Advocates advocate against advocacy

The advocates of accommodationism and apologetics at Biologos have a new article up claiming that scientists ought not to advocate for science — we’re supposed to emphasize uncertainty. That’s lame; it feeds into the sterile stereotype of the scientist as some kind of dispassionate drone with little enthusiasm for ideas. As Jerry Coyne explains, it’s also hypocritical of a site that promotes religion without hesitation to be arguing that scientists should be more ambiguous.

That’s all we need, is for science to be made more boring, dry, and ambiguous. You’d almost think the Templetonites over there want to sabotage science education.


  1. alysonmiers says

    I think this is a better guideline:

    Whenever the Templetonheads give advice to scientists, point and laugh.

  2. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    Wasn’t it just a little while ago that the accommodationists were opining over the need for engaging Science spokespeople, a la Carl Sagan?

  3. Sastra says

    I’m also skeptical of religious people expressing concern over how dogmatic scientists seem. One of the most popular weapons in the faith-friendly arsenal is the tu quoque — “I know religion relies on faith, but so does EVERYTHING else. We’re no worse than you, so you can’t say anything about us.”

    Science is presumably no different than religion, because it’s nothing but leaps over uncertainty, everywhere you look. Have you ever seen your brain? No? Takes faith to believe you have one. Takes faith to believe the sun will rise tomorrow. Why, we might be living in the Matrix, after all. You can’t really be sure of anything, can you? Therefore, God. Because we’re even — if you reduce everything down to the same level of cluelessness.

    It’s popular today to say “anything is possible.” One of the reasons science isn’t as pleasing as it could be, is that it says that no, not all things are equally possible. Tough.

    ‘To the egocentric mind, nothing is impossible. Belief in impossibilities is the starting point for logic, deductive mathematics, and natural science. It can originate only from a mind that has freed itself from its own omnipotence.’ — Alan Cromer

  4. RamblinDude says

    Why is it they don’t bemoan the appalling state of science education that prevents ordinary people from understanding why science can appear so certain about some things?

  5. The Frog says

    When a scientist becomes an advocate, he loses for himself the power to use scientific discipline to discern reality.

    AHHH! Run away from the scientists trying to teach us! It’s for their own good!

    Actually, Mr. Brenner proves himself correct on this point. His own advocacy has clearly made it impossible for him to properly discern reality.

  6. Fortknox says

    I think this is a better guideline:

    Whenever the Templetonheads give advice to scientists, point and laugh.

    All that needs to be said really.

    Just like Fox “News” is a demonstrably extreme-right political organization, so is the Templeton foundation and Biologos.

    They are all purveyors of disinformation, nonsense and ideological incoherence.

  7. aratina cage says

    Jerry Coyne writes,

    some scientific advances, including the “theories” of evolution and virus causation of AIDS, are so well established that it’s simply moronic to pretend that there are credible doubts about them.

    Which is pretty much is how I think of it. These morons do all they can to deny science when it suits their own pet theories for Rainbow Sky Monkey X. They posture themselves as such innocent flowers before the big atheist scientist meanies who go about whacking everyone down with arrogant absolutism, yet these science deniers are simply being morons, frauds even, and getting called on it much to their chagrin.

    Scientists certainly do not need to tone it down or inflate uncertainty to appease god-botherers and woo-hawkers lost in their solipsistic stupors.

  8. Glen Davidson says

    Yes, it was one of the more bizarre articles on that site. There are good ones too, though, which I think is only fair to point out.

    Basically he leaves science at the “preponderance of the evidence,” as if that were the best that science can achieve. And yet, normal forensics shows often point out that science can achieve levels beyond even any “lingering doubts” in some cases.

    The whole article is exceedingly ambiguous, which I guess is what the author intends for science to be. But of course it utterly fails to tell us why science doesn’t achieve high levels of certainty in many cases, or why scientists should not be advocates — above all, for science.

    Glen D

  9. MATTIR says

    It is ridiculously disingenuous to act like we don’t know something when there is overwhelming evidence for that something, and especially disingenuous when the only thing we’re supposed to be uncertain about is evolution. Let’s respond to this nonsense by being incredibly and loudly uncertain about whether gravity exists, or whether an object in motion stays in motion, etc. We could publicly question whether cars should have brakes, whether stairs should have railings, etc. (After all, gravity is JUST A THEORY.)

    Sometimes I hate people.

