Ann Gauger's Recent Talk at Biola

Yes, stay like Francis Collins. Collins doesn’t endorse ANY model of creation. He is very ethereal, sort of a deist on the big three - start of universe, start of life on Earth, start of humanity. He does add in the Jesus story. But nothing Collins says or said taints his science. His standing among secular scientists is one of extremely high regard.

Censure and censorship via such undeserved “guilt by association” is hardly the kind of thing to support against valid science, @Patrick , much less brag about. Just thought I’d address the elephant in the room.

@patrick isn’t censoring me, he is warning me that others might. He is right. I have to trust that my colleagues will be fair.

I’m far more neutral than Collins. I do not endorse EC, and I do not promote any view of origins. My work, from the scientists viewpoint, is public engagement for the purpose of bringing accurate science to religious communities. This is a difficult to reach group, and there is a history of hostilities here. I’m seeking peace, with an honest and accurate account of science. If I’ve made an error in the science anywhere, let me know, and it will be immediately retracted.

I’ve been encouraged that most scientists recognize all this and affirm the high value of my work, even if they personally are atheists.

Agreed. I just want it to be clear whose back the onus is on not to be merely and indefensibly prejudicial, with regards to good science. The fact that you so willingly engage religious communities with the historical limits which inhere from good science is not to be taken as “tainting,” but as correcting. That is in EVERYONE’S best interests.

I watched her presentation and thought it quite good. If she can be refuted, I would be interested in seeing that also.

The peer review process is not about censure and censorship. It is about trust and the integrity of scientific investigation and inquiry. Let say that Dr. Swamidass completes a full analysis that he feels gives new scientific insights and he wants it to be published and acknowledged as such. He sends his work to a journal of his choice. That journal editor wants to maintain the highest standards of publication so the editor sends the paper to three reviewers for their review. The reviewers are chosen based on who will be most effected professionally by the new works publication. In this case, if I were the editor of the journal, would send Dr. Swamidass’ paper to Coyne, Letts, and David Reich for review. Then, as editor, I would publish Dr. Swamidass’ paper along with the reviewers comments and reviews. I assure you that reputations will be tarnished, name calling and labeling will ensue. Although this is the way that peer-review is suppose to work, there is a much more damaging process. Let’s say that Dr. Swamidass chooses to publish in a “christian” magazine. Well then the secular scientific journals go in for the kill. It becomes a shark feeding frenzy as Coyne, Letts, Reich and many many others start attacking form every possible angle. It is not pretty, not fair but the way it works.

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And then there’s the erstwhile and fair-minded editor, who examines the science, concludes it’s reasonable, and sends it out to four or five esteemed peers for review, who manage to only object by virtue of such “guilt by association” charges, along with nothing of more substance than vague ad hominem accusations. Happens all the time, and science is not the better for it. So, what do you do as the editor? Run the piece, and include the demurrals and rejections, as well --even if you don’t like where the implications are heading? If so, congratulations --you’re in league with scientists like Dr. Richard Sternberg, who is an acquaintance of mine.

I’m not sure that is the case. I’m not going to publish arguing for a single couple origin for humanity. I’m not going to publish a paper in a secular journal that mentions Adam and Eve. I do not think there is positive evidence for it. I think you are missing what the real scientific contribution is here.

There some important things we’ve figured out about population genetics that are of broad interest to scientists for the questions that they bring to the table. It is not even really about the science-religion dialogue.

There is just a big difference here. We should stop drawing the analogy between ID and myself. It is not the same thing. I am playing by the rules. They were not.

Not drawing the analogy to ID, per se, but to the difficulties encountered by those who give the latest “wicked step child” with scientific acumen who doesn’t draw the conclusions that the guild wants a fair hearing. Sternberg himself is reluctant about being associated with ID. You’d like him. Come out for a visit, and I’ll put you two in touch!

I know him already. He is ID through and through, but did not like being associated publicly with it. That is not me at all. I am sympathetic to some of their concerns, but do not agree with their science. Though, this in no way is comment on the episode of controversy with which is associated. I do not know the details there.

As an example of his ID arguments, take a look at this:

I’ve interacted with it before. It honestly looks like an error. There are several non-supernatural reasons for this pattern (one of which seems to be validated). It is just surprising to me that he would jump to implying it is a signature for God’s guidance before even looking for the obvious natural mechanisms.

So, I disagree with her argument against common descent. Not because common descent must be true axiomatically, but because her argument neglects population genetics, and is fallacious. It is rhetorically strong for non-scientists that don’t like evolution, which is why you like it. Though it really does fall apart on mathematical scrutiny.

@vjtorley is a non-scientist that was able to pick up on this problem before, and he swings back and forth between ID and non-ID: The Mathematical View of Origins. There is a pattern with ID arguments. They sound great rhetorically, especially if you don’t know the real arguments for what is being argued against. On scrutiny, (1) the math usually falls apart, and (2) the strongest and quantitative evidence is never explained or engaged. That is exactly what we see in the argument against common descent here.

