Our Front Porch

(system) #1

So have you heard the one about the atheist, the creationist, and the computational biologist? Sounds like the start of a joke, doesn’t it? But what if it wasn’t the start of a joke, but the start of a conversation?

This summarizes what @rogero learned from a few weeks observing us all and asking us what What is the Value of Peaceful Science?

As he explains this experiment,

In the end, that is our crazy bet. We hope we can talk to Wittgenstein’s lion, and some how find some common ground. I’m hopeful, but it remains to be seen how far this experiment might go.

Thank you @Rogero for an excellent article.

What is the Value of Peaceful Science?
(Guy Coe) #2

Have you heard the one about how God made the world in seven days, only to start taking complaints on the eighth? : )

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

@Patrick and the atheist/agnostis, what are your thoughts? @nwrickert @John_Harshman @Dan_Eastwood

My ID friends, we have had some good times and bad times on the forum. How can we do better for you? @Kirk @bjmiller @Agauger @EricMH

BioLogos friends, we have also had some good and bad times too. How can we do better? @Kathryn_Applegate @Brad_Kramer @Elle @pevaquark @randy @gbrooks9 @T.j_Runyon

For those of you who do not affirm common descent, how can we do better? @Michael_Callen @J.E.S @AJRoberts

(Anjeanette AJ Roberts) #4

Better to say we don’t affirm common descent rather than “evolution” since evolution is equivocal… aj

(T J Runyon) #5

Isn’t it better to say you don’t affirm universal common descent?

(Neil Rickert) #6

That blog post is too long.

I don’t have any disagreements. But most people won’t read it all the way through, and it won’t do much to attract new interest to the site.

Just my opinion.

(Retired Minister) #7

I guess I can see why some people might think it too long—but I was fine with it. I come from a time when we skimmed material if we thought it too long and then we decided whether to go back and read further on some points. Also, we were taught to structure every paragraph so that the first and/or last sentence of each paragraph provided a summary of that paragraph. So English composition was taught with skimmers in mind, I suppose.

If an article is long, I can always have that option of skimming—but if it is overly short and fails to sufficiently expand on its main points, I may be left unclear on the author’s intent. So I prefer long. I’m probably an odd duck that way.

(Anjeanette AJ Roberts) #8

yes, it is.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #9


In what sense do you affirm evolution?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #10

I am of the opinion that essays are an important form to be recovered. This is why are blog posts can be quite long. Most ideas are best developed in more than a sound bite. Smaller contributes are best in dialogue, as we see on the forum. Ultimately, I’m trying to influence opinions of highly motivated people, not attract mere eyeballs. Essays are a time tested way of doing this.

That being said, this post was really two posts at once. One was a short update on Peaceful Sceince. Perhaps I need to start posting those separately.

(Anjeanette AJ Roberts) #11

Congratulation! and Happy Birthday!

This month, our bustling forum hit about 80,000 views per month, and is becoming our lively front porch with all sorts of interesting things. A book deal on the Genealogical Adam is now officially signed with Intervarsity Press Academic, and my first draft is nearly done. Recently, our work with Science for Seminariesand Concordia Seminary was in the spotlight at WIRED and RealClearLife, leading to an entertaining exchange with Jerry Coyne. This comes on the heels of about 15 articles of quality engagement from the Discovery Institute as well. Conversations with Reasons to Believe have begun to assess the scientific details of their human origins model.

Next week, I will be giving eight talks in eight days, including at FaithAscent in St Louis and at Hong Kong University on “Of Apes and Artificial Minds: The Paradox of Human Exceptionalism,” On top of it all, I turned 40 last week, graduated my second PhD student, and am expecting my second child in December. A big month, and more to come.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #12

I think it is excellent. It has certainly exceeded my expectations as a place where diverse views can be discussed (and argued) but then reason always seems to prevail. A key feature is that there is enough latitude given by Dr. Swamidass and the moderators to allow the envelope to be stretched and then get back to serious discussion. Who can forget “Blasphemy Sunday” proclamation by atheists protesting heavy moderation. I am equally impressed with the number of true experts in many subjects.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #13

I’ll never forget that, hehe. Though I recall it was protesting any moderation, not heavy moderation.

(Walter Rogero) #14

It’s been my genuine pleasure.

But of course, that’s not my explanation of the forum but a quotation of yours @swamidass. :wink:

(George) #15


Did you mean we should assert Common Descent, not Evolution?

Or that we should assert Evolution, not Common Descent?

One of them, at the very least, has to be asserted.

(Anjeanette AJ Roberts) #16

I don’t understand what is difficult to understand about my statement. Stop saying RTB (or AJRoberts) doesn’t affirm evolution. Joshua edited his statement to which my comment was directed. I’m glad he did; it is now more accurate. But the fact that he did seems to be confusing late comers.

(Anjeanette AJ Roberts) #17

Evolution is equivocal. The statement you were making above was trying to simplify and categorize our/my basic position. We/I do not affirm universal common descent. That’s all the details I have time for today, sorry.

(T J Runyon) #18

I think @AJRoberts has made it pretty clear before on this forum she accepts that evolution happens and believes it happens the majority of the time within families and orders. There are just basic Created types. For example, there were was an original Tyrannosaur type that all subsequent Tyrannosaurs evolved from. So she seems to accept Separate ancestry. More of an orchard than a single tree. This is how I have interpreted her statements anyway.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #19

My take away from this is to be more careful in phrasing the RTB position, using language that you’ve tuned in this where I can. This is an example of a place I can.

(George) #20


If you keep saying Evolution is equivocal… nobody will know what you think the word is supposed to mean.

And Common Descent, without the Universal, usually just means Speciation.

So… can you affirm Speciation?