Does Uncommon Descent deliberately suppress dissenting views?

On another thread a small debate broke out as to whether there is a strategy on UD to suppress dissenting comment.  Some may be surprised to learn that I don’t think there is (despite having been effectively banned through extreme moderation at one stage).  As I understand it there are a number of people on UD who can decide to ban or moderate someone.  It seems like they do this on largely emotional grounds.  As the contributors are nearly all ID supporters it is not surprising that the ID opponents get banned far more often and for inconsistent and sometime inexplicable reasons.  However, I don’t think it is a strategy to suppress dissent – although the effect may be similar.

I invite anyone who has been banned and also UD contributors to comment on this.

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146 Responses to “Does Uncommon Descent deliberately suppress dissenting views?”


  1. 1 Toronto May 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    1) Clive Hayden said that he put me in moderation for being uncivil.

    2) I asked him to show me where.

    3) He couldn’t do it, since like so many of “The Banned”, there was never any incivility to begin with.

    4) I told him how difficult it was to comment or respond properly with delays of sometimes more than a day, but he still said that should be acceptable to me.

    So he did it, he knew it, and despite repeated requests, didn’t fix it.

    I was finally stopped from posting when he started removing my comments to “StephenB”‘s assertion about absolute moral codes.

    I finally asked Clive to step aside if he didn’t have the stomach for this debate.

    Hopefully, someone who can handle the pressure of open dialogue will take his place.

  2. 2 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Mark, think about what you said:

    “As the contributors are nearly all ID supporters it is not surprising that the ID opponents get banned far more often and for inconsistent and sometime inexplicable reasons.”

    Why do you think “the contributors are nearly all ID supporters”? Do you really believe that it’s because ID questioners or critics don’t want and try to post there?

    Have you ever seen an ID supporter say that they had a technical problem with posting comments on UD? Have you ever seen an ID supporter on UD honestly and diligently complain because ID questioners or critics are blocked and banned? Have you ever seen an ID supporter on UD honestly and diligently argue that the forums there should be open to all people and viewpoints? Have you ever seen comments from ID supporters disappear for no apparent reason? Haven’t you noticed that comments or questions from ID critics (and the critics themselves) have disappeared for no apparent reason, other than because they were not completely in support of ID?

    By allowing selected, occassional questions or comments from some ID questioners or critics, UD tries to make it look like they’re being fair and open, but it’s just a willful, insidious ruse. UD is deliberately moderated to keep the comments as lopsided as possible, while giving the (false) impression that the ID-ists there are fair, honest, and open minded.

    UD is a carefully controlled haven for liars, hypocrites, and con-artists. In other words, typical christians.

  3. 3 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    “News” (o’leary) said:

    “One person wanted to know why “nullasalus” does not solicit the views of non-theist critics of ID: Because that’s not what the thread is about.”

    Of COURSE that’s not what the thread is about, and that’s not what the whole website (UD) is about. The whole site is about conning people into believing that ID ‘theory’ is scientific, evidential, empirical, factual, substantial, non-religious, non-creationist, not a political agenda, and that ID-ists are honest, decent, fair, open minded, and scientifically motivated. What a crock.

  4. 4 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Picture this example scenario (just for fun if nothing else):

    First UD moderator: ‘Hmm, MathGrrl would like to post on our site and ask some questions. What do you think?’

    Other UD moderator: ‘Well, her questions could be tough to answer and there’s a chance that we will not be able to answer them coherently and may end up looking foolish.’

    Another UD moderator (laughing loudly): ‘Don’t worry, she’s just a girl and couldn’t possibly pose difficult questions, and even if she does we can make sure she is on her own and that she has little to no support from other people who expect us to coherently answer her questions.’

    Other UD moderator again (smiling widely): Yeah, you’re right. What was I thinking? Of course we can crush MathGrrl and block other people who support her questions, and we can throw so much sciency sounding gobbledegook at her questions as to make it look like we have thoroughly and coherently answered them and really know what we’re talking about! Just think, when all is said and done we will WIN! Yipeeee!’

    Another UD moderator again (laughing sarcastically): Hey, if nothing else, kairosfocus, bornagain77, Joseph, UprightBiped, and the rest of the gang will overwhelm her with so many talking points and bible-babble that she will look like an idiot for even asking the questions in the first place! We can’t lose!’

    First UD moderator again: ‘Plus, some of us can always turn everything around and and confuse the issue and put her on the defensive by responding to her questions with our own questions, and if necessary we can attack her education, knowledge, motive, and agenda. And with little to no support allowed from others, she will run away like a scaredy cat! There’s no way a girl is going to take us on, persistently, all by herself, and we can make sure she will be all by herself! I’m getting goose-bumps just thinking about it!’

    Bill Dembski, who has been sitting quietly by, smiling and smirking smugly: ‘Okay, it’s settled. With all that in mind we’ll let her post. Carry on my brothers in the crusade for all that is pure and righteous (secret handshake and hip bump) and don’t spare the ban rod. Praise the Lord, and pray for lucrative book sales and donations.’

    Meeting breaks up and they all go to dinner at Hooter’s.

    Seriously though, I firmly believe, from observing the posts and forums on UD, and from seeing what people who have been blocked and banned say about it on other sites, and from my personal experience in attempting to comment on UD, that even if no such meetings are held and such a strategy is not specifically outlined, that the carefully controlled, deceptive, deliberately stifling moderation at UD is at least in the mindset of its moderators and ID supporting participants.

    Either way, the result is the same. The people who run or support UD are willfully deceitful, and many voices are not heard there. That sort of oppressive behavior is typical of religious know-it-alls who want to impose their belief system onto others and will do anything to git-‘er-done.

  5. 5 Neil Rickert May 15, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I suspect that they see themselves as being fair and banning people for being too impolite rather than for dissenting. But they may well be more disposed to see an ID critic as impolite than to see an ID supporter as impolite.

    If they were really looking for fair discussion that stayed on topic for the issue of the thread, they would have banned ba77 long ago.

  6. 6 Mark Frank May 15, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Why do you think “the contributors are nearly all ID supporters”? Do you really believe that it’s because ID questioners or critics don’t want and try to post there?

    By “contributor” I meant people who can post, not just comment. As it is a blog run by and for the ID community it is fair enough that the posters are ID supporters.

    I see quite a lot of comments from ID opponents including myself. Yes ID opponents are far more likely to get banned and ID supporters are allowed to get away with behaviour that is against the moderation rules and would lead to banning in short order for an opponent. My only claim is that this is based on emotional reactions not some strategy. I have been able to comment on UD for several years now and when I did get put into moderation

    a) Some ID supporters did express their disappointment
    b) I got taken out of moderation fairly quickly although it was complicated by technical issues

    I think that if you are prepared to turn the other cheek and receive abuse without responding then you can continue to comment indefinitely. I find the best way to do this is to simply not get engaged with some participants.

  7. 7 Seversky May 15, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I agree with Mark in that I do not think there is any carefully thought out strategy for banning dissenting opinion from Uncommon Descent. It seems to happen more when a moderator becomes exasperated with a persistent critic. My impression, for what it’s worth, is that UD is less tolerant of dissent than other sites but I have no figures to back that up. It would be interesting to compare the number of people banned from UD over, say, two years with the number banned from Pharyngula or The Panda’s Thumb over the same period to see just how much of a difference there really is.

  8. 8 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Some classic examples of the double standards on UD:

    “4 May 2011
    BCSE and (New Best Friend Dawkins) Wish to Ban Freedom of Thought
    Steno

    It would seem Dawkins and BCSE have kissed and made up – well a small truce at least. How sweet. Dawkins asks people to sign the BCSEs petition that seeks to ban creationism and ID from being presented with any integrity (i.e. as being real and scientific) in the school classroom in British (English) schools.

    http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/620663-please-sign-this-anti-creationist-petition

    This is both regretable and ironic. They have clearly lost the battle to convince a large section of the population of the truth of Darwinism so resort to the law to enforce it. In so doing they seek to restrict freedom to think through the scientific evidence. A bit like a child who can’t win a game of footy, so he picks up the ball and goes home and spoils the game for the rest. An admission of failure, but a rather worrying one when it leads to loss of human rights and freedom of thought, and even undermines the process of science and quality of education.

    Human rights are not safe with such people as they seek to isolate and exclude those who hold different beliefs to their own. But I don’t think they even understand the point of value and rights for all.” (My bold).

    From here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bcse-and-new-best-friend-dawkins-wish-to-ban-freedom-of-though/

    Strange, but I don’t see any of the people on that thread fighting for value and rights for all people on UD, or complaining about UD excluding/isolating (banning) those who hold different beliefs to their own. They obviously only recognize so-called “rights and value for all” when it comes to teaching their religious agenda (creationism and ID) in schools.

    If the creationists/ID-ists at UD could have their way, they would “resort to the law” to force the teaching of creationism and ID in schools worldwide. Their particular version of IDC of course.

    If the people at UD were honestly and genuinely concerned with freedom of thought, the process of science, and quality of education, they would allow all views on UD (including opposing ones) so that everyone reading or commenting on UD could see all the submitted evidence and arguments and decide for themselves what they will accept or discard.

    Dembski argues in favor of free speech, the Free Speech Protection Act 2009, and freedom of expression in this post on UD:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/culture/paul-l-williams-freedom-of-expression-in-a-global-secularized-culture/

    An excerpt:

    “My point rather is that critics intent on shutting ID down may do so by challenging its right to fall under free speech.”

    Strange, but I don’t see Dembski arguing on UD in favor of free speech and expression on UD, for all people.

    And even more lying, hypocritical bullshit:

    “It is my sincere hope that this site never becomes an echo chamber. Echo chambers are boring. We always welcome a (civil) discussion with those who disagree with us. We never run from a confrontation, because we are confident in our position. We will debate the issues here and let the chips fall.”

    From this post by Barry Arrington:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/we-welcome-honest-exchanges-here/

    How can that guy stand himself? Isn’t there an especially horrible place in Hell for lawyers? 🙂

    ID-ists and creationists are real good at bitching about censorship, banning, being “expelled”, infringements on freedom of speech and expression, or any other alleged limits on what they can say and where they can say it, but when it comes to “welcome”-ing free speech and expression on UD, for all people, they flat out lie and regularly resort to blocking and banning.

