Re: [asa] The "new" Uncommon Descent

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 17:02:47 EST

If I may make a suggestion...

* Have an invite-only contributor system, and attempt to have a nice
distribution between ID and TE advocates.
* Have a high standard for politeness. Minimum digs, minimum insults.
* Disable non-contributor comments. Cheerleading on the site would be
inevitable, and it's precisely that taint people want to avoid. Perhaps have
contributors set up an email where critics/comments could be mailed (there's
plenty of good, free email services nowadays.)

I would love to see a site following those rules, and I honestly believe the
comments sections are what tend to cause so many problems in these debates
besides. It devolves into cheerleading, sniping, and tends to attract people
who make thoughtful discussions harder to maintain if the site is at all

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 4:42 PM, Stephen Matheson <>wrote:

> 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
> <>
> wrote:
>> 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: *
>> *

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Dec 4 17:03:38 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 04 2008 - 17:03:38 EST