  10. WowbaggerOM says

    Translation: ‘Will you nasty science-types please be so good as to leave us poor woo-soaked sophists with some gaps into which we can cram increasingly nebulous, ever-diminishing gods?

  11. Deluded Creodont says

    Science is presumably no different than religion, because it’s nothing but leaps over uncertainty, everywhere you look. Have you ever seen your brain? No? Takes faith to believe you have one. Takes faith to believe the sun will rise tomorrow. Why, we might be living in the Matrix, after all. You can’t really be sure of anything, can you? Therefore, God. Because we’re even — if you reduce everything down to the same level of cluelessness.

    That’s what happens when a side has an argument based entirely on believing things that can’t be tested or observed- sooner or later, they’re forced to resort to intellectual nihilism in order to try to keep the other side’s evidence at bay.

  12. Kel, OM says

    I do find it quite amazing how many people call me arrogant when I invoke science as to why their charised beliefs are wrong. It’s essentially dismissing criticism on perceived authority. Either science is overstepping its mark and trying to infringe on the supernatural (homoeopathy works, but not through any material cause), or that science is inherently flawed (physicists used to think that they had essentially discovered everything). Meanwhile one can claim that this life is only a test for an afterlife on pleasure or pain because the omniscient omnipotent entity that created this universe came down and sacrificed himself allowed you the opportunity to live forever – advocating that is perfectly fine.

    Claim that depression might be caused by neurochemical imbalances and that’s overstepping the mark. Claim that it’s dead alien souls and it’s just fine. Claim that cancer might be the result of cell mutation and again it’s overstepping the mark. Claim it’s caused by people being anxious and go right ahead.

    It’s like that if there’s a chance you could be wrong that you shouldn’t say it. But being not even wrong? Well just go ahead and make any claim you want…

  13. Fortknox says

    Science is a process and a way of thinking anyway…a thinking that frequently proves itself to be the most proper way of thinking.

  14. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    aratina cage:

    Rainbow Sky Monkey X

    That’s beautiful, and I’m adopting it. ;)

  15. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    Kel, OM:

    (homoeopathy works, but not through any material cause)

    I’ve had people get all huffy with me because in discussions about homeopathy, I’ve linked How Does Homeopathy Work? ;D

  16. aratina cage says

    Caine, Fleur du mal,

    Rainbow Sky Monkey X

    That’s beautiful, and I’m adopting it. ;)

    LOL, it does need a better home… but nothing beats Fleur du mal. I’ll have you know that I can’t write the word “flower” now, as I did above, without thinking of you.

  17. gould1865 says

    Premise: Hypocrisy of logos is trickery.

    There is a rule among (some) advocates which says, “Better hurt a man than trick him.” This refers to other advocates, both men and women. And it could refer to anyone.

    Why would there be such a rule?

  18. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    aratina cage:

    LOL, it does need a better home… but nothing beats Fleur du mal. I’ll have you know that I can’t write the word “flower” now, as I did above, without thinking of you.

    Hahahaha, thank you. That reminds me, I need to get my black flower seeds together for planting this year. Nothing like black flowers. :D

  19. Emil Karlsson says

    I use to think there was some value on accommodation; now I don’t so much.

  20. gould1865 says

    Better answer my own question, time for bed.

    There are things in advocacy not written down, very sage, very old, and are not transmitted until the recipient is prepared by experience. This saying would be one, and like poetry it means what it means to you.

    As to why there should be such a rule, you know as much as I do. I have seen schoolyard fights in which the fighters became friends, as long as neither ‘fought dirty.’ I read about the zoo orangutan who got between the keeper and the open exit door. The keeper pointed to behind the ape and put a look of horror in his face. The ape turned to look, and the keeper slipped out the door. The tricked orang was furious. The keeper was reassigned. Perhaps a person who is tricked will never ever forgive the trickster enough to fully trust him. Been stood up on a date? Is there not a trickster in the Tarot, not a good card? Do kindergarten children already know about tricksters and do they like them?

    Is it the nature of things that the trickster will come to no good end if he ever makes a mistake, which he will?

    Without predicting the future specifically, the saying warns of bad consequences for trickery. Seems right to me.

    The premise was that the hypocrisy of logos is trickery.

    Good night.

  21. MolBio says

    We’re not certain computers or cars work are we? lol

    At least I don’t have to rely on praying for a circumstantial happenstance.

    If science is unreliable, then what does that make their god?

