Dang me, dang me … they oughta take a rope and hang me


This from one of my most ardent admirers –

CdnMacAtheist:

Don said: Best regards and keeping it civil, Don.

Mac: I don’t consider it ‘civil’ to mention ‘grandkids’ 6 times while proselytising for the god virus, unethically advising & immorally encouraging indoctrination of innocent youth into the faithism drug addiction Don has been suckered into by his uneducated, simplistic submission into reality-blind, ignorant, belief in myths – without any good, supportable, testable scientific evidence.

I am trying to keep to the request by NCSE to be civil by holding back on my well-evidenced, accurate, rational & educated descriptors that I’ve used against your 191 intrusive, unwanted comments here.

Suffice it to say that I’ve made my feelings extremely clear in the past & anyone can look in my Comment History to see far more clearly how I treat your antics & tactics, which I still see as subversive, seditious, treasonous, unAmerican, illegal in Science Education & thoroughly disgusting, insidious behavior from a so-called adult.

Your mental conditioning & religiously directed social output is clear evidence of the damage that religion & faith do to otherwise sane humans, which is why this NCSE organisation is so badly needed in this massively troubled world – just look around at all the problems ‘created’ by folk who believe in various gods & are willing to kill or die according to their personal interpretations of ‘His Word’.

You & your type make me sick, ashamed that our species can stoop so low, ‘manufacturing’ lunatics who constantly undermine the magic of reality & who abuse the highly improbable fact of being alive in this awesome universe.

I wish there was a Hell for you to go to when your one, sick, sad life is done.

You can follow the train of discussion which generated this comment at Say What? The Dallas Morning News.

This is the blog site of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) where I have been intrusive now for many months.

And why you ask have I been so intrusive over these many months,  at a place where my point of view is clearly not welcomed … ?

Because, as I see it NCSE, is a very influential and powerful organization whose primary mission is to insure that the only view of science, and in particular the origin and emergence of life, is the view of neo-Darwinism to the total exclusion of any other … and further, to actively censor even the discussion of anything else at all levels of education in American schools from Kindergarten to Post Graduate.  I have several problems with this:

First of all I abhor the very  idea of censorship, which I view as a necessary and historically consistent step on the road to tyranny.  (What I find very ironic however, is that the NCSE blog itself is open for discussion and does get a fair amount of opposing opinion, including my own … and in a very ironic sense, I genuinely appreciate NCSE for allowing my comments and my opposing views.)

I participate in this discussion here at NCSE because I wish to see full and civil discussion of the various views of life …  its origin and its emergence. I wish to see our young and old citizens alike availed of the opportunity to see, read and study the best thinking on these matters. I resist what I see as a concerted, powerful and directed effort to turn our young students into atheists.

I participate because I see that the very beginnings of modern science, in so many areas, came about through men holding a theistic view of reality – the God Hypothesis if you will.

Founders of Modern Science – men having a Biblical world view:

Leonardo de Vinci … Johann Kepler … Francis Bacon … Blaise Pascal … Robert Boyle … John Ray … Nicholas Steno … Galileo … Robert hook … William Harvey … Christian Huygens … John Harris … Isaac Newton … Thomas Burnet … William Whiston … John Woodward … Carolus Linnaeus … Jonathan Edwards … Will Herschel … Michael Faraday … Humphrey Davy … Georges Culver … Timothy Dwight … Benjamin Silliman … Samuel F.B. Morse … Charles Bell … Joseph Henry … William Buckland … Charles Babbage … David Brewster … Matthew Maury … James Simpson … James Joule … John Herschel … John Dalton …

And a few more notable  scientists from more modern times:

Gregor Mendel … Lois Pasteur … Henri Fabre … Lord Kelvin … Joseph Lister … James Clark Maxwell …

       … and others.  

Look for the life stories and accomplishments of these men – you can use Wikipedia, but a compact rendering of these men can be found in Men of Science Men of God by Henry Morris.

Many of todays neo-Darwinists and atheists such as Gerry Coyne and  Richard Dawkins would seem to rationalize, minimize – if not outright dismiss the Biblical world view of these great scientists and place the post Darwin Materialist/Naturalist world view at the head (the only head) of the class.

                      ———————————–

Having studied this evolution/creation controversy for a number of years now,  I have come to see that there are many serious flaws and unanswered questions surrounding this very dominant view of evolution as the total and sufficient explanation of life on this planet – let alone the explanation of the origin of the universe itself. These flaws exist at the philosophical and ideological foundations, as well as in the evidentiary story line.   

Starting at the philosophical/ideological level, is the underpinning definitions of Naturalism and Materialism upon which much of modern science rests – from Wikipedia:

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions.

