Paul Arveson comments

Kenneth Feucht (
Mon, 3 Jun 96 09:39:54 UT

Paul Arveson comments on my comments, "

<< Ken: What a diatribe! And so unjustified!

<< From what I have observed on this net recently, there have mostly been
<<earnest and sincere discussions by the participants, who are mostly men and
<<women of lifelong Evangelical faith. It is true that the participants may
<<be world experts on the areas being discussed. (If there are such experts
<<there, please feel free to participate!)

I agree. I actually enjoy the discussions that take place on the Reflector,
and appreciate the candid and erudite discussions that occur. I wish that the
other professional society that I belong to (Christian Medical and Dental
Society) would emulate the lively discussions that occur in the ASA, both on
this reflector and in the Perspectives magazine.
In spite of that, I feel a touch troubled by some of the discussions that
occur on the Reflector, and am realizing that there are possibly professional
differences that lead to my personal anxiety, as reflected in my comments.
First relates to the sense by which people control their intellectual
adventures. In medicine, it is most natural to be very cautious of opinions
outside of one's expertise. This is done for a number of reasons, one of which
is the legal and moral environment I live in. Wrong decisions will lead me to
patient deaths, law suits, and loss of an occupation. For the scientist, it
usually will mean a failed set of experiments, possibly the loss of a grant,
but rarely ever the cost of a human life. I see this tension most severely in
discussions with my scientist and engineer friends, such as by brother Dennis
(newletter editor), and often conversations evolve into me challenging Dennis
(and Reflector folk) to be cautious in the bounds of their discussion. I am
intrigued by the traditional manners of intellectual discourse that occur
among differing professions, and throw in my two-cents worth. Please do not
regard my comments as me taking offense.
In regard to my comments more directly related to faith and science, I still
stand that empirical observations do not control determinations of literality
in the scripture. Rather, I think it to be determined more accurately by the
surrounding genre of the text. More importantly, I would be quite cautious
when allowing scientific observations affect what I consider to be the core
beliefs of orthodox Christianity. Sometimes, and especially in Theology, the
older thoughts are the wiser. "Old is mold and new is true" is not correct in
some realms, and traditions of the church should not be usurped by new
thinking, as though we had just figured it all out. After all, isn't that what
Bishop Ryle was saying 130 years ago, and yet we now disagree with substantial
portions of what was scientific dogma back then.
Thank you again for your gratious comments.
Kenneth A. Feucht