  22. onethird-man says

    Absolute certainty is what people demand of religion, and religion in turn punishes doubt in its adherents. While I can see the genius of this methodology, I cannot bring myself to come close to approaching its practice.

    Scientists should not fear or avoid science advocacy, but neither should they fear the open-ended state of current understanding. Being truly open-minded can be demonstrated by how conclusions are stated, and this “uncertainty” needs to be played up as a strength rather than covered as a weakness.

    One of the means by which I helped a friend think critically concerned one of those horrid “fingerprints of the Gods” documentaries. I disagreed with the conclusions drawn, and was told I was “close minded” like the scientists in the film.

    I then challenged him to go back through and see who said “It must be”, “There can be no other conclusion but” and who said “What we understand”, “The best interpretation we have” and so-on.

    He did, came back and apologized to me later, saying I was right. Unfortunately, while certainty sells on the surface, it doesn’t sell the idea of being open-minded, or what conclusions mean in much of scientific endeavor. It’s a bit like carnival-barker snake-oil salesman versus doctor.

  23. Jillian Swift says

    I think it’s interesting that folks of this sort don’t notice that science tends to form a consensus with little fragmentation – basically evidence based inquiry brings fairly solid agreement with any real dissent manifesting as more research – and all forms of woo from basic superstition to religion tend to have a great deal of fragmentation – the room to make it up as you go along making for all manner of interpretations not one of which can be said to be better than any other.

    I can’t really work out how this blind spot comes to be. (Oh, yes… the infinite human capacity for denial in the face of uncomfortable truths.)

  24. D says

    Blargh. How hard is it, honestly, to grasp that degrees of certainty are degrees of certainty? I mean, sure, we’ve got error bars on all our measurements – but that just means “how much we could be wrong.” We’ve still got at least a ballpark, and in terms of the whole wide world, that ain’t bad at all.

    Just because we always have cause for doubt, doesn’t mean that we need to always doubt everything all the time always. Idjits.

  25. Agathon says

    I agree that the article and those who wrote it are wrong, both in content and intention. That said, however, I’m still enough a fan of Socrates and Popper and Empiricism, to think a ‘dispassionate’ attitude, and being free of bias, are vital to science and the most reliable routes to truth. I do see your point, but… Scientists can and should simultaneously “emphasize uncertainty,” and still be vigorously “enthusiastic about ideas.”

  26. Agathon says

    I should add that, concerning the last sentence – those two things/traits happening together are the main things that separate people who believe in reason and science and people who believe in… anything & everything else.

  27. DLC says

    One of the things that bothered me about Ken Ham and his ilk is that they too often substitute “God” for “Me”. Ham said “God Said it, I believe it, that’s all I need”
    But nobody ever notices the substitution, like a magician “forcing” a card, Ham makes the claim that god says it but then slides in his own interpretation.

  28. Kel, OM says

    Ham said “God Said it, I believe it, that’s all I need”

    Of course that line of inquiry begs the question – was he there when God said it? Unfortunately for him, the same rhetoric he uses against evolution invalidates any claims he makes about the bible. It even negates his own existence, because he wasn’t there when he was first conceived. Maybe you can argue if he was, but the testimony of a gamete isn’t going to stand up in court…

    In short, Ken Ham molests the minds of children.

  29. hyperdeath says

    Have the religious ever given advice to scientific skeptics which cannot be summarized as “shut up”?

    Is anyone aware of such an article?

  30. jennyxyzzy says


    Claim that cancer might be the result of cell mutation and again it’s overstepping the mark. Claim it’s caused by people being anxious and go right ahead

    This is something that I just don’t get. I have a group of intelligent friends, one of whom has just had a breast removed because of cancer. And they are all adamant that the cause of the cancer was stress. Any attempt to correct this misinformation was treated as an attack on the cancer patient, no matter how gently put, ie “you know, there aren’t actually any studies showing a causative link between stress and cancer in humans” is considered very bad and aggressive, close-minded, arrogant, blah blah blah. You quickly get the message that scepticism is not welcome, at least not on this particular subject.

    I wonder where this defense mechanism really comes from. Why do people feel so threatened by information that goes against their uninformed preconceptions???

    I just don’t get it.

  31. Rogue Medic says

    It is appropriate to use ridicule when faced with the ridiculous. Not just appropriate, but logical.

