Should Scientists Dialogue With ID, YEC, and OEC?

14 posts were split to a new topic: The Meaning of Dawkin’s Endowed Chair

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.

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I think that you need to modify that claim.

Can you cite or reference any ad hominems by [@Agauger]?

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What about this one?

I am also yelling because apparently Art Hunt doesn’t understand anything about bacterial genetics, and how much work that would be, and he doesn’t understand anything I have written about the limits of protein evolution, or he hasn’t read it, or he is misrepresenting it.
Gauger: Answering Art Hunt on Real Time Evolution - #2

This entire statement was untrue and completely out of the realm of reasonable discourse.

In my opinion, Ann put up with a lot, but she also blew up with childish fits on multiple occasions for the oddest of reasons.


@T.j_Runyon expresses my concern. People like Ken Ham misrepresent science (and the Bible, for that matter) and that encourages science ignorance among the general public—and that helps produce a misinformed electorate which supports politicians who harm science education. And how many young people are discouraged from careers in “dangerous” fields of science where they are told there’s a conflict with the Bible?

I don’t expect all working scientists to expend their energies on the Ken Hams of the world. Most of them will probably be ignored by the people who most need to hear them. On the other hand, when Bible-affirming, Christ-following scientists with appropriate fundamentalist and evangelical pedigrees tactfully explain their disagreements with YECism (for example), I’ve seen it make a very real difference. This is especially true for those scientists and other scholars who grew up within YEC fundamentalist churches. I appreciate their efforts.

I believe much of today’s millennial generation (including many of those from fundamentalist backgrounds) will gradually overcome the negative influences of the Ken Ham-types. And AIG will have a tough time maintaining its momentum once its leader retires. I don’t see someone like Nathan Jeanson gaining much of a following among millenials. Of course, I could be wrong. I’m no longer as engaged in such communities. Nevertheless, I’ve observed a lot of millennials (and those of the generation following the millennials) who are unwilling to just go along with what they were told growing up. I think many of those family trips and church youth group trips to the Ark Encounter will eventually prove to be the beginning of many young peoples’ paths out of science denialism.


That’s not what makes an argument an ad hominem.

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Above would be, though, right?

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No, the ad hominem argument was that we should ignore Art’s point because he “doesn’t understand anything about bacterial genetics”. It was right in front of your eye, Mung.


Was the Science review of Darwin Devolves ad hominem? How about all the comments that have been made here about Mike Behe or about the DI or about Ann?

Or the constant statements here that are made about other members.

It’s simply an observation about Art. Whether it not it is true is irrelevant to whether or not it is an ad hominem and whether it was “completely out of the realm of reasonable discourse” is likewise irrelevant.

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Yes. Ann posted quite a bit about why Art was wrong that went far beyond merely accusing him of ignorance and leaving it at that. So your claim that it was ad hominem is missing a rather important element.

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I was asking a serious question, not making a point. Here’s the definition:

(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Are they ad hominem? Call them out. I don’t believe the definition should change based upon the identity of the offender or the target, do you?

Why are you so desperate? Yes, she did add material in the post, but it was an obvious, textbook example of an ad hominem. To suggest otherwise indicates an unwillingness to objectively analyze arguments.

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I have. And the responses I get are ludicrous. By way of example, unless Ann actually stated that “therefore Art Hunt’s argument should be ignored” she cannot possibly have engaged in ad hominem. Yes, people have actually argued that the “therefore” clause has to explicitly be there or it’s not ad hominem. So now that they have made their bed …

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Ooh. Ad hominem! I never saw that one coming. :smiley:

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You appear to believe that saying something “bad” about the other person is the only element needed for an ad hominem logical fallacy. Is that what you believe? Because if it is, these pages here are chock full of it and you’re highly selective about when you decide to make a case about it.

Are they ad hominem? :slight_smile:

Actually no. :slight_smile:

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Let me ask you a question. Let’s say you and are are having a discussion and I fire off at you that “you are not a scientist.” Do you think that is ad hominem?

How about this rather famous one, “you are anonymous.” Is that ad hominem?