The Discovery Institute Tries Something Different: Feedback

| 35 Comments

The “intelligent design” creationists over at the Discovery Institute have long maintained a hypocritical stance. For public consumption, they say that they favor “teaching the controversy”. However, almost any time they control the forum, they pretty ruthlessly make it impossible for one to hear anything but their own spin on a topic. Now, they are asking for comments.

Back when the DI published their textbook supplement, “Explore Evolution”, Paul Nelson made a comment here about setting up a means to allow “debate” of the materials. Within a couple of hours of that, I had set up a thread at “After the Bar Closes” to permit just that. The DI does have a page labeled “Further Debate” on their “Explore Evolution” site, but all that provides is a set of links of responses from the DI to criticism of their book.

Discovery Institute Senior Fellow William Dembski’s weblog, “Uncommon Descent”, has comments enabled, but the moderation there is generally so ham-fisted that only a few voices of dissent have lasted more than a week or two. The various inconsistencies of moderation and proclivity to stifle dissent have their own thread at “After the Bar Closes”., and discussion of content at UD has occupied three long-running threads ([1], [2], and [3]).

In the past, the DI’s “Evolution News and Views” (EN&V) blog has dispensed entirely with the concept of comments. However, a post there indicates that the DI is posed to break with their tendentious tradition, to at least some degree:

Of course, you might want to discuss it with the scientists and scholars themselves. To that end, comments will be allowed on selected articles. All comments are held for moderation. The debate over evolution and intelligent design attracts all kinds, including those who detract from the conversation by their obnoxious behavior. In order to maintain a higher level of discourse, we will not publish comments that use foul language, ad hominem attacks, threats, or are otherwise uncivil.

Given their past history in moderation practice, though, I’d recommend that you compose any comments destined for EN&V in a text editor so that you can hang on to your work, without assuming that they will post and archive it on their site. To help gauge just how far they’ve come from their earlier appreciation of dissent, I would further recommend that you paste a copy of any such comment into the thread I’ve created at “After the Bar Closes” for the purpose of providing an open forum and archive. Then, we will be able to compare what makes it through moderation to some approximation of what they actually receive in the inbox.

35 Comments

On a scale from Uncommon Descent to 10, how open are they so far?

Someone will need to find an article where they have actually enabled comments first.

With ID/creationists, negative feedback causes howling.

But then all their “science” is different.

Sensing more heat than light will be generated by all this. Don’t expect that to change.

Mike Elzinga said:

With ID/creationists, negative feedback causes howling.

But then all their “science” is different.

Clever, Mike.

1) I strongly predict that this is going to be exactly as “open” as typical creationist venues. Although “comments will be held for moderation” is a common policy at some legitimate, open sites that screen for violence and the like, I suspect that we can predict what “moderation” means in this context.

2) I recommend that anyone who does comment make an effort to use neutral language and tear ID/creationism to shreds on the basis of facts and reasoned arguments. This is not some wretched call for obsequiousness in the form of one-sided “civility” or “bipartisanship”. Basically, I’d love to see them fail the easiest possible test. Let them get some neutrally worded, unequivocally civil comments, that cannot be objected to on any rational grounds, and make them delete those comments solely for containing reasoned arguments that they cannot counter. Let their petulant intolerance be displayed to the maximum.

These are the guys that are running the bait and switch scam on their own creationist support base. There is about as much chance for honest discussion there as there is for ID to become legitimate science. These guys will likely invent negative probilities to go along with their new laws of thermodynamics to make it look like they might be on to something. When you have to depend on your supporters bending over and taking a switch scam that doesn’t even mention that ID ever existed they know that they don’t have to even try to be believable to keep those rubes satisfied.

Whatever miniscule bit of “openness” the dishonesty provides, it’s merely window dressing, but it allows them to counteract the arguments that they are a closed group unable to accept open criticism as they play their “teach the controversy” strategy. I suspect it will be 1) highly censored, 2) it might not last very long and 3) they may even have creationist ghost writers acting the part of scientists.

A year or so back, I found a piece by Cornelius Hunter to be incorrect in places. Since there was no way to comment on it and since nobody at the DI publishes their email addresses (a practice I find totally unprofessional), I had to write the PR guy, lawyer Casey Luskin, who then relayed the message to Dr. Hunter, who then wrote me a very arrogant and condescending message. After debating whether or not to answer it and fearing I would write something that I would later regret, I just walked away.

Thanks for the update Wesley. Am highly dubious that their “feedback” will be anything of the kind that we normally tolerate here from creo trolls. I think that’s a very safe bet IMHO.