  9. 9 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    There is a far simpler explanation: most evolutionists find it incredibly difficult to engage in debate with their opponents without resorting to nasty and offensive remarks. We should not be surprised then if any website which enforces a strict moderation policy tends to weed out large numbers of evolutionists.

    If evolutionists are genuinely interested in a rational, factual debate with their opponents then they will have no problems with moderation on Uncommon Descent. Unfortunately, this is a not a genuine interest held by most evolutionists.

    • 10 Mark Frank May 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

      If evolutionists are genuinely interested in a rational, factual debate with their opponents then they will have no problems with moderation on Uncommon Descent.

      Chris – I am afraid that is not true. I am sure others will provide plenty of examples where they have been removed for idiosyncratic reasons. I still haven’t the foggiest idea why I was put into moderation.

  10. 11 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Looking at this thread so far, your comment included Mark, not one evolutionist explicitly owns up to posting a single nasty or offensive remark on Uncommon Descent. In this particular debate, that would be an utterly astonishing departure from the norm. I for one do not believe it. In fact, I’ve noticed some evolutionist comments on Uncommon Descent which overstep the line of decency. If those comments are permitted then it is easy to imagine the content of those comments which are not permitted.

    So, the question is, are evolutionists here being dishonest or are they genuinely unaware that they have made a nasty or offensive remark which led to their moderation/exclusion? If the former then why bother at all? If the latter then strive for a more decent, respectful and fact-based approach in future and maybe we can engage in a much more worthwhile discussion over on Uncommon Descent.

    • 12 Mark Frank May 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Chris

      I am sure that in the many years that I have contributed to UD I have made remarks that were offensive. The point is the lack of consistency. While on some occasions ID opponents may well have been banned for being offensive, they have also been banned or moderated for making remarks that were not offensive but merely disagreed or for no obvious reason at all. ID supporters also make extremely offensive remarks and hardly ever even get a warning.

    • 13 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Hogwash. It doesn’t matter how something is said by an “evolutionist” on UD, it only matters whether it agrees with the party line there. Take a good look at the way “Joseph” speaks on UD. Even some of the main articles, by various authors, contain insulting or condescending remarks and name calling. Name calling and other condescending or insulting, “nasty” remarks are regularly made by ID-ists on UD, including by people with moderating authority.

      By the way, according to “Joseph” and other ID-ists, ID theory and its supporters don’t have any problem with evolution, so why are you using the term “evolutionists” as though they are automatically at odds with ID-ists?

  11. 14 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    My comments directly above are directed to chris.

  12. 15 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Some definitions of strategy to consider:

    The means by which objectives are consciously pursued and obtained over time.

    A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

    A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.

    Together, strategy and tactics bridge the gap between ends and means. Tactics are the means by which the strategy is carried out.

    Strategy answers the question: What are the ends we seek and how should we achieve them?

    Strategy is a pattern in actions over time.

    Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.

    What, then, is strategy? Is it a plan? Does it refer to how we will obtain the ends we seek? Is it a position taken? Just as military forces might take the high ground prior to engaging the enemy, might a business take the position of low-cost provider? Or does strategy refer to perspective, to the view one takes of matters, and to the purposes, directions, decisions and actions stemming from this view? Lastly, does strategy refer to a pattern in our decisions and actions? Just what is strategy?

    Strategy is all these—it is perspective, position, plan, and pattern. Strategy is the bridge between policy or high-order goals on the one hand and tactics or concrete actions on the other. Strategy and tactics together straddle the gap between ends and means. In short, strategy is a term that refers to a complex web of thoughts, ideas, insights, experiences, goals, expertise, memories, perceptions, and expectations that provides general guidance for specific actions in pursuit of particular ends. Strategy is at once the course we chart, the journey we imagine and, at the same time, it is the course we steer, the trip we actually make.

    ————————————————

    One person or a group of persons can envision, plan, or initiate a strategy and tactics. The ID-ists and creationists on UD all have the same goal. It really doesn’t matter whether they all get together and specifically plan their strategy and tactics. They follow and promote the party line, and do whatever it takes to meet their goal of stifling opposing opinions, questions, and evidence (with a few token exceptions), and try to impose their religious, political agenda on as many people as possible.

  13. 16 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Chris, the ID-ists and creationists on UD don’t have a clue as to what a “rational, factual debate” is. The site is an echo chamber.

    • 17 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Name a forum for this debate that isn’t an echo chamber (that is not filled with flames), Twt.

      I repeat, if an evolutionist is serious about debating the issues without resorting to rudeness, then Uncommon Descent provides them with a place to do it. When we bury the hatchet, more good tends to come of it than bad.

      • 18 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

        Rudeness is a common trait of the denizens of UD, and I’m not referring to the “evolutionists” who are occasionally allowed to post there.

        This forum is an example of a forum that allows all comments, and if you’re worried about flames, why do you frequent UD? Is it because you don’t have any problem with flames as long as they’re aimed at “evolutionists”?

      • 19 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

        Twt, if you can’t tell the difference between the flames of hatred that you’re throwing here and the stuff over on Uncommon Descent then maybe Twt is not such an unfortunate abbreviation after all.

  14. 20 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Mark, Twt (a rather unfortunate abbreviation – no offence intended),

    Can I suggest that you both consider the following observation:

    Nasty and offensive remarks are made on both sides of this debate. However, the difference between evolutionists and their opponents is:

    1. Evolutionists tend to produce much more offensive and nasty remarks – both in number of such contributions and the degree of rudeness that they reach.
    2. Evolutionists tend to become nasty and offensive without provocation.

    Put one evolutionist in a forum with ten of his opponents and he will have a far more pleasant experience than a creationist would have in a forum with ten evolutionists.

    Given this background, can evolutionists really object or even express surprise when they are moderated over on Uncommon Descent? If double-standards are being practised there, then evolutionists can only blame themselves: reflect upon their own behaviour in countless other online forums and accept that double-standards may be unavoidable when the balance needs to be so severely redressed.

    Let me assure you that, after 15 years of debating with evolutionists online, the last thing I’m interested in is exchanging insults with someone I’ve never met. I’d much rather stick to sound arguments and solid facts because this is a subject which absolutely fascinates me and one that I believe is much more important than people realise. On those rare occasions when I encounter an evolutionist who will put down the weapons and engage in proper, healthy debate I am the first to rejoice, congratulate that evolutionist and would personally intervene if such an evolutionist was on the receiving end of abuse [to date, I’ve never needed to]. I can count on one finger the number of times evolutionists have returned the courtesy.

    • 21 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Yeah, as the Frankenstein monster would say:

      “ID-ists goood. Evolutionists baaad.

      Isn’t it interesting that I’ve never seen you “intervene” when an “evolutionist” was on the receiving end of abuse on UD.

      Actually, one of the main strategies and tactics of UD is to abuse evolutionists. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is THE main purpose of the site. You better get busy on that intervening. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

  15. 22 The whole truth May 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Chris, I just re-read your post above and noticed the following statement:

    “If the latter then strive for a more decent, respectful and fact-based approach in future and maybe we can engage in a much more worthwhile discussion over on Uncommon Descent.”

    Fact based? That says a lot right there. You and the other ID-ists on UD obviously think that you’re the ones who decide what are ‘facts’, even though your beliefs are completely based on faith and assumptions.

    By saying what you said in that statement you’ve admitted that at least part of the reason for blocking and banning is due to the mods filtering and weeding out comments that contain statements that aren’t considered ‘facts’ by the mods. In other words, comments must conform to the party line, with a few token exceptions to keep up the appearance of welcoming open and honest debate.

    Do you guys do book burnings in your spare time?

    • 23 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      No, Twt, “fact-based” merely meant basing your comments on facts about the world we live in, not on how much you, Twt, personally hate all of us book-burning, brain-washing, evil evolution-deniers.

      It’s evolutionists like you, Twt, that give other evolutionists a bad name. I would be questioning the moderation policy of Uncommon Descent if the likes of you were not being moderated!

      • 24 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        Yeah, I know what fact-based means. Too bad you don’t.

      • 25 Mark Frank May 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        TWT – nine of the last ten posts are from you and they are increasing personal and lacking in content. If you want to use up so much bandwidth for these purposes please can you do it somewhere else.

  16. 26 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    Please see the first comment in this thread.

    “The whole truth” has a good point when he highlights the term “fact-based”.

    On UD, people get banned when they refuse to accept “facts”.

    For instance, is there an absolute moral code?

    StephenB says there is, and anyone who says otherwise cannot reason properly.

    Think carefully about that.

    If I disagree with StephenB, then in his eyes, there must be something wrong with me!

    That is the majority point of view of UD, and the whole ID movement.

    That is why we get moderated and banned, not for being uncivil.

  17. 27 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Hello Toronto,

    The fact that you open your post with “Twt has a good point…” does you no favours. You should be disassociating yourself from rude evolutionists like Twt, not endorsing them.

    There are two separate issues here:

    1. Did you actually get moderated for politely disagreeing with StephenB? Or did you get morally indignant when StephenB said there was something wrong with you for rejecting absolute morality and start acting like a right Twt?

    2. If you reject absolute morality, and yet still believe in right and wrong, then you are actually arguing irrationally. So StephenB has a point after all!

    Earlier this year, I participated in a lengthy and heated debate on the Peter Hitchens blog about this very issue. It is certainly a much touchier subject for atheists than it is for believers. Think carefully about that.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2011/01/still-not-getting-it.html

    • 28 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      “rude evolutionists like Twt”

      What makes you think I’m an “evolutionist”? Have I claimed to be one? Is everyone who questions or disagrees with you or so-called ID ‘theory’ automatically an “evolutionist”?

      I’m “rude” to people who deserve to be treated rudely. 🙂

  18. 29 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    I was always polite with StephenB and everyone else.

    As I said before, I was never uncivil with anyone.

    That is the point, that there was no incivility to anyone.

    Whether it was StephenB or anyone else, I was also never rude like Joseph, never off-topic like BA77, and never ever lectured like kairosfocus.

    I am also not the only one in this category. I’ve watched people get banned while showing respect to their UD opponents in debates that “The Banned” were winning.

