metaphysics. They depend on them. Math cannot change reality. The quality and conclusions that can be derived from such mathematical “truths” are deeply dependent on how well they’re informed by reality, but they won’t change reality. This is what happens when people mistake metaphysics for their beliefs in magical beings in the sky. They mess up their whole foundational philosophy.

    EricMH:
    And I don’t see myself as an ID evangelist.I like to think of myself as a sincere seeker of truth, who has found ID to be quite convincing, but is still looking for good counter arguments.

    I cannot comment on this without breaking the rules of TSZ. So I won’t.

  22. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks BruceS. That gives us some solid ground, with questions. Your response raises the issue of how much PS is about ‘only science’ & how much it includes and invites theology &/or worldview, as well as (rarely) philosophy into the picture.

    “I don’t have any skepticism of PS. I am not sure why you said I might.”

    Are you not in any way skeptical of TSZ? Since I am not a ‘skeptic,’ I am skeptical of the skeptics here, of course! Or are you just a low-skeptical person compared with most others here at TSZ, while you do often distinguish yourself from others here in your chosen topics & approaches?

    Given your status as a ‘Non-Religious IT Professional’ (the name you chose, right?), the reason for your ‘Non-‘ is why I thought skepticism of PS might be a normal reaction. EricMH wrote that Joshua favours “a divorce between metaphysics and science” and that this shows “[h]is overriding agenda is shared with the atheists.” While I’m sure Joshua sees it differently than EricMH on that point, the welcome mat not just for atheists, but for atheism was the no-no I suggested Joshua should be careful about, at which he lost his temper. I’m curious that you choose ‘non-religious’ instead of ‘atheist’ in your self-description. Does that make a difference?

    In short, I disbelieve PS is what Joshua says it is & believe it is something else; that there is at least another way to say what PS is that is more accurate than what even he can formulate about it (cf. the BioLogos racism fiasco that led to the formation of PS). Indeed, if Joshua believes in the evolutionary sociology, evolutionary anthropology & evolutionary psychology that he seems to embrace in opposition to me, then the notion of ‘Genealogical Adam’ (which YECs have accepted as true since they became YECs) is just a predictable ‘evolution’ & he merely the unwitting deliverer of it.

    PS is instead very much a Joshua vs. his entire family of Young Earth Creationists & against his LCMS church. That’s the kind of thing a sociologist of science or social psychologist of scientists easily notices & can say as a ‘neutral’ observation (just the facts) that Joshua really doesn’t have a comeback against because it brings his personality into the picture … as it should, if one is to understand the motivations for PS, about which some skepticism may be deserved.

    “Now some questions for you, Gregory, as someone who (I think) has academic expertise in the subject matter of these questions:

    1. Did I get your academic discipline correct when I responded to you in another thread when you asked what I though it was? (I said history, sociology, philosophy of science).

    2. Was it justifiable for me, based on the concept of worldview studied in your discipline, to call Eric’s position his ‘worldview’?

    3. Is it possible to hold rational debate on the correctness of a worldview? If so, how? If not, why not?”

    Thank you for a nice change. Actual questions directed to the tiny universe of knowledge I have acquired & am educated to sometimes share with others.

    1. Yes, I am trained in those fields, my doctoral work was in sociology of science & higher education, based in a history, theory & methodology of sociology department.

    2. Somewhat. It made sense to me to say it that way. A fine line between worldview & ideology when it comes to IDists. As you probably know, I use theology/worldview, because it’s usually one or the other; if not a religious theist a person still has a worldview (weltanshauung) with more or less coherence.

    3. Sure, why not? Indeed, one can hold irrational debates about worldview correctness too! ; ) Nevertheless it’s a question of ‘which worldview?’ and ‘whose worldview?’ The second question, unlike the first, cannot be treated impersonally without unintended bias because the question & topic is a reflexive one. Given that often worldviews are made up of several related (e.g. materialism, naturalism, empiricism, scientism), sometimes unrelated & even conflicting ideologies (e.g. rationalism & fideism, a combo certainly on occasion in play with Swamidass), fairly soon, if not organised & faced with responsibility for what ideologies do to people as individuals, people can become existentially confused in a self-damaging way. (And thus, Lizzie’s apostate TSZ was born!)

    To claim ‘reflexive thinking is unscientific’ matters little because we are all as human beings ‘reflexive’ creatures, no matter what (natural or physical) scientists say about us. This is why the ‘two cultures’ debate arose, why the ‘third culture’ became a necessary addition & why cultural studies (non-naturalistic) in general are immune to & unassailable by mere ‘natural science,’ though ideological scientism (cf. sociobiology) would try to swallow the humanities. An attempt was already made to turn positivism into a religion substitute with August Comte (still on the flag of Brazil) that led many into failure.