Jimpithecus said:

A year or so back, I found a piece by Cornelius Hunter to be incorrect in places. Since there was no way to comment on it and since nobody at the DI publishes their email addresses (a practice I find totally unprofessional), I had to write the PR guy, lawyer Casey Luskin, who then relayed the message to Dr. Hunter, who then wrote me a very arrogant and condescending message. After debating whether or not to answer it and fearing I would write something that I would later regret, I just walked away.

Maybe you should have gone to Cornelius Hunter’s own blog, Darwin’s God. To his credit, he does allow comments there, some of them very pointed, even insulting, attacks on him. He regularly gets clobbered in the arguments there (of course he may not perceive that). He’s one of the few creationists who don’t suppress debate in their blogs.

fnxtr said:

Mike Elzinga said:

With ID/creationists, negative feedback causes howling.

But then all their “science” is different.

Clever, Mike.

;-)

OT, but I was wondering what Joe makes of this new paper in PLoS. Related to some of your research and is very interesting:

Morran, L.T. et al (2010) Purging Deleterious Mutations under Self Fertilization: Paradoxical Recovery in Fitness with Increasing Mutation Rate in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14473. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014473

http://www.plosone.org/article/info[…]pone.0014473

It’s gone!!! I left a comment last night on Uncommon Descent that contained no name-calling, no hateful references and no ad hominem attacks but simply disagreed with what she wrote and this morning, I find that the comment has become one with the snows of yesteryear. How can someone call themselves a journalist with any integrity and remove comments they don’t agree with? O’Leary wrote:

“And, by the way, when Evolution Sunday rolls around in 2011, all Christian Darwinists should pause to reflect on how much their faith owes to these people. (I mention this because I am knee-deep in these blessed dimes of Darwin, for some project I am stuck with.)”

Here is what I wrote:

Why on earth would my faith owe these people anything? My faith in Jesus and my acceptance of evolutionary biology doesn’t hinge on whether or not these people are atheists. These people were atheists long before they supported evolution. And evolution has been around a lot longer than they have.

Somehow that was too much for her to handle.

The last time I visited his blog, he didn’t. I will have to go back.

Why not create a Creationist website that presents their “facts” in a clear, easy to follow manner that does not censor debate and allows that debate to be easily tracked to each “fact”.

No part of the website should present a non-creationist viewpoint except within the context of debate. Except for that context, (debate), the website should be indistinguishable from other Creationists websites.

Hopefully such a site would attract Creationists who have never seen their talking points debated in a fair manner.

issy54 said:

Why not create a Creationist website that presents their “facts” in a clear, easy to follow manner that does not censor debate and allows that debate to be easily tracked to each “fact”.

Below is a web site that presents all their facts. And no part of it presents a non-creationist viewpoint.

It doesn’t allow debate, but we are halfway there.

Link.

I would further recommend that you paste a copy of any such comment into the thread I’ve created at “After the Bar Closes” for the purpose of providing an open forum and archive

It might make it more useful if the blog post from the DI is included and the comments from the creationists so that the thing reads like the post and comments thread would if not censored, rather than having to do flipping back and forth. To that end, it would be good to record the times.

eric said:

issy54 said:

Why not create a Creationist website that presents their “facts” in a clear, easy to follow manner that does not censor debate and allows that debate to be easily tracked to each “fact”.

Below is a web site that presents all their facts. And no part of it presents a non-creationist viewpoint.

It doesn’t allow debate, but we are halfway there.

Link.

FUNNY!!!!!! Burst out laughing because it is just too true.

jimpithecus said:

It’s gone!!! I left a comment last night on Uncommon Descent that contained no name-calling, no hateful references and no ad hominem attacks but simply disagreed with what she wrote and this morning, I find that the comment has become one with the snows of yesteryear. How can someone call themselves a journalist with any integrity and remove comments they don’t agree with? O’Leary wrote:

“And, by the way, when Evolution Sunday rolls around in 2011, all Christian Darwinists should pause to reflect on how much their faith owes to these people. (I mention this because I am knee-deep in these blessed dimes of Darwin, for some project I am stuck with.)”

Here is what I wrote:

Why on earth would my faith owe these people anything? My faith in Jesus and my acceptance of evolutionary biology doesn’t hinge on whether or not these people are atheists. These people were atheists long before they supported evolution. And evolution has been around a lot longer than they have.

Somehow that was too much for her to handle.

Because they have no integrity. Just like Stephen Meyer, who persists in referencing his ID paper that he & Sternberg got published only to have it withdrawn by the Smithsonian related journal after a real peer review.

”… hose who detract from the conversation by their obnoxious behavior …”

the problem here relates to the definition of “obnoxious” … in the mind of anyone with a personality disorder, or any related deep conflict with reality, anybody who opposes or criticizes you in any way appears to be obviously behaving in an obnoxious manner

eric said:

issy54 said:

Why not create a Creationist website that presents their “facts” in a clear, easy to follow manner that does not censor debate and allows that debate to be easily tracked to each “fact”.