As one proximate example of this pattern, though not about common descent, from @Ronald_Cram:

No one should trust the science of someone who makes that argument without immediately retracting it. If @Ronald_Cram really did hear that from a scientist, it would be great to figure out where that is in print, and if it was retracted.

“Am I suggesting that extraterrestrials were fiddling with rodent DNA? No. Am I implying that we are seeing the “language of God” in rodent-script? I haven’t the foggiest notion. What I am saying is that we know a lot about the genome that is being glossed over in the popular works that the theistic evolutionists write. I am also saying that instead of finding nothing but disorder along our chromosomes, we are finding instead a high degree of order.”

That sounds like a pretty good demurral from claiming ID, while also critiquing BioLogos. Sounds friendly enough; what empty chair did he miss, and how would you help him to peace?

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Then you should have no trouble getting it published in a peer reviewed journal.

It is not up to the editor to pick winners and losers. If the reviews says things like “it should be rejected” then it is the job of the editor to reject. But if the editor senses that the rejections were unwarranteed and contained biases, he job is then to publish the paper along with the reviews. It is the only fair thing to do. It lets the readers know that there is controversy and what the controversy is.

Recently there was a controversy on the value of inflation theory. It was resolved in this way.

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It is, in fact, up to the editor to pick winners that will stir up their readership, without seeing the magazine as an advocate for something too far out of the pale for their readership’s common “orthodoxy.” This wins them more readers, and stirs the pot just enough for their colleagues to start sorting things out better, while indicating their disapproval.

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So I see your point. It is not immediately clear what is wrong with that qualification. (@sygarte are you looking at this?). Aside for the context of being on the ENV website (which is blatantly anti-evolution), there are some things here that really are frustrating for scientists, and reminds me quite about of issues I have with The "Third Way"/EES and Population Genetics - #13 by sygarte.

Incidentally, that connection is not spurious. Sternberg and Shapiro (of EES) co-authored several articles. EES has the same pattern…

That is all good and fine that he is not suggesting extraterrestrials or God’s action. It is however, bizarre the he has no idea what is causing this pattern. We have very good reason to think that it this pattern is caused by a specific process. Just a quick literature search in 2010 would have identified potential causes of the pattern. More focused work would have confirmed one of those causes (and that is what we see in the literature now). This is not nearly the mystery he makes it out to be.

This is where things go south. He is criticizing the “popular works” of theistic evolutionists for not including a minor detail (that the vast majority of the public would not care about) from their published scientific work. That is just a unfair critique. Of course popular works do not include all the details. Frankly, most journal papers don’t include all the details. It only matters if a material fact committed in a way that is misleading.

Such omissions do happen, but that is not at all ways happening here.

This is an absurd claim. No scientists has claimed we would find “nothing but disorder” along the chromosomes. That is just a strawman. Moreover, this “high degree of order” is not quantified and is purely subjective, with a veneer of plausibility. This supplementary figure from Collin’s paper does not demonstrate anything like a “high degree of order.”

The whole “qualification” is implying Francis Collins of not giving a fair explanation of the science, and intentionally omitting material facts about the genome. Collins might be wrong on some things, but he was not dishonest. I do understand that Sternberg did not directly state this, but that is what the language he is doing seems to be indirectly saying. It is the same reason that EES angers a lot of scientists. They often talk about how others aren’t giving the whole story, and such.

Most scientists are not intentionally dishonest or misleading, and they take it as a personal attack on their professional integrity. As far as this specific case is concerned, he has not even demonstrated that which he is implying.

Agreed that the too easy characterization of dishonesty among scientists is a shibboleth without substance. We need to save that for the lawyers…
Given his language, all I can hold him accountable for is “not having the foggiest idea” about how to explain something he seems to claim to know so well.
That’s not usually a good basis for tipping your hat into the ring. Given his natural reticence to identify with ID publicly, I have to wonder why this is the best he can muster on behalf of their public blog, since he contributes relatively infrequently.
It would seem to me that, perhaps, he’s less in their camp than you assume. He seems, frankly, as independently-minded as a guy like David Berlinski. That puts him in pretty good company, in my book.
I got his attention by asking whether a soldier ant “chooses” to lose his life for the sake of the colony, or whether they ever choose to “run away.” It has interesting ramifications for the notion of a kind of “social altruism” among ants, of all things, in the face of the overwhelming odds of near-term annihilation --i.e., natural selection. Specifically, are ants somehow “conscious” in a manner that transcends mere biochemical preprogramming? Should we recognize and marvel at “ant bravery?”

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It’s very dated, so let’s give the benefit of the doubt --but, is this the kind of detailed explanation you’d enjoy digging into, even if, by today’s standards, it’s a walk down memory lane? A nearly nine year old article invites you to have a drink with him, @swamidass