I agree with you that Dawkins is arrogant and does not invite particularly even-handed discussion. Much of what he claims is well beyond what is justified scientifically, which is fine in the sense that a lot of his work is speculative. The thing I objected to was that you were not quoting claims of his that were. You were quoting claims that are considered scientific orthodoxy, that speciation events are reducable to microevolutionary shifts in allele frequency in concert with the introduction of new genes (through mutation plus whatever other mechanisms are available). [Edit: Or they can be the result of hybridization; the point being, they are held to be the result of naturalistic events and naturalistic events only, which was really what you were objecting to.]
Questioning this is okay, but we have strict rules about it. You have to submit a formal proposal to the IR forum outlining exactly why you object and citing experimental evidence of some sort. Now, I already know that your own method of investigation is not scientific, which I don't personally have a problem with, but that does make the results of that investigation, when they contradict the scientific orthodoxy, unwelcome here.
First, the position of forum leader dictates that we impose our views over those of the posters. Judgement calls are part and parcel of what we do. I am glad to make every effort to explain myself, just not in the thread itself
. Such a discussion is well off-topic and belongs here. If you're simply complaining that I gave no explanation until you asked, you have to remember that I delete, edit, close, or otherwise modify threads and posts quite often if I feel they violate guidelines. I am not obligated to explain these actions, but gladly will if asked. Most people never do.
Second, no, I probably am not qualified. As of now, I have nothing more than a BA in philosophy, which is certainly not enough to teach. It was, however, the judgement of the staff that I was qualified to moderate the forum, which is not
a university and not have quite as stringent a set of standards as to who can or cannot mentor. The mentor I replaced had no philosophical education whatsoever, yet she did a perfectly good job for many years.
That is the thing. When he argues specifically for neo-Darwinist gradualism contra Gould and Eldredge (personally, I'm not sure that he strictly does - but I won't explain that here), or argues for selfish-gene theory, both of which are contested positions within the biological sciences, it is fine to criticize his methodology, although I would prefer you do so in the Biology forum and not Epistemology.
However, when the "evidentiary gaps" you cite are holes in a naturalistic theory of organic evolution qua
naturalism, not gradualism or genetic-level selection, those are simply not open to debate here. I'm not saying they are not open to debate at all, but again, PF is meant to be an education forum. We don't advance science here by arguing against widely accepted orthodoxy. We advance it by teaching it as it exists to those who wish to know. There are plenty of outlets by which you can critique naturalistic organic evolution; PF is not
one of them.
As I said above, feel free to argue for Gould's position. You were not doing so, however; you were arguing against the application of naturalism to organic evolution, arguing that science itself does not have the capacity to explain the origin of species.
Les, I would hope you could reconcile the hyperbole here with what I've actually said and realize that neither I nor PF advocates brainwashing, but I am not going to go any further on this point.
I assure you that your absence from PF will not stunt the historical progress of ideas.
Might I ask a question here? You were criticizing moving finger's scientism with respect to its application in consciousness studies. I fully agree with you on that; his a priori
dismissal of non-scientific explanations is not appropriate to that field of study. That, however, can be perfectly well demonstrated by citing what is normally cited: his own bias, the failure of scientific explanations to date, and the familiar arguments for and against first-person science, as well as your less-than-familiar arguments for union studies, which are also perfectly fine in that field.
Why, however, did you feel it necessary to start talking about Dawkins? Your point could have been made equally well, and in fact has been made equally well many times in the past, without having to bring an evolution debate into the fold. Doing so would have been perfectly within our guidelines and I would have had no objection. That's what really gets to me here. It's as if you believe that the exclusion of unnecessary sidebars will somehow stunt the progress of consciousness studies. I've always appreciated your contributions in that field and feel that you have opened a lot of eyes, my own included, to possibilities that had not really been considered before. You did not, however, have to be the holy crusader against scientific excess in the study of evolution to do so.