What is the scope of Peaceful Science?

When I read the stated goals of the Peaceful Science discussion forum, I am confused by what I read on the discussion forum. Clearly a goal is to facilitate dialogue between disagreeing sides. “We live in a fractured society. The divides in society are deep and unhealthy. Most of us do not engage with those with whom we disagree. We struggle to treat others fairly across the divides. We cannot heal these fractures in society at large, but we want to build something different here.”

To what does this refer? I get the impression that science and origins are topics being discussed and that viewpoints from atheism and evolution to young-age creation are represented here. On this forum, I see evolution generally taken as an axiom, theistic evolution considered thoughtfully, and young-age creation and intelligent design mocked with insults, accusations, and name-calling.

Is the goal of Peaceful Science to encourage peaceful discussion of whether or not God was involved in the evolutionary process whose plausibility we really don’t need to bother explaining because it’s just so obvious, it’s not worth even thinking about, or was there more in scope?


First off, welcome.

I’m sure @swamidass will be along to clarify his purpose, which I believe extends to creating a understanding between those who do and don’t accept evolution as an axiom.

I’m just a regular reader, who has found it this a very useful place to better learn from scientists about the science, and from other Christians about how they understand the parts of the Bible that in various ways touch on how God created humans and the universe around us.

You are right that there is a lot of unpeaceful discussion, both from those who disagree with the science and from those who disagree with a Young Earth or Intelligent Design position. I often find it disheartening that the disagreement seems to quickly extent to questioning motives and character.

That being said, I’ve learn’t a lot here. I am a former young earth “believer” who has changed my understanding of what the bible actually teaches, not because of science, but because I’ve learnt that there are other interpretations that are faithful to Biblical inspiration and inerrancy. There are many others like myself here, they just don’t post as often as others.

So stick around. By open to learn, ask real questions, ignore the arguing and you can both learn and fullfill the goals of bridging the different “camps”.


Do you see YEC and ID only being mocked and insulted, or do you see the claims of YEC and ID proponents being dissected, dismantled and refuted first, and the proponents being mocked and insulted for their lack of engagement with these refutations?

Is it that YEC and ID are mocked and insulted, or is it that people who make false claims based on willful ignorance, distortion and omission are mocked and insulted?



Ideally, PeacefulScience spends more of its time helping Christians discuss how Christians can believe in the miraculous creation of Adam and Eve, and at the same time agree that God used Evolutionary processes to create humanity on Earth.

You can send private messages to Dr. @swamidass by clicking on his icon, and then clicking on the message button that appears!

Of course there’s more than only insults. (Though claiming that every ID or YEC advocate here can only make claims based on willful ignorance, distortion, or omission speaks pretty strongly to the question of whether YEC or ID are even considered sane views worth discussing here.) I have however seen cases where to me, it’s pretty clear that the participants are talking past each other and misunderstanding. Obviously in such a case each side needs to take the time to think through if they could be missing what the other person’s trying to say, rather than assuming trickery and bad faith… or I don’t see how we can have “peaceful” in Peaceful Science.

My concern is more cases such as when Person A is said to have “bad-mouthed” Person B (for this discussion, it makes no difference whether it was true or not), and Person C comes along and without any argument or statement to do with the disagreement says “Glad to hear it. Good job, [Person A]”. Or when someone takes the time to try to explain an ID-related concept and this person, being known to represent ID, isn’t extended the benefit of the doubt like a theistic evolutionist would be, but after a few rounds of disagreement is told “You’re too old to haul those goalposts around like that.” I’d like to think that calm and considered criticism could be more prevalent, even when talking about ID or YEC.

I do wonder if PS as a whole really includes either of those views though. I myself would (for example) hope to be calm and considered toward someone who came along proposing that the earth is flat, but I also would not really want to invite dialogue from this person where we could learn from each other, as I do consider it settled that that particular view is incorrect and not worth spending time thinking about. If that’s how PS thinks of ID and YEC, perhaps it would be worth clarifying up front?

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We are all human, and our emotions can get the better of us. It can be difficult for scientists to hold back when they are told the only reason we hold on to things like evolution or an old Earth because we don’t want to believe in God (which is a bit strange given all of the religious scientists who accept those conclusions). It is worsened by the fact that those who are questioning the science demonstrate an ignorance of the very fields they are criticizing. Add in a massive dose of obstinate arrogance and you have a keg of dynamite begging to go off.

Graciousness wouldn’t be a virtue if it came easy. I think the best approach we can take is to explain what led us to our current position, and hopefully along the way others can learn and understand our position.


I was careful not to imply that, as there are a small number of YEC/IDers who don’t fit that category.

I agree such cheerleading is unhelpful.

In my experience people usually do get the benefit of doubt, at least initially, although some squander it really quickly, and others are known already from similar fora.

Calm considered criticism is usually the response to calm, considered posts;* and it’s not uncommon for unwarranted criticism to be ‘flagged’ and hidden.

Have you ever encountered a flat earth proponent? I have, and again their claims were handled appropriately until well after it became clear that they weren’t reciprocating.