    When the believers in absolutes start using postmodernist anything can happen claims, we need to point out that this is an absurd exaggeration of uncertainty. This is not uncertainty. This is only confusion.

    Uncertainty does not refer to a permanent state, but to the process of acquiring knowledge, We will know more about the many things science investigates.

    Some things we learn will solve problems, but will raise new questions. This is progress. This is not confusion.

    Anything could be true is confusion.

    Not pointing out the flaws of this line of quackery is only encouraging the continuation of these assaults on reason. They promote lies that kill people. Killing should not be accommodated.

    We need to oppose these advocates of death by ignorance.

  32. Vaguely Brown says

    I think it would be more useful for scientists to focus upon the falsifiability of their work rather than degrees of uncertainty. It is playing into the hands of the gainsayers of science to say that any particular theory is unproven and therefore, to some extent, however small, uncertain. What matters is the degree to which all attempts to falsify a theory have failed and the success of the theory in explaining observations and making predictions. Nothing is absolutely certain.

    Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem shows how even in mathematics there is an almost quantum mechanical relationship between consistency and completeness in maths. The greater the internal consistency of a formal logic system (i.e. the inability to produce contradictory statements using the system) then the more incomplete it is and vice versa. So, you’re only ever as good as your axioms.

    Going on about certainty and uncertainty all the time seems to derive from a belief that certainty is a good thing and uncertainty is a bad thing. Well, if Twain is right and there are only two certainties in the world, death and taxes, then give me uncertainty!

    I hate “Certain”, I avoid people who exude that certainty of being absolutely and undeniably right like the plague. They never question and they never doubt, two prerequisites for a good reality checking system.

    Fortunately, most people I have encountered who fall into this category seem to be either deeply religious, mentally challenged or teenagers. I have hope for the last two but not the first. They have chosen to abdicate their reason and they then try to employ reason in any discussion. It’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  33. deriamis says

    Oh, I see how this works.

    Despite all evidence to support it, I must remain uncertain about the existence of a force called gravity? I suppose it could be God holding me to the Earth. And everyone else. And trees, and flowers, and rocks. Birds can defy God to a certain extent, so they’re evil; or, perhaps, God allows birds more freedom and they are therefore blessed – even the carrion-eaters.

    I have to express uncertainty that gravity is a universal force, despite the fact that direct observation has confirmed that wherever we look, the fact of its existence is affirmed. I have to be uncertain about what I see with my own eyes through the telescope – after all, the Devil could be fooling them, right? And there is the possibility, however slight, that my next direct observation will reveal a celestial body that doesn’t conform to any expectations, even after countless observations throughout history confirming what we already “think” we know.

    Even then – even if something doesn’t quite meet my expectations – I am supposed to throw everything I think I know away and run to supernatural beliefs to explain what I saw. There can’t be any other explanation, and it’s not worth examining something that is interesting by its differences from what is expected. The unexpected is bad, in science and everywhere else. If I observe a celestial body not obeying laws I think it should, I am supposed to believe that everything I know is wrong and never continue my observations to see if something might explain the anomaly.

    Yeah, not buying it. That schtick hasn’t stuck the last four times and I gave up my skepticism of skepticism for a sense of wonder and a desire for exploration of the universe I live in.

  34. Amazona farinosa farinosa says

    One question:

    At what degree of calculated statistical probability should scientists be permitted to state that they are “certain”?

    Where is this magical certainty threshold? 0.80, 0.85, 0.91713?

    Nevermind rounding and standard deviation.

  35. Tulse says

    At what degree of calculated statistical probability should scientists be permitted to state that they are “certain”?

    p < .05

  36. Steven Benner says

    Here is what I just posted to Jerry Coyne’s site. The essence of the complaint is that Jerry did not read anything that I wrote.
    The complaint goes double here, as PZ Myers, not having read anything that I wrote, accepted Jerry’s misinformation.
    This is, at the very least, an embarrassment to evolutionary biology; it is certainly not science.


    My my. As Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (, author of a book on scientific method (“Life, the Universe, and the Scientific Method”), and a card-carrying member of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, I expected to have my five part essay on the distinction between scientists and those who advocate religion attacked by Intelligent Designers and creationists.

    But not by people who claim to be scientists working in the field of evolution. Members, if you will, of my own scientific “tribe”. People like Jerry Coyne.