Naturalism is “the idea or belief that only laws of nature (physical law) (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

From these underpinnings come assertions of fact from some very prominent men of modern science – the smartest men in the world – such as:

“ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking

“Creation … , really does amount to something complicated springing spontaneously into existence.”  Richard Dawkins

“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be  … .” Carl Sagan

These assertions, among others in a similar vein, by these very influential men – as well as the very definitions they are derived from, seem to demonstrate an enormous arrogance and a sense – indeed a claim – of omniscience not even claimed by the Bible. You see, to make such claims and indeed to assert them as foundational fact, requires the one making such claims be sitting at a place outside of time and the universe itself – viewing all of time and the unfolding of all matter and energy in all of its forms from the very beginning.

Why do I say the Bible makes no such claims of omniscience? Doesn’t the Bible claim “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.?” AndIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.?”

Yes it does, but the difference is that the Biblical writers attribute this omniscience to someone who is beyond time and space, to one who does sit at a place outside of the universe itself – including time. They do not place themselves in such a place of time.

The very human and very limited human Materialist/Naturalist thinker and writer, in contrast, puts himself in that exalted position.   

Moving to the “scientific” or evidentiary basis of evolution, we immediately bump up against the Materialism/Naturalism definition defined above along with the proponents of such views. We bump up against this wall because with these definitions they have very neatly erected a  very high wall with themselves inside the wall, and any dissenting view outside the wall. This is very clearly pointed out as follows: [emphasis mine]

‘Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
                 Professor Richard Lewontin,

And there are many serious objections to the world view of the neo-Darwinist that should be openly available to the public, and there are many trying to break through that wall of separation – both from within and without. A few of note are:

Uncommon Descent | Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Evolution News & Views

The Institute for Creation Research

Darwin’s God

Who Made God?

And my own blog which you are reading now …  I don’t claim any advanced degrees or hands on experience, especially in the field of biology and the life science, nor cosmology or astro-physics, but I have accumulated many of my own thoughts on the topics as well as highlighting the works of others as noted above. These can be found by clicking on CATEGORIES on the right side of the main page, and also from   CREATION-EVOLUTION on the top most menu bar on the blog.

There is much offered, and rather than repeating it here, let me point out a few articles by myself and others.

Some Basic Evolutionary Questions | A Yearning for Publius  This highlights a significant list of unanswered questions and concerns about the theory of evolution. Thanks to Dr. Cornelius Hunter for this list, as well of a few of my own questions.

The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex, Your Choice: Part 1 | A Yearning for Publius

The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex: Part 2 … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity” | A Yearning for Publius

But any of these thoughts, and especially any of the proponents of these thoughts, are immediately cast as being in the arena of  pseudo-science and superstition – simply because proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism (not the same thing) refuse to abide by the Materialistic/Naturalist dogma. Along with this is the common debate tactic of personal destruction by way of insult and personal attack as illustrated by my lead in quote above.

So let’s return to that quote. I don’t intend to do any kind of detailed rebuttal here, but a few points of clarification might be helpful:

CdnMacAtheist is Canadian, not a US citizen.

“ … I still see as subversive, seditious, treasonous, unAmerican, illegal in Science Education & thoroughly disgusting, insidious behavior from a so-called adult.  … “

Mac knows I am a Navy veteran (honorable discharge I might add), and views my being a Christian and an advocate of ID and creationism as somehow in violation of the  1’st Amendment to the US (not Canadian) Constitution.  In another response to me he accused me of pedophilia because I recommended to a young NCSE intern that she look into the idea of Intelligent Design.

So I’ll leave it up to the reader here to judge my crimes and hang me – or not.

Don Johnson – August 2014

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18 responses to “Dang me, dang me … they oughta take a rope and hang me

  1. Don,

    As I’ve mentioned, I left the NSCE site because it was no longer a place for “gentlemanly discourse” (at least as I see it) and there are other and better venues to address questions of science and faith. You might want to consider looking elsewhere for discussion where the tone of the comments is policed more closely and the discussions are generally more constructive. You could try biologos, where conversations are fairly dialectic and constructive, though you will still end up not agreeing with much of what is said.
    My take on your strong opinions about science do not concern you trying to corrupt or indoctrinate others. Frankly, anyone who listens to what you have to say should defend their own right to a considered opinion by exercising it. If they listen without doing their own homework, they deserve to be misled if it happens that the appeal is misleading. Mac is not defending any innocents by is tirades, regardless of what he thinks he’s doing.
    My issue has more to do with the fact that you, like the vast majority of creationists, seem to think that it is censorship to exclude from schools the various opinions of a small minority of experts, all of whom have a known religious bias that seems to have an impact on their conclusions, instead of summarizing the common opinion of the vast majority of experts with no obvious common denominator in terms of religious or political bias.
    If I was a school administrator and had a free hand, but little knowledge about the subjects being taught, I would consider it to be a formula for anarchy to introduce every idea that had a minority backing amongst the experts in a given subject while being viewed as completely and long disproven by the vast majority. This would allow the introduction of the use of crystals for healing, animal communication, homeopathy, astrology and a thousand other views that are backed by a few credentialed individuals and reviled by the rest. It would be bad policy, impossible to implement and foolish to enforce. I would instead set a few reasonable rules for myself:

