On Consensus Science

Hmm… Agreement with any post can be tested by a simple empirical method: likes.

Go ahead and count my likes and yours, and draw your conclusions about the extent to which interlocutors have agreed with my assessment.

Have you heard of the phrase “dripping with sarcasm”?

When a comment is “dripping with sarcasm,” does that indicate joviality? Or a snide, if not hostile, attitude?

Of course I recognized that your comment was sarcastic.


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That’s pretty shoddy methodology for someone who claims great expertise in information science!

A “like” is a very crude measure of approval; it only tells you that someone liked something about your post. Therefore, in all posts where you made more than one statement, a “like” does not confirm agreement with all statements.

In this case, your post contained more than one statement, and therefore the “like” cannot confirm agreement with your statement that my remark

If you draw inferences like this regarding climate science, evolution, etc., it’s no wonder that we disagree so often! I’m apparently much, much more cautious than you are in drawing conclusions from ambiguous data.

Good. And I gather you did not like the use of sarcasm. Your disapproval is noted. (But please express that disapproval when some of the atheists here use the same device, if you want to be consistent.)

Now maybe you will get around to commenting not on the form but on the substance of my comment, i.e., that the way Rumraket worded his statement, it sounded as if he was suggesting that Neil was motivated by religion or ideology – and that was an unwarranted suggestion.

And yes, I know that he later clarified that he was not accusing Neil of that, but that was after your objection to my criticism, not before. So you reacted negatively to my post without dealing with the concern it was addressing.

So in that case there is a clear case for causation too. Of course when correlations are as strong as those we see between degree of religiosity and denial of evolution, it’s a rather safe bet that there is a causal relationship. In this case you’re right, that cause is the religiosity.

Hey I’m glad to say I agree with that, but I have nevertheless been cited (vague) bible verses by some religious conservatives as supposedly constituting proof that God would not allow climate change to happen.
But unlike with evolution, I actually agree with you the causal relationship between religiosity and climate change denial is much less straightforward, and probably comes more from the conservatism than the religiosity.

I’m largely in agreement, but I would even go further and suggest that in part, certain extreme portions of the left are at least partly to blame for the reactionary opposition conservatives have to the idea of man-made climate change. Sadly there have been numerous instances of some rather extreme left-wing activists who have taken the opportunity to use the climate change issue as a tool to try to argue that the entire western economic system should be dismantled, and we should all go back to living in tents and caves, or other nonsense to a similar effect.
Now to be sure, there have been a vested economic interest in polarizing the issue as much as possible, and many conservative, corporate media influencers have worked hard to exploit the existence of these activists and present them as if they constitute the mainstream of people who say man-made climate change is happening, or what to do about it. In particular they seem to have had some success convincing their viewers of the rather insane idea that it is from this same cohort of leftist extremists that actual scientists working on climate change come from, and that the whole thing is some sort of communist or globalist plot to undermine the american economy.

I must give you credit for crafting so veiled an insult as this, or I could take the bait and start ranting about americans, but I think I just want to say that I’ve seen no evidence to suggest “Europeans” have any particular difficulties grasping the nuances of american politics.


Thanks for giving a reply that is content-oriented rather than personality-oriented. It’s a refreshing change around here.

I’ll come to the contents in a minute, but first, let me say that I did not intend the comment you refer to as an insult, veiled or otherwise. It has been my observations that Europeans, on the whole, trust in specialists and educated authorities more than Americans do. This can be both a good and a bad thing. It can be good insofar as often specialists and educated authorities know more than lay people. It can be bad insofar as it leads to an uncritical deference to experts or to what is perceived as the majority opinion of experts, and can cause people to follow the herd rather than think for themselves.

When I read some Europeans’ negative comments on American life, American popular opinions, American attitudes, American culture, and so on, I find myself sometimes in agreement with them, but sometimes not. I think that people can be too “schooled”, too programmed to defer to degrees, experts, “consensus” and so on, and one of the great strengths of American culture (at its best) has been a certain individualism, a certain “think for yourself” attitude, a certain willingness to question all traditional or approve “truths”, a certain hard-headed “I’m from Missouri” stubbornness which demands empirical confirmation of theoretical or practical claims.