    I mentioned “absolute moral code”, while you used the term, “absolute morality”.

    They’re close enough that we can debate the point.

    1) There is no absolute right or wrong. There is only a relative better or worse.

    2) In order for me to be irrational, (by virtue of disagreeing with you), you have to be infallible. That is the only way you can claim to be “absolutely” correct.

    3) Tell me that what things, besides the absolute moral code, that you could not possibly have come to the wrong conclusion about.

  19. 30 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Sorry Toronto, I honestly don’t believe you were never uncivil with anyone. I refer you to the first paragraph of my first reply to Mark:

    https://mfinmoderation.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/does-uncommon-descent-deliberately-suppress-dissenting-views/#comment-2905

    Either you simply didn’t realise you were being uncivil or are failing to be completely honest with yourself, and the rest of us. I could be wrong, but you’ve already concluded that I must be infallible so I can’t be! I also refer you to my second reply to Mark explaining why it is that evolutionists are reaping what they sowed when it comes to perceived double-standards:

    https://mfinmoderation.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/does-uncommon-descent-deliberately-suppress-dissenting-views/#comment-2921

    If you’re interested in my views on morality, you will find them explained in great length over on the Peter Hitchens blog (or just read Peter Hitchens’ entry “Still Not Getting It” – that strongly resembles my position too). I will also be happy to debate them with you over on Uncommon Descent… but not here.

  20. 31 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    The fact that you open your post with “Twt has a good point…” does you no favours. You should be disassociating yourself from rude evolutionists like Twt, not endorsing them.

    I don’t see “the whole truth” as a “rude evolutionist” as much as a frustrated commenter.

    Neither view changes the fact that he has a good point, and that is what debates should focus on.

    • 32 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      And that’s the problem. You clearly don’t recognise rude and uncivil remarks… certainly not when they’re coming from your side (or even yourself!).

      That’s why you’ve all been moderated from Uncommon Descent. No need to try and provide a more sinister explanation when the simplest and most obvious one will do.

      Bury the hatchet and behave yourself in future: more good will come of it than bad. And treat your opponents with respect: they will return the courtesy and you might actually learn something in this debate.

  21. 33 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Chis Doyle,

    I will also be happy to debate them with you over on Uncommon Descent… but not here.

    That would be funny if it weren’t so sadly ironic.

    I can’t post there anymore.

    Now please read carefully.

    I asked Clive, to show me, at the time he claimed incivility on my part, what it was.

    He couldn’t do it, because there wasn’t any.

    Despite that, he kept me on moderation.

    • 34 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      So, what you’re saying is, you were never rude and uncivil to Clive, on the contrary you just politely thrashed your opponents in debate and the guys at Uncommon Descent couldn’t bear the humiliation any more so they banned you from posting altogether?

      Towards the end of my debate over on the ‘Still Not Getting It’ thread, I stopped responding to one of my opponents ‘D Bunker’ because he was getting increasingly rude and offensive. He tried to provoke further responses from me with more and more outrageous remarks but I refused. In the end he offered one of those conditional apologies “Sorry if you have taken offence” and asked me to point out where the offence had been caused as if he wasn’t actually wallowing in a cesspit full of his own rude and offensive remarks. I ignored that request too (triggering further nastiness). Not because I couldn’t point out the offensive remarks: there were loads of them. Simply because I wasn’t going to waste any more time on the man.

      I wonder if Clive’s experience with you was similar to my experience with ‘D Bunker’.

      Maybe you can wipe the slate clean by posting to Uncommon Descent under your real name and adopting a more respectful and civil approach towards your opponents? Give it a try, let me know how you get on.

  22. 35 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    Have I been uncivil to you?

    • 36 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Not directly, but your double endorsement of Twt’s views and failure to criticise him for being very rude and offensive on this thread doesn’t exactly cover you in glory, Toronto.

      Why do you ask?

      • 37 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

        I ask because this is the way I have debated everyone at UD without exception, without any incivility.

        My crime was not accepting that there are certain conclusions that StephenB and Clive could not be wrong about, despite the fact that they were no more or less human, than I was, and thus fallible.

        Any conclusion a fallible human, with free will, could come to, might be wrong.

        They didn’t like that.

        Were they wrong or right in believing that sometimes, human beings with free will, cannot be wrong?

      • 38 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 8:12 am

        Hey chris, let’s see links to all your posts on UD where you are criticizing rude and offensive ID-ists for being rude and offensive.

        Based on what you said above, it follows that by failing to criticize your rude and offensive buddies on UD you’re endorsing their rude and offensive behavior. And, every time they are being rude and offensive and you fail to criticize them, you are double, triple, quadruple, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. endorsing them.

        No “glory” for you!

      • 39 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

        Hey chris, here’s one for you:

        15

        tragic mishap

        05/15/2011

        5:03 pm

        Yes turell, tell us how you came to the conclusion that all religious people only have faith in God to feel good.

        This is UD. We welcome arrogant idiots here.

        ———————————————
        Then notice his follow up remark about self styled mystics.

        You better get busy on that intervening and criticizing action. You might even get some glory! LOL!

        Isn’t it interesting that the ID-ist “tragic mishap” (accurately named) doesn’t get banned for making such remarks and that the remarks aren’t removed by the mods?

        By the way, ANY religious person is a self styled mystic. All of you think and say you know that your chosen god exists, who or what god is, what he does and has done and will do, and what he wants. You’re even all sure that he is a he. All of you create, interpret, and promote your own version of whatever religious beliefs you want to believe in, and want others to believe in.

  23. 40 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    Maybe you can wipe the slate clean by posting to Uncommon Descent under your real name and adopting a more respectful and civil approach towards your opponents? Give it a try, let me know how you get on.

    1) There is no slate to wipe clean since I was respectful amd civil to everyone there.

    2) Why should I use my real name if kairosfocus doesn’t have to?

    • 41 Chris Doyle May 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Well, the moderators of Uncommon Descent would disagree that your slate is clean and they are the ones you need to convince if you genuinely want to contribute to the debate. I suggest using your real name because ‘Toronto’ has been banned and it would give you a fresh start. Furthermore, none of us will know who you are so you will certainly get a fair hearing. Kairosfocus has not been banned and therefore can continue to use that name if he wishes.

      If you do return to Uncommon Descent under more honest pretences, then can I suggest you don’t recycle old refuted arguments? That sort of thing will give you away or may lead to moderation again. I personally would be happy to see persistent recyclers of oft-refuted arguments being moderated because such people, like the many evolutionists who are only in it to abuse, are just wasting everybody’s time (especially their own).

      This is likely to be my final post here. Hopefully see you all back on Uncommon Descent, preferably undisguised.

      • 42 Toronto May 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm

        Chris Doyle,

        Thanks for the invite but I shouldn’t have to change my name for anyone any more than you should have to change yours.

        My only crime was not agreeing with ID, nothing else.

        UD is preventing debate, not our side.

        When UD is ready with some real arguments against evolution, I hope they’ll come out from behind their firewall and present those findings to the public to be scrutinized.

      • 43 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 1:44 am

        “return to Uncommon Descent under more honest pretences”??

        “preferably undisguised”??

        “after 15 years of debating with evolutionists online, the last thing I’m interested in is exchanging insults with someone I’ve never met. I’d much rather stick to sound arguments and solid facts”??

        “proper, healthy debate”??

        “fair hearing”??

        “treat your opponents with respect”??

        “Bury the hatchet and behave yourself”??

        Wow chris, your double standards fit right in with the rest of the TWATS on UD. Yeah, you’re a TWAT. How’s that for honesty?

        The ID-ists/creationists at UD (apparently including you) have thoroughly dishonest pretenses, insult people they’ve never met (especially “evolutionists”) on a daily basis, argue irrationally, make unsound fact-less arguments, persistently recycle the same old oft-refuted crap, hide in their chosen sanctuary, and ban people who question or disagree with the party line and agenda. You portray yourselves as civil, decent, respectful, honest, moral, open minded, fact-based people but in reality you’re just a bunch of lying, hypocritical, dishonest, closed minded, immoral, arrogant, delusional failures who want to dominate the world, and control the thoughts and actions of everyone in it.

        Your posts here are profoundly indicative of the mindset on UD. You bible-thumping IDiots believe that you can do no wrong and that anyone who disagrees with you is not only wrong but needs to be kept out of the alleged decent society of UD.

        You hide in your little sanctuary there and don’t have the balls to face open and honest scrutiny of your claims. Of course(!) you’d be “happy to debate” only on uncommon descent. There, in your chosen sanctuary and echo chamber, you can be assured of no real “debate” because the moderators will protect you and the other ID-ists from having to face genuine challenges to your delusional beliefs and agenda.

        By the way, last night when you first implied that Twt stands for twat (and essentially called me one), I had a good long laugh. Really I did. You see, your implication illustrates how your mind works. You portray yourself as a person with civility and morals but you’re really just a fake, and a typical two-faced xtian.

        It cracks me up when you two-faced xtians talk about morals and decency and proclaim yourselves to be the only true arbiters of what’s good or bad. You phonies live in a delusional, self-righteous fog that allows you to excuse yourself for any mis-deed or mis-thought. You pass the responsibility for your wrongful thoughts and actions off to your god (or the devil) and say that he is the one who made you what you are and controls how you think and behave. Anything to get out of your personal responsibility.

        I find myself thinking of Flip Wilson (as Geraldine) saying: “The devil made me do it!”

        It’s really funny that you think that Toronto, or anyone else, should “wipe the slate clean”, sign up on UD with his real name, debate civilly, argue rationally, and base arguments only on facts about the world we live in. You should “intervene” and tell yourself and all the resident IDiots at UD to do the same thing, and to do it first and set a good example. After all, you’re the ones who claim to have the monopoly on morals. You should also “criticize” them (the IDiots) for being being “very rude and offensive” on a regular basis. You don’t want to look like you’re playing favorites, do you? And you want to be covered in glory, don’t you? LOL!

        And speaking of “persistent recyclers of oft-refuted arguments”, you might want to criticize them about that too. kairosfocus, joseph, and bornagain77 would be a good start, but just a start. That whole site should “wipe the slate clean”.