    Of course, Jerry provides no evidence that he actually read what I wrote. It had five parts:

    Had Jerry actually read what I wrote, he would know that “accomodationist” does not derscribe me. Had Jerry actually read what I wrote, he would not have claimed that my writings had a “curious asymmetry” endorsing religious advocacy, or claim that I needed to rewrite my statement to address ” the other side of the faith/science debate.” Had Jerry actually read what I wrote, he would not accuse me of “failing to appreciate two things” that I fully appreciate.

    Jerry did not even read the cartoon that Jake drew for me; otherwise he would not have thought that his gripe about reporters wanting sound bites was original to him.

    And Jerry did not even spell my name right.

    As a warning to students at U of C: Do not emulate Jerry Coyne. Collect data before you set your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). Above all, read the illustrations (Figures, Tables, and Cartoons).

    Now, I can accept the fact that Jerry has a blood feud with someone at BioLogos. I can accept that he would transfer his deep seated emotions against whomever at BioLogos to me. I suppose I got what I deserved for my reprehensible act of entering his enemy’s camp to explain to evil accomodationists what scientists do to achieve the certainty that they create. I can even excuse the comment of one of his unthinking acolytes about my hair.

    But not to read the cartoons? Come on. Play fair.

    There are, of course, work-a-day scientists who ignore ideas and data from others, who make incremental advances in biology, publish their papers, and retire to their homes at the end of the day without marveling at the power of the scientific discipline to revolutionize our understanding of reality, despite the half millennium of history whereby consensus science has been often overturned, generally by individuals who were considered “moronic” at the time.

    Such work-a-day scientists are useful to society, just as the third violinist in an orchestra playing Bach is useful, even if he is concerned only with getting the notes right, and never asks: “But perhaps we can compose like Beethoven?”

    If Jerry wants to be one of these, who am I to object? And I certainly have no problem when anyone enters the public square as a “human with concerns”.

    To someone as disinterested as Jerry in the “big” questions of science, it is not worth writing a response to his programmed response. But I do want to inspire, students and others, to engage big questions. So let me conclude with just three comments.

    First, I am not BioLogos, and BioLogos is not me. My series contains more than enough about religious advocacy to satisfy anyone who reads it. This being said, any religious person who ceases to be an advocate, and who adopts the general idea behind science (an intellectual activity that embodies a mechanism that will, at least on occasion, force the scientist to conclude something other than what the scientist set out to conclude), will be practicing science. It is an interesting question whether he will cease to be religious.

    Second, as an exercise in logic, pick apart Jerry’s paragraph in which he claims to know what “causes” AIDS and uncover its mistakes about what a physician should advise a patient. The logical mistakes are small, but big discoveries often come by recognizing small mistakes; it is important to your training as a scientist to get into the habit (some call it a “discipline”) of immediately catching these (especially in your own writing). The correct answer will appear in the posting where I respond Jerry’s response (or, perhaps, apology?) to this posting.

    Last, the notion from several bloggers (puzzleponderer, post 2, Eric MacDonald, post 13, and others), that scientists must match the irrational advocacy of the religious faithful in order to win in the public square, is more than ludicrous.

    It may seem paradoxical that more certainty comes from individuals who regard their own views as uncertain than can come from individuals who hold their views with certainty. But if puzzleponderer and Eric thought about it for one instant, they would understand that this view embodies no paradox at all. And I suspect that the public recognizes this as well.

  37. Steven Benner says

    The link that I sent is my actual essay, not the fifth part of it. Here is again the link, if you would like to actually read the essay.

    But if you did read my essay, your post is worse, as it is clean misrepresentation.

    You stated in your post that I “claim[ed] that scientist ought not to advocate for science”. I did no such thing.

    You then declared that I was feeding into a “sterile sterotype of the scientist as some kind of dispassionate drone with little enthusiasm for ideas.” This is diametrically opposite to what I said and what I believe.

    You then declared that it seemed as if someone (presumably me?) “want[s] to sabotage science education.” This is calumny.

    And your best defense now for your misrepresentation and calumny is to claim that the comments “supporting” me are from people “familiar to us; they are advocates for intelligent design …” .

    I have no idea which comments you are talking about (they are certainly not from Nick Matzke). I have not seen any ID-er scoring points off of what I said.

    Nor do I think that my “appropriate response at this point [is[ to stop and figure out what [I] did wrong”, as you suggest.

    Perhaps you should enlighten me. What exactly is wrong with trying to explain to people who have an affinity for religion why science delivers more empowering understanding than religious thought?