I’ve already indicated elsewhere here that I think some American populist claims, e.g., some of the claims of Paul Price about how to read the Bible, are not credible, and I think the dismissals of educated Bible scholars and theologians by such people are misguided. I think populist autodidacts can often benefit from getting an education or listening to trained people. At the same time, too much deference to experts is bad in theology as in other fields. If Martin Luther, John Calvin, etc., had taken the attitude that they needed to defer to experts, there would have been no Protestant Reformation; they simply would have assumed that Roman-trained theologians knew more than they did and that they should defer to them. But they took the time to learn Greek and Hebrew and read all the Church Fathers and so on, and came up with conclusions different from those of the “consensus” of the experts of their day. So intellectual skepticism regarding purported expertise can be valuable.

Of course, populist American religion goes too far in this regard, often showing contempt for all educated people and sneering at their achievements. But I wouldn’t ever want the populist spirit in America ever to completely die. If it ever gets to the point where a typical thinker from Iowa or Oregon or Kentucky or Maine thinks exactly the same way as a typical thinker from London or Paris or Heidelberg or The Hague, something vital in American culture will be lost.

All of this was in my mind as I wrote my comment. I hope that clarifies my intention.

Now, on your points:

I agree that very strong correlations can and should make one suspect causal connections. They aren’t proof of such connections, but the correlations should cause one to want to test for causal connections. And to maximize our area of agreement, I concede that in a very large number of cases anti-evolutionary arguments in the USA (and elsewhere) are motivated by religious commitments. And often enough a fundamentalist will admit this motivation, will say outright that he opposes evolution because it contradicts the Bible and therefore is an ungodly theory.

At the same time, the fact that many people who clearly are not fundamentalists, and in many cases are not Christians or theists at all, have criticisms of evolution, shows that religious belief is not the only cause. Michael Denton is at best a deist and possibly only an agnostic, and he is critical of the typical narrative of how evolution works. So are atheists such as Thomas Nagel and unbelievers such as James Shapiro. And plenty of non-fundamentalist Christians who do not treat Genesis as an authority on scientific matters and who regard common descent as a fact, people such as Michael Behe and Scott Turner. So not all so-called “evolution deniers” are motivated by religious belief. (Note that we are talking here only about motivation, not about whether the arguments of the aforementioned critics of evolution are good ones, which is a separate subject.)

I’m sure that happens, and I would have the same reaction as you, but I think that almost always in such cases the motivation is something else and the religion is then called in to defend a view held on other grounds.

Glad we agree.

I completely agree. In my original remarks about climate change on BioLogos I made this point, but I was taken to be arguing that climate change had not occurred – even though I explicitly indicated that I thought it had occurred and that I did not rule out the possibility that the human contribution to it was significant, that CO2 emissions could contribute, etc. I have always been much more offended by the political rhetoric around climate change than by any scientific claims. Where political rhetoric is banned from discussion, and scientists feel no pressure (either political or professional) to hold one view or another, I have confidence that in the long run science will produce reasonably good information. But unfortunately not just journalists but even some of the scientists themselves have used heated rhetoric, which makes me distrust their neutrality as scientists, especially when I know or suspect on other grounds that said scientists have strongly left-wing, anti-American, anti-Western political views.

I don’t think that the scientific measurement and modelling of global warming is in itself instigated by any communist or globalist plot (though it can be employed by people with such sympathies), but I would say that the easiest way to undermine such suspicions is to make it clear to the public that climate change investigators eschew any “orthodoxy” and welcome a whole range of modelling efforts, including not only those which lead to apocalyptic predictions but those which suggest that the effects of human activity, while real, may not be nearly as disastrous as many are claiming. When the public sees in private emails (which were leaked and published) that some scientists would like to see certain climate journals (the ones that publish peer-reviewed articles with which they disagree) discounted, expelled from the list of legitimate journals, the public suspects that one view is trying to take control of the field from behind the scenes. Science is not supposed to work that way. It is supposed to be evidence-based, and there should be no cabal of scientists manipulating the process behind the scenes to make sure that certain views get published and certain others don’t. Even the wish for that sort of control over what is published is antithetical to the spirit of science, and I don’t trust any scientist who has such wishes, even if he doesn’t actually put them into practice.

