Re: Phil Johnson's Approach -- Provine

Paul Arveson (
Tue, 25 Feb 97 11:48:11 EST

Terry M. Gray <> wrote:

I would not call what goes on between Johnson and Provine a debate. They
actually agree on the fundamental issue: that Darwinian evolution and
theism cannot and ought not be reconciled. They both agree that if
evolution is true, then theism is false and if theism is true, then
evolution is false. The debate is then which one is correct: theism or
evolution. Of course, nearly all of us in the ASA disgree with this way of
even phrasing the question.

This is true, and it is why many of us in ASA may feel somewhat 
underrepresented in all the 'debates' that have a lot of visibility.

> >It seems to me that a lot of Johnson's effectiveness is tied up in his >friends (both those whom he agrees with and those whom he debates). > >What do folks think of Ruse and Provine? It seems to me like their >willingness to debate him on a regular basis gives him credibility in >the minds of Christians outside of science. > >Michael ----

Wm. Provine, from Cornell (the home of Feynman, Sagan etc.) has spent much of his career in the effort to drive a wedge between theism and science. He therefore appreciates militant creationists who agree with him that there is a sharp dichotomy between the two, and he will lend his name and fame to promoting such discussions.

Once about 20 years ago I overheard Provine discussing ASA; his general comment was that he had contempt for wimpy organizations that tried to compromise and accommodate. He admired the hard-core young-earth creationists who offered a distinctly different scientific description, and had the courage to go against the mainstream.

All this is well and good for partisans and advocates, but for those of us who are seeking the whole truth, they make real dialogue much more difficult. They are the Ku Klux Klan of science-faith relations, IMO.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC 9500 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817-5700 (301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-4511 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)