    1) A new idea should not be introduced just because it is popular, it must have the backing of well respected experts and organizations of experts in the field in question, especially if that field is highly complex. As Churchill once said, the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter, i.e. popular opinion amongst those who have an inadequate background knowledge or training is not a good measure of truth or good policy in a complex subject.
    2) It should not be introduced just because I happen to personally lean towards it, especially if I don’t have enough technical training to be seen as a competent judge on the subject by my peers.
    3) Third, if it is known to support and be supported by some known and influential political or religious persuasions, it should be viewed with great suspicion until it has been critically examined and accepted by uninterested parties (such as scientific affiliations with no known interest in its truth or falsity).

    I’m sure a few other rules would help, but I think that these would help narrow down what is being taught to a manageable size and chances are, the quality of what is being taught in every subject would generally be high. It seems obvious to me that creationism would clearly fail these tests (apart, perhaps from the second one in my case) and it seems to me that they are both reasonable and fair until it can be ascertained that there is a serious conspiracy in favor of a known interest amongst the experts in question. The only other reasonable option would be if you, as the key administrator, were known to be highly-trained, competent and unbiased in all of the subjects in which you are making the choice, and even then, your own competence would need to be weighed against that of the majority if you are in disagreement.
    Does this seem reasonable to you, and does it strike you as being a plausible justification for why the educational system limits itself as it does? Please excuse me if this seems slightly off topic!

    • This is the blog site of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) where I have been intrusive now for many months.

      Why do you associate others who are reading the blog and responding you to with the people who are running the website? Any and every harsh reaction that has come back to you has been an act of an independent party not directly involved whatsoever with NCSE. Their authors respond occasionally and with far more actual civility (which you use as a mask to hide your own disliking of your opponent, something that is quite shameful in it’s own merit). I do not work with nor communicate with NCSE, they are simply allowing us to express our first amendment rights to say speak our minds and we tend to have a lot to say about your lies.

      And why you ask have I been so intrusive over these many months, at a place where my point of view is clearly not welcomed … ?

      You have not been intrusive, you have been evasive; you don’t answer my posts anymore, Don. I’m having to move them to my blog just so that I can be sure to remind you of the conversations you start and then avoid continuing.

      Because, as I see it NCSE, is a very influential and powerful organization whose primary mission is to insure that the only view of science, and in particular the origin and emergence of life, is the view of neo-Darwinism to the total exclusion of any other … and further, to actively censor even the discussion of anything else at all levels of education in American schools from Kindergarten to Post Graduate. I have several problems with this:

      (“Because, as I see it NCSE, is a very”)
      Because at the start of a sentence. Needs comma after “it”, not NCSE.

      (“is to insure,”)
      You mean ensure, NCSE is not an insurance company.

      Your goal is to ensure that every facet of modern life revolve around the worship of your church’s deity and yet you find it hard to believe that a group of scientists are particular about how people view science. Also, stop your preaching about school, you did nothing with your degree (so sayeth your own website) so nobody needs to hear your opinion of who’s a good teacher. Go back to your laymen’s chair and play general. Stop pretending to be well educated on matters of science and nobody who knows better will have to comment. I am the person who is censoring you and the only times that happened was when I flagged your post quoting your bible (as if I hadn’t read those quotes before); Do not preach to me.

      Also, you’re all censored in school because you’re all wrong and its obvious to the people who do the real heavy lifting in this world; your ICR, AIG, ID BS don’t rest on any solid, empirical work. A sham, through and through, I’ve looked.

      First of all I abhor the very idea of censorship, which I view as a necessary and historically consistent step on the road to tyranny. (What I find very ironic however, is that the NCSE blog itself is open for discussion and does get a fair amount of opposing opinion, including my own … and in a very ironic sense, I genuinely appreciate NCSE for allowing my comments and my opposing views.)

      Then why even talk about censorship? You’re not getting censored by them, you’re getting trolled by me and my friends. We’re the ones flagging you because we’re your peers, Don, and we’re tired of going over the same old ground. Creationism is Religion, not Science, Science doesn’t care about opinion (need I say that Religion is opinion?). Also, none of you release any kind of real data, the rest of us are completely capable of understanding it, so much so that we can see through your lies.

      I participate in this discussion here at NCSE because I wish to see full and civil discussion of the various views of life … its origin and its emergence. I wish to see our young and old citizens alike availed of the opportunity to see, read and study the best thinking on these matters. I resist what I see as a concerted, powerful and directed effort to turn our young students into atheists.