Thank you for your moderate and responsive reply.


And you would never overgeneralize from one sample, either, would you? :wink:



You have made some important contributions to the forum. If everyone agreed about everything, we would not get the valuable opportunity to compare and contrast.

The thread you started on the topic of ID as a philosophical approach combined with acceptance of evolution was particularly interesting. You will recall that I defended you in that thread against some comments that were, in my opinion, overly critical.

I will make a couple of final observations about our recent discussion, then leave the final word to you, should you care to say anything else.

As you forthrightly acknowledge, your sarcasm contained a point. It was not merely humor. And sarcasm, humorous or not, is not discontinuous with point-making.

So when I responded in earnest to the point embedded in sarcasm, why should that be a problem? Why is my earnest point “preachy” and your sarcastic point worthwhile, given that they address the same subject?

All of the sentences in that post were directly linked to a single thesis. Therefore, I suggest that it would be impossible to like any single statement in that post without simultaneously affirming the thesis.

In addition, I re-formulated the thesis in post #14 as a single proposition in 2 sentences. That post had the same number of likes.

Take care and stay well,


Let’s back up to make sure we are talking about the same thing. Here is the thing we have been discussing, or that I thought we were discussing. In response to Rumraket, I wrote:

You later characterized that response as “preachy”, and you further claimed that others on this forum found that response to be “preachy”. You still have not identified even one person on this forum who has characterized that particular response (as opposed to other things I might have written at other times) as “preachy”.

If you are claiming that the particular response above (the one you have classed as “sarcastic”) was “preachy”, you are free to explain what is “preachy” about it. And given that not a single person posting here, other than you, has classified that response as “preachy”, your claim that several people here found it “preachy” lacks any evidential support.

If you were not characterizing that particular remark as “preachy”, and if you were not claiming that others here found that particular remark to be “preachy”, then we have been talking right past each other all through this exchange, making it all a waste of time.

You can clarify the target of the “preachy” charge if you wish, or you can simply drop the topic. If you don’t respond, I certainly have no interest in continuing to battle over a characterization of what was intended as a sarcastic, humorous, one-liner, and I won’t be continuing on this subject.

Ah, I see. So are we to, then, take your initial comment as an admission that your failure to accept the scientific consensus on evolution and climate change is a sign of your “science illiteracy”?

I invite @Eddie speak for himself, but my reading is that he accepts the scientific consensus on climate change. He has, however, been vexed by some of the emails written in the aughts by a small group of senior climate science researchers.

He has not spoken about how his attitude might change in view of the fact that those implicated in the emails have not been part of the leadership group of the IPCC for several years. In my view, “Climate-gate” is no more relevant to climate science today than Piltdown Man is to evolutionary biology–the scandal, to the extent it involved any wrongdoing, is at a sufficient remove to simply let bygones be bygones today. The climate science community has, as far as I can tell, learned and applied appropriate lessons from what happened in 2009.

As far as evolution goes, @Eddie started a thread in which he proposed that intelligent design would be seen more as a complement to standard evolutionary theory than as a substitute. In other words, evolution itself could be regarded as an intelligent design, while simultaneously accepting the standard evolutionary mechanisms.

It seems to me that when people make Eddie feel defensive, he tends to push back, and then battle lines get drawn. (That’s a common human inclination, of course, so I do not intend this as a criticism.) I don’t think that pushing him into a camp is going to be productive. That’s my $.02.

Eddie, please correct me if I have misunderstood your beliefs or opinions about anything.


@Eddie - Here is a list of the current IPCC Executive Committee members and contributors. Scan the list, and you will not find anyone involved in the 2009 Climategate scandal, if I am not mistaken.



ID is not worthy of complementing anything in evolutionary theory.

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He has been sufficiently vague on that that I believe one could be forgiven for thinking he actually rejects it. At least he has not said anything that leads me to believe he accepts it in any other sense than merely and only for the sake of argument.


