Creationism, Christians, and Honesty

I didn’t say Snelling said that.

I’m holding him to a standard that is expected in the realm of geology - not faking data.


These are all fair points, and I did not mean to imply this is a necessary consequence of becoming religious. There are many, many people who are religious yet do not exhibit the kind of behavior we see from (for example) John Sanford’s ability to read papers by Kimura.


I don’t really know much how to read these papers beyond using my literature degree to analyze the texts. But I think you’re just being picky to dismiss his argument. Who cares what he said about what Kimura considered if his actual arguments are right.

I highlighted the words above - Isn’t Kimura saying that even though he’s creating a mathematical for beneficial mutations, that actually under such a formula they haven’t been observed?

Also this section:
“Note that in the present model those mutations that become fixed in the population by random drift in the course of evolution are restricted to effectively neutral populations”

I just started reading the book and got through the first 3 chapters - Sanford also refers to decades of experiments where plant geneticists tried to create beneficial mutations and there was a rare exception in corn that proved the thesis of his book.

Why quibble about what Sanford thinks another scientist meant if the data actually prove his argument?

What do you understand the words “contrary to observations” to mean?

Two comments, both just my opinion.

  1. Both you and @swamidass (cf. Morton’s demon) are recasting this as an influence of religion that creates for me (and maybe a few others) a dilemma that I’ve been calling a humanist dilemma. You are suggesting that a person (Sanford in this case) is suffering from a diminution or disruption of his mind. This disruption is profound enough to cause him to engage in behavior that is otherwise factually indistinguishable from lying. In the kinds of contexts that form the basis of my now dubious attempt to propose standards of error correction and ethics for PS, this is dishonesty and indeed misconduct. To look at these striking departures from fundamental scholarly integrity and say “yeah, well, that’s what religion can do to ya” is, to me, to “defend” the person by reducing their autonomy and ultimately their humanity. It is important to me, but apparently to few others here on the forum, to acknowledge and consider that.

  2. Whether Sanford’s dishonesty is caused by religious delusion or by a personality disorder or by greed or by anything else, to argue that it isn’t really dishonesty is to play with the definition of a word. My reading of the OED and my experience of the use of the word has led me to conclude that “intent to deceive” is a reasonable factor in the use of the word but that further psychosocial factors are not. For example, I think it’s likely that Sanford and many other purveyors of falsehood are engaging in an attempt to deceive, one that they justify in various ways. I think we are seeing intent to deceive. I don’t care how it’s justified.

Just my thoughts. Probably the last ones for a while.


Just to be clear, I’m just discussing whether or not Sanford consciously realizes he misrepresented Kimura (and is therefore lying) or if he is dealing with cognitive dissonance (Morton’s Demon). Either way, it is a serious error that requires correction, whether he realizes it or not.


No, he’s saying that their presence at all in the formula for neutral mutations causes their effect to be way more than what is observed. He did NOT say they aren’t observed. In the conclusion that I quoted, that’s very clear. He believed they occur enough to overcome the slightly deleterious mutation effects. He didn’t use them in the model because they blew up his model.

What data proves his argument? Kimura’s paper doesn’t back up Sanford’s arguments at all. It is saying the opposite of what Sanford is trying to tell you. This isn’t a minor quibble. He is using this as the basis for the entire book’s argument, and he misrepresented Kimura’s work.

I would like to hear from some of the biologists here about this part. Maybe @Art?


I do understand that. For me, it’s a risk. For me, it’s actually a big deal to say about another human, “well that’s a lie but maybe they’re cognitively damaged and so that’s why they’re lying.” I hope you can see why I’m rethinking such approaches. In fact I have talked/written like this a lot, probably right here on the forum. I won’t anymore, and I have the degrading religion of @thoughtful and others to thank. Watching how they bulldoze the humanity of other people forced me to ask whether I do the same thing.

Agree, and I’m sorry for suggesting that you might think otherwise.

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Do you have a link somewhere that deals with these values? I would be interested in reading through and taking a bit of a look at myself

You might start here if you are interested in a broad overview of how most humanists think. My current dilemma is probably based on both positive psychology and humanist psychology, both of which (in my experience) deemphasize/discourage a view of humans as hapless puppets.

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This is the SAME thing.

Read the choice @sfmatheson is putting before you: Either you can assume a fellow Christian has an error that needs serious correction, but this actually is lying, no matter how much you try to defend him (even the Bible would say so) - OR you can assume a fellow Christian who worked in this field BEFORE he was a Christian would NOT have cognitive dissonance because he has and had NO stake in actually changing his position if he felt the evidence was GOOD for beneficial evolution.

They put the same question before you with Tour too.

Neither of these men had career incentive to change their minds about the evidence. They would only do so if they wanted to follow the evidence.

No other motivation is possible?


No, not the way they speak of their professions and Jesus.

No, it’s not. Let’s put some hypothetical numbers to demonstrate. Let’s pretend that the model produces 10,000 when beneficial mutations are included. In reality, we see 100. Sanford is saying it’s 0 or 1.

Those are completely made up numbers. I’m just trying to give you a mental picture to see that 0 or 1 is not the same as 100. 10,000 was blowing up the model and unrealistic.


How open minded of you to say that. So people who speak about their professions and Jesus like they do can’t have other motivations.


I’m not sure how to tell you I get all of that and you’re not getting it.

The Holy Spirit makes these things pretty clear.

How does it do so? What do you mean by “The holy spirit”. Are you hearing voices or something?

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No voices - though sometimes the same thought repeats in my head, and it’s biblical so I think it’s from God. Like the other day when I wrote the stuff here about COVID and I was really angry and the next morning I was thinking “Have compassion” in my head over and over. It was my thoughts sort of but also seemed otherworldly. So I edited my comments.

John 14

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

1 John 4

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

You’re not answering my question. So when John Sanford and James Tour speak, somehow from the way they speak you know that they have no other incentive than to “follow the evidence”.

And you know this because “The Holy Spirit makes these things pretty clear”.

And when I ask you to explain HOW “The Holy Spirit” makes you able to tell what motivations are driving James Tour and John Sanford merely from how they speak, you say basically that some times “the same thought repeats in your head”?