Re: Mere Creation conference
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 07:28:08 -0500
Keith B Miller wrote:
> Russ Maatman wrote:
> >What interests me is where all this leads. A large number of Christian
> >intellectuals who are not knowledgeable in the natural sciences have
> >assumed that Darwinism is the way to go. They have found ways that (they
> >think) make it possible to harmonize the Bible and natural science. They
> >are used to criticisms from Christian theologians. But a new thing is this:
> >_scientists_ are beginning to undercut the general evolutionary theory. It
> >is one thing for Christian intellectuals not knowledgeable in the natural
> >sciences to parry the arguments of Christian theologians; it is quite
> >another to answer the Mike Behes of the scientific world.
> Please, recognize the scholarship and expertise of your brothers and
> sisters in Christ with whom you disagree. The Christian scientists I know
> that accept the general theory of evolution are very competent and
> knowledgeable scientists. Disparaging the competence of those with whom
> you disagree serves no purpose other than to drive yet more wedges into the
> body of Christ. I accept the general theory of evolution and consider
> myself competent in my field of paleobiology and Earth history. The data
> from those fields is simply overwhelming in favor of macroevolutionary
> change and common descent.
I assumed that Russ was speaking about theologians not trained
in the natural sciences rather than scientists who are Christians. And
it's true that _some_ theologians have decided that they can "accept"
evolution without any very deep study of the science involved.
However, it's at least as serious a problem that theological
expertise is ignored in this area. There are certainly legitimate and
important scientific questions to be debated about evolution. But the
reason there is so much emotion and debate about it, and the reason
(assuming that the people involved cared about correct terminology)
there would be a "Mere Creation" conference, is _theological_. And too
much theological discussion is carried on by people without real
theological competence. Simply having an English translation of the
Bible does not make one a theologian.
Probably Russ didn't mean this, but speaking of the opposition
of "Christian intellectuals" to "theologians" doesn't put the latter in
a very good light. A lot of theologians are intelligent, many of them
are Christians (!) - and some have a knowledge of natural science. And
regardless of the failings of individual theologians, theological
competence is essential if discussions about "creation", "design" &c are
to have any point.