It is one of the usual tactics of Intelligent Design Creationists to deny that they are creationists and make a pretense of accepting evolution. So if @Eddie suggests that he accepts evolution, that does not mean he is not just following the IDC script.


I would put it differently. I don’t focus on “feelings”. I push back when people bully me, or bully anyone else, not because of my “feelings” but because of my commitment to rational, Socratic dialogue where bullying is out of place. If there is any “feeling” involved, it’s a feeling of indignation that people with Ph.D.s. are behaving like barroom brawlers instead of calm, dispassionate scholars.

Regarding evolution, I’ve said that common descent seems to me to be a reasonable inference, and I have no better explanation of the data to offer, so I take it as my working understanding. I have questioned only whether the entire process of evolution can be explained by the operation of unplanned, unguided events. It’s quite evident to me that most people posting here believe that it can be so explained. It’s also quite evident to me that they have come nowhere near to demonstrating this.

You are correct to say that I have not opposed evolution to design. In fact, I have scores of times, here and on BioLogos, stressed that I am not doing this, and that I think that evolution, understood as “descent with modification” (a definition Joshua has said is a permissible one), is compatible with a role for design. That people persist in misrepresenting me as “anti-evolution” and “creationist” is a testimony to some defect in their reading comprehension, or to their ill will toward me, or to their deep hang-ups about creationism, or some combination of these.

Since “the scientific consensus” is not here defined, it’s impossible to comment on this. “The scientific consensus” might mean:

1-- The earth has warmed by X degrees in 150 years.


2-- The earth has warmed by X degrees, and among the causes of this are human activities.


3-- The earth has warmed by X degrees, and “most” (no % specified) of this warmth is caused by human activities.


4-- The earth has warmed by X degrees, and all or virtually all of the warming (90% or more) is caused by human activities.


5-- The earth has warmed by X degrees, and all or virtually all of the warming (90% or more) is caused by human activities, and therefore the nations of North America and Europe are morally bound to make drastic cuts to their use of fossil fuels, even if that ends up costing their economies billions of dollars and the loss of many industrial jobs, while India, China, and Third World countries have no such obligation and can continue to pump out CO2 as much as they like (the Kyoto Accord), thus increasing the economic advantage they already have over Western countries; the nations of the West owe it to the world to act like suckers and patsies.

I never contested 1, and clearly stated that I found 2 probable and 3 quite possible. I found 5 a loathsome conclusion driven purely by left-wing globalist politics, nothing to do with science at all. Number 4, I indicated, was highly contestable, and named some undeniably certified climate researchers who questioned it. But even there, I never said 4 was wrong; I merely objected to the angry and violent dismissal of scientists who dared to question it, to the imputation of low motives to those scientists, etc.

All of this discussion took place on BioLogos, years ago. In that discussion, I was attacked viciously, by four or five people, not one of whom had any qualifications in climate science – or any natural science at all. (One of them was a classics major who had not taken a science course since about 10th grade in high school, another someone with a psychology degree whose business was selling latrines (or some such supplies) to the American armed forces in Asia, another a music major who worked for an internet company and raised dogs, etc.) And the main thing I argued, in fact, was not that there was no anthropogenic climate change, but that the claim that “97% of scientists say…” had no warrant, since no one at BioLogos (or anyone else on the planet) could produce any survey that established that “97% of scientists” said such and such. Indeed, it turns out that my instincts back then were right; the 97% number was a complete fabrication, and the history of it – its origin and repetition throughout the popular debate – has since been traced in detail. It was based on a misrepresentation of a literature survey, and the misrepresentation was simply repeated over and over again.

In any case, even supposing that such a survey really existed, “97% of scientists think X” is not an argument for X. It’s an attempt to get people to defer to the view that they happen to like, by stressing that it’s the view held by the majority. In practice, the “97%” rhetoric was a form of intellectual bullying. Real science doesn’t work by saying, “Look, 97% of other scientists agree with this, so it must be right.” Real science doesn’t work by doing surveys of scientific opinions. Real science works by measuring nature.