      …. Here? NCSE is not “here”, “here” is your website. Quite an interesting glimpse of your psyche, Don.

      Also, nobody is “turning” students into Atheists, aside from the behavior of Theists; I was first a Christian then Agnostic, now an Atheist. I grew up with the same stories as the rest I guess I’m just more skeptical, I took more convincing. Then I heard of the wars fought in the name of Christianity and I studied the histories and points of view of many people; if that is what it meant to be Christian, I would pass, I didn’t want to pretend I knew what God was. Now I’m an Atheist because I have educated myself to the point of belief that the universe doesn’t function in any way that would express itself as somehow superhuman or preferring us over anything else… in short, I don’t see a god anywhere and I think that’s fine, this means that humans have managed to become civil in this way on their own which impresses me.

      I participate because I see that the very beginnings of modern science, in so many areas, came about through men holding a theistic view of reality – the God Hypothesis if you will.

      Yes, the old explanation for everything “God did it”. Well, that answer always leads me to the question… “How?”, and if you can’t tell me, stop talking about it (I don’t care for your bible’s version, either, anecdotes do not count and knowledge in epistemology so they do not work for me).

      Founders of Modern Science – men having a Biblical world view:

      Leonardo de Vinci … Johann Kepler … Francis Bacon … Blaise Pascal … Robert Boyle … John Ray … Nicholas Steno … Galileo … Robert hook … William Harvey … Christian Huygens … John Harris … Isaac Newton … Thomas Burnet … William Whiston … John Woodward … Carolus Linnaeus … Jonathan Edwards … Will Herschel … Michael Faraday … Humphrey Davy … Georges Culver … Timothy Dwight … Benjamin Silliman … Samuel F.B. Morse … Charles Bell … Joseph Henry … William Buckland … Charles Babbage … David Brewster … Matthew Maury … James Simpson … James Joule … John Herschel … John Dalton …

      *Golf clapping* Very good, Don, you found a group of people who, before the secularism of America was present, told everyone they believed in God. Well, I have news for you, most people who didn’t DIED.

      And a few more notable scientists from more modern times:

      Gregor Mendel … Lois Pasteur … Henri Fabre … Lord Kelvin … Joseph Lister … James Clark Maxwell …

      … and others.

      A noticeably shorter list. Now, can we name all the men who are scientists in the 20th and 21st centuries who are adamant supporters of “God did it”? If academia is so ripe with rich minds who believe in your god still, why do you preach that the world is against Creationism? Why do you constantly insinuate that the “paradigm” is somehow corrupted. I don’t get it, do you have a lot of smart people on your side, or not?

      Look for the life stories and accomplishments of these men – you can use Wikipedia, but a compact rendering of these men can be found in Men of Science Men of God by Henry Morris.

      *scroll*

      Many of todays neo-Darwinists and atheists such as Gerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins would seem to rationalize, minimize – if not outright dismiss the Biblical world view of these great scientists and place the post Darwin Materialist/Naturalist world view at the head (the only head) of the class.

      Of course an Atheist is going to dismiss the bible, in order to be an Atheist, one must dismiss all holy texts as words of gods.

      Also, Darwin’s ideas are at the head of the class because they are so well researched its a shame that you deny it. You cannot, however, truly deny the facts are reality because the sheer volume of confirming data, to which you will no doubt respond with something like “How come you don’t know how ___ works?” or “Show me the proof of evolution”. I respond to the former with “Do you know how ___ works?” and to the latter with “No, go look it up, it’s well documented”.

      ———————————–

      Having studied this evolution/creation controversy for a number of years now, I have come to see that there are many serious flaws and unanswered questions surrounding this very dominant view of evolution as the total and sufficient explanation of life on this planet – let alone the explanation of the origin of the universe itself. These flaws exist at the philosophical and ideological foundations, as well as in the evidentiary story line.

      It’s not complete, no, but then that calls into question the completeness of your body of study, the bible, and it is so ripe with contradictions I had to stop rereading it because it made me ill with the attempts to reconcile them. You are a snide laymen who doesn’t know two truths about the world.

      Starting at the philosophical/ideological level, is the underpinning definitions of Naturalism and Materialism upon which much of modern science rests – from Wikipedia:

      Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions.

      Naturalism is “the idea or belief that only laws of nature (physical law) (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

      From these underpinnings come assertions of fact from some very prominent men of modern science – the smartest men in the world – such as:

      “ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking

      “Creation … , really does amount to something complicated springing spontaneously into existence.” Richard Dawkins

      “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be … .” Carl Sagan

      These assertions, among others in a similar vein, by these very influential men – as well as the very definitions they are derived from, seem to demonstrate an enormous arrogance and a sense – indeed a claim – of omniscience not even claimed by the Bible. You see, to make such claims and indeed to assert them as foundational fact, requires the one making such claims be sitting at a place outside of time and the universe itself – viewing all of time and the unfolding of all matter and energy in all of its forms from the very beginning.