    While your question is helpful, this isn’t a conversation that is had by people like Joshua, the IDM or BioLogos as they are largely concentrated on other things. And each of them have badly failed so far to properly debate, Joshua even openly refuses to do so.

  23. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Do I sound to you like an ID evangelist?

    Sometimes, in your tactics & choices of example, but generally not in tone or attitude.

  24. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Will PS turn into another DI seeking to advance JS’s hidden religious agenda into the public schools?

    I have no idea & am not really interested in US public schools, thankfully being a non-USAmerican. There is definitely a political undertone to Joshua’s moves, since he arrived on the scene in 2015 at BioLogos until now. Some of what he is doing is welcome & admirable (when there is no peace), while the main intellectual contribution is 1) recycled & unattributed, 2) a dangerous threat (he likes the label ‘creation war’ to set it up) to the views of Jews, Muslims & Christians with its backwards & divisive logic, as distinct from Joshua’s genetics.

    Joshua is well-positioned to be doing exactly what he’s doing & my view is that he’s doing a decent job of it so far, keeping active &, providing updates, driving the platform forward. I applaud him for doing this & expected JTF would come calling quickly. It turns out I’m concerned about things Joshua doesn’t see or just doesn’t address on PS as a ‘safe space’ site that will be caused by his triumphalist proclamations & awkward communications. In short, I’ll continue watching closely to understand & reporting on the sociology of the ‘creationism, evolutionism, Intelligent Design, BioLogos circus’ (why insist it’s a ‘war’?) in the USA & marginally elsewhere.

  25. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Given your status as a ‘Non-Religious IT Professional’ (the name you chose, right?), …

    My assumption is that Joshua chose that name. Certainly, he chose the name that appears next to my posts at PS. I could have objected, and he probably would have changed to something else if I had asked. But what he used was close enough that I didn’t bother.

    I’m guess that it worked about the same way for BruceS.

  26. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: PS is instead very much a Joshua vs. his entire family of Young Earth Creationists & against his LCMS church. That’s the kind of thing a sociologist of scientist or social psychologist of scientists easily notices & can say as a ‘neutral’ observation (just the facts) that Joshua really doesn’t have a comeback against because it brings his personality into the picture … as it should, if one is to understand the motivations for PS, about which some skepticism may be deserved.

    This is very well said.

    Gregory: Sometimes, in your tactics & choices of example, but generally not in tone or attitude.

    I told Joshua that I am very circumspect when it comes to what I argue in arguing for ID. But he seemed to not believe me.

  27. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:

    While your question is helpful, this isn’t a conversation that is had by people like Joshua, the IDM or BioLogos as they are largely concentrated on other things. And each of them have badly failed so far to properly debate, Joshua even openly refuses to do so.

    Thanks for that detailed response to my questions which I need to take time to study further.

  28. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: Thanks for that detailed response to my questions which I need to take time to study further.

    You’re welcome. Return when you’re ready.

  29. Nonlin.org
    Ignored
    says:

    JS and his “PS” is so fake, it’s unbelievable. Of course he censored this letter 🙂 What’s the idea of a forum where you accept only convenient comments?

    Letter to a theistic evolutionist
    1. Your CV shows some great skills that could benefit mankind. Presumably you also want to have a positive impact in this world and eventually be remembered for something good you did. If so, it is very puzzling why you would start and run a blog like peacefulscience.org that takes time and effort detracting from your mission.

    2. Think of your colleagues and companies you work with. Does a Pfizer or GSK invest any serious money in “evolution”? Sure they may pay lip service to the dogma, but no real money. “Evolution” contributes nothing to the bottom line. On the other hand, people like Darwin, Coyne, and Dawkins never had any useful skills whatsoever and, without their snake oil, would be deservedly nobodies. Even your favorites, Haldane and Kimura, have not produced one valuable thing for mankind in all the time spent on “evolution”. Have they ever advanced one bit the fields of medicine, agriculture, transportation, mining, and so on? Not through their “evolution” work for sure. “Basic research” claim won’t work as – however removed – even that must show experimental evidence and eventual practicality.

    3. But you are not these people. Your snake oil salesmanship is not good, the field is crowded as just about anyone can philosophize, and you have a real job that requires real, measurable skills – that’s where you should seek a lasting impact.

