Nathan Lents: My Experience With Discovery

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #21

But it didn’t stop there. You wrote a response, and that started a back and forth long exchange. Can you elaborate on those exchanges.

(Edward Robinson) #23

Can you clarify this statement? By “that community” do you mean the ID community? And by the ID community do you mean any old person who says he supports ID, or the leaders and main ID writers?

In fact, the main ID proponents make a point of reading carefully the books and articles they criticize. Nelson, Wells, Meyer, Behe, etc. have all read Ken Miller very carefully, and their criticism of him is based on minute analysis of his statements. They have similarly scrutizined books and articles by Dawkins, Provine, Van Till, Collins, Falk, Venema, Feser, etc. Many of them know Darwin’s writings in microscopic detail. Some of them know Alfred Russel Wallace in great detail.

Whether one particular ID columnist failed to read your article carefully before commenting on it, I cannot say, but generally speaking, ID leaders – the ones who produce the detailed ID arguments, I mean, not the journalistic cheerleaders who merely “talk up” ID – are careful scholars who read before they react.

Indeed, I have encountered on the internet a good number of scientists (or people who claim to be scientists) who have bashed ID, but on close questioning, appear not to have read even one ID work all the way through, and instead to rely on Wikipedia and other hostile sources for their conception of what ID says. I have found both atheist and TE/EC scientists who are guilty of this.

If anyone attacked your article before reading it, that person should have his wrists slapped. But that is not the normal procedure of the more substantive ID thinkers.


Both sides do it!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

4 posts were split to a new topic: Why Memes Are Discouraged

(Nathan H. Lents) #26

I am talking about the Discovery Institute specifically. They are the ones that have come after me repeatedly. Ken Ham did once, too, also without reading the book (my first book that time). Nelson has written me and we had a pleasant email exchange, the first ID proponent that ever reached out to me with something thoughtful. We pledged to reactivate the conversation but never did. Yes, Miller speaks highly of Behe as a serious and thoughtful debater. I’ve never met Wells, though Miller has, but I’ve read some of what he’s written and it’s not very honest, in my opinion. His whole “zombie science” bit is dishonest. He thinks just because he has refuted something to HIS liking, than it is refuted. That’s not how it works. If none of us are moved by your arguments, you still have work to do.

(The Honest Skeptic) #27

I really only want to know why, at this point, Joshua Swamidass @swamidass and David Klinghoffer were both grabbing a bear in 2015… and further to that, is there video!!! It must be some crazy scientist rite of passage!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #28

Let’s just say I have a charming propensity for typos in critical words.

(The Honest Skeptic) #29


Seemed like a good time for a bit of levity. Glad you survived, anyhow!! :bear:

(Nathan H. Lents) #30

Your paraphrasing of his word to you certainly does explain a lot because Klinghoffer was definitely the nastiest one toward me, and also the most dishonest. But I’m afraid I don’t accept his excuse of “this is how it is in political theatre” (or however he would say it). These are serious scientific conversations and I just want to yell him to “SHUT UP, GROWN FOLKS IS TALKING!” But that would be me becoming like him.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #33

Behe is a kind man. I have no ill-will towards him and never heard him say anything rude to anyone. However, I’m still waiting for him to clear up confusion on the Irreducible Complexity argument (Which Irreducible Complexity Argument?). His exchange by proxy with @art was pretty surprising: Behe and Hunt: Irreducible Complexity and Numerology.

That is good to hear. @pnelson is usually very kind. I observe he advocates for less adversarial approaches, to his credit. I can’t say I agree with @Pnelson on the science, but I think he is worth engaging. In all honestly, more than once he has forwarded me an amazing paper that has just been published. Certainly, we are usually reading it in totally opposite ways, but give credit where credit is due. He reads the literature and has a good nose for finding interesting papers. He is certainly engaged with real science, even if we disagree on it. You might enjoy talking to him.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #34

If I recall, didn’t Ann Gauger come at you too?

(Nathan H. Lents) #35

I don’t recall. Several of them wrote articles and I may have lost track. Egnor was the MD who was both really nasty and really wrong at the same time and then never acknowledged the errors he made.


Can do! Thanks!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #37

3 posts were split to a new topic: Alice Roberts: Can Science Make Me Perfect?

(Guy Coe) #40

The really interesting thing is, the apparently unconsidered perspective that a designer might have good reasons for not employing “perfect” or even the “most optimum” design for any particular organism, because the goal is to create a balanced ecosystem, NOT to create an impregnable monster within it. In Genesis chapter 1, in “day six,” for example, God says things are “very good,” NOT “perfect.”
And so, inoptimum design is not, in fact, an evidence of overall design failure.
As for the DI being politically conservative, generally, that’s true, but the Center for Science and Culture is where the ID effort is located, and it is not discernably political, at its heart.
That extremists from all sides are, occasionally, guilty of such unwarranted attacks and mischaracterizations is a simple fact of life. It is unfortunate, not in the public interest from either extreme, and beneath our common dignity --but, there it is. At least I can rest assured that Christians of whatever ideological stripe they prefer do, at least, have a sense that they will both answer for, and be corrected in their errors some day. None of us is unaccountable, and mea culpa, as well!

(Nathan H. Lents) #41

I cannot agree with this. A great many articles on Evolution News mix critique of evolution theory with critique of liberal politics, “social experiments” (meaning marriage equality) and so forth. It was born of right-wing politics and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

(Nathan H. Lents) #42

Honest question: so then why did the designer almost give us the ability to make vitamin C? Why do we have a broken version of the GULO gene at all - where’s the design in that? Evolutionary theory provides a complete explanation of the existence of pseudogenes and GULO. What is the explanation from design?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #43

If he designed us by a process of common descent, why not? Evidence for a prior history is just evidence for common descent. It is not evidence against design per se.

Well, the explanation from design could be evolutionary theory. Maybe God designed us using an evolutionary process that left evidence of past history, you know, like just like evolution.

Of course, to be clear, we are not talking about most ID versions of design. Here I am referring to what your Christian colleagues like myself and Francis Collins might believe.

(Nathan H. Lents) #44

Okay, then that’s not intelligent design at all, it’s theistic evolution. I know it sounds like I’m harping on semantics, but mixing “design” with “evolution” just invites confusion, imo

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #45

I agree that scientists get to define the meaning of words like evolution. We need to keep science secular, and keep theology out of it. Who gets to determine meaning of words with theological meaning like design?