      No it doesn’t, it requires math skills and a healthy understanding of physics, chemistry and the like; It doesn’t require that one be outside of the universe.

      In fact, you’re making a common mistake when you insinuate that asserting something as true requires a complete understanding of it, Theists do this all the time and it is possible to assert the claim, watch me do it “I am asserting that the universe is made of matter and there is nothing else but matter, anything else that we cannot see/hear/detect cannot be verified and is just speculation”. See? I very well made the assertion. The fact that you don’t believe that assertion does not force it to be wrong.

      Why do I say the Bible makes no such claims of omniscience? Doesn’t the Bible claim “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.?” And “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.?”

      The Christian Bible makes as much sense (actually less) as any other religious text; it is anecdote, hear-say, superstition, code-of-law and written by humans. You should prove that it was written by your god, first, I see any modern “divine inspiration” depicted as insanity, why can we not apply that to people who knew nothing of syphilis, Alzheimer’s, heavy metal poisoning, soap, germs in general?

      Yes it does, but the difference is that the Biblical writers attribute this omniscience to someone who is beyond time and space, to one who does sit at a place outside of the universe itself – including time. They do not place themselves in such a place of time.

      Yes, something that cannot be experienced and wishes you to love it for causing your children to die as a test of your obedience and endurance; bravo for your Yahweh.

      The very human and very limited human Materialist/Naturalist thinker and writer, in contrast, puts himself in that exalted position.

      You run from NCSE because Mac, Cue and I harass you, your friend Brendan cries that we’re uncivil, yet you say things like this; you’re a hypocrite.

      Moving to the “scientific” or evidentiary basis of evolution, we immediately bump up against the Materialism/Naturalism definition defined above along with the proponents of such views. We bump up against this wall because with these definitions they have very neatly erected a very high wall with themselves inside the wall, and any dissenting view outside the wall. This is very clearly pointed out as follows: [emphasis mine]

      ‘Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

      It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
      Professor Richard Lewontin,

      Look at you, acting petty and putting words in peoples mouths. You’re absolutely a terrible person when your mask of civility fades.

      And there are many serious objections to the world view of the neo-Darwinist that should be openly available to the public, and there are many trying to break through that wall of separation – both from within and without. A few of note are:

      And my own blog which you are reading now … I don’t claim any advanced degrees or hands on experience, especially in the field of biology and the life science, nor cosmology or astro-physics, but I have accumulated many of my own thoughts on the topics as well as highlighting the works of others as noted above. These can be found by clicking on CATEGORIES on the right side of the main page, and also from CREATION-EVOLUTION on the top most menu bar on the blog.

      So then, why don’t you stop talking about something you don’t know anything about? Your buddies don’t either. I don’t know one serious scientist who isn’t highly offended by your side’s pathetic denialism and I don’t know an intelligent person who can stand against the facts confirmed using Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and serious amounts of research. Your side is quite petty, just like you, hurling stones at things you don’t understand because it may contradict your religious book.

      There is much offered, and rather than repeating it here, let me point out a few articles by myself and others.

      But any of these thoughts, and especially any of the proponents of these thoughts, are immediately cast as being in the arena of pseudo-science and superstition – simply because proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism (not the same thing) refuse to abide by the Materialistic/Naturalist dogma. Along with this is the common debate tactic of personal destruction by way of insult and personal attack as illustrated by my lead in quote above.

      It’s pseudo-science because it’s pseudo-science. You’re immediately put there because you never left that stance.

      So let’s return to that quote. I don’t intend to do any kind of detailed rebuttal here, but a few points of clarification might be helpful:

      I won’t get into this, they can manage themselves.

      So I’ll leave it up to the reader here to judge my crimes and hang me – or not.

      I don’t wanna hang ya, Don, I just want you to stop talking about things you don’t know anything about.

      Rob Dekko – 2014

    • Hi Brendan,
      Thanks for your input and your straightforward positions, even those which don’t align with mine. I have also been trying to leave NCSE, but it has been surprisingly difficult for me. But it’s time for this to end. After so many months it is more than clear that continuing would be pointless and never ending, so once more I will try to finish this episode.
      In reviewing the last year or so, I can see that the discussions have been dominated by just a handful of commentators, myself included. My hope has been that I would be able to cause some of the silent onlookers to look at a different point of view. It is impossible to access my impact in this regard, and my Quixotic endeavors will remain undetermined and unanswered.
      As in many human endeavors of this sort, we have a demographic of some 5000 members of an organization, and to know the commitment and viewpoints of such a group remains somewhat of a mystery. My own reading and experience in my personal and professional life is that probably a sizable share are just not interested one way or another, and most likely seldom visit the site. Another large group will remain silent with an attitude of “don’t get me involved in this.” That leaves two groups; another large group that are the ‘onlookers’ that are sincerely looking for answers, and the remaining group, again myself included and much smaller, are the vocal ones – the ones with passion.
      And I see some truth in what I say in this very unscientific analysis by looking at the up/down votes on the various comments – typically just a few in either direction – nowhere near the 5000 total population, or even approaching a sizable minority, let alone majority.

