Maybe We Will Wiki?

Just to float the idea, we might launch a wiki in the future. We have quite a bit of content here, and it is overwhelming for new visitors. @dga471 experimented a bit recently with the wiki for discourse, but its really bad. I found another solution, and a poke @T.j_Runyon prompts me now to flow this publicly.

Take a look here: http://wiki.peacefulscience.org/

This might be a future place we starting using to put longer term topics, such as:

  1. Evidence for Common Descent explained in a straightforward way for people
  2. Tutorials and projects to teach the basics of population genetics
  3. Different models of Adam and Eve
  4. Prolonged dialogues with other organizations.

And so on. If we do go down this path, we would want to avoid replicating other wiki’s like RationalWiki or Wikipedia. What do you think we should do that would make us distinct? Or should we not put the effort in?

Let me know what you think.

I’m not sure whether a wiki, in particular, will work or not but I do think it’s important for Peaceful Science to have some sort of “product” or “output”. Forums are great for getting conversations started or sharpening each other’s thinking, but it’s very hard to see it actually producing something useful on its own. It’s also hard to see any resolution to the discussions.

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I think a Wiki could be a good idea, as long as we decide:

  1. Who would be allowed to edit the Wiki. Would any regular user be allowed to start a new page, or edit an existing one? Or would each page only be curated by 1-2 specific people? Perhaps for dialogues with other organizations, we should allow some input from both sides.
  2. How do we decide which wiki topics to cover? Some replication is inevitable as there are already so many online resources out there, e.g. Evidence of common descent - Wikipedia, or arguments for the resurrection of Jesus.
  3. PS, as I understand it, is trying not to be an advocacy organization with a specific stance on origins. How can we maintain this stance if certain arguments or evidence for a viewpoint are wiki’d while some others are not? E.g. would we allow ID advocates to write wikis on their arguments too?
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Link to Panda’s Thumb, which already has many articles. Also Gert Korthof’s book review site.

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I agree @dga471. I think 2 could be the perhaps one of the biggest reasons not to do a wiki. How would this resource be different from other resources? I think it would need a purpose or a focus. I think 1 and 3 could be dealt with if 2 is figured out.

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I agree. We need some sort of easier on ramp for people.

For now we are small and its easy. I’m wondering if a couple of the graduate students might want to team up on a SMALL project here. Perhaps some of you invite your friends along. Right now their is no access control on the wiki, and we can change it down the line as it makes sense.

I think we need to pick something that:

  1. Hits our natural strengths, so it is easy for us.

  2. Is not found any where else.

  3. Maximizes the significance to cost ratio.

By this criteria:

  1. We would not want to do evidence and the Ressurection. Perhaps @Freakazoid and some others might want to pick that up at some point. We might, however, want to coallate statements about the Ressurection by scientists. (@TedDavis can help here)

  2. We would not want to do a standard “evidence for common descent.” but we might want to make an in depth explanation of e.g. @glipsnort and @evograd’s work with code for peopel to recpliate it, or explanations of alternatives to CD (e.g. @Winston_Ewert) with our assessment, or “evidence the common descent explains” being sure to list alternate explanations offered, and where they work and dont.’.

  3. We do not want to do large comprehensive reviews (becuase they take too much time), but we might want to do assessments of individual papers (such as the some of the papers that come up here on a regular basis).

  4. One area we could own right now is to catalogue the science, evidence, and theology related to Adam and Eve and ancestry. Just getting the “range of views” down would be interesting, as would explaining the different classes of evidence. This might be among our best starting points, and there are ways to slice it up into smaller peices. I wonder, for example, if this would work well as a class project for an undergrad course (@Jordan, @cwhenderson, @art) or an independent study project for a small team of undergards.

  5. At a pragmatic level, it may be helpful to track the current exchange with Discovery Institute on a Wiki Page, rather than as a forum post. We could move over to this. And I could use help, because I think it has already gotten out from under me. If we do this well, it will likely attract a lot of traffic.

