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


(Ann Gauger) #41

I have a pair. Yes, they are incredible. But some of the music I want to listen to isn’t available on streaming services or iTunes. Medieval stuff, opera sung by specific singers, etc. It’s annoying that Bose didn’t design in a way to play CDs, like a computer can with an external drive. Believe me, I tried. I tried linking the CD to my computer and playing through iTunes. No way. I even copied one CD to my computer’s hard drive. It shows up in iTunes, but is not recognized by Bose???

Ok, to return to the theme:

If we throw out all the old, we lose things we may never recover, and regret. I am not suggesting keeping everything, but some things are definitely worth keeping.

We need to hold fast to what is good, in both science andfaith, and find pathways toward community. Only on this base can we hope to deal other our differences peacefully.

This will be impossible for those who want nothing to do with religion. Hence my suggestion that we start with general areas of agreement.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #42

When I first saw mention of Peaceful Science, it was linked to the PS forum. I simply assumed that the name referred to “peaceful dialogue about science topics”, and once I perused the forum, I decided that the term was quite descriptive and appropriate while also being aspirational. Yet, it is apparent that many people have assumed other denotations and connotations for the title. I find that very interesting. I suppose we should always expect diverse reactions to new combinations of common words.


We tend to keep old things, thought, emotions. Sure we learn from the past, but it mostly biases us in the present. We tend to make the same moves over and over again. If we can view the present moment as really a new moment in time, we can use all our knowledge, all our previous experiences to make a informed decision on how to proceed. Here’s where I think we can agree: We can live today with our experiences of the past and our knowledge of what’s true right now, and we can take action to go forward with as little biases as possible.

(Ann Gauger) #44

Wise words. We can learn from the past but we are not obliged to live it again.

Now here’s a relevant question. You are in no way obliged to answer. Did you ever believe in God? What caused you to give up that faith?

When I was in 9th grade I prayed asking God to reveal himself to me. I expected a dream or something like that. Nothing happened so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I guess he doesn’t exist!”

A couple of years passed by. We moved to Kansas. I had always been horse crazy so for my 16th birthday my parents got me a horse. That summer I spent days on end riding in the hills, which were wild grassland without human habitation. I came to love what I saw—the way everything had a place, a role to play, a purpose and so much of it was beautiful. I came to the conclusion that God must be real, because order, purpose and beauty don’t come from chaos.

The rest came later. My point of view on evolution was not challenged in college—I actually had no point of view all the way through graduate school.

It wasn’t until my kids were in school that I began to rethink my earlier thoughts. My thoughts about randomness vs order, ,purpose, and beauty returned. I discovered ID had happened while I was raising my children. I was living in Seattle at the time, and the rest you know.

I tell the story so that you will know from what past I come. If you want to tell your story I would be glad to listen. Maybe it will lead to better understanding between us and perhaps other people.

(Guy Coe) #45

A beautiful story of your non-chaotic path to (rediscovering? finding?) God, @Agauger .


Perhaps I believed in God, Jesus, and Mary in a very childish way. God the Father was an old guy in Heaven, Jesus was a nice guy, also in heaven seated at his right hand which as a kid thought that was funny. Mary was like my Aunt Pauline, a nice motherly person for all the kids in the neighborhood but without kids herself. Was taught all the Catholicism and knew every rule, doctrine and dogma by heart (a smart kid -who would ask it you were on a ship on a Sunday and crossed the international dateline, did you have to go to Mass). By 8th grade I was certain it was all BS, but I would not dare tell anyone this. I played along as it was very harmless.

I was a Catholic Atheist for 40 years. It was easy to be a Catholic Atheist. Then 911 happened and religion was not harmless and more it was evil. I became an outspoken out of the closet atheist.

As for your story, your faith is what you are. It helps you. I makes you the person that you are. I see nothing wrong with that. Living your life the way you want to. The main problem I have is when one person want to tell another person how to live based on another person’s faith. That is were I jump in and say “leave them alone”.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) unpinned #47

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(Jordan Mantha) #50

OK, I missed out on this whole conversation, and I don’t exactly want to bring up all the debate, I just want to give my $0.02 on the OP.

I find “Peaceful Science” to be a very ambiguous and confusing term. On one hand, it sounds like “scientists trying to be peaceful”, in which case I don’t like the implication that most scientists are not peaceful. The other thing that comes to mind is Darrel Falk’s book Coming to Peace with Science which isn’t what you’re going after either. I just really have a hard time describing Peaceful Science with people, which is a little frustrating to me.

At its best this forum is quite friendly, comparatively speaking, but to a general audience it is far from peaceful. It’s also hard to see where it’s going anywhere, especially the constant atheist-ID battle. I really don’t find either view that relevant and it is difficult to find a thread on this forum that doesn’t rapidly descend into a useless grade-school back-n-forth. It’s like our Godwin’s Law. Is Peaceful Science, as an online community, going anywhere or is it a new home for the same people who’ve been going at each other for years?

