A new discussion forum which I mentioned previously is now mostly operational. Forums serve a radically different function than blogs. Forums are great for exploring and developing ideas, whereas blogs are great for promoting ideas.
This fact became evident when participants of the old ISCID and ARN forum left the forums and migrated to Pharyngula, PandasThumb, UD, Telic Thoughts, ENV, etc. Hard to believe that 14 years ago, ARN and ISCID hosted interactions of some the founding names of the ID/Evolution blogsphere of today: PZ Myers, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Paul Nelson, Casey Luskin, etc.
The forum is obviously for Christians but anyone interested is welcome to participate. I’ve often argued that creationists will benefit from learning ID. Believing a concept is not the same as having a good grasp of a concept. Most users of modern technology accept electricity and magnetism as true and real, but that’s quite a different thing than understanding electricity and magnetism (electromagnetic theory is a notoriously difficult subject). So it is with ID. Just because a creationist already accepts design in the universe doesn’t mean a creationist cannot benefit from understanding ID, especially if they are in a position to influence other people’s viewpoints. These forums help explore the concepts through discussion and research. The mission statement is provided below.
The URL for the new forum is:
When visiting the forum, be sure to occasionally clear your browser’s cache since for some strange reason website improvements don’t always get seen because traces of the old version get stored in the browser’s cache. A lot of changes have been made even in the last few days and some users might not even recognize it as the same forum from even yesterday when they clear their computer’s cache. Please let me know if you see anything non-functional. [The way I clear my browser’s cache on IE Explorer is to click “tools, internet options, delete”. Maybe that’s not the best way to do it, but it works for me.]
What sets the Creation Evolution University (CEU) forum from the old ISCID and ARN forums is the addition of creation science to the discussion plus substantially improved rules and moderation policies to thwart trolls while maintaining freedom of expression (see below for a description).
Providentially, the development of this new forum precipitated Dr. Paul Giem to review some of my claims at UD which resulted in discovery of errors in something I had previously written at UD. Here is the very first discussion at the new forum. It represents the sort of discussions the forum was designed for:
[errant] Homochirality Blog at UD. Dr. Giem may have also discovered a minor mistake in one of ID’s founding books, The Mystery of Life’s Origin. Have a look for yourself. 🙂
The success of blogs is measured frequently by web traffic, whereas I view the success of a forum in terms of the quality of and unassailability of ideas that emerge from the interactions. I expect and am actually grateful that web traffic to the new forum will be quite small.
The forum will be part of a larger website that is still under construction which is intended primarily to provide resources for university students and faculty sympathetic to ID, Creation and Christianity. Most websites out there are for the general audience, whereas the completed website is envisioned to target university students and faculty. At this time, however, only the forum is operational. The rest of the website will probably take two years or more to flesh out, and God willing it will continue to grow.
In building the forum, I happened on an alternative answer to a long standing question: “what is the difference between creationism and ID?” The brief definitional answer that Stephen Meyer gave me when I interviewed him was something to the effect, “ID identifies design, creationism gives a chronology.” But that doesn’t quite capture the differences that become evident when one lists the interest areas (pro and con) that each discipline focuses on. That is reflected in the current forum descriptions.
Here is a description of the ID forum:
A forum for discussion and criticism of specialized topics relevant (pro and con) to Intelligent Design (ID) — design detection, design specification, irreducible complexity, origin of life, platonic forms, design matrix, population genetics, cybernetic theories, semiotic theories, Fishers’s fundamental theorem, Kimura’s neutral evolution, Darwinian evolution, modern synthesis, probability theories, fine tuning, typology, discontinuity systematics, steganography, evolutionary algorithms, published ID material, ID philosophy, front loaded evolution, omega point theory, anthropic principles, multiverses and many-worlds, panspermia, extra terrestrials, teleology in biology, redundant complexity and fault tolerance, algorithmic complexity, complexity measures, no free lunch, blindwatchmakers, bad design, evil design, junk DNA, DNA grammars, von Neumann replicators vs. autocatalysis, Quines, polyconstrained DNA, Mendel’s Accountant, DNA skittle, re-association kinetics, molecular clocks, GGU/GID models, enigma of consciousness and Quantum Mechanics, Turing machines, Lenski’s bacteria, thermodynamics, Avida, self organization, self disorganization, generalized entropy, Cambrian explosion, genetic entropy, Shannon information, proscriptive information, Programming of Life, law of large numbers, etc.
