How can we approach gracious dialogue to counter science cynicism?

Yes, I agree with you, and your made your point clearly. It is important to be able to put away our egos, try to assume the best intentions of others, try not to take things personally and avoid taking offense. If feeling emotional, probably better not to post until taking time to think more clearly first and get into the right frame of mind. :sweat_smile:

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Agreed. I think it also helps to realize most people are working on something and have raw edges. So sometimes what feels like a rebuke has more to do with the other person’s attempt to process what they’re going through. What feels like a poor attempt at good intentions might just be the best they can do at that moment.

This place really does a remarkable job if you ask me. I’ve never seen so much sincere honesty, good will and tolerance in an online forum. Religious feeling really does have an upside.

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Great point, and a good reminder to step outside ourselves and try to be compassionate about what others might be dealing with.

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Folks like you make us all better people as well.

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I personally love batting ideas around, and I like nothing more than when an idea of mine is successfully corrected or refuted… this is how I am sharpened, and how I identify and jettison erroneous beliefs, so long as the attacks and defenses are about ideas.

It is the actual personal attacks on people or personal motives that bother me and I find shut down any constructive or gracious dialogue. If I’m being thin skinned here, someone can let me know… but certain kinds of comments don’t seem disagreements about positions, they seem to be condescending and personal attacks, attacks on motives and personal integrity… and I have little interest in spending time here only to defend myself.

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I agree with you, Daniel. I think in the thread about the decay curve of the patriarch age, some problems were:

  1. That curve was created by a guy arguing genetic entropy in genomes as a general rule. That was the whole point of the curve being created. So when you talk about that curve, those of us who have read the book are thinking about his argument, because he’s the one that created that curve and gave it significance. I do understand that you, personally, were trying not to use it that way, but it’s hard to divorce its use from its original purpose.
  2. The fact that you can fit a curve to that data was shown in the thread to be insignificant. Any random numbers generally trending downward can be fit to a decay curve. There was nothing written that required mathematical prowess on the part of the Biblical author to create a decay curve from the data.
  3. The data used to create the curve was cherry picked. It doesn’t fit a pretty curve as well when you use all the data.
  4. The data was different types of data - specific ages when convenient, average community age when convenient. Including John would have thrown the curve off, so average Roman lifespan was used instead, despite not using average lifespan for any other time period.
  5. Why do the ages have a general trend downward? It’s possible they are real ages, though we wouldn’t be able to prove or disprove that scientifically. It’s also possible that there is numerology going on that we don’t understand, so we simply cannot know the reason. The Sumerian Kings list has the same type of decay prior to the flood. I don’t think Sumerian kings reigned for tens of thousands of years, so I’m sure there is numerology going on. Again, I don’t know what that numerology is, so I can’t even really speculate. It’s just a complete “I don’t know.” But saying, “I don’t know” doesn’t mean I need to assume the reign lengths are real numbers because I have no other explanation.

I personally don’t think you had any ill intent in your questions on that thread. I think point #1 and point #2 above are the main reasons people didn’t understand where you were coming from. I know #1 factored into it greatly for me, and for that I apologize. I read that book earlier this year, so it was on my mind.

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I was just listening to G K Chesterton’s “Father Brown,” and thought this quote memorable:

And if you don’t know that I would grind all the Gothic arches in the world to powder to save the sanity of a single human soul, you don’t know so much about my religion as you think you do.’

Demonstration that another’s wellbeing is more important than our own security is reassuring.

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well … reassuring to those whose hearts aren’t invested into Gothic arches, anyway!

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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