Robert Shedinger: Religion, Science and Evolution: Confessions of a Darwin Skeptic

There’s no paradox at all if ID is just a grift.

Joshua is just (or trying to appear to be) less cynical than most of the scientists here, IMO.

Have you read @Faizal_Ali’s early review of the GAE idea (not the book yet)? Faizal Ali: My thoughts on GAE

I disagree.

Do I need to put in more intellectual effort into my disagreement than Shedinger bothered to put into his essay?

Agreed. Those risks seem inherent with all god-of-the-gaps variations. My quote isn’t addressing ID challenges to evolution. That’s not my view. It’s more about academic and intellectual freedom within the scientific discipline to question itself and its findings. And not being a scientist, I have no opinion on whether that can or can’t be done. But as the beneficiary of their work, I certainly hope and trust that it is.

Scientists become famous by overturning dogma!

Then I suggest that you look into it. Nobel Prizes might be a good start.

You should. That’s what makes it fun.

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Have you ever heard the fable of the Fox and the Grapes?


Within the arena of science, there needs to be a scientific reason for questioning a theory. Conflicts with religious beliefs or personal preference aren’t going to cut it. And yes, theories are questioned all of the time. The history of science is full of overturned theories and dogmas.

@Mercer, I see @EvolvingLutheran taking an entirely reasonable position.

I do too, and apologize if anything I wrote could be interpreted as him being unreasonable.

I don’t see Shedinger’s position as reasonable because it is incredibly uninformed. @EvolvingLutheran hasn’t written an essay.

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Many people within the discipline of climatology have found that there is an orthodoxy which is questioned only at great professional cost. There is also an ecologist in Australia, working on the Great Barrier Reef, who has been punished severely, career-wise, for daring to defy the politically correct wisdom about the state of the Reef. And in Canada, it is reported that a female expert on polar bears who has actually studied their numbers personally (as opposed to the armchair study of many others), and has dissented from some of the current cliches, did not have her job renewed. Similar things have been reported in fields such as physics and space science.

Of course, here on this site, most of the scientists will tell you that none of these injustices are happening, that it’s only cranks and pseudoscientists who are being disciplined, and that science today is running exactly as it should. But my many contacts in other areas of science tell me that “groupthink” is becoming a serious problem in their fields. And of course, “groupthink” almost completely dominates the humanities and social science disciplines at most modern universities. Political correctness (which seems now to be more important than historical correctness, grammatical correctness, economic correctness, logical correctness, etc.) casts its shadow over all thought and research and even undergraduate teaching.

And all of his has happened during my lifetime. When I was an undergrad, universities were oases of intellectual anarchy, where any and all positions could be maintained by students or faculty. That’s not the way it is now.

No, that part makes sense. It’s how consensus is arrived at through refining and testing. Some critics, like the author, seem to suggest scientists are not free to question consensus whether it be due to groupthink, fear of not being published in peer reviewed sources, and whatnot. I’m NOT saying there’s anything to that criticism. I don’t practice within any of the scientific disciplines. So I can’t say from first hand experience.

There can be a great cost for challenging any well supported and well evidenced conclusion in science if you don’t have the evidence to back up your challenge.


No harm no foul.

The article seems fine enough for an in-house university publication and I think it would be well-received among conservative Lutherans. The only place I could see colleagues cringing is the dismissal of St. Paul’s record as historical.

The question that I would raise to him is what does it look like for theology to influence science? He laments that NOMA is never strictly enforced, noting that if science can impact theology, then theology should impact science. He even jests at a seminary for the scientist program. However, he never provides any positive examples of what this might look like besides the standard Discovery Institute tropes of design and non-reductionism. But, why does theology uniquely offer those categories? I’d be very curious in dialoguing what he thinks theology can bring to science? The positive game is much harder than the negative game, but the negative game is safer…


And those “questioning” are AFAIK producing lots of rhetoric (IOW, arguing) and no climate data. Do you know of any exceptions to that generalization, @Eddie?

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I don’t know about him, but the closest I get to seeing the mind of God is when I am contemplating the complexity of biology, which is otherworldly and nothing like the quasi-human-designed complexity that is portrayed in ID creationist polemics.


Actually, the cost is often just about the same even if you do have the evidence. That’s what the poor fellow who was the expert on the Great Barrier Reef found out. I tried to get a biologist here to listen to his account, but the biologist dismissed him (without hearing the evidence) as a “contrarian.”

If you start a new thread, I would be happy to take a look at it.

The topic here isn’t climate change, so I won’t rise to the bait and get into specific arguments about climate change. I was just replying to the commenter with a general point about the sociology of academic professionalism, a topic he raised, not me. The phenomenon I mention is widely acknowledged as happening throughout the university nowadays, and all kinds of articles are appearing in university and general magazines, protesting groupthink, politically correct orthodoxies, etc. Scientists, can, if they wish, pretend that this only happens in the arts faculties and that they would never be guilty of any such thing – but no one will believe it.

I’ll see if I can dig it up, but it won’t be for a few days. But I predict that everyone here will take the side of the Administration rather than of the dissident scientist. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, of course.