Forum Disclaimer

This is the Peaceful Science Forum, hosted by Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. See his scientific work is here:

Dr. Swamidass affirms mainstream science, including evolutionary science, the common descent of all living things (including humans), methodological naturalism (though he thinks it’s incorrectly named), and an old earth.

He opposes political action to change science curricula, and is a skeptic of Intelligent Design and scientific creationism. Agreeing with the non-theist Eugenie Scott, he argues science is silent on God’s action, and cannot properly consider theological claims, like the existence or action of God.

He also places a high value on building bridges, and kindness to others, which should not be mistaken for an endorsement of any claims. Dr. Swamidass is also a Christian. He confesses, along with other scientists, that Jesus rose from the dead. For this reason, he is sensitive to the concerns of religious communities. He encourages presenting scientific findings in a theologically-neutral manner so as to reduce unnecessary conflict, so as to better advance understanding of scientific findings in the public square.

An Open Forum

This is an open forum where everyone polite is welcome to engage with the grand questions of origins. The ideas expressed in this forum cover a wide range of topics, including a wide range of beliefs. This conversation will include ID an SC advocates, and anti-religious advocates too. Dr. Swamidass, for obvious reasons, does not endorse most things said by others on this forum. He also does not have time to directly refute every statement with which he disagrees.

There is value in free exchange of ideas, so that legitimate questions can be addressed, and real concerns uncovered. For this reason, there will not be restrictions against posting heterodox ideas on this forum, even if they are strongly disputed and disagreed with by the host. This means there will be arguments against mainstream science on this forum, even if the host disagrees with them.

Debating Science

Arguments on the internet between non-professionals rarely (if ever) have bearing on how mainstream science progresses. This is just not how science works.

Science is not intuitive. It is very mathematical and technical. Science requires very careful adherence to specific logical rules and standards. There are a multitude of rhetorically strong points (that convince the crowds) that are totally false scientifically. The rules and conclusions of mainstream science, for this reason, are not going to be altered by public debate or consensus.

Do not mistake this as an “appeal to authority.” Science can certainly be wrong. At times it is. Even when it is right, science’s certainty and scope are sharply limited. If you feel the need, go ahead and disagree with science. You might even be right. Just remember that public debate by non-professionals very rarely affects scientific opinion, and internet forums and politics are not an effective way to change science.

If you must dispute mainstream science, it is not our aim to change your mind. Rather, we hope that you might understand what you reject, and that, perhaps, we might understand you too. We might also find ways to see how your most deeply held beliefs are not threatened.

Disagreeing in Community

This is an uncommon sort of community. We hope to find substantial common ground in our common questions, the grand questions, rather than in common answers.

Everyone is welcome here, even if we disagree strongly with your point of view. What ever your view on origins, the questions themselves can be our place of common ground. The community we hope to build here is not contingent on agreement or adherence to regulated consensus.

We live in a fractured society. The divides in society are deep and unhealthy. Most of us do not engage with those with whom we disagree. We struggle to treat others fairly across the divides. We cannot heal these fractures in society at large, but we want to build something different here.