What is "Reconciliation"? What is "Peace"?

@swamidass Yes. I spoke of the forum as a whole.

I was just reading a piece on the ethics of communication and found this relevant and highly interesting quote.

Following the insight of Bok, we recognize this era as a time of “minimal” agreement as opposed to “maximal” agreement, in which only a few basic agreements about the good may be discerned. Minimal agreement can actually invite productive communication among persons with different understandings of the good and makes learning about the Other an absolute necessity. …The rationale for this minimalist approach is twofold. First, the wisdom of Bok seems irrefutable in this historical moment. If we live in a time of disagreement, finding a minimal set of ethical agreements is more likely than identifying a maximal set of ethical agreements. Second, we seek to move communication ethics discussion away from its use as an ideological weapon that justifies the worst of provinciality by permitting unreflective confidence in pronouncements of ‘this is right’ and ‘that is wrong.’ We offer a more modest option—communication ethics literacy— encouraging learning from and about differing understandings and enactments of the good (Arnett, Fritz, and Bell, Communication Ethics Literacy, 2009, pp. xiv-xv).

My only caveat to this statement is that it could be take to make truth relative, something i am not prepared to do, as a scientist and as aa person. What I am willing to do, though, is to grant that my understanding is imperfect, and to hope that others will do the same. That allows me room for learning from others and seeing the good in others. Even those who are unwilling to consider another point of view.

In fact, I would go on to say, perhaps we should attempt to come up with a set of minimal agreements about the good, things we can all agree are true and good. I added truth because science is more concerned with truth than goodness. Such a process should be quite enlightening.


Can we find “peacefulness” on common ground amongst the various scientific perspectives manifesting at the “crossroads” of the wide divergence of scientific views held among professing Christians?
Perhaps that’s a more attainable goal than “detente” at the intersection of the wider, secular faith and science dialogue, although I certainly don’t think that’s completely impossible, interpersonally, on a forum like this.
Would that the “culture wars” could be completely solved by forums like these!
The phrase, “Kingdoms in Conflict” keeps coming to mind, e.g. Some folks prefer to keep their eyes closed and minds shut off from the uncomfortable truths of our common faith.

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Thank you for your part in making this possible my friend.

I agree with this. For us to define common ground would have value and would be enlightening. @Agauger, this would be valuable between you and I. Perhaps even this would be a valuable activity with others in ID too.

I wonder how you imagine we could do this?

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There is something to be said for having the right level of discord. Sometimes the most productive discussions are controlled arguments, not nasty and insulting spats, but honest exchange of ideas are possibilities. Too often these discussions are treated as if it was a zero sum game, instead of an exchange where both might come out ahead.


I agree. Both can come out ahead if both are willing to consider what the other is saying. But even if not, it is still possible for one to learn from one’s opponent who will not consider any other possibility, as long as the discussion remains civil.


No. You can’t lob it back at ID. I was speaking as a person to a group of people. You narrow it to me and you. But the issue is finding common ground for this group called Peaceful Science. We probably have to start with some basics. There are things that are good or bad that we all can agree upon, at least I hope so.


A minimal list. I’ll be interested to see how @Patrick reacts.

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Thinking back to the discussion with TSZ mods, we wanted to know what we might do differently. When I look at the history of online communities like UD, Panda’s Thumb, TSZ, and ENV, the pattern is an initial surge of interest, a period of high activity which establishes a routine, then a long slow tappering off of interest locked in that routine. I’ve seen the same in my own atheism community, where the resistance to change grew until it prevented any efforts at change or innovation.

What I’m getting at (finally) is this discussion about Reconciliation and Peace may need to be ongoing and continually renewed. That will be hard to do - it’s human nature to try to settle into that comfortable routine.


One difference here is that we are planning a migration pathway. This is important. Everyone should expect our format and structure will be changing. This means that feedback on what is working and and what is not working is very important. It is very likely to change things. Everyone who frequents this forum is important here. I want know how we can serve you, especially as we grow. Things will change. Help us make changes to welcome more people in and to grow together.

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This is a good list, however most here has different views of fairness, goodness, and peace. I think that the discussion here at PS shows that various people have very different views on what is good and what is bad. It really is situational, individual, and requires human reasoning to work things out. No absolutes on any of these.

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@Patrick, yes, different people have different views. That is why we sometimes talk past each other. That’s why I suggested working out what we can agree on. Which means we have to define what we mean by good. You say good is situational. Are you saying there are some situations you would call good and I wouldn’t? Leaving aside ID getting trashed, and all creationists accepting an ancient earth and evolution. :wink:

I know there are things we both consider bad. We have discussed them on this forum. And I am pretty sure there are things we both consider good.

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Yes, the Dover decision.

OK, so where do we agree?

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Family, living life with purpose and meaning, happiness, love.

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Good list. I agree with those, at least as I understand the terms. Now can we push the boundaries? What do we agree on about science in general, then biology in specific?


That science is provisional truth. That science continues to provide better lives for people. That biological science is at the cusp of providing new and enormous benefits to us, our children and grandchildren in the years ahead.

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Interesting answer. It will take me a little time to type my response and I am sitting in a freesing office (maybe 30˚ F) so I am going to turn on the heat and get a coat. Otherwise my fingers will get too stiff. and my shivering will make my typos even worse. I’ll be back shortly.


Why are you sitting in a freezing office? I feel empathy for your fingers. Please go to a nice warm Starbuck’s and get a cappuccino on me via my Starbuck app.



I came in just to look for speaker wires. The owners we bought the house from said it was wired for stereo throughout the house. The rooms listed were LR (living room) kitchen, and SP. The only thing I could think of for SP was sun porch. My office would qualify as a sun porch, having wall to wall windows on three sides, and no heat, except the little portable heater I use when I am there. Alas, no wires, and I was lured by the siren call of the computer, sitting in the cold for just a minute…it’s 22° F, I checked.
Thanks for the Starbucks offer. I went downstairs and made hot chocolate with my daughter.

I can agree with your statements, but would have to qualify the last one. I suspect some things you would see as a benefit I see as a danger, such as reproductive human cloning and animal/human chimeras. Somatic cell genetic engineering is fine, but germline, not so much. Too much danger of vanity children, and incomplete knowledge of the interactions of genes. For example, genes linked to bipolar disease and autism may be genetically linked to extraordinary gifts and creativity as well. You eliminate the one and you may eliminate the other.

My statements about science:

Science is a discipline that seeks to understand the natural world by observation and experimentation where possible, or by observation, comparison of possible causes known to be capable of producing the thing being observed, and inferring which cause best explains the observation.

Science is cumulative in its understanding, but always capable of revision.

Science has been both a powerful force for good and for evil in the last century. Society as a whole, not just scientists, must decide on what is a right use of science.

Scientists are human, and subject to the same weaknesses as all humans. We should not set ourselves apart as some sort of high priesthood of knowledge. We can be dreadfully wrong, and that wrong can have dreadful consequences. Think eugenics.

Do you agree with these?



Go wireless - try Sono or the new Bose . Music all over the house wirelessly from your apps like Pandora.

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Every new technology has a dangerous side and a benefits side. The key is to minimize the danger and risks and maximize the benefits. Take CRISPR Cas9 enormous risks and enormous potential benefits. More scientific research and more reason based technological development.