      So again thanks, but I must end this.

      Best regards,
      don

  2. Robert,

    You don’t get it. You don’t seem to understand that I actually agree with your arguments (I can’t imagine why you didn’t pick that up above). And by the way, I am neither your friend nor Don’s and whether or not you think this possible; it happens that my dislike of people insulting others is entirely independent of what position they take and whether or not we get along. I even happen to like Mac, we’ve had some interesting conversations in the past and he has a good depth of understanding; I agree with his science and I sympathize with his feeling that religious fundamentalism can be dangerous (and has proven dangerous for him personally). That doesn’t suddenly mean that I think his tendency to insult fundamentalists is laudable or that his impression that he is genuinely defending others by chasing fundamentalists off with a shower of insults is accurate. I’ve even discussed this with him and I’ve confessed that I somewhat understand, since I personally find it very difficult to not get abrasive myself (especially regarding Bill Crofut, who has proven to be something of a compulsive liar). I have stayed away from commenting on the site partly because I find myself getting too annoyed at creationist arguments or evasions and I don’t want to contribute to a bad tone on a good site.

    Let’s pretend that I really don’t care about whether insulting and swearing at people is a good and noble form of dialogue. I have no reason to assume you would agree to this anyway. Even if this were the case, I would take the position that it is completely counterproductive. It doesn’t apparently change anyone’s mind (just seems to harden them against your arguments), it creates a negative and poisoned atmosphere, and it chases any curious onlookers away unless they already completely agreed with you in the first place and they happened to like a late-night-barroom-brawl edge to their conversations.

    We definitely need to keep creationism and ID out of the schools, since they are not science, and kids don’t always know how to see the difference between a good and a bad argument. But to keep them out of all public discussion forums by shouting them off the premises? Even public discussion forums that are nominally devoted to discussing them? No, I don’t think this wise. I think freedom of speech on its own is only a partially good idea. Freedom of speech accompanied by civil dialogue is a better and more complete solution for dealing with a diverse society, even when it happens to be a tough line to maintain. If adults stumble over creationist arguments in the comments section and then fail to do their own homework to see why it is a bad argument, they don’t need some white knight to swoop in and rescue them, they need to grow up and inform themselves, and this is the only way that good science will ultimately prevail in the public opinion. If creationism is marginalized in society by an approach that is difficult to distinguish from bullying and scornfully dismissing, I think it will be excusable for an ignorant observer to mistakenly assume that it wasn’t actually good arguments that got them to abandon the field in the first place, and this will not be a healthy conclusion for them to come to.

    I’ve generally liked your arguments on NCSE Robert (some of your refutations have been thorough and enjoyable to read), and I think you have not usually degenerated into just throwing insults at people who don’t agree with you, but I still think that the atmosphere in the NCSE comments sections has deteriorated badly because people aren’t even trying to be civil, and this is sad, since the site is doing such great work and the blogs are proving to be fascinating (I think even the moderators have noticed this deterioration). I have advised Don that he might have more positive dialogues elsewhere, and I think this is probably true. This doesn’t mean I’m secretly hoping to be invited to his next birthday party any more than it means that I have aligned myself in a personal crusade against the NCSE axis of evil, so please avoid jumping to conclusions in the future;-). Best of luck and I look forward to more of your arguments at NCSE.

    • Well spoken Brendan, and thanks.

      I would have liked to see such admonitions concerning civility emanating from the NCSE principles (the Mods?) of the site, since they do have a Comments Policy – but your words are welcome here.

      I have tried to be civil and respectful in my time at NCSE, strong disagreement yes, but I’ve always tried to treat people with dignity and respect, and strive to address the issue at hand with substance. I have wandered away from this ideal at times, but have not lost sight of how I should behave towards others.

      I am especially grieved at the unnecessary attacks on another’s skill in using the English language. These attacks are unnecessarily hurtful because the attackers have no knowledge of the background of the individual receiving these insults – what is their native language? How much education do they have in the English language? Do they struggle with English because of their cultural and national background? Are they just to busy with life itself, leaving little time to polish up language skills? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but am willing to forgive sometimes very bad grammar and spelling and perhaps try to see into the heart of the person.
      And NCSE being an educational organization … shouldn’t the tenor of discussion be civil for the overall benefit of the student, and not derogatory and demeaning?