Basically, the gang of thugs on BioLogos was telling me that because a survey (a survey which not one of them could identify) supposedly indicated that 97% of scientists believed that 90% or more of global warming was caused by human CO2 emissions, I was supposed to accept that conclusion. That’s argument from authority, and not even as good as argument from authority, because they couldn’t even identify the people who were included as the authorities (not having a clue where their 97% number came from). It’s arguing from authority secondhand. And even arguing from authority firsthand is intellectually inadmissible in science or any academic discipline. So I refused to kowtow.

The result was that Jim Stump kicked me off BioLogos, though I had said nothing in that debate which violated any BioLogos rule of charitable discourse. (And Stump even admitted as much to me privately in his email to me, conceding that he was just tired of dealing with the complaints about me – not about my manners but about my contrarian positions. Basically he was caving into pressure from a group of thugs, to keep peace.) It was a good result for me, because I stopped wasting time debating with a bunch of drugstore cowboys who knew nothing about the details of climate science and couldn’t even produce the survey on which their 97% number was based. Stump did me a favor.

Unfortunately, soon after that, PS started up, and some of the thugs moved over from BioLogos to PS, so when I started posting on PS, the same sort of fruitless, head-butting arguments (again from people with zero training, zero publications, and zero credibility in the world of climate studies) started happening again. That’s the way it is on the internet.

(And no, Chris, I won’t apologize for the use of the word “thugs”, even if you say it’s not a “Christian” way of talking about people, so you can save typing effort and not bother admonishing me. The way I was treated on BioLogos was thuggish, and it’s exactly the right word.)

I will not discuss global warming again here, among people whose knowledge of the field is entirely secondhand, and whose opinions on the subject are unimportant, but this should make clear exactly what I was arguing, and what I was not arguing.

Thanks for giving me the chance to speak for myself, instead of imputing views to me without warrant.

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Let us coin a term: to “Eddie” is to discuss a subject at length and end by saying you refuse to discuss the subject.


Perhaps you have missed or haven’t understood the explanation. Perhaps your understanding of evolution or of life is deficient. Perhaps you are demanding far more detail than could ever be provided. Your previous comments suggest it’s the last of these, but it could be all three.

It would help if you explained where you think the shortfall in demonstration is, or said which portion of extant or historical life was not explainable by evolution.

I recall that last time you made such a comment it was based on not having been shown all the “necessary molecular steps to get to a camera eye from a light-sensitive spot or from an artiodactyl to a whale”, thus exposing not only your blatant double standards regarding evolution vs ID (since you demand a ridiculously high Behe-like level of detail from evolutionary explanations, but accept vague emptiness for ID) and a host of other things, but also that you were unable to name any features of whale anatomy that needed explaining.

We also saw your repeated refusal to provide any positive argument for any form of design, and (hilariously) found out that you think design can be inferred from something that hasn’t been built yet and that search engines can only be used for finding opinions, not information.

But that was in the past, and the questions were different then.

So feel free to specify a particular evolutionary transformation that you do not think can be demonstrated as being explainable using only unplanned, unguided events.


I found one other interesting comment in that old thread:

Ask your intelligent designer for five thousand steps (with justification!) in the design and building of a whale.

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Just to clear up any confusion on the 97% number, it comes from this:

Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S. A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., … Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8, 24024. ShieldSquare Captcha


We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

So the 97% are people actively publishing in climatology. That is those most qualified in the field. And what they agree on is that humans are causing global warming.

Notice the rhetorical trick that usually happens in response to this. We’ll be asked whether they agree on some percentage of the mean temperature change, or something to that effect(if you really want to know what estimations of the magnitude of the human contribution to global warming is, you can find that here: New Study, Same Result - Greenhouse Gases Dominate Global Warming). Such questions are meant to create a space for you to keep doubting. Like asking doctors if they agree smoking causes cancer, and then when they all say yes, you ask whether they all agree on the exact increase in risk.

It is no accident that they asked questions like that back when the Tobacco industry was working to suppress the fact that smoking causes cancer. It’s the same playbook. Heck, we see it with evolution too, which is why ID proponents love blathering about “the 3rd way” and “extended syntheses” and so on. Exact same playbook.