    Look, I have no problem if you did not read my essay. I have no problem if you did not like my essay. I have no problem if others found my essay “a bit remote from reality”. I have no problem if you fail to understand the purpose of the essay: to explain to people whose view is fundamentally religious why a non-religious way of thinking that embodies uncertainty and eschews advocacy (of specific theories, not of the entire process of science, for Pete’s sake) is a more powerful route to truth. Frankly, I would have thought that you might appreciate the point, and appreciate how its presentation might make it successful in persuading such people.

    Nor do I much care if you disagree with my view of you, that you are so enthralled by the excitement of the creationist-versus-evolutionist debate that you have failed to see, and take advantage of, a transparent opportunity to persuade rather than to bully.

    But that is your problem, not mine. My problem now is simply to ensure that your particular combination of calumny and misrepresentation is not attributed to me.

  38. John Morales says

    Steven Benner, do you or do you not support BioLogos’ stated mission?

    From the front page of BioLogos:

    Our Mission
    The BioLogos Foundation explores, promotes and celebrates the integration of science and Christian faith.

    You stated in your post that I “claim[ed] that scientist ought not to advocate for science”. I did no such thing.

    True. What you wrote was (my emphasis):
    For this reason, it is important, here and elsewhere, for scientists to emphasize that uncertainty is central to science, and advocacy is disruptive of it. When a scientist becomes an advocate, he loses for himself the power to use scientific discipline to discern reality.

    Seems to me you’re advocating not advocating, just as PZ wrote, and that your protestation to the contrary rests on this advocacy being implicit rather than explicit.

  39. Steven Benner says

    To John Morales (#41), no, my mission is not to explore, promote, or even celebrate the integration of science and Christian faith. My mission (at least as a researcher) is to have as significant an impact as possible on humankind’s understanding of the natural world, given my individual skills and limitations.

    My purpose in writing the piece for BioLogos was to explain to an audience of individuals who associate themselves with the BioLogos mission statement, as best I can, what science is, and how scientists must interact with their research material to most successfully deliver the empowerment that they might.

    It perhaps does not need saying, but let me say anyhow, that I do not find speaking with people who associate themselves with the BioLogos mission particularly offensive. Certainly in Florida, where some in our state legislature want to make ID part of the high school science curriculum, I have met some who are less accessible to rational thought. And certainly, the BioLogos people, the few whom I know, have not misrepresented my writing as much as PZ did, at least so far.

    PZ accused me of saying that scientists should not “advocate for science.” Which I did not, as you recognize. The fact that I have advocated for science on the pages of BioLogos shows PZ’s accusation to be false. And, as I have said, PZ’s accusation that I want to “sabotage science education” is calumny.

    Even with the predicate of the verb “advocate” quoted correctly (as you did), you are wrong. I did not advocate that scientists should not advocate their pet theories, or even the products of their life’s work. Indeed, we do so regularly, and it would take a superhuman not to do so.

    What I said is that when scientists do so advocate, they lose the critical powers embodied in scientific discipline needed to discern reality, in particular about those theories/works. Once we are on public record, scientists can be just as dogmatic as those with no scientific training at all. Being human, we too do not want to ever admit that we were wrong. But this does not mean that we should not advocate; it just is a realistic recognition of the consequences of our advocacy.

    Jerry Coyne on his blog seems to get it right, acknowledging that scientists can wear two hats and, when we are advocates, we are not being scientists. Indeed, Jerry makes my point, thinking that he disagrees with me only because he did not (as he tells me) read four fifths of my essay.

    You may be asserting that an advocate can simultaneously be a rational evaluator of facts relevant to his/her advocacy. This would be an interesting proposition to have you defend, especially if you did so scientifically. My guess is that now that you are on public record, you would cherry pick data to support your advocacy position as much as Stephen Meyer does in his book on ID. If you do it once or twice, you might be able to change your mind should you encounter some contradicting data. But do it three times, and I suspect that you would be just as dogmatic about this point as is the most dogmatic ID-er is about his.

  40. Alan Fox says

    Mike Gene who people might remember from the formerly ID-lite blog, Telic Thoughts, asks:

    And for some reason, there is only one comment on PZ’s very popular blog responding to Benner from last night. Are people able to post on PZ’s thread?

    Well, as you can see, Mike, I can register and comment here. I would have mentioned it at Telic Thoughts but for some reason, I can’t comment there. Go figure!