      My father immigrated to the US as a young man of 19 with little formal education and spoke and wrote in a foreign language – but he was able to quickly learn a new language and contribute to American culture and society for many years. He never was good at writing in English, and his spelling and grammar was atrocious at times – but he was a good man, and a man of strong opinions, and not one who was mocked and ridiculed because of his language limitations – he was respected.

      Thanks again.
      don

      • Robert Dekko

        Yes, it is true that one can find me harassing certain people on their use, or misuse rather, of English. However, it is not just anyone and everyone that I do it to. People like Gary Gaulin are not just bad at English, they are attempting to establish themselves as an intelligent, informed authority (especially in cognition) and the fact that their explanations for the development of intelligence lack sense is a prime indication that the person does not fully understand that which they are talking about. In other words; Gary says he is an expert in cognition but doesn’t know how to write properly? That seems to be quite self-defeating.

        If you mean Robert Byers, he doesn’t listen to advice on how to write better thusly making him willfully un-educated and reproachable on the matter.

        If you mean you, Don, I would have to counter with the fact that you’re a writer; you should know the difference between “insure” and “ensure”.

        Everyone else I don’t really care about and see no need to question them on why they don’t write better.

    • My apologies, Brendan, the reply was aimed at Don, not you, I must have clicked the wrong reply button.

      Also, thank you for liking my points.

      I do see that civility is the way to go, especially since getting angry and cussing someone out can be detrimental in the long run. I have also taken steps to ensure that I am very careful in the way that I talk and am perceived by most readers; I don’t want to come off as a jerk/hothead. However, I’m trying to point out that some people, especially Don Johnson, hide behind fake civility and humility while at the same time snidely jeer the rest with equally distasteful banter. In other words: he may not curse, but he’s still insinuating we’re stupid. in reality, simply using seemingly polite wording does not make the conversation civil.

  3. All this talk of censorship then you moderate posts… You leave yourself no credibility..

  4. Hi Don,

    I do, of course, quite agree with you that the NCSE mods should have intervened in much earlier; they have basically lost control over the tone of the conversations and from what I’ve seen, any unregulated environment (whether a government or a discussion forum) tends to encourage the more extreme elements to step in and take over. As I said above, I usually agree with Robert’s points about science, but his entrance and exit here have been essentially graceless (I’ll give it a few more days before calling it a hit-and-run and suggesting that you call your insurance company). One may be right in content while being wrong, wrong, wrong in attitude and approach, and it’s a shame that some of these guys show enough awareness of this to provide throw-away one sentence justifications, pronouncing, with an odd lack of logical continuity, that their behavior is eminently reasonable in the face of things. It’s too bad, since at first I though Robert would stick to discussing good science with great clarity without digressing into schoolyard chit-chat. I hope he returns to what he does best.

    I agree with him that when you speak of science, the tentativeness and humility of your assertions should be exactly proportioned to the extent of your background training (not that he ever said this; it wouldn’t have sounded that good when couched in a rant). If you have extensive training, you can afford to be didactic, if you don’t, I think that most of your opinions on the sciences should take the form of questions or should be accompanied by disclaimers, assuming that the sciences always look very different from the inside than they do from the outside. I don’t think this is always true outside of science, since I think there are some subjects (ethics for example), that are unavoidably calibrated by your world view and subjected to your subjectivity, so my opinion, for example, may be somewhat ill informed, but quite legitimate and grounded all the same. But for science, including biology, which is absurdly complex, I think that the need to be tentative in the absence of extensive training is well justified. The “culture war” has convinced too many people that many scientific positions are almost entirely driven by an overflow of passions based on philosophical and theological positions, yet it is funny that as soon as you start studying such subjects in university, there is nearly zero reference, covert or overt, to any worldview or philosophical perspective (uniformitarianism, to take a common example). You simply don’t see the slightest bit of evidence that any of the professors are caught up or driven by one of the positions in the culture war, and 98% of the time, you couldn’t rightly say who they would vote for in the next election or whether they are Baptists, atheists or scientologists. The science that they instill is highly neutral and not even plausibly inferred from or connected to one of these positions. It is all about specific experiments, observations, predictions etc, the hypotheses that these rule out or corroborate, and the frameworks or theories that we are left with. If the culture war position had it right, science classes would be a place of clear and ongoing indoctrination on all levels, instead of being a place where you can’t even guess at which side your professor would likely take in any of the hot button issues.

    Anyway, I think we agree that regardless of your position, it is foolish, useless and irrational to express it in such a way that your opponent is likely to become more instead of less entrenched in their own position, and I would say that some of the commentators on NCSE, as well as the new atheists luminaries that they follow, need a few courses in basic psychology if they really want to accomplish what they say they want to accomplish. No, scratch that, I know a lot of people who have taken no psychology, yet they are still aware, for some reason, that swearing and insulting have a limited ability to inspire heartfelt assent or even just self-doubt in their opponent or sympathy and agreement with their vacillating listeners. The entire new atheist movement is likely to do nothing more than radicalize all positions, creating an unending series of false dichotomies and compelling students to make either/or decisions in entirely superficial ways, ultimately enflaming everyone to treat issues like evolution with angry rhetoric instead of thoughtful analysis.