    4. The other problem is that your area of expertise is narrow by necessity (as your CV confirms). Once you venture outside your bubble, your competence drops precipitously, you become a mere mortal, and are liable to be opposed with [to you] surprising vigor. Can you claim with a straight face that your knowledge of fluid dynamics, particle physics, ceramics, etc. rises to at least the level of an undergrad in those fields? “Evolution” is not on your CV and for a good reason: your skills don’t set you apart, and you can’t design an experiment (as required for any scientific research) that would prove naysayers wrong. Instead, you rely on philosophical argumentation way outside your competence. Even when wrong, good snake oil salesmen are persuasive. You are not.

    5. Let’s say “evolution” is your hobby, so what’s wrong with that? For once, you’re losing focus on valuable work. In addition, not all hobbies are created equal. You are much better off watching cable news all day long than selling drugs to the addicted or snake oil to an army of naïve followers. Yes, it feels good to be admired in your lifetime, but have you considered the consequences if wrong?

  30. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    This is my favorite IDiotrope:

    Nonlin.org: Does a Pfizer or GSK invest any serious money in “evolution”? Sure they may pay lip service to the dogma, but no real money. “Evolution” contributes nothing to the bottom line. … Even your favorites, Haldane and Kimura, have not produced one valuable thing for mankind in all the time spent on “evolution”. Have they ever advanced one bit the fields of medicine, agriculture, transportation, mining, and so on? Not through their “evolution” work for sure. “Basic research” claim won’t work as – however removed – even that must show experimental evidence and eventual practicality.

    Here’s why:
    This is what I do for a living. I have worked in the drug development business for 30 years.
    Understanding evolution is key to nearly all drug development. It certainly helped my work. “Intelligent design” thinking is never used; and no, rational drug design is not a counter-example.
    I know hundreds of researchers, including some who are responsible for breakthrough drugs. All of them assume evolution is ‘true’ in their work, even the Christian so fundamentalist that he got arrested at his child’s school for protesting the liberal curriculum. HE uses evolution at work. (He’s working on anti-bacterials, mind you, so it would be kinda awkward if he didn’t…)
    The behavior of the Pfizers and the GSKs is the ultimate demonstration that ID is bunk: these guys really don’t care about ideology, they care about results. They invest billions in ‘evolution’ every year.

  31. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    There is really no need to turn back to UD or continue to give it attention when PS is available now & growing.

    What if the moderation is worse at PS than at UD?

    Or, on the other side, what do you believe in about this ‘new voice’ on ‘human origins’ (which sounds mostly palaeological, rather than contemporary anthropological, sociological or psychological) now funded to expand its platform?

    Appears to embrace the god of the gaps.

  32. Nonlin.org
    Ignored
    says:

    DNA_Jock: Understanding evolution is key to nearly all drug development. It certainly helped my work.

    Can you prove this?

    And make sure it is “evolution” and not observed similarity as in: “we use the mouse model because – “evolution” or not – we know the mouse is more similar to human than c-elegans”.

    “Intelligent design” thinking is never used; and no, rational drug design is not a counter-example.

    It seems to me we use intelligent design in medicine every time we build a pacemaker, dialysis machine, blood thinners, etc. A lot of stuff from plumbing, fluids, mechanics, software, electrical engineering, etc. Most certainly there’s NEVER any need for “natural selection”, “gradualism”, “divergence of character”, “LUCA”, and all the other Darwinist nonsense.

  33. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s a difference between ‘didn’t publish’ & ‘censored’.

    “Your snake oil salesmanship is not good”

    There’s poking holes in a person’s argument, exposing the frailty of its presuppositions, etc. but provoking people with devil words isn’t likely to endear you to online interlocutors. You are basically declaring him evil because he’s an evangelical Christian, LCMS, who researches/does genetics & thus accepts biological evolutionary theory (no names or ideologies need be attached) based on what is currently canonical for the field. Sorry, that’s not the immediate association I’d choose for what Joshua is doing at PS.

    “It seems to me we use intelligent design in medicine every time we build a pacemaker, dialysis machine, blood thinners, etc.”

    Yes, if ‘intelligent design’ is meant to signify ‘human-made things.’ That has nothing, however, to do with ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ which the DI insists is ‘strictly scientific.’ The DI doesn’t address the designers doing the designing, as part of its ‘life origins’ & ‘origins of information’ main themes in their fight with Darwin & his followers. That is quite a different focus than ‘design thinking’ as most people know it today, alive & flourishing, in business, engineering & creative industries.

