Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

From: Stephen Matheson <>
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 17:50:52 EDT

My challenge to RTB is not that they "adopt" common descent, but that they acknowledge (as other creationists have) that it exhibits strong explanatory power. One can doubt an explanation, for any number of reasons, without claiming or even insinuating that the explanation is inferior.

This is what all creationists must do, in my opinion, to be worthy of any intellectual/professional respect: simply note that common descent works extremely well as an explanation, THEN set about constructing an alternative. To assert that common ancestry is poorly supported by evidence, or is unworthy as a scientific explanation, is to publicly confess to being either ignorant or duplicitous. In my opinion, of course.

>>> "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <> 04/17/08 5:13 PM >>>
How can RTB adopt common descent when they are committed to the creation
of every "kind"? They also hold to a strictly sequential day-age
interpretation of Genesis 1 with inerrant agreement between science and
Dave (ASA)

On Thu, 17 Apr 2008 16:15:07 -0400 "Stephen Matheson"
<> writes:
> "Guarded optimism?" Okay, I can do that. :-)
> And I'll go a step further. As disturbing as RTB's misconduct can
> be, its apologists have consistently avoided culture war posturing.
> They can't be believed when they say they respect biologists, but
> they should be commended not just for this one letter but for their
> steadfast refusal to heed the call to arms. I think this is partly
> due to their apologetic/evangelistic mission and partly to the fact
> that -- unlike the thuggish Discovery Institute crowd -- they seem
> to be genuinely decent guys.
> It seems to me that it would take relatively little for RTB to
> become respectable, with regard to intellectual integrity. They
> wouldn't need to abandon any of their main themes or beliefs (as
> silly and dangerous as many of them are). They would need only to
> acknowledge the explanatory power of common descent, disavow the
> kind of folk scientific dishonesty that characterizes their work on
> biological origins, and correct their serious but not overwhelmingly
> common errors. The Discovery Institute, by contrast, was built from
> the beginning on culture war and intellectual dishonesty. Their
> efforts are, in my view, unredeemable.
> Steve
> >>> "Rich Blinne" <> 04/17/08 3:36 PM >>>
> On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 12:21 PM, Stephen Matheson
> <>
> wrote:
> >
> > So, yes, kudos to RTB for eschewing the brainless and suicidal
> call to
> > culture war. But don't be fooled: Reasons To Believe is an
> embarrassing
> > repository of potentially dangerous folk science, and their
> breaches of
> > professional scientific integrity should be cause for significant
> concern.
> > And don't be too impressed by their claim to respect the
> scientific
> > community on common descent. Polite contempt is still contempt.
> >
> Nevertheless, it is good to know there is a line there. Folk science
> eschews
> no argument if it advances the "ideology". In this case, the
> evidence around
> RTB -- namely that secular scientists are not oppressors -- overrode
> their
> folk science. And it's not merely the physics v. biology thing
> either
> because Dr. Gonzalez was one of the "expelled". Your blog makes a
> compelling
> case for folk science at RTB but -- call me naive -- I find this
> letter as a
> reason for guarded optimism.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA
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Received on Thu Apr 17 17:52:02 2008

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