        You said:

        “You clearly don’t recognise rude and uncivil remarks… certainly not when they’re coming from your side (or even yourself!).

        That’s why you’ve all been moderated from Uncommon Descent.”

        No, that’s NOT the reason. Some people (those pesky “evolutionists”) have probably submitted rude, uncivil remarks at UD but that is NOT the reason for most blocks and bans. You guys just can’t (and won’t) tolerate people questioning or disagreeing with you, except for those occasional token exceptions for appearances that I’ve mentioned.

  24. 44 Alan Fox May 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Well first let me congratulate Chris Doyle for having the confidence to venture into this den of iniquity.

    But, really! People get banned at Uncommon Descent for being uncivil? That is nonsense. ID critics get banned from UD for disagreeing with the resident commenters. I have been a disinterested (in the sense of no axe to grind, I don’t live in the US and US policy with regard to public education only affects the rest of the world indirectly) obsever of the shenanigans at UD since first becoming aware of ID in mid-2005.

    Someone advocated ID to me in some forum and gave me several links to ID sources, among them UD. I registered as Alan Fox (my real name) and posted a comment asking Bill Dembski if he could clarify ID for me by maybe giving a definition of ID. When my comment didn’t appear and my registration was cancelled I thought there was a glitch. It took several attempts before I realised it was no glitch. My participation and my comments were not welcome.

    This pattern has continued ever since under various changes of ownership and management. It is well documented elsewhere. I think ID is pretty much finished as a concept as it failed at Kitzmiller v Dover School Board so it doesn’t matter all that much…

    But, civility! If you really believe that the UD norm banning critics daily was only due to critics’ incivility, then… words fail me.

  25. 45 Pedant May 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    I have commented occasionally at UD, always challenging a comment by an ID supporter. However, I have never been uncivil. Nevertheless, I was placed in moderation without warning or explanation. When I posted a request for an explanation, that post did not appear.

    I challenge you to explain that situation.

  26. 46 Seversky May 16, 2011 at 2:36 am

    I was finally banned from Uncommon Descent after posting there on and off for several years following what may have been a misunderstanding of something I wrote. To be fair, Clive Hayden offered to rescind the ban in a comment posted on another blog. I chose not to take up the offer because, although I would be happy to debate those ID proponents who post regularly at UD, it would have to be in a different forum, one where neither side had its finger on the bannination button.

    Up until my ban I had made every effort to post in a formal style, avoiding personalities and resisting attempts to bait me into more imprudent remarks. Since then, I have not felt the need for any such restraint on The Panda’s Thumb when highlighting the more blatant and egregious misrepresentations in original posts to UD.

    When Chris Doyle calls for an end to the double standards currently applied by the moderators at UD, when he calls for an end to incivility and rhetorical excesses regardless of which side of the debate is responsible, when he calls for bans to be announced openly and immediately so that there is no doubt a contributor was banned and did not simply withdraw, then will he be in a position to admonish others about bad behavior.

  27. 47 Paul Giem May 16, 2011 at 3:32 am

    markf,

    I think that if you are prepared to turn the other cheek and receive abuse without responding then you can continue to comment indefinitely. I find the best way to do this is to simply not get engaged with some participants.

    I agree with this. I think that UD is like any other moderated blog in this respect. When you’re in someone else’s house, you need to be respectful of them and their beliefs. If I were to be invited to Richard Dawkins’ house, and I greeted him with “Atheists are either really dumb or dishonest. Which are you?”, I would consider myself lucky if I were politely shown the door.

    I come at this question from a different point of view. I once got into a discussion with DaveScot on the geology of Mt. Everest
    (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/dinesh-dsouza-speaks-out-against-id/ ) where I had to be careful not to insult him, in spite of the fact that he had indirectly insulted me. DaveScot used to be one of the more vigorous tone police (I believe that honor now belongs to Clive). One may claim this is unfair, but it is their blog. One’s choices are to either A. to not go there, B. to go there and be polite and aware, C. to ignore this reality and take one’s chances on being banned.

    For most of those who are here, a heads up. Don’t insult ID. Don’t insult Dembski. Don’t insult Christianity. Don’t insult Catholicism. (I happen to disagree with Catholicism on certain issues, but I don’t bring them up there, and I mostly bite my tongue fingers if they come up. O’leary is Catholic, as is Clive and a few others.) And don’t expect it to be “fair”. It is their house.

    TWT would easily get banned for comments made here. Joseph does not get banned for his comments. But in their view, Joseph may be right, and TWT obviously isn’t. If you agree with the host, you can get away with more. No surprise there. They do occasionally discipline their own (DaveScot was removed from being moderator, and StephenB was called out once).

    What amazes me is that they would allow a guest post by MathGrrl (I have yet to see TalkOrigins or Panda’s Thumb do so). They may not be completely open, but they are surprisingly so.

    • 48 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 7:57 am

      What you and mark are suggesting is to essentially kiss their asses and modify what one really wants to say. While I’d likely agree that both sides should conform to reasonable civility, I strongly disagree that “evolutionists”, questioners, or dissenters should have to pussy foot around on UD in fear of being banned for saying what they really want to say.

      Something to keep in mind is that UD says it welcomes honest debate, won’t run from a fight, and does not ban people simply for questioning or disagreeing. They also speak out in favor of free speech, including free speech for people who have different beliefs. They are lying.

      You said: “And don’t expect it to be “fair”. It is their house.”

      Yes, it’s their house, but, and that’s a big but, they say that their house welcomes “honest” debate/discussion and that they “will let the chips fall”. If Dawkins invites or allows you into his house and says he welcomes open, honest discussion/debate, but then throws you out just because he doesn’t agree with what you say, he’s being a dishonest hypocrite, and a jerk.

      When unreasonable, one-sided limitations are put on allegedly honest and open discussion, the discussion isn’t really honest and open, and it’s unreasonable to limit an alleged honest and open discussion, either completely or partly, to only what you agree with.

      It’s completely irrelevant where the discussion takes place (whose house) when either side goes against what they say are the ground rules for the discussion.

      If UD wants to block dissenting views or evidence they might as well just close off all public access and comments. Instead, they make it appear that they allow comments from anyone, including dissenting ones, but they vigorously moderate the amount and allowed content of comments from “evolutionists”, questioners, or dissenters, while allowing and encouraging virtually anything from ID supporters. Just take a good look at all the things joseph says for an example.

  28. 49 Neil Rickert May 16, 2011 at 3:36 am

    There’s a post today, where GilDodgen gives claims that ID is scientific too, and gives reasons. My own reaction is that GilDodgen is thereby demonstrating that he does not understand why ID is not considered scientific. If somebody were to post that reaction, I suspect it would be considered uncivil (because it implies ignorance of GilDodgen on the particular issue).

    At least that’s my impression of how they look at the discussion. Perhaps I am mistaken, but at present I am not inclined to test it.

    • 50 Mark Frank May 16, 2011 at 5:32 am

      I will give it a try!

      • 51 Neil Rickert May 16, 2011 at 5:59 am

        Thanks. I’ll be watching for the responses to your comment.

      • 52 Mark Frank May 16, 2011 at 6:31 am

        I broke a couple of my personal rules in doing it. Gildodgen is on my “do not engage” list and I wouldn’t normally begin with “You don’t understand…”. That seems rather personal to me. It will be interesting to see what happens.

      • 53 Mark Frank May 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

        Neil – the responses are coming in (thanks Chris for not disclosing the background to my comment). No one seems to have considered my comment uncivil.

      • 54 Neil Rickert May 16, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Yes, I’ve been following the responses.

        The funny thing is that the “evidence” they are giving for ID being science, ties it to religion. And this in a thread that is trying to argue that ID is not religious.

      • 55 Mark Frank May 17, 2011 at 5:25 am

        I will leave it now. As Mung points out I have discussed the issue many times and don’t really want to go over it all over again. I only responded to Gildodgen to see if my comment would be taken as uncivil. The answer appears to be “no”.

  29. 56 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Mark, a suggestion:

    Maybe you could ask, on that thread, why they’re bringing up atheists (especially in a denigrating way), christian darwinism, atheist’s faith, and christian’s faith–an intelligent creator, if ID isn’t a religious thing and isn’t tied to creationism?

  30. 57 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I’d like to add this to my post above:

    If ID is not concerned with who ‘the designer’ is, and is not concerned with or looking for “the actions of God in nature” then why are ID-ists so obsessed with and negative toward atheists?

    The only reason they hate atheists is because they believe their chosen god is ‘the designer’ and “Intelligent Creator”.

  31. 58 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    In his arguments for ID, boreagain77 uses statements like the following (along with a ton of other hooey):

    “Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth.”

    “This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place. Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website”

    Ten minutes later chris doyle said this:

    “Chris Doyle

    05/16/2011

    4:08 am

    Hi Paragwinn,

    Further to the replies you’ve already had I would add that the evidence for Design is coming at you from two fronts. One positive (through the manifestation of dFSCI in nature) the other negative: existence is either a product of chance or design. If you eliminate chance, that leaves you with design.”

    Hey chris, let’s see you “eliminate chance” and verify the “manifestation of dFSCI in nature” with some real evidence, and why aren’t you intervening and criticizing ba77 for using insulting and lying statements about atheists, and for constantly conflating ID with “God”? After all, according to UD and most of its inhabitants, “ID theory” and the “ID movement” have nothing to do with gods, christianity, or religious beliefs. You wouldn’t want to ‘endorse’ dishonesty, would you?

  32. 59 Pedant May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    An fresh example of “civility” on the part of a UD regular, tragic mishap:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/theistic-evolutionists-how-do-you-see-intelligent-design/#comment-380422

    “Yes turell, tell us how you came to the conclusion that all religious people only have faith in God to feel good.

    This is UD. We welcome arrogant idiots here.”

  33. 60 The whole truth May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Geez chris doyle, you’re going to be a busy guy intervening and criticizing ID-ists on UD for saying rude and offensive remarks. You better get crackin’.

    Here’s some rude and offensive stuff from the ID-ist Timaeus (05/16/2011 5:20 am):

    “Which not surprising, since almost to a person, TEs are very inadequate theologians.”

    “…with atheistic blockheads like Dawkins and Dennett, who worship things that look mathematical and scientfic more than they respect common sense…”

    “The Dover judge bought into this polarization, which the NCSE witnesses for the plaintiff unscrupulously promoted.”

