Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

This is UD’s 20,000 Post


Bill Dembski posted the first post at UD on April 15, 2005.  Thirteen years later I post this, the 20,000th.  In addition to tens of thousands of posts, our readers and contributors have put up hundreds of thousands of comments in our comment threads (over 428,000 at last count).

UD’s mission is to serve the Intelligent Design  community.  I think we are doing that, and I am proud of the work we’ve done.

At this special time, I want to give special thanks to Denyse O’Leary for her tireless efforts at our news desk.

I also want to thank Kairosfocus, StephenB, gpuccio, johnnyb, Upright Biped, William J. Murray and our many other authors for their fine contributions over the years.  Your posts and the discussions they launch are the lifeblood of the site.

Finally, a special shoutout to our webmaster Jack for keeping us up and running.

Here’s to the next 20,000!  The adventure continues.

Truth, I should add, there is a clue from the nature of opposition we so often see. De platforming, censoring, trying to stalk, target, smear, shame and silence tells us we have something powerful and dangerous to say. The ruthlessness of ever so many attacks tells us we are in part standing for freedom of mind, conviction, conscience and action. So, we need to provide a robust, well defended forum where a voice that has something serious to say but is politically very incorrect, can speak in defence of our civilisation and its key assets. Such assets include science, constitutionally safeguarded stabilised democracy and liberty, freedom of speech and of the press, academic and professional freedom, academic and professional transparency, responsibility and accountability (hence the peer review and retraction issues etc), linked worldviews and cultural agenda issues, science and general education [formal and informal], freedom of research, substantial and relevant research results, logic and principles of responsible reason [including Mathematics], moral government and safeguards for liberty, the media, agit prop and lawfare, questions of tyranny and abuse, the Overton window of current and emerging policy possibilities, and even the broad geostrategic picture for our civilisation . . . across history, the ONLY one that has sustained such things. Just being able to seriously discuss these things without undue restriction [as opposed to stopping trollishness that gets out of hand], cumulatively has strategic impact. So, stand and speak, stand and fight if necessary is a key strategy going forward. KF kairosfocus
Truth, some big questions, maybe the President -- who owns this thread -- might give us a hint or two. I think we obviously need a bigger multimedia presence, esp. video. A podcast or whatever they do these days -- peri[s]cope? whatever? -- might help. A Conference might be a big thing. I'd love to see expanded references. I think UD likely needs volunteers on the technical side as well as the content side. There's a donate button on the main page so that would doubtless help. Just reading and commenting are important. Years ago I thought a training conference would be useful, but I see DI is doing that sort of thing. Somewhere, it might be useful to have a support window for ID research. And maybe there are other ideas. KF kairosfocus
Thanks to everyone who contributes and has contributed positively to UD over the years. It's an upper echelon site for thinkers, IMO. Andrew asauber
KF @ 6: How does UD intend to build upon and improve its already impressive platform? What are UD's wants and needs? How can we help? Also, are there any plans for an annual conference? Has it ever been done? It would be nice to see some faces associated with the names (and handles). Truth Will Set You Free
Congratulations! Would you care to elaborate on plans to make UD more effective in the future? Nonlin.org
News, with de-platforming, locking out and censorship becoming major tactics, it is not a minor thing to be here still. We are counselled, build your own platform. Here is is, it needs to grow -- if we are going to help our civilisation move to saner, sounder footing. KF kairosfocus
The thing that struck me a decade ago, looking at the scene, is that the internet offers a tsunami of information. Most of the tsunami is seawater. What's it worth? There's some good stuff in there but one must sit down and sort one's catch. The science media were a depressing spectacle of cheerleading for "science" when serious, possibly fatal, problems loom. For example, the Darwinians want people trapped in a vision of evolution that amounts to their religion but doesn't begin to address the complexity of the history of life. Nor do they care whether it does, so long as they can ram it down the public's throat and foist it on the school systems. The multiversers are slowly gathering for a war on the requirement for evidence-based theory and falsifiability in science, so as to enshrine their religious vision beyond hope of replacement. The SJWs are mounting a full-scale assault on science principles such as objectivity - seen as sexist, racist, and imperialist - whenever they conflict with one of their non-negotiable demands. Peer review is so badly broken that current attempts at reform seem, quite frankly, feeble. We are always hearing about The Reform That'll Make a Difference. I've been hearing about that for decades now. And Big Science? Big Science frets about Ken Ham's Creation Museum, about public suspicion that the climate change A-Crock-a-Lypse is a worthy successor to the Population Dud (which many lay climate skeptics personally remember*), about a few people who don't believe in vaccines... Sounds to me like they're evading issues they dare not address because they are close to home and costly to fix. From a news writer's perspective, it sounds like a desk: Point out the elements of the story that others don't. Needless to say, we do it for our readers and couldn't do it without you. We are glad if it has helped. We would like to be bigger and better, but we are at least still here. * The lesson should be that scientists who don the robes of the Seer of Doom undermine the believability of their profession - and have only themselves to thank for that outcome. Added: Get a look at the future of science, SJW-style. - O'Leary for News News
