I’m new here, and I know that this forum is supposed to be devoted to promoting “peace” in the evolution conversation. That’s a great thing, but I am having difficulty reconciling that goal with all of the uncivil rhetoric that Dr. Lents is being allowed to post here attacking Discovery Institute. It seems like Dr. Lents was given a platform here to have an unmoderated bash-fest describing his “experience with Discovery Institute”. For example, on this thread here:
Dr. Lents attacks Discovery’s science/competence:
“amateurish approach to science”
“what they do is nowhere near what we think of as science”
“They have an agenda and a posture, and that is completely antithetical to science”
“DI posted an article from an engineer with absolutely no background in biology”
“It’s not science, it’s religion.”
Dr. Lents attacks Discovery’s motives:
“DI is a conservative political group, first and foremost”
“founded with a particular political agenda”
Dr. Lents attacks Discovery’s moral behavior:
"It’s like a weird mix of arrogance and insecurity expressed as rhetorical foot-stomping’
“they can’t manage to behave in a serious way”
“Ask them what would change their mind and watch them scramble”
“they can’t muster even a modicum of adult conversation about science”
“That community does not read the books and articles they criticize.”
“there is no point taking them seriously”
“Correct it! Remove the article! I’ve made mistakes, some I caught, others someone else caught. I always correct it the best I can. That’s what honest people do.”
On David Klinghoffer: “These are serious scientific conversations and I just want to yell him to ‘SHUT UP, GROWN FOLKS IS TALKING!’”
On Jonathan Wells: “His whole ‘zombie science’ bit is dishonest”
On David Klinghoffer: “Klinghoffer was definitely the nastiest one toward me, and also the most dishonest”
That’s all from this thread on this forum. Dr. Lents is entitled to his opinions of course! But how is allowing him to use make such uncivil bashing of Discovery Institute conducive to bringing peace?
Moreover, doesn’t it seem a tad ironic that Dr. Lent’s complains about Discovery Institute’s “nastiness” and complains that they called him “arrogant”, YET ON THIS VERY THREAD DR. LENTS SPECIFICALLY CALLS DISCOVERY INSTITUTE and its people “arrogant,” “dishonest,” “amateurish,” “insecure” and many other similarly uncivil attacks?! Again please take note of what is taking place here: Dr. Lents complained about Discovery calling him “arrogant” and then HE specifically called them “arrogant”!
But did Discovery Institute really call Dr. Lents “arrogant”? A quick investigation shows that didn’t happen.
Dr. Lents complains that Discovery calls him “ignorant and arrogant” and that quote is a complaint about something that Steve Laufmann wrote on Discovery Institute’s blog Evolution News. But Laufmann DIDN’T CALL Dr. Lents “ignorant and arrogant”. What Laufmann said, in a roundabout way, that is that “the bad design argument almost always results in a bizarre blend of ignorance and arrogance” because such arguments tend to assume that we have a godlike knowledge about the way things ought to work. Maybe Laufmann shouldn’t have put it that way by using the words “ignorance and arrogance” but he wasn’t about attacking Lents specifically or Lents personally.
But then here on this forum, Lents DOES ATTACK LAUFMANN PERSONALLY when he attacks Laufmann’s competence and knowledge by saying that he’s “an engineer with absolutely no background in biology” (how does Lents know that Laufmann has no background in biology?) AND Dr. Lents specifically and directly states that Discovery Institute has “arrogance”.
Is Discovery Institute really so uncivil? Today Discovery Institute has responded to Lents with AN ENTIRELY IRENIC AND CIVIL post that does no namecalling or personal attacks at:
The contrast is striking. They’re not attacking Dr. Lents personally. They’re just responding to his arguments. They point out that Dr. Lents was wrong to claim that Michael Egnor wrongly cited the paper on “paranasal sinuses” because the maxillary sinus (which Lents write about) IS ONE OF THE PARANASAL SINUSES! Here’s what they say:
The maxillary sinus and the paranasal sinuses are not “totally different structures.” The maxillary sinus is one of the paranasal sinuses! The paper Egnor cited was discussing the maxillary sinus as well as the other paranasal sinuses.
Lents similarly writes on his blog, “The paranasal and frontal sinuses surround your nose and are in your forehead, respectively. Nothing I write in my book or articles make reference to those sinuses.” Again, that’s not true because, to repeat, the maxillary sinus, which Lents indeeds writes about in his book, is one of the paranasal sinuses, meaning that Lents does write about the paranasal sinuses. He is wrong in his terminology.
Again, the contrast between Dr. Lents’s discourse on this forum, and their discourse is striking. When they found that Dr. Lents committed an error they defended their writer against his attacks but they didn’t attack Dr. Lents personally.
But when Dr. Lents thought that they committed an error he is INVITED HERE TO MAKE all kinds of uncivil personal attacks against them on this forum! How does that bring peace?
So again, I agree with the goal of “peace” and civility, but how committed is this forum to bringing civility to this conversation? It seems like on this thread, Dr. Lents was given an unmoderated platform to go off bashing Discovery Institute with all kinds of vicious and uncivil and nasty personal attacks. Something seems wrong about this thread. It does not seem compatible with the goal of bringing peace.
And now it turns out that Dr. Lent’s was fundamentally wrong in his chief attack on Michael Egnor! And their team of writers have said far fewer uncivil things against Lents than one single person, Nathan Lents, was allowed to say against them here on this thread alone. Yet the civil ID-guys who didn’t make the scientific mistake are the ones being attacked here. What’s wrong with this situation? Something doesn’t seem right…