  34. 61 Petrushka May 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I am effectively banned, because my comments do not show up until a thread is inactive. Prior to that I was actually banned for a couple of years. Apparently the banning software forgot.

    My two offenses were to ask a question of Patrick regarding the analogy between the theory of evolution and the theory of gravity.

    Apparently, merely mentioning gravity as a theory is a banning offense.

    My current moderation status results for asserting that KF was incorrectly portraying the history of science.

    I mentioned that Newton invoked intelligent intervention to explain the stability of planetary orbits, and that that was an example of a failed design inference. I mentioned that all such design inferences had been unproductive, and that many historical examples have been overcome by knowledge of regular processes.

    Basically there is no strategy, any more than there is a theory of ID. It’s just a bunch of frightened children reacting to perceived threats. The threats coming in the form of unanswerable arguments.

    • 62 Toronto May 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      Petrushka,

      Basically there is no strategy, any more than there is a theory of ID. It’s just a bunch of frightened children reacting to perceived threats. The threats coming in the form of unanswerable arguments.

      I think you’re right about UD in particular, but not ID in general.

      Just as in the wedge strategy, there is a strategy behind this censoring.

      Some topics are considered closed now by their use of, “oft-refuted”, despite that fact that they never even came close to making a point.

      There will be a not-very-accurate history of the ID/Evo exchanges, that will show a political motivation behind the promotion of “non-design” evolution.

      You can see it in the number of O’Leary “Aren’t Darwinists Dumb” posts.

      This will be ammunition for governors to mandate “real science” in schools.

  35. 63 AstroMan May 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Last night I submitted two comment posts to this thread on Uncommon Descent:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/theistic-evolutionists-how-do-you-see-intelligent-design/#comments

    When I submitted them it said they were awaiting moderation. Just now I looked and neither one has been published and they have both vanished.

    Here is what I submitted:

    64

    Astroman

    05/17/2011

    7:48 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Timaeus @ 49 (or whatever number it ends up being):

    You said :

    “What you fail to see is that we do not detect design by comparing some objects with others.”

    Actually, you do compare objects with others. From the moment you’re born you’re exposed to designed objects and you are taught to recognize, understand, and use designed objects. You may even be taught to design and build objects.

    Even if no designed objects are in your possession or presence when you’re examining an object to see if it shows evidence of design, you’re still referencing a lifetime of exposure to designed objects to make comparisons to the object you’re currently examining.

    Your mind is filled with images and at least some understanding of designed objects. You cannot help but reference and apply those images and understanding when you’re examining an object and trying to determine if it shows signs of design.

    You are making comparisons, whether you realize it or not. You’re always referencing other objects; the designed objects that you’ve been exposed to all your life and have stored as references in your brain.

    67

    Astroman

    05/17/2011

    8:29 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Timaeus @ 63:

    If I may suggest a constructive approach: dispense with the insulting remarks and name calling toward TEs and anyone else, and provide positive, testable evidence for ID and its mechanisms.

    Also, please leave God out of it, since ID is alleged to be scientific, and not tied to Gods or religious beliefs.

  36. 64 Astroman May 18, 2011 at 12:07 am

    As can be plainly seen above, I was not uncivil in my comments, yet they were still not allowed on Uncommon Descent. ID supporters are allowed to make very uncivil comments and they are allowed to use theological arguments even though “ID is not a theological arguement” according to Upright Biped, UD itself, and many other ID supporters.

  37. 65 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:03 am

    @ astroman

    Par for the course!

    Timaeus, answering a published comment:

    Gee, Astroman (97), nice to meet you, too.

    I don’t know what to say in reply, other than that I don’t recognize myself in your response, and, beyond a vague sense that you are imputing to me views that I don’t hold and aims that I don’t have, I don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

    T.

    It seems IDers only incivility when hearing contrary arguments. Timaeus’s comments drip condescension in amongst the unsupported assertions and he thinks you are the unreasonable one. And then the moderating team swings into the standard procedure.

    Pathetically unsurprising!

  38. 66 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Oops messed up closing blockquote. My comment after the T.

  39. 67 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Oops again, I see I missed out “recognize”

    As in “…IDers only recognize incivility when hearing contrary arguments.”

    • 68 Astroman May 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      “It seems IDers only recognize incivility when hearing contrary arguments.”

      Or they only imagine incivility when hearing contrary arguments. 🙂

  40. 69 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Chris Doyle:

    This is why I urge you to read “Signature in the Cell”: it raises the bar so high that I don’t believe it is possible to disagree with its conclusions.

    @ Chris Doyle,

    Just curious if your education and life experience included enough science to come to such a sweeping conclusion about a book that has been roundly panned. There are certainly many reviewers who have not been persuaded by Meyer that there is anything scientifically new or useful between the front and back cover.

    Here is Darrel Falk at Biologos. Being a devout evangelical, you would think he might be more sympathetic. He is of course very civil.

  41. 70 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Steve Matheson a biology professor, has a few posts on his blog. Steve is certainly not to be counted among the uncivil. I believe he wavers towards the religious as well.

  42. 71 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:34 am

    StephenB

    Can we assume by your show of indignation that, unlike your reticent TE colleagues, you are going to step up and show us how God can direct an undirected process?

    Unlikely, Stephen, because of the few critics left who think it is other than pointless arguing with you, none are likely to be given the opportunity to comment freely at Uncommon Descent.

  43. 72 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Though, I am not alone (this seems widespread among TEs) in wondering why God can’t do his designing by (there does not seem to be a good choice of word here) influencing the outcome of stochastic events. To the minutest scientific scrutiny, events seem random and undirected. The atheist is quite comfortable in agreeing that events are indeed random and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. The theist has an explanation, albeit non-disprovable, that events are indeed guided.

    Beats me why ID is given ten seconds consideration! I blame the catchy title!

  44. 73 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

    @ Chris Doyle

    Found some of your comments at Peter Hitchens (Daily Mail) blog quite amusing. You seem well known there.

  45. 74 Astroman May 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Some of my submitted comments have been posted on Uncommon Descent, but not all, and the reception I’ve gotten is typical of the ID supporters there. It appears that few to none of them possess or use mirrors.

    I’ll probably be “expelled” from Uncommon Descent soon.

  46. 75 MathGrrl May 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Chris Doyle,

    I’m just catching up on the blogs I follow after a week plus of long hours at work. My jaw dropped when I saw this from you:

    There is a far simpler explanation: most evolutionists find it incredibly difficult to engage in debate with their opponents without resorting to nasty and offensive remarks.

    Your comment is baseless and grossly insulting. I lurked on UD for some time before participating there and have always found those who question ID to be polite and on topic. Off the top of my head, this includes Mark Frank, Seversky, Nakashima, Hermagoras, Maya, and Muramasa, only one of whom (Mark) is still able to participate. I challenge you to find any comments by these people that support your claim.

    I also recommend that you search Google groups as follows:

    uncommon descent moderator OR censor group:talk.origins

    You will see that five of the top six hits from that search document people being banned from from UD despite their comments being polite and on topic.

    As a private site, the UD owners have every right to restrict access however they see fit. What I am objecting to, in the strongest possible terms, is your unsupported and unsupportable libel against some very decent people who are simply interested in discussing ID. Unless you can provide some evidence, you should publicly retract your accusation and apologize.

  47. 76 Alan Fox May 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Endorsing Mathgrrl’s comment, though UD’s “Nacht und Nebel” method of disappearing unwelcome commenters by arbitrarily switching off access without acknowledgement makes finding evidence for the circumstances of a commenter being banned impossible unless the commenter complains elsewhere.

    • 77 MathGrrl May 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      That’s a good point, Alan. Perhaps Mr. Doyle could support his claim by comparing posts from three ID opponents and three ID proponents. I would suggest Seversky, Nakashima, and Hermagoras from the banned list and Joseph, PaV, and Upright BiPed from the active ID proponent list.

      How about it, Mr. Doyle? Care to point out the “nasty and offensive remarks” that support your assertion or will you retract it and apologize?

  48. 78 Astroman May 19, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I’m back in moderation on Uncommon Descent, and some of my submissions were never posted.

  49. 79 Astroman May 19, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Wow, just wow:

    12 March 2009
    A Word About Our Moderation Policy
    Barry Arrington

    Some commenters have raised questions regarding the propriety of recent posts and UD’s moderation policy. UD’s moderation policy is fairly simple: As a general rule, so long as your comment is not defamatory profane, or a vicious personal attack, you can say pretty much what you want. We have no interest in censoring viewpoints, because we believe ID is true and consequently in any full and fair debate we will win — and if we don’t win we either need to learn to debate better or change our position. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opening this site up to nasty juvenile name-calling fests like one see so often at Panda’s Thumb. But if you keep your comments restricted to ideas and not attacking people, you should have no problems passing muster here.

    What about the “God-bashing” and the defenses of God that have appeared in these pages? God can take care of Himself. We at UD feel no need to protect Him from defamation. Bash away. Those who are offended by (or disagree with) the bashing are welcome to post such defenses as they deem appropriate. There are limits, however. This site is not intended to be a forum for extensive religious debates. Religious issues inevitably come up from time to time and people should feel free to discuss them from both sides when they do. But the moderators will exercise their judgment and gavel discussions that stray too far a field from the purpose of this site for too long.

    I personally find the God-bashing disturbing. So why do I allow it? As one of my colleagues has aptly said, the wiser course, when someone attacks God is to let those UD commenters who are theists respond to the charges. Our readers will then be in a position to see: (1) that UD, unlike the Darwinists, doesn’t ban or censor ideas; and (2) that theism in general and Christianity in particular is quite capable of defending itself against lies, distortions, illogical arguments, and misunderstandings. Our role is not to censor ideas but to provide a forum where hard questions can be discussed calmly, fully, and fairly, and we trust that when that happens truth will prevail.

    Certainly there is risk to this approach. Some will reject truth and embrace error. But the consequences of pursuing the alternative course – ignoring or even running from the hard questions – would be far worse.