Below is a web site that presents all their facts. And no part of it presents a non-creationist viewpoint.

It doesn’t allow debate, but we are halfway there.

Link.

OK, you got me, let me reword my comment by replacing “facts” with the word lies.

Eric said, “Below is a web site that presents all their facts. And no part of it presents a non-creationist viewpoint.

It doesn’t allow debate, but we are halfway there.

Link.”

Is it just me, or does the link deliver all attempts to a blank page?

DavidK said:

jimpithecus said:

It’s gone!!! I left a comment last night on Uncommon Descent that contained no name-calling, no hateful references and no ad hominem attacks but simply disagreed with what she wrote and this morning, I find that the comment has become one with the snows of yesteryear. How can someone call themselves a journalist with any integrity and remove comments they don’t agree with? O’Leary wrote:

“And, by the way, when Evolution Sunday rolls around in 2011, all Christian Darwinists should pause to reflect on how much their faith owes to these people. (I mention this because I am knee-deep in these blessed dimes of Darwin, for some project I am stuck with.)”

Here is what I wrote:

Why on earth would my faith owe these people anything? My faith in Jesus and my acceptance of evolutionary biology doesn’t hinge on whether or not these people are atheists. These people were atheists long before they supported evolution. And evolution has been around a lot longer than they have.

Somehow that was too much for her to handle.

Because they have no integrity. Just like Stephen Meyer, who persists in referencing his ID paper that he & Sternberg got published only to have it withdrawn by the Smithsonian related journal after a real peer review.

Does anyone know what they pay Sternberg to prostitute himself at the Discovery Institute’s Biologic Institute? Has he gotten any publications out of the “research” that he is supposed to be doing for them?

Ron Okimoto

Sorry, but I don’t see anything on the dishonesty institute’s site that allows feedback to anything they say. Has anyone been successful in that venture?

A couple of new things on their site, they now list Howard Ahmanson, Board of Directors - Discovery Institute as one of their primary contributors, and the mighty Casey Luskin is “demoted” to staff (wasn’t he a senior fellow in the org?).

DavidK said: A couple of new things on their site, they now list Howard Ahmanson, Board of Directors - Discovery Institute as one of their primary contributors, and the mighty Casey Luskin is “demoted” to staff (wasn’t he a senior fellow in the org?).

Nope, Casey was never a fellow. He’s paid propagandist staff.

bob maurus said:

Eric said, “Below is a web site that presents all their facts. And no part of it presents a non-creationist viewpoint.

It doesn’t allow debate, but we are halfway there.

Link.”

Is it just me, or does the link deliver all attempts to a blank page?

Did you read the URL? Not to mention that the Eric did specify that it contains the “facts” available to support creationism…

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

RBH said: Nope, Casey was never a fellow. He’s paid propagandist staff.

I don’t know what they’re paying him … but it’s still too much.

Does anyone know what they pay Sternberg to prostitute himself at the Discovery Institute’s Biologic Institute? Has he gotten any publications out of the “research” that he is supposed to be doing for them?

Does he really do research? I’ve seen his silly whale video.

Karen S. said:

Does anyone know what they pay Sternberg to prostitute himself at the Discovery Institute’s Biologic Institute? Has he gotten any publications out of the “research” that he is supposed to be doing for them?

Does he really do research? I’ve seen his silly whale video.

If he works for the Discovery Institute, then no, he doesn’t do research at all.

If he works at the Biologic Institute, absolutely no research whatsoever is the primary job description.

If he works for the Discovery Institute, then no, he doesn’t do research at all.

If he works at the Biologic Institute, absolutely no research whatsoever is the primary job description.

But they might anything they do to be research.

It’s pretty obvious what is going on with various ID sites and ID sponsored dialog. With rare exceptions, like Hunter’s blog where he routinely gets trounced, they do not allow dissent. And I don’t know whether they are projecting themselves and their stifling of dissent onto others when they talk about ID being “expelled”, or, does it drive them nuts that an open exchange of ideas strengthens science. Not only does science not need their protectionist tactics, but it does better for not having them.

Or maybe it’s both, and then some.

On a scale from Jerry Coyne’s blog to 10, how open are they so far?

Getting banned from creationist sites always brings to mind, of all things, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. During the investigation into the apparent suicide of Roger Podacter, after Einhorn makes it clear that she wants him gone, he answers by saying “E, forget it. She’s right. Besides, I wouldn’t want someone tracing my steps and pointing out all the mistakes I made.”

Unfortunately, pointing out mistakes is exactly the behavior that most creationists consider to be “obnoxious”.

If only I had researched the online college route and got my degree as a web designer

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on January 20, 2011 5:37 PM.

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