Re: [asa] The "new" Uncommon Descent

From: Stephen Matheson <>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 16:42:31 EST

David wrote: "All the more reason we need an ASA blog presence."

It would take about a half an hour to set up.

Let's work on a proposal. We'll need to address questions like these:

1. Will the "ASA presence" be official, and what would it look like? Would contributors have to be ASA members?
2. Who will choose contributors and how?
3. How will comments be moderated, and will anonymous commenting be allowed?
4. Are we talking about an evolution/design blog or a more general ASA blog?

If we have 4 or more contributors/moderators, who share common basic values and mutual respect and hold various positions on design-related questions, we would be able to have vigorous discussion while maintaining a credible moderation policy to discourage trolling or other abuse. Open threads can be started periodically to provide an opportunity for ongoing discussion by commenters (this is how Telic Thoughts operates).

There's no need to continue validating Uncommon Descent as a legitimate venue for debate and discussion of these important issues, and the fact that the manager is a "devout Christian" makes the concern more urgent, not less. Setting up a blog is easy. Let's do it, and in the meantime try Telic Thoughts for discussion of design without the culture-war perversions.

Steve Matheson

>>> "David Opderbeck" <> 12/03/08 7:00 PM >>>

I checked it out briefly as well, and unfortunately I also didn't notice any difference.


All the more reason we need an ASA blog presence.

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 5:10 PM, Stephen Matheson


In his last missive, Timaeus had this to say about Uncommon Descent:
"There have been changes at Uncommon Descent. Recently, ownership of the site, including the right of final decision about moderation, has been transferred to Barry Arrington, who is, I believe, a devout Christian, and one interested in genuine discussion. Barry is explicitly trying to open up the site to those critics of ID who can be civilized in tone and are willing to stay on topic, i.e., who will refrain from harping about things like the Wedge Document and alleged plots to force creationism into the schools, and will stick to scientific matters (though not to the exclusion of such aspects of theology which naturally touch on scientific matters). There are indications that expulsions and suspensions are going to be rarer, and are going to be tied to genuinely offensive personal behaviour, or lengthy posts which are filibusters rather than educated arguments. Already some people who have been out of line have been put on moderation rather than suspended or expelled. I think this is a change for the better. I think that Barry would welcome contributions from a number of people here, especially if they are written with the same courteous tone and level of clarity and intelligence that I have witnessed as a guest here. The cross-fertilization would be good for ID and TE alike."

For a taste of just how Mr. Arrington carries himself as the new "owner" of the culture-war orgy of UD, read the attack piece on natural selection in peppered moths, and then look at his responses to the wholly appropriate and completely respectful criticisms of Croizat and Bueller_007. They were apparently banned. And don't miss Arrington's response to MaxEntropy. No amplification should be necessary.

I can't imagine why anyone would consider that forum to be a place for healthy discussion of anything with anyone. If there is going to be dialogue among people who hold various views on design and evolution, it can't be in a place that lacks every basic value of intellectual discourse. Folks, let's discuss the ways that we can facilitate the interaction that so many of us seem to think is needed. The cross-fertilization that Timaeus refers to would indeed be profitable. But it should be obvious that UD is no place for useful discussion. To move forward, we shouldn't wander back into the cesspool. We should be heading in the opposite direction, and now is a good time to think about how we can negate the toxic influence of UD, by building a forum that at least attempts to achieve what we claim to value.

Steve Matheson

Link to Arrington's post:

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Received on Thu Dec 4 16:43:09 2008

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