    For more, see this thread: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/why-does-the-di-avoid-design-by-non-idists-read-most-normal-people-yes-design-is-obvious-just-not-idism/

    As for the term ‘evolution,’ please be more specific. Where does it properly belong in English language usage & where doesn’t it belong? Joshua hasn’t come close imho to providing an acceptable definition of ‘evolution’ so that he doesn’t exaggerate far & wide beyond mere biology & genetics. What Joshua means by ‘evolution’ has a lot of generalities on the margins. Perhaps that observation is something we share in common?

  34. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    Nonlin.org: DNA_Jock: Understanding evolution is key to nearly all drug development. It certainly helped my work.

    Can you prove this?

    And make sure it is “evolution” and not observed similarity as in: “we use the mouse model because – “evolution” or not – we know the mouse is more similar to human than c-elegans”.

    Yes, I can. Here’s an example: for a gene therapy trial, I needed to design a PCR assay that would detect the human GH gene in a background of rabbit and mouse DNA. Human and mouse GH sequences were available, but NOT rabbit. However, based on ‘evolution’, I could predict that those sequences that were conserved between mouse, human, sheep, cow and rat would be conserved in rabbit, and those sequences that diverged would not be. ID thinking, tellingly, makes no such prediction. On this basis, I designed my primers. They worked and the clinical trial was able to proceed.
    The old saying “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” is true.
    Have you conducted any biomedical research?

    “Intelligent design” thinking is never used; and no, rational drug design is not a counter-example.

    It seems to me we use intelligent design in medicine every time we build a pacemaker, dialysis machine, blood thinners, etc. A lot of stuff from plumbing, fluids, mechanics, software, electrical engineering, etc. Most certainly there’s NEVER any need for “natural selection”, “gradualism”, “divergence of character”, “LUCA”, and all the other Darwinist nonsense.

    True that we are intelligent and we design. Try re-reading what I wrote. Your “most certainly” statement is most certainly wrong, as even a fundamentalist Christian (who worked on anti-bacterials) would tell you.
    I am not responsible for your ignorance.

  35. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    The large Danish biotech and drug company Novozymes explicitly uses evolution in their search for and development of new enzymes to be used in anything from soap and detergents to food, beer, drugs and many other compounds. I once attended a presentation they held where they explained how they rely on evolution by basically exposing populations of bacteria, yeasts, and phage, to novel compounds and environments in order to discover new or improve useful enzymes to use in detergents and dishwashers and many other things.

    Evolution is explicitly considered in disease prevention, and since a very large fraction of Denmark’s GPD comes from export of animal products (meats and dairy), entire institutes are devoted to monitoring and understanding the evolution of domesticated animals and plants, and their countless diseases and parasites.

  36. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    *GDP

  37. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    DNA_Jock: Yes, I can. Here’s an example: for a gene therapy trial, I needed to design a PCR assay that would detect the human GH gene in a background of rabbit and mouse DNA. Human and mouse GH sequences were available, but NOT rabbit. However, based on ‘evolution’, I could predict that those sequences that were conserved between mouse, human, sheep, cow and rat would be conserved in rabbit, and those sequences that diverged would not be. ID thinking, tellingly, makes no such prediction. On this basis, I designed my primers. They worked and the clinical trial was able to proceed.

    When was that, Jock?

    I don’t understand something…please correct me if I’m wrong: are you saying that GH gene sequence is identical in mouse, sheep, cow, rat, human and rabbit? And you predicted this very identical GH gene sequence in rabbits because of evolution, right?

  38. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: I don’t understand something…please correct me if I’m wrong: are you saying that GH gene sequence is identical in mouse, sheep, cow, rat, human and rabbit?

    No, they’re very similar, but not identical.

    And you predicted this very identical GH gene sequence in rabbits because of evolution, right?

    He predicted it would also have remained relatively unchanged in the rabbit lineage, because it was relatively unchanged in more distantly related mammals.

  39. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:

    [quotes DNA_Jock thus]:
    Human and mouse GH sequences were available, but NOT rabbit. However, based on ‘evolution’, I could predict that those sequences that were conserved between mouse, human, sheep, cow and rat would be conserved in rabbit, and those sequences that diverged would not be. ID thinking, tellingly, makes no such prediction. On this basis, I designed my primers. They worked and the clinical trial was able to proceed.

    When was that, Jock?

    I did this work in the early 1990’s.

    I don’t understand something…please correct me if I’m wrong: are you saying that GH gene sequence is identical in mouse, sheep, cow, rat, human and rabbit? And you predicted this very identical GH gene sequence in rabbits because of evolution, right?

