Re: Threat to ASA (Was Re: NTSE Note #3)

William W. Cobern (
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 15:10:09 -0700

In light of the hammering Johnson is taking on this list for his use of
evidence and argument, I am disturbed by such assertions as this:

At 12:48 PM 2/25/97 -0500, you wrote:

The reason Johnson is popular among many
>Christians is not because people are excited about epistemology but
>because they want to have an excuse to relegate evolution to a minor
>role (or deny it entirely) & not have to think about it or wrestle with
>the religious issues it raises.

This reads as a statement of fact when, IMO, no such facts are avalable.
One can infer a limited sense of Johnson's popularity in *certain* Christian
circles from the number of high profile endorsments he receives, his book
sales, and speaking engagements. Of course we all have personal anecdotes
upon which to draw. By any scholarly definition, however, of what it means
"to know," honesty compels the admission that very little is known about the
breadth of Johnson's popularity and even less is known about *why* he is
popular among some Christians. Ironically, the above assertion is a good
example of one of Johnson's points: How easy it is to take our personal
opinions and perceptions as fact.
William W. Cobern, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science Education

Education and Professional Development
Western Michigan University
2112 Sangren Hall
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5192

Voice: +616.387.2255
FAX: +616.387.2882

(Scientific Literacy and Cultural Studies Project)