Steve Matheson posted a highly selective and misleading quotation of Owen Gingerich in order to accuse Stephen Meyer of being “disingenuous”:
Matheson’s quotation of Meyer:
That was where the fireworks started. Other scientists on the panel became uncharacteristically defensive and hostile. Dr. Russell Doolittle, of the University of California at San Diego, suggested that if the three authors were not satisfied with the progress of origin-of-life experiments, then they should “do them.” Never mind that another scientist on the panel who had favored Thaxton’s hypothesis, Professor Dean Kenyon, of San Francisco State University, was a leading origin-of-life researcher who had himself performed many such experiments. It was clear that Dolittle regarded the three scientists, despite their strong credentials, as upstarts who had violated some unspoken convention.
And it gets worse. Meyer’s claim that “other scientists became defensive and hostile” is contradicted by the report of Owen Gingerich, the Harvard astronomer and historian of science, who was present at the whole dialogue and wrote that “the entire dialogue was conducted with intelligence and good humor, with each side respecting while disagreeing with the philosophical orientation of their opponents.” Meyer wants you to picture the “other scientists” reacting with hostility to a “new idea” from “upstarts” while carefully obscuring the nature of the event, to the point that he writes of a “conference” to “bring together scientists from competing philosophical perspectives.” I find that to be disingenuous.
Longer quotation of the passage giving Gingerich’s account, which shows that Gingerich’s account is completely consistent with Meyer’s account:
Gingerich said that his report might “give the flavor of the discussion” but couldn’t convey “the richness of the broth.” Except for a few ad hominem remarks, “the entire dialogue was conducted with intelligence and good humor, with each side respecting while disagreeing with the philosophical orientation of their opponents.”
Gingerich is merely giving the general “flavor” of the conference, and he confirms that there were some ad hominem remarks. In Matheson’s quotation from Meyer, Meyer is describing one moment at the conference. In other words it was a typical conference (generally cordial with moments that were not) and Meyer and Gingerich are completely consistent.
Matheson seems desperate to sully Meyer’s account and resorted to misrepresenting Owen Gingerich to do so. We don’t need this kind of stuff.