RE: References needed...

Sweitzer, Dennis (
Mon, 29 Jul 96 09:22:00 EST

James M. wrote>>>
>>>To throw out another wrinkle. Those of us like Steve or me that work in
the earth sciences, may have to have more involved and well thought out
position than the laity. Sometimes I wonder is the secular layman's
evolutionary position is not as far from science as the evangelical layman
that buys into the flood model theory. But because it is more in line with
the established paradigms it does not get categorized as poor science.

Amen & Amen.

This has been my experience, too--that the layman secular evolutionists and
the layman young earth creationists are working at the same level.
Essentially, they have "subscribed" to their position, because it is what
is "published" by their "leaders".

In Christian circles, the dominant (i.e., LOUDEST) voice is that of the
young earther's (although if one takes an interest, one can find other
perspectives). Indeed, it seems that most creationists are fighting
against "evolution of the universe by chance alone", rather than that God
could have created the universe using directed evolution as a tool (i.e.,
orchestrating the mutations that lead to new life forms).

In Secular circles, the dominant/LOUDEST voice is anti-theistic
evolutionists (although if one takes an interest, one can find other
perspectives--i.e., varying degrees of theistic evolution). Indeed, it
seems that most evolutionists, when pressed, will allow for the existance of
God--as one of those questions beyond the domain of science. Only a
handfull will argue that science disproves the existance of God (and often
they are not scientists).

The good news is that many of these subscribers are open to a well thought
out position. The bad news is that the media (both secular and Christian)
don't seem to be interested in a third position (in addition to "Young Earth
Creationism", and "Secular Evolution"). Part of the problem is
psychological (i.e., "bipolar classification syndrome" -- that there is only
"my position and the enemy position", and anything not in my postion is in
the enemy position), and part is the fragmentation of a third position
(i.e., is it "progressive creationism", "theistic evolution", etc.)

>>>From my experience in paleontology, the stories weaved in texts at the
introductory level are quite different from those you find in the
professional literature. ...

Do you also find that professionals are quite reserved and conservative (in
the non-political sense) about research in their own specialty, yet are
willing to leap to conclusions based on other specialties? I am thinking of
a letter to the editor in 'Science News' a few years ago from a geologist
who rather naively argued that some astronomical research disproved the
existance of God (or some other theistic proposition that I can't remember).

Regarding introductory stories, I would bet that the discrepency is due to
the fact that the professional researchers and the intoductory writers are
different folks. On one hand we can be thankfull for this (rarely can a
professional researcher "step back" and write material that would interest a
general audience), but a better situation would be close collaboration
between insightfull professionals and scientifically literate writers (and

Anyway, that's my two cents,

Grace & peace,

Dennis Sweitzer