Hmm, this grew into a contentious thread. Some have been interesting threads. Others have not.
@Patrick I have been thinking about your post and I want to respond on a few points.
I think this is a complex questions, because these are two very different types of “help.” Given that there has been so much contention on faith and science for 150 years, swirling around Adam, it does seem that seeking peace here could help a lot of people. This is the sort of help that science, also, really struggles with. So there does seem to be value here.
My scientific work is important and it helps people too, but in a different way. Though a great deal of scientific work just does not help anyone. David Reich’s work on ancient DNA work is not really about “helping” people, but revealing the true story of our origins. The phenomenal work on CMB and the Big Bang is not about “helping” people either, but just another effort to understand our origins. One ways science is extravagant is that we study things that are not going to be helpful.
I want to clarify that @Agauger has been honest and is doing important work. I’ve criticized ID for a long time for not producing real models, and never really admitting when they are wrong. I still have many disagreements with @Agauger, but she has taken a good road. The work she has been doing in population genetics is recognizably scientific, as she builds and tests models with data. Moreover, I have seen her admit error and change her mind. Also, and this is surprising to me, she has been willing to play by the rules of the game, keep claims about God’s action outside science.
Just as importantly, she has avoided ad hominem. I think we owe it to her to avoid ad hominem with her. We do not have to agree, and can certainly attack her arguments, but I want to pull back from saying she is not worth engaging. I see it the other way around. If ID started to look more like @Agauger, just maybe we wouldn’t have nearly the same problem with it. Discover Institute is not going away anytime soon. Instead of being frustrated with the worst of their actors, I prefer to encourage the best examples they have among them. @Agauger is one of those.
@Patrick, I do understand that some will question the wisdom of engaging ID and creationists, but it does seem like that is part of what we are doing here at Peaceful Science. I think we need some ways to talk about them that are not condescending, even as we forcefully push back on what we see as bad arguments.