    Finally, some have asked whether we should even discuss “peripheral issues” at UD, such as Darwin’s racism or the implications of ID for the theodicy. This site is devoted not only to scientific theories of origins, but also to the metaphysical and moral implications of those theories. Plainly BOTH Darwinism and ID have implications beyond the science. Certainly Darwinsts like “intellectually fulfilled” atheist Richard Dawkins understand the metaphysical implications of Darwinism and talk about those implications ad nauseum. What hypocritical balderdash for anyone to suggest a double standard prohibiting those of us with a different point of view from doing the exact same thing from our perspective – and we will continue to do so.

  50. 80 Astroman May 19, 2011 at 6:10 am

    In this thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/theistic-evolutionists-how-do-you-see-intelligent-design/#comment-380818

    Me, to Joseph: You have made an unproductive career out of complaining about and insulting “evotards” and the “scientific community”.

    Joseph, to me: No insults, just observations and they have been very produtive.

    See Joseph’s misnamed blog for examples of his “No insults”: http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/

    Joseph: Stop complaining an start producing evidence.

    Me, to Joseph: Stop complaining and insulting people and start producing evidence for your position.

    Joseph, to me: I have presented positive evidence for my position. OTOH my opponents don’t seem to be able to produce positive evidence for their position.

    Me: Many people in the “scientific community” have worked at finding evidence that explains life and its diversity and many are currently working on it every day.

    Joseph, to me: And yet they still don’t have anything to support their claims. Strange, that…

    Joseph: Unfortunatly there appear to be very few people who are honest enough to dicuss and debate the evidence with. The people who get banned from here get banned because the are not honest do not want an open discussion.

    Me, to Joseph: That is not true and you know it.

    Joseph, to me: It is true and based on the evidence.

    Timaeus: ID claims to be able, without relying on any theological assumptions, to arrive at the conclusion of a designer

    Timaeus: To the best of my knowledge, I said nothing about TEs

    Timaeus to Prof FX Gumby: I realize that I must not make you responsible for all TEs. At the same time, it is hardly an adequate refutation of my characterization of many TEs that you do not share the views of those TEs.

    Timaeus: The part of TE that irks me is not the E part; it’s the T part. I think many TEs give orthodox conceptions of God and Creation very short shrift, and try to shoe-horn the creative activity of God into an un-Biblical, un-traditional naturalistic paradigm, and further, are repulsed by the notion of detectable design in nature for very inadequate theological reasons. (Which not surprising, since almost to a person, TEs are very inadequate theologians.)

    Timaeus: And unfortunately, there is not as yet a first-rate philosopher in all of TE-dom.

    Timaeus: …each of which offers more coherent philosophical thought about divine action (or non-action) in nature than anything that TE has yet achieved.

    Timaeus: …but TEs have no business complaining about ID’s vagueness regarding the input of design when they have nothing but vacuities to offer when asked how God uses an intrinsically non-directed process to achieve definite and specified ends. When any TE can offer a coherent theory of how God directs a Darwinian process, then and only then will TE be in a position to lecture ID people on intellectual coherence.

    Timaeus: Fourth, if you compare ID with TE, you will find that TEs are every bit as vague about how and when God is involved in creation. Generally speaking they simply assert that God creates everything, but also that natural causes do everything, and then cover up the redundancy with various sophistical devices which a sophomore philosophy student can see through with ease.

    Timaeus: see number 30 in this thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/theistic-evolutionists-how-do-you-see-intelligent-design/#comment-380818

    Timaeus, to me: I did not compare TEs per se to atheists per se.

    Timaeus: Having been “played” by internet TEs and atheists dozens of times over the past few years, I tend to be on the suspicious side about their motivations.

    Timaeus: I am a seasoned veteran in all the TE and atheist arguments (interestingly, they quite often overlap to a very large degree), and I recognized your line of argument before you even completed articulating it on your first attempt.

    Timaeus: We’re all here for serious intellectual debate, and that means sometimes telling someone else that he’s wrong. If people can’t take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen.

    Timaeus: In sum, your argument is fallacious. And it has been refuted before, in other venues. But we ID proponents find that bad arguments are like the mythical hydra; you chop off one head, and two more of the same spring up to face you. Either the people we encounter on these web sites are all novices who have never before tried out these arguments on any other web site (where they would have been refuted, and therefore learned not to offer the faulty argument again), or they are seasoned debaters who know perfectly well that their arguments are invalid, but keep moving them to new web sites, in hopes of finding someone more gullible on the newer web sites than they were able to find on the old. So which is it in your case, “Professor Gumby”? Is this the first time you’ve offered this argument, or the umpteenth?

    Me, to Clive Hayden: Do you see evolutionist monsters in your nightmares?

    Clive Hayden, to me: I do.

    Chris Doyle: What about Stonehenge? Humans probably made it… but we cannot be certain.

    Chris Doyle: Perhaps a better name for Astroman would be Agroman. He has come on here, in an aggravating mood, showing not the slightest inclination towards calm, reasonable debate. It seems his only interest is one-upmanship: “You arrogant religious people, all being uncivil. Look at me, I’m not uncivil. It’s just you!” What is it about the evolutionist compulsion to attack religion and the person rather than engage with the facts?

    (I did not say the sentences Chris Doyle put in quotes)Astroman

    tragic mishap, referring to me: He’s obviously flamebaiting. He should be banned ASAP.

    tragic mishap: That’s funny. I was just thinking your position was illogical.

    tragic mishap: This is UD. We welcome arrogant idiots here.

    Joseph: I speak for and represent myself. I support what I say with references from experts on both sides. And for that I get attacked, insulted and fasely accused.

    Joseph: Astrowhinerman

    HouseStreetRoom: Joseph, You missed an obvious one: Astro(ll)man

    nullasalus, to me: If you don’t want to state your beliefs, that’s fine – don’t, and kindly withdraw from this thread.

    nullasalus, to me: Your views on God and evolution, please?

    nullasalus, to me: Really, just man up and say what you believe if you wish to participate.

    nullsalus, to me: What makes you think this site ‘has nothing to do with religion’?

    nullasalus, to me: But yes, if you don’t want to answer and give details on your beliefs the way most everyone else in this thread has this far, kindly wander off elsewhere.

    nullsalus, to me: If your beliefs about God are such that you’re not willing to share them – but you want to criticize others when they share theirs – please depart from this thread. As I said right in the OP, detail is important, as is some proper conduct. You’re providing no detail, and your conduct is poor.

    UpRight Biped: …but ID is not a theological arguement.

    Prof. FX Gumby @34: ID in its efforts to detect design has to distinguish between design and not-design.

    Mung, to Gumby: Actually, no, that is not the case. ID can be phrased as a level of confidence.

    Chris Doyle: I find it bizarre that typical theistic evolutionists want to fully embrace a neo-darwinian account of life………………………….Do they really think that this will be looked upon favourably in the final reckoning?

    Clive Hayden, to me: People are banned for being uncivil.

    I would respond but I have been prevented from doing so, and I have been a lot more civil than they have.

  51. 81 Astroman May 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Chris Doyle is very brave when I am not allowed to respond on Uncommon Descent:

    148

    Chris Doyle

    05/19/2011

    1:54 am

    Well, I’ve enjoyed seeing this new evolutionist tactic, I must say.

    Step 1. Turn up with no intention of engaging in debate, merely smearing the nasty evolution-deniers.

    Step 2. Denying that they (or indeed, any evolutionist) ever makes nasty, rude and offensive remarks.

    Step 3. Expressing outrage whenever anybody claims Step 2 has happened.

    Step 4. Making excuses when direct questions are put to them (before getting themselves deliberately banned by escalating the insults).

    I’m sure Astroman has now turned his attention to evolutionist forums (where the nastiness is far, far greater than anything seen here) giving them all a really hard time when they “alienate and insult people, and especially people with an open mind about the possibility of some form of” evolution.

  52. 82 Seversky May 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I recommend we take our lead from MathGrrl and not allow ourselves to be distracted from pursuing the objective of pressing ID proponents to actually demonstrate that they can do what they claim they can.

    The only other thing to be said about the moderation policy at Uncommon Descent, apart from the fact that it is largely arbitrary, is that it appears to conflate being uncivil with giving offense. It is perfectly possible to discuss lack of belief in God in a civil manner, for example, yet still give offense to believers. It is absurd to think that a being as powerful as the Christian God, if such exists, could be offended by my expression of disbelief, any more than I would be offended to discover that an amoeba didn’t believe I exist. I take the degree of offense felt by believers at expressions of disbelief as a measure of the fragility of their faith.

  53. 83 Seversky May 21, 2011 at 12:18 am

    On reflection, I suspect Chris Doyle’s role here was that of agent provocateur. He was basically trolling for the sort of reaction he got from The Whole Truth. I sympathize with TWT’s feelings about some ID proponents but it is a tactical error to allow your opponent to dictate the terms of the debate or provoke you.

    • 84 Mark Frank May 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

      I think Chris is perfectly genuine – albeit mistaken. I also think he is someone who could be influenced by rational arguments presented in a emphatic way. However, there is no way that is going to happen if he is subjected to a flood of personal abuse.

      • 85 Seversky May 21, 2011 at 11:19 am

        I think Chris is perfectly genuine – albeit mistaken. I also think he is someone who could be influenced by rational arguments presented in a emphatic way.

        I agree he that he appears to be genuine, albeit mistaken, but I read him as being utterly impervious to any rational approach. I think he is a skillful advocate of his own position who enjoys the verbal jousting of these debates for its own sake but nothing we say is going to change his views in the slightest In that, of course, he is no different from many on both sides.

        One thing that struck me, however, watching video interviews with those involved in the Dover trial and the Texas text book furore, was how many of the Christians testified to having come to their faith as a response to personal crises of some sort. I think that, having found something that helps them through some of the worst times in their lives, they are not going to abandon it lightly and, in one sense, why should they? It passes the pragmatic test in that, for them, it works.

        In fact, I think this is true of the foundational beliefs of many on both sides of the debate. In my view, it is no more likely that so-called New Atheists will modify their disbelief than true believers will abandon their faith. Our much-vaunted capacity for reason, whilst a valuable and powerful intellectual tool, mostly functions as means of post hoc rationalization of convictions reached through a more visceral route.

