Do we really want to Promote Hostile Disputation on the Origin of Life?

If participants of this site cannot avoid arguing over something that we already know can’t be satisfactorily resolved through the evidences…

are we forced to allow the steady erosion of trust created by debating these issues?

Is this really in the interest of PeacefulScience.Org, or any of its philosophical underpinnings?

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How about we discuss the latest scientific results on the OOL as they come out?

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I’m with @patrick. Let’s do that instead.

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@swamidass,

What does that mean exactly? I was sort of hoping we either CONTAIN the argumentative and unsolvable threads… or that we suppress them.

But right now, it seems they are a drain on Peace and on productive discussions.

by the end of the week, (or month) there will be a new result published that restarts the debate anew. That is the awe of science - once you think you have if figured out a new results makes you re-evaluate everything.

Here is my prediction - the definition of life will blur into that what natural selection selects for. If a certain chemical reactions goes through natural selection it is life.

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What I notice is that the conversations seem to often go something like:

  • Person X starts a thread with a very general, but emphatic, statement of belief about something
  • Person Y reacts to Person X with an opposing statement
  • Person X and Y start going back-and-forth marshaling data that supports their position
  • Team X and Team Y speak past each other and swap "you don’t know what you’re talking about"s until it gets personal and the thread fizzles out or closes down

I think perhaps what @swamidass is pointing out is that maybe if we start with questions rather than answer to defend, and focus more on the science and less on justifying positions, we may get better conversations.

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@Jordan

Oh, I agree completely.

However, it seems to be well beyond the average participant to actually execute that plan.

That’s what “intervention skills” are all about. Intervention is a good thing… if it can guide impulse towards more fruitful kinds of discussions.

The solution would be for people who understand and accept the science to have their say. And the religious zealots who don’t understand and keep trying to make fallacious God of the Gaps arguments could just keep quiet or ask honest questions for clarification.

On a voluntary basis, of course.

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@Faizal_Ali

It’s hard to take your suggestion very seriously when you throw in phrases like “falacious God of the Gaps” arguments.

The idea is not to come up with the BEST arguments for or against God… the idea (I would like to think) is for us NOT to argue over the issue of God at all.

We know the Atheist position. You know the Theist position.
And we start AFTER that point … rather than to dwell forever on that point.

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I don’t see any hostile disputations. I see vehement disagrement, but I wouldn’t call it hostile. I also see the same people make the same bad arguments over and over gain. And attempts to get those people to understand why their arguments are bad always meet with failure.

It seems to me the solution isn’t to prevent the topic from being discussed. That’s ridiculous when the problem is the same people who just refuse to refrain from taking every imaginable opportunity to make obviously fallacious, ill-conceived, and counterfactual claims.

In this way they basically get to dictate what can or can’t be discussed around here by their mere pig-headed stubborn refusal to think clearly? Or are we just supposed to sort of ignore these people and hope they go away, and not respond to anything they say?

We’re here to discuss what the science says, right? That’s the point of this discussion board it seems to me, to discuss matters in science, faith, and philosophy? Well, one of those topics is the origin of life. What do we know about it? What do the things we know about it mean or imply, if anything? If we can’t discuss an debate that, then what is even the point of this forum?

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@Rumraket

Oh, my goodness… let me correct my poor choice of words: Vehement Disagreement is all too common when we debate whether there is a God or no God.

And it’s really not the purpose of these boards. We shouldn’t be enabling this kind of B.S.

Marriage counselors point out that couples that interact quite a bit, and have 3 negative interactions for every 5 interactions are doomed to a failed marriage.

It is better to have 1 negative to 5 interactions (1 / 6 = 17% negative) , at a lower rate of communication, than to have 3 for every 5 (3 / 8 = 38% negative) - - for not only is the rate of negativity higher, but there is less recovery time for each negative event.

Similarly, if this group is not going to consciously (even more important than conscientiously) cultivate amicability by avoiding dead end disputes, and saving the disagreements for the core discussions, then I don’t know how we are going to live up to the name Peaceful Science!

ADDENDUM:

@Rumraket,

I understand your confusion on this matter… it comes straight from the top. He creates a group where everything is supposed to be distinctly harmonious, and the first thing that happens is all chaos breaks out discussing every classic Atheist vs. Theist dispute known to man and woman.

This was an error in the beginning and it is an error now.

You cannot build harmony between the Jets and the Sharks by having a baseball game-turned knife fight every Sunday. Psychologically it has been proven. To build harmony, you have to mix up the sides, into two blended teams… which means, we need discussions where a significant portion of Atheists and Theists AGREE… to discuss with those of the other stripe who DO NOT agree.

And sometimes we do a good job of that. But it will never amount to much if right next door are 2 threads with knife fights going on.

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But then what is the board for? So that people who really do disagree on all sorts of stuff can come here and… not discuss it, but hold hands instead?

Are you going to force people to agree, or only have them discuss stuff where they don’t disagree, in which case why would they discuss it?

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@Rumraket

Disputes based on challenging the very point of Christianity should not be in the center room with a spotlight on them.

They should be in a separate space, where only people who want to see a knife fight can enter the space and watch the knife fight.

We don’t have to get people to agree on things like theism or atheism. But it should be well within our rights to say: hey, if you are going to show your butt … go show your butt in THE CORNER OVER THERE, where there are no spotlights. And no doubt there will be spectators for the sport no matter where it is.

But do you think it makes much sense to call this place Peaceful Science if we INTENDED to argue over whether or not god exists?

This is a pro-Evolution site, that understands and accepts miracles.

If you aren’t PRO-Evolution, and you can’t tolerate miracles… then I would say you are lost [**see note below], and got directed here by mistake. But that doesn’t mean we can’t entertain you. There’s the room over there… in the corner. Get over there as soon as you can.

Unfortunately, the powers that be here still haven’t figured out the value of that room … and so they haven’t built it yet.

Funny, aye, @swamidass ?

**[ [Note for above] - I want to adjust this sentence. The default position of these boards is pro-Evolution and toleration or acceptance of miracles. Naturally, we would like to be able to produce discussions that encourages Creationists to tolerate evolution and encourages Evolutionists to tolerate the miraculous. ]

[ But what do we do with Creationists who only want to argue with Atheists about Evolution, and Atheists who only want to argue about the absence of proof of God with Theists? This is the “null set” audience I was thinking about when I first posted the paragraphs above! The “null set” audience wants blood and spectacle. We can give it to them… without damaging everything else… if we had a room for them. ]