*unless they’re repeats of previously refuted points presented unamended.

Thanks all. (And @Roy, my apologies for misrepresenting your statement… (removes log from own eye) there. That’s better. :slight_smile:)

This needs highlighting. Personally I always give new posters the benefit of the doubt and will try multiple times to politely explain the scientific concepts they have gotten wrong. Problems start when we get dedicated ID-Creationist fanatics who will ignore the evidence, call scientists incompetent or liars, then repost their identical PRATT claims again and again with no thought. After a half dozen attempts of getting spit on by those arrogant yet ignorant types getting irritated is inevitable. It becomes obvious those people have no desire to discuss or learn, just preach. Sadly we have more than one ID-Creationist at PS who fits that description.

I have no problems if someone wants to personally believe in ID-Creationism. I have relatives who are YECs. All we ask is they acknowledge the evidence shown them and be honest enough to admit when they can’t explain it. Then they can still say they believe IDC anyway and it will all be kumbaya. :slightly_smiling_face: It’s the ones who just ignore the evidence or call it (and the researchers who found it) fraudulent that get the pro-science people ticked off.

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Hmm. I think in the very name “ID-Creationism” (as ID itself, which has been aptly called “a minimal commitment”, isn’t creationism but is instead an umbrella view which includes creationism) and the term “pro-science” used to distinguish evolutionists from ID or YEC people, I see hints that ID or YEC are seen as equivalent to flat-earth here (i.e. they are clearly ignorant or mistaken, but we can politely refute them and ask them to come back when they’ve been educated properly)…

If that’s the view here, again, that’s clearly fine, but then I would maintain that the official perception given for this forum (that it’s a place for peaceful dialogue between disagreeing sides in e.g. origins, where the disagreeing sides include YEC and ID) doesn’t fit the reality. (FWIW, I do see @swamidass himself including YEC and ID here, in keeping with what I understood to be a goal of the forum, and I appreciate that.)

(Edit: I understand the “ID isn’t creation” view is itself controversial. But I maintain that it’s the case… you certainly can say that “many ID advocates are creationists”, and you can say “ID opens the door to creation”, and you can say “some creationists are in favor of ID”, though to be fair no major YEC organization seems to support ID, and among ID advocates today, YEC seems to be a minority view. You can even say that ID and YEC are equally deserving of ridicule, if you think either is at all. But they’re simply not the same thing.)

I think it is a peaceful place for dialogue - certainly more peaceful than most I’ve been on.

The problems start when that peace is broken - and I, like many others, consider that peacefulness includes not only politeness, but also honesty and openness. Posting fallacious claims that have already been addressed elsewhere and refusing to engage in constructive dialogue is not peaceful.


Um, ID-Creationism does hold a “scientific” position equivalent to a flat-Earth or astrology. Pretending it doesn’t in the name of peaceful discussion isn’t going to help anyone. The IDC folks have had over 20 years to produce some positive evidence but no one on that side is even trying. IDC as pushed by the Discovery Institute is a political movement, not a scientific one.

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@Timothy_Horton See my edit to my last post, where I elaborated on my concern about the term “ID-Creationism”. (Or don’t, of course. :slight_smile: But in case you wondered, I hope it clarifies my view.)

Very well, then… I guess the most I can say is that on Peaceful Science, there’s mixed opinions on whether YEC or ID are valid views? To the extent that they’re seen as equivalent to flat-earth, discussion about them certainly seems a waste of good time for all involved, YEC or not.

I don’t know of anyone who says ID and YEC (i.e literal Genesis) are the same thing. ID as presented now is a form of Creationism because it posits the Christian God creating life forms de novo. ID proponents only removed mention of the Christian God as to circumvent the U.S. Constitution but no one was fooled.

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Can you show me where ID posits that the Christian God is involved? (Apologies, as I mistakenly used “YEC” and “creationist” interchangeably :smiley:)

“Officially” they don’t since hiding the fact was part of the DI’s political strategy. But in the DI’s Wedge Document the goal of establishing the Christian God as Creator is clearly spelled out, and in published comments every major professional ID proponent has stated the Designer is their Christian God.

Like I said, the DI didn’t fool anyone except the True Believers who want to be fooled.

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I think I lost sight of my original question. I didn’t mean to discuss the secret motives of leaders in ID, just to ask whether ID and YEC are considered views that have any place in the debate here. My understanding at present is that officially they are, but among participants here it’s mixed. Fair enough.

For those of us who have been in this arena for a while we are all familiar with the Golden Oldies, the hit parade of creationist arguments. We tend to instantly face-palm, but we do need to remember that these arguments may be brand new to the people who post them here. As you mention elsewhere, it is often stubbornness that we react to, but we should try to give new people a fair shake at the beginning.

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For YEC, the answer is no. YEC claims were falsified 150 years ago. ID could be approached scientifically but right now it is not. Right now all ID has is political propaganda and long refuted talking points.

…and, most importantly, an audience willing to join in the subterfuge that ID is not about religion.