(Ann Gauger) #51

Where would you like it to go? I would be happy to end the ID atheist debates and just function as a scientist here.

(Guy Coe) #52

Not sure I’ve seen any rancor resulting in charges of “Nazism” here, even metaphorically. The worst I usually see here is disdainful dismissal, which is light year’s away from Godwin’s scenario (well, at least a parsec away, anyway!).
I find it wearing, at times, but not particularly unsettling. I can learn things here that are on the edge of being a cogent critique or support of views I hold. Which either sharpens me, or clarifies the issues, or causes me to investigate further. It’s a rare opportunity to encounter the multiperspectival differences among those here which helps me understand them better. Individual experiences may vary, however, is the obvious disclaimer. Peace!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #53

@jordan, info think we need another site redesign. Perhaps in the next few months we will get that done.

(Jordan Mantha) #54

I was not saying Godwin’s Law applies here directly. What I was saying is that the atheist-ID discussion have, in a lot of ways, become a similar scenario. It doesn’t seem to matter what the topic or original post are, in short order it becomes a back-and-forth about “functional information” or “design” with people on both sides completely speaking past each other and often seems to end with semi-personal insults.

It could be worse (I recently stumbled upon some interactions between JoeG and Timothy_Horton on another forum, yikes!), but I’m not sure that it’s very productive and it really turns off a lot of people, especially the type of people who are traditionally underrepresented in these discussions. It’s starting to look a lot like a more “tolerant” and “neutral” version of the hundreds of troll-filled internet forums that already exist.

It may be fine for people who’ve been embedded in the trenches for years, but it just looks like no-man’s land for a lot of people on the outside. I can’t really recommend this forum to my students and my colleagues would either recoil at the aggressive nature of the discussions, or be sucked into joining in “fray” and be sent down an unproductive spiral.

Ann, you are definitely a bright star on the forum. Even when you go at it with people, you do so in a generally gracious manner and are usually trying to make concrete points rather than just saying the same thing over and over.

That said, I am more interested in understanding what people’s positions are. I’d be fascinated to understand places where ID thinks testable predictions might be found, etc. Separately, I’m interested how ID folks go about building a philosophy of science.

I get next of nothing out of a “this is design, no it’s not, yes it is! no it’s not!” kind of thread. It’s all about proving a point and interestingly, almost nothing of actually explaining a position. When a discussion starts out in a combative frame, people tend to move from isolated point to isolated point, trying to score points and defend themselves. What you don’t get is any kind of coherent view of the actual system of thought.

(Timothy Horton) #55

Good luck with that one. Science has been asking ID for some testable predictions for over 20 years now with zero provided.

Many discussions turn into pie fights because there is no ID “science” to discuss. Frustration sets in when people ask reasonable but difficult questions and get the same stock talking points and evasive non answers from the ID proponents. It happens on every ID-Creationist board I’ve ever come across. Not saying it’s right but it’s human nature to get angry at being constantly lied to.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #56

We may need to recalibrate with stricter rules on off topic posting. Would that help things?

(Jordan Mantha) #57

For me personally, it’s not a forum rules problem, the moderators and forum software are quite effective. I think it comes down to it being a broad online gathering of people initially centered around GA and @swamidass but then struggling to figure out where to go from there. Is it supposed to be a conversation, or a debate, or a working group, or a think tank, or … maybe all of them, I don’t know. Is it about ID, methodological naturalism, “mainstream” biology, love of science in general? I get (and generally like) the idea of having more questions than answers, but it sure seems like people are fighting over answers a lot.

I learned a whole lot in 2 days in St. Louis with a similarly diverse group but those types of discussions were very different than the ones I see commonly on the forums. It could be just the nature of things online, but I do hope for a “space” to replicate some of what I saw in the workshop.

(Jordan Mantha) #58

It really seems to me that it’s because people in the ID movement are predominately talking about philosophy of science (demarcation problem) and the atheists generally don’t really see a need for philosophy of science (since science is all-encompassing). In other words, it seems to me as a (mostly) outside observer is that y’all are using the same words for different things and expecting a nice logical discussion. I get why that would be frustrating, it just seems like doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result …

Perhaps it’s better for non-ID theists to address or push the issue with ID, since there is more common ground?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #59

I think that is part of the solution.

The issue, I’d say, is that we are looking for more than merely personal reconcilliation, as some efforts aim for. I’m more concerned with societal reconciliation. That means we will have to deal this unhealthiness as a group, finding our place in it.

I’ve been aware from the beginning that we will have to take a phased approach. What we are now is not what we will be in the future. Right now we need to get funding. Hopefully by summer, we will be well set up to do some careful planning for the next phase.

(Timothy Horton) #60

But that’s not what is happening. The ID crowd is claiming they have found evidence of an external Intelligence deliberately manipulating matter to form physical biological features found in extant life today. If all they were offering was philosophical talking points there would be no problem. Instead the IDers are continually making unsupported attacks on actual science and claiming their ID vaporware is scientific.