BA, I am thinking, this is also a suitable occasion for a reflective with some element of strategic appreciation. UD has had and continues to have a fairly broad focus. It of course looks at narrow issues tied to the design inference for the world of life and for the cosmos (the two main foci of ID-related science). This immediately brings to bear mathematical issues, as search challenge in large configuration spaces is key to both; sometimes appearing in the guise of a probability challenge. If that were all that was needed, the ID issue would have long since been favourably decided on its merits and there would be no need for a blog, much less a long-running, active, heavily debated one that is often the focus of deep resentment and attacks that can become intemperate -- as the penumbra of attack sites too often demonstrates. Deeper and broader issues are at stake and demand a sustaimed response in depth and breadth. For one, philosophy of science and epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge and its conditions) turn out to be vital. For, scientific study of origins . . . of the cosmos, of life, of major body plans and key features [highlighting the Cambrian fossil life revolution], of humans and the mind . . . is deeply influenced by evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers. Closely tied, are issues of worldviews and comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence [logical and dynamical] and balanced explanatory power. Logic vs various fallacies and bad habits of thought leading to trapping people in Plato's Cave manipulated worldviews and cultural agendas that en-darken under false colour of enlightenment and progress come in. As the mind has a naturally evident purpose of truth and thus has duties of responsible rationality, ethics becomes pivotal. This is all the more important when we recognise that evolutionary materialistic scientism is inherently amoral, as it has no world-root IS that can bridge to OUGHT. Indeed, it struggles to explain the origin of the functionally specific complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] in the computational substrates formed by the brain, CNS and associated key sense organs such as eyes and ears. But even moreso, it fails to cross the ugly gulch between blindly mechanical and/or stochastic, strictly non-rational, GIGO-driven computation and that world of responsible rational freedom and insightful contemplation that we all enjoy. The Kantian ugly gulch between inner perceptions and notions and the extra-mental objective world of things in themselves then compounds the issues of responsible rational, knowing embodied mindedness and foundations of scientific and even mathematical knowledge. Now, too, ideologies are not held in place by abstract attractiveness, they serve the power interests of dominant classes and interests; serving to confer an aura of legitimacy that reduces the need to directly use naked power and violence or threats to a manageable proportion. So, when we face a dominant ideology that is inherently amoral nihilism couches at the door: might and/or manipulation make 'right'/ 'truth'/ 'knowledge'/ 'science'/ 'justice'/ 'rights' and so forth. This has sobering implications for institutionalised science, for research funding, for access to publication, for technical scientific education, for general formal and informal education, for media agendas, for lawfare, for government power, for where the Overton window of political possibilities lies and moves, and ultimately for the soundness -- or rather, suicidal unsoundness -- of policies and resulting trends of our whole civilisation. An emblematic case in point is that because of the radical undermining of the vision of the sacredness of human life, across the past 40+ years, over 800 million of our living posterity in the womb have been deliberately killed, with the current global rate -- on Guttmacher-UN figures -- running at about a million more per week. Bloodguilt is perhaps the most corrupting of all influences, and the resulting warping of policy, opinion climate, media, education, science, medicine and health, law and government etc has opened the door to a deeply warped, perverse culture of death and perversity. In that context, it is no surprise to see that fecundity levels are falling well below replacement levels, pointing to civilisational collapse. Already, this makes the telling insight by Plato, responding to evolutionary materialism and lawless nihilism in his day (which had materially contributed to the collapse of Athens through the course of the Peloponnesian war), all too relevant:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ --> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . . [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ --> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by "winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . " cf a video on Plato's parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ --> Evolutionary materialism -- having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT -- leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for "OUGHT" is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in "spin") . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ --> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ --> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush -- as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [--> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].
So, rightly, UD has taken on a broad focus, but one anchored on the core scientific, mathematical, logical, epistemological and ethical questions. As we go forward, we need to deepen that focus, and it is evident that the rise of AI is highly relevant, given the common perception that our conscious mindedness is based on the spontaneous emergence of rational reflection from a blind computational substrate, through blind watchmaker forces of chance-driven non-foresighted variation and differential reproductive success leading to descent with unlimited incremental modification along a branching tree pattern. This has to be challenged on many levels, starting with alleged emergence of an aptly programmed computational substrate by such means, and the poof magic of unexplained emergence. Likewise, it seems we will need to champion objectivity in the face of a flood-tide of radical subjectivism and relativism. Last, but not least, we have to reckon with the power of video today. This, in a day when video seems to take up the bulk of Internet traffic and YouTube alone is said to have 1.5 billion unique visitors per month. In that context, we have to reckon with hostility and censorship, and we have to access significant video resources. (To that end, we need to address the challenges WordPress seems to develop from time to time.) Long may UD live and prosper, KF kairosfocus
Barry: That's a great achievement indeed! :) Thank you for your very good work, and let's go on with the fascinating intellectual confrontation. gpuccio
Thank you, UD, for keeping us informed and up-to-date about intelligent design matters. Such a valuable resource. Much appreciated. Truth Will Set You Free
Well done, may we all live to see many, many more! KF kairosfocus

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