    No. If the sequences were identical, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, would you now? I needed to use sequences that differed between humans and rabbit, but I did not have access to the rabbit sequence back then.
    So, by choosing regions of the GH gene that diverged the most between humans and sheep and cows I was able to develop a PCR assay that could distinguish rabbit cells carrying the human GH gene from rabbit cells that did not.
    This allowed me to prove that the gene therapy technique was safe enough to allow its first use in humans.
    ID thinking might claim to predict that conserved regions will be conserved across taxa, but ID thinking has absolutely zero basis for predicting that sequences that diverge between human and sheep would also diverge between human and rabbit. OTOH it is a simple evolutionary prediction.

  40. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    DNA_Jock: No. If the sequences were identical, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, would you now? I needed to use sequences that differed between humans and rabbit, but I did not have access to the rabbit sequence back then.
    So, by choosing regions of the GH gene that diverged the most between humans and sheep and cows I was able to develop a PCR assay that could distinguish rabbit cells carrying the human GH gene from rabbit cells that did not.
    This allowed me to prove that the gene therapy technique was safe enough to allow its first use in humans.
    ID thinking might claim to predict that conserved regions will be conserved across taxa, but ID thinking has absolutely zero basis for predicting that sequences that diverge between human and sheep would also diverge between human and rabbit. OTOH it is a simple evolutionary prediction.

    So the sequences are not the same… but you made them look as if they were…They are partially consrved, which could very well mean many things, including common design-a designer using similar code for similar functions, in this case growth hormone, for vering species…hardly an evolutionary argument…

    Let’s not forget how the evolutionary thinking works: If it is similar then it is conserved.. If not, then it diverged…

    Everything has to makes sense in evolution even when it doesn’t…

    Why not try to insert some human gene into a monkey and see if it becomes more human? How about a gene for the chin? Maybe it will tell us something? Lol

  41. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,
    You fail to understand the simplest of points. Parts of the GH gene are well conserved, and parts are not.
    ‘Evolution’ predicts that the parts that are conserved between human and sheep, will also be conserved between human and rabbit, and (this is the key bit) the parts that are NOT conserved between human and sheep will NOT be conserved between human and rabbit. Intelligent design makes no such prediction. At all. This prediction was medically useful. It is just one example out of millions.

    I never “made it look” as if the sequences “were the same”: your failure to comprehend is on you.

  42. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: What if the moderation is worse at PS than at UD?

    Appears to embrace the god of the gaps.

    What if its worse than TSZ?

    Does Swamidass also get drunk and make up rules when he pleases?

    Can’t be that comical right?

  43. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks for returning us from yet another of J-Mac’s unanswerable diversions, phoodoo. However, it’s unbecoming to suggest Swamidass’ drunkenness without explanation. 1000s of hypotheticals are possible. Let’s try to keep this thread based on facts instead of insinuation.

    “What if the moderation is worse at PS than at UD? Appears to embrace the god of the gaps.” – Mung”

    Who are the Moderators at PS? J.E.S. (Jonathan) was the first one named & it’s obvious why Joshua wanted him: “I am an LCMS Lutheran and young-earth Creationist.” J.E.S. rarely comments (just over 100 posts) & exists rather as a friendly foil of sorts for Joshua’s paradigm-shifting plans, though he is apparently braver than Joshua in asking for honest debate, rather than it’s avoidance:

    “In the end there is Absolute Truth. Someone is right or wrong. I, personally, am also a fan of “debate” and think that the terminology (if not the concept) of debate is often undervalued in today’s society. What I mean by “debate” is a friendly discussion of a disagreement between parties of differing views for the purpose of finding the truth.” – J.E.S.

    When I got booted, it was simply because Joshua could not win & thus did not want to try to debate with me. Joshua managed everything heavy-handed himself & I didn’t hear anything about what I’d posted that was supposedly wrong or unfair from other ‘Moderators’, other than general advice to speak with an elder about it, which is fine advice given that elders already know about it & realise based on the clear, specific things I asked that instead Joshua is avoiding serious fair questions. In short, do I trust Joshua as a Moderator? No, because he violated my privacy & accused me of ‘abuse’ simply when I asked sincere, relevant, on-point questions that he either could not or would not answer in order to protect his quasi-creationist ‘Me Geneticist Man’ position.

