This question was posed recently at Peaceful Science, a discussion site that seeks to promote dialog between atheists, theistic evolutionists, and proponents of intelligent design. (Their success is mixed. ID proponents often feel like Aragorn in the last battle.)
I laughed aloud when I read this. Aragorn in the last battle gives this speech:
Hold your ground! Hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers,
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight!!
By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!!!
Very colorful. Later, she writes:
I had been trying to explain Doug Axe’s results to the group of debaters, most of whom did not agree.
I want to respond with a few points on this, and a question to ID advocates heres.
@Agauger, I see why this is a difficult forum for ID scientists such as yourself. For this reason, all the more, thank you for taking the time to engage with this. I respect this a great deal about you. This is how scientists should deal with critics, by engaging them to come to consensus. I’m concerned that many ID leaders are unwilling to engage, but you (and others here) are breaking the pattern. I see that it is not easy, but I respect it.
@agauger, the people you have been discussing with for the most part, are scientists, not debators. The only reason we are discussing with you is because you are worth engaging.
I can’t control others, but I certainly will do this whenever I can do so with integrity. The resistance you are getting, at least from me, is be cause of genuine disagreements, not dogmatic opposition. I can’t speak for others, but I hop
Nonetheless, i agree that this can be a rough forum for ID proponents.
So tell me IDists reading this. How can we at Peaceful Science do better? How can we make this a more fair place that treats you with appropriate respect?
As for the science in your post, that is interesting in itself. I note that you say we are facing an open question. This is different than Axe, who seems to argue that the case is settled. I hope that nuance isn’t lost in the shuffle.
That it is, and remains, an open question, is what makes such discussions all about DOING SCIENCE, rather than just about what is and isn’t “scientific.”
The likelihood that even the clearest evidence can be interpreted in multiple fashions is what is truly at issue. Good arguments are way more about “how little versus how much,” than about “wrong versus right.” Critiquing sweeping generalizations, comparing and contrasting perspectives, and coming to clarify the actual areas of agreement, not just disagreement, is the worthy goal, not only of Peaceful Science, but of all Nobel quality work. Coming to clarity, even while mildly still at odds, is probably the best way we can show mutual respect, and truly make discoveries. I disagree with you that MN isn’t, under this analysis, pseudo-scientific --but like the author says, so is methodological miracle-pleading (that’s not what ID is). We’re not left, in either case, with a means to arrive at the fullest explication of the truth.
My two cents.
@swamidass I was being polite when I called them debaters.i could have used a much stronger word. If that’s how scientists behave toward others I want no part. In fact I was completely understated in everything I said
I was consistently treated with hostility, disdain, and refusal to enter into a true discussion.
@swamidass Once again this place fails me . I had intended to quote your quote on Aragorn in his speech. That’s not what I was thinking of. I was referring to the part when he fought surrounded by orcs with no one helping, not the speech. I left myself open to mockery there, which you kindly supplied. But you miss the point. What I was subjected to was not disagreement or a scientific discussion, it was dogmatic, concerted, and targeted opposition.
When two scientists come with an predetermined agenda based on disdain and a desire to “take apart” the opponent, nothing scientific is achieved, and the object of such treatment has no desire to continue.
Outsiders, if you see bullying or ganging up you can step in. That is, unless you too believe I deserve such treatment.
This is a place that promises respect, listening, hearing both sides and looking for common ground. Well that’s not what I found.
@Patrick , you can mock as much as you want. This was not a scientific discussion, it was a lynching couched in “polite” language.”
@T_aquaticus you were a gentleman and fair throughout. Thank you.
@Art you miss the point, but in a “look aren’t I being nice to the poor benighted stupid heathen” way.
@Mercer your hostility and agenda were there from the beginning. No dialog there, just a desire to smash me.
This place is not ID friendly. Period. Take note, any watching. I am going to take an extended break. Your post was the final straw, Swamidass.
Given the fact that we’re 9 hours in from my post, and 2 hours in from @Agauger 's posts, after what I read as an honest question, the silence is rather deafening. I know Josh is holding back, for whatever reason, but anyone else?
Excuse me if I failed you, @Agauger , but I didn’t even begin to read the thread until late last night. Personally, it challenged my grasp of the issues and acumen surrounding the topics under discussion, so I’m not sure I’d have recognized the bullying. That’s the specific burden you bear for your own incisive acumen. In any case, in the free interchange of ideas, as Christians, remember, we are to EXPECT such behavior in an attempt to defend the truth…
So, perhaps this place has not so much failed you, as wearied you, while sharpening your defenses in the meantime?
I do not find the word “valiant” as merely colorful or amusing under those circumstances, but will in fact, tip my visor towards you in this.
God is our witness and the only audience we really care about anyway, am I right? Cheers!
I want to clarify that even if we disagree entirely with ID, I insist that we all act with kindness ID supporters. I am not happy with ad hominem, insults, taunts, and the like. I’m not interested in the rush of calling someone stupid here. Instead, I want to see real exchanges, where understanding can grow.
It will be always harder for minority positions here. As a rapidly growing forum, different people are minorities at different times. Right now there are a lot of secular scientists that dispute ID, and it is very easy for legitimate critique to slip into “science-thumping” and other aggressive behavior that ultimately undermines our goals.
This is not the first time this has happened before, so right now the @staff will be contemplating a larger restructuring of the rules and forum settings. For most of our existence, we have relied largely on participants to understand and follow the rules. As we grow, this is not proving to be a sustainable strategy. I expect this to be a bigger problem as we grow more, and might even inhibit our growth past the current size. A few possibilities we will be considering:
Scholars + Trusted Member Only Categories. Rather than relying on people to stay out, of important threads, purely by trusting them to have read and follow the rules, this will enforce it with the software.
Restricting Posting on Front Page. Publicity is part of what enables trolling to thrive is attention, and right now a lot of attention is granted to trolls because all threads appear on our front page. Going forward, we may create a category (much like #conversation:chatter), which will be off the main page, and to which everyone is restricted unless they are already established as trust worthy. This also gives a less severe way of limiting poor behavior than silencing.
Moving to a Tags-Based Muting System. Publicity is part of what enables trolling to thrive is attention, and right now a lot of attention is granted to trolls because all threads appear on our front page. We may move to a tags based system that will allow us to more easily move things off the front page.
Stricter On-Topic Policy. We may move to a stricter policy of keeping posts on topic, in line with the original thread. This will reduce @moderators burden, and will keep the content better organized.
As always, please remember that our success depends on all of us working together. I expect it will take the @moderators about 1 month to hash out and implement the changes we decide upon. Please give us your feedback during this time, so as to ensure we can be successful. While making these changes, our goal is not to stifle the free exchanges that we see here, but to protect and enable them for everyone.
@T.j_Runyon, @Agauger, and @gbrooks9, thank you for your concern and comments here. It is clear that somethings need to change. We will be working on it.