    Regarding your comment above about language issues, when it comes to insulting people who have trouble with the English language, while I do agree with you wholeheartedly, I rather think that Byers (I assume you mean him), doesn’t actually fall into this category. His mistakes are not linguistic errors, they are just obvious and constant typos that can only be attributed to carelessness, lack of editing and on some level, a lack of respect for those with whom he is communicating. He still doesn’t deserve half of what he gets, but he doesn’t seem to mind, and I think he is not without guilt by any means (though I think I think he should be treated with patience since he seems to have some unknown issues).

    Anyway, that’s it for now!

    • Hi Brendan,
      Your remarks are well spoken, well received and greatly appreciated … thank you very much. I can learn from one like you.

      I’ve been writing at my blog for close to six years now, about a wide range of issues and subjects, and have had ‘hits’ from all 50 states, all populated continents and over 80 countries; but for whatever reason seldom do I get comments. I don’t know what to make of that, probable not much … but it is interesting and I’ll never know.

      Since I get few comments, I’ve never considered publishing a policy. However, if I were to publish one it would be very simple along the lines of “would this comment embarrass my mother? or would my father drop his eyes and shake his head?” But I don’t intend to establish a policy where I see no need.

      Concerning Robert … well I just don’t know. He’s a young man, and as he lives out his life, circumstances will intervene and he may become quite a different man in years to come – that happens to a lot of us.

      As to the language issues and mocking of others, I don’t really follow the back and forth all that closely, and don’t really have an opinion on Byers – but the ridicule, mocking and viciousness against him stands out strongly, and I do pay attention to that and am saddened by it.

      Again thanks,
      don

    • I did respond, my posts are still awaiting moderation.
      Here

  5. Hi Don,

    Thanks for your response and your compliment. I like your potential publishing policy, but I guess it might involve too much wiggle room for people with rude parents. Anyway, maybe you don’t need one for now (and I guess you have a hand on the flush button anyway if visitors get out of hand; I suppose I would). I guess that most people online prefer to act as spectators, so this might explain why you get far more hits than comments. I wouldn’t have any idea whether to assume assent, indifference or something worse with a silent visitor, but in a sense, I’m sure it’s just nice to know you are being read and considered. I’ve played with the idea of setting up a blog myself, but I can’t think how to unify my diverse set up interests under one heading or with one focus (maybe this wouldn’t be necessary). This is one of the peak activity eras in my life graph, so maybe it would be a mistake to launch something without enough fuel. We’ll see, either way some of your reasons for writing are compelling and have given me food for thought.

    -Brendan

    • You’re welcome Brendan.
      I’ve always liked to write, and like so many had (unfulfilled) visions of writing the Great American Novel.
      I took to writing in earnest a number of years ago at work. I was a software developer, and it may be a surprise to some, but us programmers (Geeks) didn’t just sit quietly at our terminals pounding out code. We typically were a high energy bunch of guys and gals with strong opinions on many things, even and especially in the context of the systems we were developing. Meetings often times were high energy,voices loud and contentious over how or why to do this or that thing.
      I was never good at the real-time verbal give and take of debate, so I started backing off the verbal stuff and went away to collect my thoughts, do a bit of study and research on the contentious topics, and then would issue a memo or two stating my take on the issue.
      Even then, I got very few written responses to the memos – perhaps won a few battles and lost my share as well. But the technique of writing was well entrenched in facing issues, and thus I guess was the genesis of my blog (along with modern technology.) What I found in this process was that I didn’t have to face that seeming insurmountable wall of writing that Great (and large) American Novel, but I could take much smaller bites about more things of interest.
      So I guess I’ve given you a bit of advice about starting your own blog. You can start with as much or as little as you desire and let it lead you along the path … and believe me you will find yourself often being led by things and events that may not entirely be foreseen. You could even leverage your own ‘peak activity’ era by capturing that era in a blog or other kind of capture.

      Cheers for now,
      don

  6. Hi Don,

    Thanks for the reflections and the good advice. I’ll be letting the idea simmer for a little while, and it may bear fruit if I can get my act together after tucking the kids in one of these nights. All the best.

    Brendan

  7. Thanks Don, and yes, that does strike me as the right approach, especially with if you are dealing with controversial questions instead of using the blog as a diary. I guess that would be me, so I’ll keep it in mind. I also liked your view that the blog acts as a legacy to future generations. Who knows what impact a clear record of ones thoughts may have in the future, it’s a big pond and it’s tough to know what will end up making ripples.

  8. Pingback: A Glutton for Punishment –- Revisiting The National Center For Science Education (NCSE) | A Yearning for Publius

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