The wiki would be more controlled than the free ranging fun of the forum. We need to think of this a long term reference, that cuts out the fat, and makes it easy to understand and follow.

From this, what do the students and teachers think would be a good starting point?

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@T.j_Runyon, what are you leaning towards? @evograd?

@Jordan does this take us forward?

I’m happy to explain my work, but in terms of the general idea of a wiki I don’t think I’ll be able to help much. I have as much on my plate as I can handle at the moment.

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I like this idea. Forum users here with different views could contribute or at least verify that their views are accurately represented, and I think it has a lot of further potential. I am also not aware of any similar resource like this currently on the web, much less a good one. (It could also be relevant for your upcoming book.)

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I agree.

I think area 4 (A&E and ancestry) is a great one to start with. I would also maybe throw out for consideration, would the wiki be an OK place to start doing book reviews? It would be interesting (if we can pull it off) to have a more of a communal take perhaps.

I also think a wiki (or similar) would be good for summarizing and synthesizing views and for defining common language. If we can ever agree, it could be nice to have a glossary of terms (sole-genetic progenitor, sole-genealogical progenitor, etc. probably not a lot of duplication of easily googlable terms like “gene”)

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I think we should go forward. My thoughts were it’s basically the forum but in a more organized and restricted manner. I see no reason why ID folks couldn’t add their own sections. I think they would need to be approved first to make sure they are appropriate in tone and content. But I think that should go for everybody. A lot of important conversations have been had here and a lot of critical papers have been shared. I just think this would be a good way to organize them and make them easy to find. Think some people are overthinking this a bit.

Example:

  1. A taxonomy of Adam and Eve models
  2. An introduction to population genetics
  3. The evidence for common ancestry
  4. Common arguments for intelligent design
  5. Responses to the common arguments for ID
  6. What does the fossil record really say?
  7. Did Jesus rise from the dead? Arguments for and against
  8. Methodological Naturalism and Christianity
  9. A history of Christians in science
  10. God and Cosmology

I mean I can go and on. All these topics have been covered in depth here on PS. Either on the forum or on your blog. Each section can contain the relevant blog posts, forum threads, papers, etc.

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I personally would be much more interested in being a wiki “curator” than forum moderator. I like synthesis and finding ways to categorize and clarify more than the back-n-forth, nobody wins nature of forums.

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It would be a good place for book summaries. Reviews, however, include editorializing and opinion. There has been conversation about doing reviews on the main blog (@deuteroKJ and @Philosurfer).

I agree @Jordan. Where do you see strongest overlap with the list @T.j_Runyon just put up?

@T.j_Runyon’s list is very good. I really like 1, 8, and 9. I think 2 and 3 are really important and need to be tied back in to 1 and at a level approachable by non-biologists. I am learning a lot on PS about pop gen that is counter-intuitive and we need to find ways to make it approachable for the non-expert.

4-7 seem like a minefield :slight_smile:

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I think the best starting point is #1.

We have already have a lot of information on this on the forum/blog. There is more in my book. It is approachable to all sorts of people. There is nothing else like this online anywhere. It is also “Safe” to work on, because you don’t have assert what you think. We are rather just explaining what others have written. It is also really well linked in with the work we will be doing with RTB (@AJRoberts).

I would suggest giving that a shot together.

More forum-specific topics for the wiki:

  • Randomness and divine action. Different notions of “random”. Is God’s guidance detectable?
  • Scientific vs. philosophical design arguments.
  • Predictability, determinism, physics, and possible relation to divine action (Predictability Problems in Physics).
  • Science and providence. “Theistic” science. (basically what @Eddie, @jongarvey, @AJRoberts like to talk about).
  • Information theory and ID.
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@dga471, @T.j_Runyon, Where should we discuss the wiki setup (i.e. creating organizational structure and namespace conventions) ? It may be good to do a quick outline here and then transfer it to the wiki itself.