    Yes, I agree with Mung that there’s more than a bit of ‘god of the gaps’ in Swamidass’ ‘genealogical science’ approach to usually just Adam & occasionally Adam & Eve. Nevertheless, Swamidass would take that as an ‘unfair attack’ on him it seems because he has extremely thin skin for criticism to go along with his activistic evangelical confessionalism along LCMS lines. But when people come to realise the many things Joshua is avoiding in order to maintain his facade of ‘strive for peace when there is no peace’ & when that lack of peace is caused in large part by local evangelical churches exactly like the one he still belongs to, serious questions to Joshua will eventually come that so far have been held back as we see how far he’s going to try to take his ‘genealogical’ anti-BioLogos approach.

    It certainly appears that Joshua would be given a ‘fairer’ opportunity to defend himself here than at PS, given that by forum rules no one would immediately manipulate his words here, branch off new threads with other peoples’ words whenever they please & give those threads titles both inaccurate & unacceptable to the original author. Apparently, Joshua has no qualms about taking other peoples’ works & not crediting them for it, so this is a tactic & a habit that people should watch out for.

    Almost incredibly, Joshua Swamidass actually seems to think that YECs didn’t beat him to accepting ‘genealogical Adam & Eve’ long before he ever (mere months ago!) put a ‘clever’ combo-name on it. Along with the still lying, but also confessional (Reformed, Reforming, Reformational! – another Luther-boaster) retired British MD Jon Garvey (who also calls himself a ‘social psychologist’!), there’s some serious personal ambition at play over on PS. Obviously they are together still protecting the ‘ghost writer of the IDM’ over at PS too, so we’ll see how that eventually plays out when his time finally comes.

    We’ll have to wait to see what happens when the ground is eventually pulled out from under PS as a ‘fifth voice’ & ambitiously misleading ’empty chair’. Joshua’s attack on BioLogos isn’t endearing him to many Christians who are not seduced by evolutionary psychology & evolutionist ideology as Joshua’s scientism would require of us.

    When I hear Joshua speak, it makes me wonder: doesn’t he realise the limits of his exaggerations & posturing as a ‘scientist’ who admits “I am approaching ignoramus on theology”? The same is true for Joshua’s grasp of philosophy and particularly ideology; he is rather ignorant. Yet the site is nevertheless generating some valuable discussion, thanks to several decent commentators, none of whom apparently belongs to LCMS (J.E.S. is an LCMS ideologue) or is ‘fighting’ against YEC family like Joshua is doing as his ‘career move’ now that he has a free pass: tenure.

    Let us see how far & aggressively Joshua pushes his Templeton money into peoples’ faces with his GA[E]. hypothesis that will likely ultimately divide people far more than uniting them. Joshua doesn’t see that yet. He is welcome to leave his ‘safe space’ at PS to come here & ask why that’s a readily predictable result of his current ambitions.

  44. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,

    If TSZ moderation were similar to that at PS, then the above post by Gregory would be seen as “flagged by a user and hidden”.

  45. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t think that Joshua wants PS to be a “debate” site.

  46. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I don’t think that Joshua wants PS to be a “debate” site.

    Of course not…his gargantuan ego wouldn’t allow that…

  47. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Yes, he has explicitly said that. Peace through avoidance of competition?

  48. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Peace through avoidance of competition?

    Well, after all, Darwinism [as defined by JS] is dead.

  49. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Well, after all, Darwinism [as defined by JS] is dead.

    That where the self-proclaimed prophet Josh Swamidass comes in…
    He is going to save the evolutionary theory by adding the God-of-the-gaps piece to it: Mindless processes couldn’t do it? No problem. We have a solution to this problem-maybe God guided it, and why not? What could be the reason? So that God could take away the credit for his creative works and give it to mindless processes instead and make himself a liar at the samd time…What a noble idea!!!

    The new voice on human origins did it again! Bravo!!!
    That’s it for me. You all have been great. Good night everybody!!!

  50. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,
    As defined by enough people for you to eventually reconsider your largely outdated quarrel. Look, Mung, if you knew how many social, cultural, political, religious or intellectual things the DI explicitly blames Charles Robert Darwin for that he couldn’t possibly be solely, mainly, or even barely responsible for, you might reconsider how really quite silly it seems to those not stuck in evangelicalistic obfuscation using PR tactics. IDists NEED their PRECIOUS Darwinism!

    Chained to ‘Darwinism’ atheists & IDists dance together, while others try to ignore them, they both flail & stammer for attention. That’s apparently Mung’s kind of role model for children. Send them for propaganda at the DI; it’s so effective, Mung doesn’t even notice it in the kool-aid! ; )

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