You have drawn an incorrect inference from what you actually quoted. You quoted from a survey of 11,944 “climate abstracts” from the “peer-reviewed scientific literature”. These would be abstracts of papers in climate science, i.e., by people who publish in that field. These were not abstracts of papers on respiratory diseases or analytical chemistry or cosmology. The papers were all papers about climate, and all by “people actively publishing in climatology”.

If you think this proves that 97.1% of climatologists endorse the consensus position, you have failed to grasp the meaning of the emphasized words, or have failed to draw the correct inference from them.

It’s academically unethical to do a survey of people, ignore the two-thirds of those surveyed who expressed no opinion on a question, and then take the percentage of those who expressed an opinion on the question as representative of the opinion of all the rest. It’s also illogical, but then, we are all used to scientists and science reporters who appear to have no training in logic.

And note that even if it were true – which it isn’t, based on the very survey you quote – that 97.1% of all climatologists support the view that the overwhelming cause of global warming is human emissions – that would not automatically be true of “97.1% of all scientists” – which is sometimes how the number is applied in popular discussions. (Partisans love to argue that “most scientists say” or “science says” – it’s such a useful club in policy debates.)

As for the opinion of “authors who rate their own papers”, that is so obviously an exercise in self-justification that it doesn’t even warrant a reply. No author should ever be rating his own paper. I spit on that part of the report.

The claim I was debating on BioLogos was simply this: “97% of scientists [or sometimes more narrowly of climate scientists] believe that an overwhelming percentage (percentage never specified, but for convenience here we will say more than 90%) of the warming has been caused by human CO2 emissions.” No one could document the 97% or the more than 90% figures. I’m not talking about whether the more than 90% figure is correct regarding the causes of climate change; I’m talking only about whether or not the alleged 97% of scientists actually specified that number (90% or better), or specified any number. Not a single person on BioLogos could provide a number, yet they were making claims that 97% of scientists (already a vast overclaim supported by no data) believed that virtually all of the warming was human-caused.

I asked, what do these 97% believe? Do they believe that 51% of the warming was caused by CO2? 75% of the warming? 95% of the warming? Or are the 97% divided, some of them offering much higher figures than others? Not a single person on BioLogos could answer. Not a single one of them could provide even one figure from even one climatologist estimating the percentage of warming caused by CO2.

For example, they could have said, “Professor Bob Smith of Harvard has argued, in a paper presenting detailed calculations, that approximately 78% of recent global warming is caused by human activity”, and cited the paper or book where Bob Smith argued this. Yet all they could say was that “most” scientists thought that “most” of the warming was caused by CO2. And that’s totally vague, imprecise, and a very unscientific way of talking. In science you need numbers. And the people yapping on BioLogos – nonscientists all – didn’t have any numbers. They were just repeating a mantra they had heard.

I was contesting such blind repeating of mantras. I wasn’t saying anything about actual causality at all. It might indeed be the case that 99% of all warming was caused by human emissions – but those people on BioLogos were still arguing wrongly, badly, and without evidence in their statements about “what most scientists believed.” The argument was about the accuracy of their reporting of scientists’ claims about climate, not over whether whatever claims those scientists made about climate were correct. But people nowadays are so badly educated that they can’t even follow what a discussion is about.

For those with clear, rational, trained minds, the first order of business is to establish: “What exactly is being claimed, and who exactly is claiming it, and where can we find these claims?” Only after that does one proceed to the question, “Are these claims true?” The people at BioLogos were conflating the two questions, blurring them, so that the discussion kept wandering between evidence for CO2 as a cause of global warming and what scientists had actually said. I tried to slow down the discussion and get everyone focused on providing an accurate answer to the latter question. No one was capable of controlling their polemical and political rhetoric and undertaking to do so.

Not in my case. I’m a highly trained academic (unlike the majority of people who were opposing me on BioLogos), and I ask such questions for the sake of intellectual clarity. In any truly academic field, always the question “What exactly is being claimed?” should be clearly and precisely nailed down before even beginning to answer the question “Is the claim true?” Anyone who does not proceed in that way has no business possessing a Ph.D. in any scientific subject – or any other subject. In fact, anyone who does not proceed in that way has no business at the microphone in any public debate whatsoever.