      • 86 Mark Frank May 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

        Our much-vaunted capacity for reason, whilst a valuable and powerful intellectual tool, mostly functions as means of post hoc rationalization of convictions reached through a more visceral route.

        I absolutely agree with this. Which is why if you want to influence someone you have to get the relationships and emotions right before the arguments will have any effect.

  54. 87 Toronto May 21, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Seversky,

    I sympathize with TWT’s feelings about some ID proponents but it is a tactical error to allow your opponent to dictate the terms of the debate or provoke you.

    I am in 100% agreement with you.

    We have to be cool,collected and in control.

  55. 88 Astroman May 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Well Mark, have you had enough of being insulted and called a liar on Uncommon Descent? Have you had enough of their massive double standards?

    You created this blog to complain about being put into moderation at UD, but you still go there and allow them to treat you like shit and walk all over you. You even take shit from them about what’s said here on your blog and you cater to them by saying that you told The whole truth off.

    You got on The whole truth’s case here and sold him out on UD even though he supported your complaints about UD’s moderation double standards and he tried to point out HONESTLY the bullshit going on at UD. The whole truth is one of my brothers by the way.

    You really ought to make up your mind about whatever standards you’re going to adhere to, if any. The mental cases at UD have you by the balls and you obviously don’t care. You say it’s best to just avoid certain people there but that’s pretty much impossible, and if you think you’re looking good by avoiding them, think again. Avoiding them just makes you look cowardly.

    MathGrrl has a hundred times more guts than you do. At least she doesn’t run away when things get tough. I have a lot of respect for her, and none for you.

    Don’t worry your cowardly little head though, I won’t be posting here anymore after this.

    To MathGrrl, I just want you to know that I, at least, can easily see through the absolute cess that is being thrown at you on UD by the ID supporters there, and especially by Joseph, kairosfocus, and Chris Doyle. Those two-faced hypocritical IDiots with delusions of godhood aren’t fooling any people who have a clue about reality and honesty. They’re only fooling themselves and other IDiots who will swallow any snake oil they try to sell.

    You’re a smart and tough girl. I have a lot of respect for you for hanging in there and facing up to the meaningless, arrogant, insulting ocean of swill those screwballs are trying to drown you with.

    You should realize by now that it’s a lost cause for you to ever get a reasonable, meaningful, and courteous answer to any of your questions. You might as well be asking for answers to your questions from Pat Robertson or the religious neighbor on The Simpsons.

    Of course you can keep pursuing answers to your questions if you want, but at this point, if you stop, you won’t lose any face. You’ve made a big point and that point is that they (ID-ists) have nothing, and I do mean nothing, when it comes to evidence, tests, calculations, experiments, or results for CSI, or ID on the whole. Thank you for your gallant effort. 🙂

    • 89 Mark Frank May 21, 2011 at 9:25 am

      Astroman

      I am sorry you feel this way. I think maybe you see this debate as a kind of war where virtues such as bravery and loyalty are important. I see it more as a chance to learn and influence people. You salute Mathgrrl’s bravery. I salute her patience and perseverance.

  56. 90 Seversky May 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    “Don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right.”

  57. 92 MathGrrl May 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    (Let me try this again. 😉

    Thank you both, Astroman and Mark, for your very kind comments. I don’t agree that arguing in an online forum is particularly brave, nor that I’m very patient. I suspect that the British “bloody minded” best describes the personality traits I’ve displayed to this point.

    Seversky, Mark, and Toronto have given me pause to consider my goals in this context. Am I trying to influence anyone? Is it even realistic to think I could? I honestly thought when I started engaging with ID proponents that someone would eventually come up with a way of calculating CSI that I could use to measure the capabilities of a GA. As the saying goes, “Evolution is smarter than you are.” so I expected to be able to surprise some ID proponents with what parallel processing of evolutionary mechanisms could really do.

    Instead, I find that, thus far, there is no there there. Part of my meditative practice involves letting go of my own viewpoint so I don’t project it onto the actions of others. With that in mind, I can say that the responses I get at UD are more like those I would expect from people defending an emotionally held position than from people interested in analyzing and testing an hypothesis. (Even that’s too judgmental, I know, but I’m not enlightened yet.) Naively, that surprised me.

    Given that, I’m not convinced that participating at UD is likely to change any minds. There may be other values to be achieved, but I’m starting to see that this isn’t about science, mathematics, or logic. “You can’t argue a man out of a position he wasn’t argued into.” and all that.

    Mildly apropos of this, I do agree with Seversky about Chris Doyle acting as an agent provocateur. I am completely unconvinced that he is interested in an honest, evidence based discussion.

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading my ramble.

  58. 94 MathGrrl May 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    With respect to influencing ID proponents, I have a more basic question: Does it matter? My gut feel is that ID is a spent force politically. While ID and creationism get still get raised all too frequently in places like state education standards and the Texas, I get the impression as a news junkie that, post-Dover, the anti-science groups see ID as one more thing to throw at the wall of science education to see if it sticks. I don’t see even the Discovery Institute pushing anything in the political realm.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t continue to understand the arguments being made by ID proponents (who knows, someone might actually explain how to calculate CSI), but is it possible that by participating on sites like UD we’re actually fanning flames out of embers that would otherwise have extinguished themselves already?

    • 95 Alan Fox May 25, 2011 at 6:42 am

      …but is it possible that by participating on sites like UD we’re actually fanning flames out of embers that would otherwise have extinguished themselves already?

      Probably! 🙂

      Though I have to say I am enjoying Elizabeth Liddle’s (Febble from Talk Rational and a psychology Ph D) foray into the murky waters of ID. I recall her posting a couple of years ago or so and finally being banned by Dave Springer. I surmise he banned her because the contrast between her and the usual suspects at UD was too much for him to take.

  59. 97 Petrushka May 25, 2011 at 2:33 am

    I personally engage in the argument in order to improve my own understanding. I try to bring out the best arguments from the other side, and am constantly disappointed.

    In the end it always boils down to the declaration that anything we currently don’t understand is designed.

    The history of this receding position is ignored.

  60. 100 Jon Myerov May 26, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    MathGrrl,

    To those of us who are in the humanities AND not conversant in the kind of math you do: It seemed as though some folks at UD tried to show you how to calculate CSI. In particular, I thought Kairosfocus was saying explicitly that he was providing what you were asking for.

    Can you please explain what happened? Why were those answers insufficient?

    Also, if you’ll please indulge me: How would you answer your own question? if you were to take a swipe at providing a mathematically rigorous CSI calculation, how would you do it?

    • 101 Alan Fox May 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      The question is unanswerable (which was the point of Mathgrrl’s question) unless someone tells us what CSI is.

    • 103 MathGrrl May 28, 2011 at 3:18 am

      Jon Myerov,

      I thought Kairosfocus was saying explicitly that he was providing what you were asking for.

      He has been saying that, but he hasn’t actually done it. Please see my comment to CannuckianYankee on that very issue.

      Can you please explain what happened? Why were those answers insufficient?

      Neither kairosfocus nor any other ID proponent has yet provided a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI, as described by Dembski in his books and papers. If you read the various discussions on UD, you’ll see that ID proponents can’t even agree on the concept among themselves. Given that, it’s not surprising that none of them have actually provided a detailed example of how to calculate CSI for any of the scenarios I described there.

      To be fair, vjtorley made a great effort to interpret Dembski’s description and actually calculate CSI for the scenario of a gene duplication leading to increased production of a protein. His first result showed that such a natural event did, in fact, generate CSI.

      Now, despite not having an agreed definition and despite not being able to actually calculate CSI, many ID proponents make strong claims about it being a clear indicator of intelligent agency. My view is that, until you can define and calculate a metric, you aren’t justified in making claims about it. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

      Also, if you’ll please indulge me: How would you answer your own question? if you were to take a swipe at providing a mathematically rigorous CSI calculation, how would you do it?

      I must say, I don’t understand your question. CSI is a concept that is being pushed by ID proponents. I’ve been trying for literally months to get a clear understanding of what it is, without success. How could I possibly calculate it when, as far as I can tell after considerable effort, it is literally meaningless?

  61. 104 Jon Myerov May 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I forgot to add: Thank you! I hope this thread is an OK spot for my question.

    • 105 Alan Fox May 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      But then it was a trick question. If that was the point, why not just lay out the case for it?

      The trick is maintaining the pretence that there is a meaningful (and above all, quantifiable) property of entities called “complex specified information”.

  62. 106 Reciprocating Bill May 27, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I think it important to note the, well, evolution of UD’s moderation behavior that has been evident over the years.

    Several years ago, when DaveScot was moderating, the banning of opponents was conducted with all the subtlety of Conan the Barbarian, his moderation sword (Dembski’s too) sweeping dozens into the bin each month. This was obviously a centralized and sanctioned policy that served to squelch critical debate. This is not a debatable assertion, in my opinion. UD was justly ridiculed for that behavior.

    When BarryA assumed management, a new, ostensibly much more liberal moderation policy was announced, then quickly abandoned when stressed (on the same thread on which it was announced). One standard both explicitly excluded by their new policy yet explicitly embraced by their global moderator (Clive) was the notion that “uncivil” or critical comments vis UD made on sites other than UD were grounds for banning from UD. Subsequent bannings also occurred – rather obviously, in my opinion – because the moderators could not tolerate the reversals in debate suffered by some of their most prized regulars.

    That said, I was permitted to comment for several months (as Diffaxial) with just one brief period of moderation. During that time I debated with sharp and persistent rhetorical elbows, to be sure (look me up), but did not often became personal in the heat of debate. After having been repeatedly characterized by my debate opponents as an evasive liar who is incapable of rational thought (comments that drew no remarks from the moderator), Diffaxial was banned after making some rather mild comments rather obviously in jest (I imagined and elderly StephenB muttering his repetitive chestnuts on a park bench.) I was quite surprised.

    Most recently, individual contributors seem to have more control of their own threads, and the moderation appears to be less global. IMHO, the absence of a global or planful moderation strategy at present appears to reflect UD’s generally decentralized and somewhat disorganized state, rather than increased tolerance per se.

