Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Moderation Policy

Barry Arrington1 at Uncommon Descent has banned many defenders of evolution. This is not the first time that this has happened but for the first time the moderator at Uncommon Descent tries to offer a defense of the policy ... [Why is Barry Arrington Stifling Dissent at UD?].
If you visit some of our more vociferous opponents’ websites that is the question being asked. The answer, of course, is that I am not stifling rational argument on this site. In fact, just the opposite is true; my purpose has been to weed out those who refuse to engage in rational argument so that rational argument can be pursued by those who remain.
My moderation policy is very different. I allow comments from creationists in spite of the fact that they are incapable of engaging in rational argument.

Creationists, by definition, are incapable of being rational in this debate. Isn't it ironic that they set themselves up as the arbitrators of rational argument?

There's a good reason why we refer to this controversy as a contest between rationalism and superstition.

1. Barry Arrington is a lawyer from Colorado


  1. Mr Arrington is of course free to moderate as he sees fit. The rest of us are free to gaze open-mouthed at the rationale. ID-unfriendly posters were offered a direct challenge: "can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?" The answer to this question is either “yes” or “no.” If the person gives any answer other than the single word “no,” he or she will immediately be deemed not worth arguing with and therefore banned from this site.

    The opponents were then lined up and ordered to answer one by one. Any answer other than "no" (even if it was verbiage amounting to "no") was reason for immediate ejection - unless the individual was ID-friendly, in which case they were assumed not have understood the question. About 20 'critics' have gone, not the 8 referred to. Many fell on their swords, but a number were neither directly challenged nor challenging (towards UD itself).

    (PS posting, I have just been commanded "Please prove you're not a robot". The word to enter was "Jehovah"!)

    1. Oh my. So they are trying to force you into presuppositionalism trickery or else be banned from there!

  2. Now there's no reason that you can't have a "scientific" movement like ID founded by a lawyer and perpetuated by lawyers, but it kinda makes you wonder if it isn't all word games, not science....

  3. The real reason Barry Arrington and everyone else like him does this is because they want to give the impression to others who come to their site that there ARE no rebuttals to their points. You see a lot a lot a lot of this on creationist channels on YouTube, which either vette comments and exclude anything too challenging in the first place, or where the first people to be banned are those with tough questions who persist. In science, such people are valued because they typically dislodge erroneous ideas. In religion, they're threats to orthodoxy who must be tied to stakes and burned, virtually if not literally.

    That's all Barry Arrington is really doing... burning the "witches" out of his own little village square, so they can trouble his dreams and those of the sheep of his flock no longer.

  4. "Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?"


    But even if you disagree with me, you're welcome to post at my blog. You'll just need to line up behind the millions of others waiting their turn. ;)

  5. it kinda makes you wonder if it isn't all word games

    I like word games. Please don't impugn them by association. ID is not word games, it is the arrogance of stupidity ("I don't understand how this could work, therefore it cannot") reified.

  6. At AtBC some participants speculate that Arrington is tidying up UD for the second comming of former UD owner William Dembski who will (have to?) leave Southwestern Baptist Theological and thus will have some free time.

  7. I've been tolerated despite spicy anti-ID remarks over at this thread.

    I'm mostly wrangling with poster 'Upright BiPed' who a few months back tried to engage Larry Moran with a "semiotic argument" that claims constraints on information copying processes.

    1. Yes, they do need someone to spam their "DNA-is-semiotic", quantum-entanglement and "YOUR position has no evidence" nonsense at! But careful - one of the rules of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club!

      I seem to have been banned for defending the integrity of scientists against the contempt of Arrington, as I was not asked the 'moon question', nor have I questioned moderation, yet posting privilege has quietly disappeared. Most of my posts were attempts to correct scientific errors, rather than directly critical of ID or UD. But the ban-hammer is on a hair-trigger at the moment. It's not clear why one's position on such philosophical niceties disbars one from discussing evolution, yet cluelessness on the topic does not, but it is, I suppose, up to them. 'Onlookers' can judge their scientific integrity for themselves.

  8. I used to read Uncommon Descent most days, partly out of curiosity, but also because I think it's always good to see both sides of an argument. So I tolerated the likes of "News", Bornagain77, Kairosfocus and the many other strange and bizarre characters that make up UD.

    But somehow this latest antic which has resulted in the banning of several of the more informed ad eloquent contributors has kind of of pushed me over the edge, particularly the banning of Ms Liddle. It seems that want to turn the site into a self-congratulating forum where only those who think in an approved way are allowed to comment.

    So know I don't even bother to read it and I think I would encourage others to do the same. Perhaps if we just ignored it, it might just wither and day. If that happened we would of course miss the entertainment value, but in terms of scientific contribution, nobody is even going to notice.