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?