Here is a description of the creation science forum
A forum for discussion and criticism of specialized topics relevant (pro and con) to Creation Science – fossils dating, flood geology, C14, K/Ar, radio metric dating, diffusion dating, racemization dating, DNA dating, stellar and planetary evolution, erosion dating, fast stratification, interpretations of the geological column, baraminology, distant starlight problem, Y-chromosomal Adam/Noah/Aaron/Abraham, mitochondrial Eve, Tower of Babel, Proton-21 laboratory, Sodom and Gomorrah, OEC,YEC, Progressive creation, white hole cosmology, Carmeli cosmology, VSL theories, alternate electrodynamics, mantle plume theories, folding rock theories, RATE work, planetary magnetism, faint young sun paradox, moon recession, ocean mineral saturation, astrometry and proper motion surveys, very long baseline interferometry, CMBR, moon evolution, cosmological vs. non-cosmological red shifts, polonium halos, Hydro Plates and Castastrophic Plates, varves, tree rings, noah’s ark, over thrusts, lithification, hydrologic sorting, canopy theory, crater theory, planetary heating, ancient civilizations, Atlantis, trophical trees in the arctic, woolly mammoths and tropical trees in Siberia, UFOs and creationism, comets and orbital mechanics, planet satellite capture problems, planetary rings, origin of folded rocks, the Grand Canyon, the Green River valley, the Three Sisters, mountain formation, seafloor formation, tectonics, etc.
Here is the most current mission statement:
This mission of the forum is to provide a venue for exploration of intelligent design and creation science by researchers and educators.
The forum serves two main groups:
1. Individuals wanting to develop or improve educational or advocacy materials for intelligent design and/or creation science. For example, someone teaching or promoting an idea like “the cell is a computer” might want to get sections of his work exposed to some modest editorial review by others before actually publishing it in a major venue or archiving it on a website or presenting it in the classroom. The forum is a good place to vet material.
2. Researchers wanting to interact with others on research projects and even controlled observations and experiments! For example, answers to basic questions using low-budget research could provide evidence that helps overturn ideas that have huge institutional support and millions of dollars invested. Here are some examples:
“Is quasar LB 8956 ten giga light years away or is it a few hundred light years away?”
“Are single nucleotide polymorphisms growing in the human population?”
“Is there more radiation on land than on the sea floor?”
This forum was created to help explore these questions as well as developing means of communicating answers to these questions.
Here are the rules to serve the participants
1. POSTS MUST BE FAMILY FRIENDLY. It is possible kids studying these topics may visit. Please be respectful of them.
2. AUTHORS ARE MODERATORS OF THEIR OWN THREADS, THEY SET THE RULES. An author of a thread is defined as the individual who starts a new thread by pressing the “new topic” button. He has the right to exclude participants in his discussion. However, an excluded participant is allowed to post one reply with a link to a website or a new thread expressing his dissenting views. The form of his parting reply must be essentially:
This is my final post on this thread, and I will host further discussion here:
[URL]link to further discussion[/URL]
It must follow this form or will be subject to getting edited in order to conform, and a warning will be issued, and repeat offenders will be banned. This is to prevent rude parting shots by the excluded participant.
After the link to the dissenting view is provided by the excluded participant, the excluded participant is required to stay out of discussions he is no longer invited to. The excluded participant however is now an author of his own new separate discussion, and he sets the rules for his new discussion. Thus no voice is ever really silenced in the forum.
The aim of this rule is to thwart trolling and heckling. Hecklers are prevented from heckling a thread but at the same time not silenced. Orderly conversations move forward, but freedom of expression is maintained. Trolls might visit and post to the forum, but readers won’t be forced to read and deal with troll spam, and admins don’t have to get very much involved in policing the forum for bad behavior. Trolls are free to speak here, but no one will be forced to read their drivel.
Here is an simple illustration of how author moderation works using a hypothetical interaction. The thread is begun by Mr. Wise and then Mr. Troll shows up makes trouble and then is excluded from further participation. Mr. Troll then starts a new discussion, and provides a link. Both Mr. Wise and Mr. Troll can continue in the same forum just like neighbors in their own homes.
3. Notwithstanding the great amount of leeway granted in expressing ones views, spamming behavior or other behavior deeply inconsistent with the mission statement may result in permanent banning.
The forum administration merely provides web space for people to interact. It’s only other major role is to enforce banning of participants that refuse the courtesy afforded to thread authors to set their own rules in their own threads.