Paul Arveson (arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil)
Tue, 15 Oct 96 09:37:01 EDT

Loren Haarsma wrote:

From: lhaarsma@OPAL.TUFTS.EDU
Subject: NABT statement on teaching evolution --- response
To: evolution <evolution@calvin.edu>, American Sci Affil <asa@calvin.edu>


A few months ago, in the evolution@calvin e-mail discussion group,
someone posted a copy of the National Association of Biology Teachers'
"Statement on Teaching Evolution." (A copy of that statement is
included below.) We discussed it briefly, and the suggestion was made
that we send a letter to the NABT Board of Directors expressing our
concern over some of the wording in their statement.

Here is a proposed draft of such a letter. Let me know what you think,
and please offer specific suggestions for improvement. (Things to add,
things to change, things to delete.) If we can reach some sort of
consensus, and if we agree that this is a worthwhile project, we can
"sign" it electronically, pass it around a few other appropriate e-mail
discussion groups for comments and signatures, and send it to the NABT
Board of Directors.


I assume that Loren Haarsma wrote the original response to the NABT statement.
It isn't always clear who "we" refers to; in general it would clarify things if
use of pronouns is decreased.

In general, I like the Haarsma comments and I think they help to clarify the
matter of what is known and not known about evolution. The statement and the
response are instructive to those who try to uphold a "centrist" view.
Unfortunately the situation is so politically charged now that I don't think
NABT will have any inclination to listen to anybody.

But Haarsma's approach -- to offer his statement for markup here -- is
commendable and important to us.

One of the new possibilities afforded by E-mail is that of broad-based
COLLABORATION. Historically, Some of the best theology has been done by group
collaboration, i.e. the creeds and the confessions of the church.
Based on some of the recent discussions on this list, I think people would
benefit from a careful study of some of these documents, especially the
Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, which was formulated in the then-recent
wakes of Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and Newton. The formulations outlined there
are concise but, IMO, have yet to be surpassed.

There are many statements that could be developed by collaboration here.
(Perhaps evolution is too complicated for this approach). A structure would
need to be worked out, and there would need to be a narrow focus. Details on
the technique are described in many places; if you are interested I will collect
some and put the rules together here.

If you wish to suggest basic statements or topics that you think we need to
develop in collaboration, pass them along.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
73367.1236@compuserve.com arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)