Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Peter and Gina, I am thankful for you both! I am also thankful for the AMA series and the rest of the NPA content. It is crazy to think I have been following for little more than a year when I look at how much you have achieved in the meantime. Thank you for modeling great conversations. This month, I’d like to try structuring my question around an SSE claim.

Suppose we are playing SSE, and the claim is: “Creationism should be part of science.”

My question is, "If I am standing on Strongly Agree, what do you think my best reason would be for standing on Strongly Agree?" I will leave my best reason below.

I suspect you would be on Strongly Disagree and your best reason would be, “there is no evidence for it (Creationism)”. My second guess would be, “there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary (and that evolution is true)”. I think it is important that I acknowledge, if by Creationism one means some variation of Sola scriptura, then that should not be considered part of science. That said, my best reason for standing on Strongly Agree is that I believe (and I could be wrong) Creationism becomes a necessary compliment to Darwinism once Darwinism becomes part of scientific discourse.

If the concept of creationism is limited to the idea that a designed product requires a designer, then this concept remains independent of any religion or holy book. We all possess the basic intuition that if a product is designed, that implies the product has a designer. Creationism can be seen as the application of this basic intuition to biology. If one believes that living things have the appearance of design, then our intuition tells us that someone needs to fill the role of designer in that scenario. Everyone seems to readily acknowledge that living things have the appearance of having been designed.

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” - Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 1

Dawkins acknowledges that biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed and even identifies this appearance of having been designed as one of the main reasons one might be persuaded to become religious.

"One of the main reasons why people are religious is because they're persuaded by the apparent design of living things, that's completely destroyed by Darwin." - Richard Dawkins


If one is persuaded by Darwin, then one has accounted for this appearance of design without the need for a designer. If one is not persuaded by Darwin, what then? One still needs to account for the appearance of design, and the need for someone or some mechanism to fill the requisite role of designer. So, if one remains unpersuaded that Darwin provided a sufficient account for the appearance of design, wouldn't the strong psychological need remain to fulfill the logical requirement for someone to fill the requisite role of designer?

If so, it seems that remaining unpersuaded by Darwin would leave one overwhelming more likely to be some form of a creationist. If creationism is not part of science, then it is overwhelming more likely than not that there would be no one remaining to scientifically challenge Darwin’s primary claim, that the appearance of design can be accounted for without a designer, and the claim then fails to qualify as potentially falsifiable. So, if Darwinism is part of science, then is seems to me that Creationism becomes a necessary part of scientific discourse.

Thanks again for all the great content and leading by example in how to engage in civil discourse!

Expand full comment

Hello Peter,

I discovered only recently there's a whole community of people interested in street epistemology. People are meeting on Discord and do voice chats and practice sessions. That's pretty cool!

The new SE course at navigatingbeliefs.com is in some sense an attempt to define what SE is or should be, and how it is to be practiced. In the community there seems to be some doubt or disagreement on the way you do SE. I suspect there are some political disagreements as well but I haven't yet figured out what they are. I have seen posts suggesting dissatisfaction about SE being "associated" with you, whatever that means. Would you be willing to talk about these questions to someone from the wider SE community, maybe in an interview?

Expand full comment

hey Peter, I have a claim for the S.S.E exercise.

Claim: When driving towards a traffic light intersection that has just turned yellow, you slow down your vehicle.

context: idk I thought people might have differing opinions and views about this, especially living in SFL.

Expand full comment

Question: All aspects considered, weighing everything in the overall, collectively; “Dogs are better than people”, Strongly Agree, Agree, Slightly Agree, go.

Expand full comment
Nov 21, 2023·edited Nov 21, 2023

Peter, since you are in London, could you please interview the authors of the book ‘When Kids Say They’re Trans’? The book was recommended on her Twitter by Kathleen Stock as well.

Of course, it would be great if you could interview Kathleen Stock. Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Expand full comment