    RB

  63. 107 Seversky May 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    My impression is that, whatever the stated policy, moderation at Uncommon Descent is based on what is perceived as offensive by the moderators at the time. Unfortunately, at UD it is quite possible to offend the religious sensibilities of some contributors whilst still being civil. The only difference between the regime of DaveScot and Dembski and those that succeeded it is that the original crew were more open and honest about giving warnings and then announcing bans. This tactic of fading unwelcome contributors into moderation before disappearing them altogether without any kind of announcement is an altogether more weaselly approach (no offense, Ron).

  64. 108 Mark Frank May 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Bizarrely – this thread has itself become the subject of a thread on Uncommon Descent. Even more bizarrely Denyse is implying that those who have time to comment on this are tax-funded and underemployed. While presumably the ID proponents, including herself, who have time to comment on the comments are not?

    I am tempted to open a thread on her thread and see how many levels of self-reference we can generate.

    • 109 Seversky May 28, 2011 at 5:41 am

      I’m not surprised they would watch this thread. Apart from normal curiosity, UDenizens (or even UDenyseans, I suppose) recognize that what people write here is exactly what they mean, they are not having to be excessively circumspect to avoid the attentions of the moderators.

      Clive Hayden did imply on another thread that he might be prepared to lift my ban, which was decent of him. I didn’t take him up on it because, although it would be interesting to continue discussions with ID proponents, I’m not interested in doing it on UD.

      It’s a shame there isn’t some forum available which both sides accept as neutral where anyone could go for an unfettered discussion with any others who chose to go there. Obviously, there’s always the risk that any open venue is going to attract commenters who just want to vent their spleen about something but that’s the price you pay for free speech. And all you have to do is ignore them until they either tone it down or just go away.

      • 110 MathGrrl May 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

        Seversky,

        t’s a shame there isn’t some forum available which both sides accept as neutral where anyone could go for an unfettered discussion with any others who chose to go there.

        The talk.origins Usenet newsgroup comes to mind.

  65. 111 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    And I see the focus of the discussion at UD is dwelling on the perceived incivility here and ignoring the issue of whether UD operates an uneven moderating policy that results in critical commenters disappearing.

    If someone just came out with a workable definition of CSI! That would stun critics into silence! All the pearl clutching just comes across as attempting to deflect from the inevitable conclusion that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

    Canukian Yankee could test the water here. Idoubt his dire predictions will materialise.

  66. 112 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Trying link again:

    href=”http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/mathgirrl-returns-an-entire-blog-is-now-devoted-to-complaining-about-uncommon-descent/#comment-381898″>Canukian Yankee

  67. 113 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Oh Noes! Sorry Mark!

    Link should be:

    Canukian Yankee

  68. 114 Mark Frank May 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    To be honest I didn’t get CY’s point – but I have had enough of that discussion.

  69. 115 Zachriel May 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Chris Doyle: I repeat, if an evolutionist is serious about debating the issues without resorting to rudeness, then Uncommon Descent provides them with a place to do it. When we bury the hatchet, more good tends to come of it than bad.

    Sorry, Chris. That is simply untrue. Not only are people banned for mere disagreement without being disagreeable, but they are silently banned, or worse, put into eternal moderation. Though most of our own bannings were eons ago by Dave Scot, we were more recently (Jan 2010) banned, silently, while having a very fruitful discussion with Paul Giem. He said just before the ban, “I’ll get back to you later. I ran out of time, but am pleased by the tone of your response.”


    This comment is a good summary.

    Reciprocating Bill
    May 27, 2011 at 1:48 am

  70. 116 Zachriel May 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    By the way, there’s nothing wrong with moderating a blog. They should just have a clear policy, and apply it honestly.

  71. 117 Seversky May 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    MathGrrl

    The talk.origins Usenet newsgroup comes to mind.

    Good suggestion but have you checked with UD regulars to see if they regard TO as a neutral forum?

    • 118 MathGrrl May 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Nope. Anyone can post there, even if only through Google Groups, and the only moderation is a bot that limits the number of groups you can cross-post to, so I’m not sure how it could be construed as biased.

      Then again, I’m sure I could be surprised.

      • 119 Seversky May 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm

        Nope. Anyone can post there, even if only through Google Groups, and the only moderation is a bot that limits the number of groups you can cross-post to, so I’m not sure how it could be construed as biased.

        On that basis only, I would agree. But then UD regulars could – and I’m pretty sure many of them already have – go into the Talk: Origins Archive and find much if not all the material there is highly critical of the claims of Intelligent Design/Creationism. From that they might well conclude that, far from being neutral, the prevailing climate of opinion there is decidedly hostile to their beliefs.

        I could be wrong as well. In fact, I hope I am in a way because I would prefer to direct talks rather than snipe from blogs like this or The Panda’s Thumb. I would even guarantee to be just as civil as I was when posting to UD but I won’t take part in any forum where they have the power of moderation.

  72. 120 Rose May 29, 2011 at 7:17 am

    To all: I think it’s fair to say that ID-ists/Creationists are commonly highly critical of and hostile to evolutionists, evolution, The Theory of Evolution, Darwin, Darwinists, Darwinism, materialists, naturalists, atheists, agnostics, people of a different religion, particular scientists and other people, and a lot of science and scientists in general.

    Is a “neutral” website, to an ID-ist/Creationist, one that has a prevailing climate of opinion that is decidedly friendly to ID/Creationism beliefs, or is it one that allows all viewpoints, whether hostile or friendly?

    To me, “neutral” to an ID-ist/Creationist means catering to them, with little to no critiquing or hostility allowed toward them. They want an unobstructed, un-shared stage and a decidedly friendly audience.

  73. 121 Rose May 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I left out a couple of commas. That last paragraph should be:

    To me, “neutral”, to an ID-ist/Creationist, means catering to them, with little to no critiquing or hostility allowed toward them. They want an unobstructed, un-shared stage and a decidedly friendly audience.

  74. 122 Zachriel May 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Rose: They want an unobstructed, un-shared stage and a decidedly friendly audience.

    It seems they want to be taken seriously. But when you do take them seriously, it shows the vacuity of their position.

  75. 124 MathGrrl May 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Seversky,

    Nope. Anyone can post there, even if only through Google Groups, and the only moderation is a bot that limits the number of groups you can cross-post to, so I’m not sure how it could be construed as biased.

    On that basis only, I would agree. But then UD regulars could – and I’m pretty sure many of them already have – go into the Talk: Origins Archive and find much if not all the material there is highly critical of the claims of Intelligent Design/Creationism. From that they might well conclude that, far from being neutral, the prevailing climate of opinion there is decidedly hostile to their beliefs.

    Outside of UD and perhaps one or two other blogs, I suspect that ID will be a minority position in most online venues. That doesn’t change the fact that the talk.origins newsgroup itself is a neutral venue, where no one, regardless of his or her views on the topic, is able to censor other opinions.

    I could be wrong as well. In fact, I hope I am in a way because I would prefer to direct talks rather than snipe from blogs like this or The Panda’s Thumb. I would even guarantee to be just as civil as I was when posting to UD but I won’t take part in any forum where they have the power of moderation.

    I agree 100%. I have no intention of being anything other than civil at UD, but if I’m ever subject to moderation in the future I won’t continue to participate there. I do wish the ID proponents at UD would venture out more often.

  76. 125 Seversky May 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Perhaps someone with access to Uncommon Descent should issue an invitation to join discussions on Talk:Origins, emphasizing that it is unmoderated except for the limit on cross-postings.

  77. 128 Zachriel May 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    MathGrrl: I’ve extended the invitation, we’ll see if anyone chooses to accept it.

    Post the thread if you get one started.

    • 129 MathGrrl May 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      Absolutely. You don’t think I’m going to face talk.origins all on my own, do you? They cascade puns for fun!

      • 130 Seversky May 31, 2011 at 1:16 am

        Pun cascades! Now you’re talking! Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pun cascade on UD. Has anyone else?

      • 131 Zachriel May 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

        Haven’t been there for years. Had a year-long thread with Sean Pitman on Word Mutagenation. Good times!

        Beware a war of words, Sean Pitman,
        Ere you err.

  78. 132 Seversky May 31, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Is Mung being deliberately obtuse? Even I can see the difference between a goal and a target in this context. Isn’t this discussion about ev becoming a bit of a distraction, though? Not quite a red herring sauteed in oil of ad hominem yet but moving in that direction, I feel.

  79. 133 MathGrrl May 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Apropos of Alan Fox’s comment up the thread, Elizabeth Liddle is my new hero. She writes like a graceful dancer.

  80. 134 Rose June 1, 2011 at 7:28 am

    My irony and dishonesty measuring device just exploded:

    “I think this illustrates a subtler issue than is emphasised in the OP above: when there is a contentious and momentous issue at stake, our perceptions are very likely to be inaccurate based on what we “need” to see to support our view.

    This is one reason why mutually respectful but uncensored constructive dialogue among the informed is so important.

    GEM of TKI”

  81. 136 MathGrrl June 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    It appears that threads on UD stop accepting comments after a certain time period, regardless of whether or not they’re active. I’ve posted my responses to kairosfocus and Mung on the thread about this thread in the hopes that the two of them are still following it.

    Darn this “real life” taking time from my online discussions!

  82. 137 Rose June 7, 2011 at 1:12 am

    One of the most dishonest, erroneous, arrogant statements I’ve ever seen:

    Chris Doyle

    06/06/2011

    1:12 am

    Spot on, GilDodgen.

    The vast majority of evolutionists cannot handle a forum like this. The problem they find is that they are obligated to confront actual scientific fact here (unlike other forums, where anything goes: which usually means the first things to go are evidence and reason).

    • 138 MathGrrl June 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      I agree, Rose. While I might find kairosfocus, bornagain77, Mung, and some of the other UD regulars to be incorrect on matters of science, I do credit them with the willingness to engage in debate, even if only from behind the wall of the UD moderators.

      Chris Doyle has shown no such intellectual integrity. He posts unsupported and libelous statements here, then refuses to return to either demonstrate or retract them. Further, he adopts a tone that suggests he is only focused on tone and quality of discussion, but insults the people he disagrees with freely. I’ve concluded that he’s a classic concern troll, completely lacking in honesty and the minimal courage required to attempt to defend his claims.

      I apologize, Mark, if you feel this is inappropriate for this thread. I’m not enlightened yet.

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