NTSE #11

John W. Burgeson (burgy@compuserve.com)
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 17:25:46 -0500

While I was writing up my notes on Paul Nelson's paper (see NTSE #10 on the
Evolution forum or Compuserve's Religious Issues forum), a question
occurred to me. Running it by those places as well as the ASA reflector for

Paul argues to jettison the MN "rule" as part of science. Those who think
it important, and I am among them, BTW, understandably look for a way to
rebut his arguments. Here is a situation in which I can't think of an

BTW -- I hope George Murphy, Dick Fischer and a couple others I can think
of, in particular, will comment on this. George has suggested the ASA might
be an "obscurant" organization (in some peoples' eyes) for even
entertaining Paul's thesis seriously; I think Dick has too. OTOH, there are
those (unnamed) who see the ASA as a "compromising" organization in some
ways. It all seems to be "whose ox is being barbequed."

Here is the situation. You have been asked, and in a moment of weakness you
have agreed, to talk to an 8th grade (or whatever) public school class on
natural science; particularly on that organism known as the panda. As part
of your talk, the question of eating habits comes up and you HAVE to
explain to your eager (we hope) audience what you know, or think you know,
about the panda's thumb.

So you do your best. Now here is the question:

Do you talk about the apparent imperfection at all?
If so, how do you do so in a non-theological manner?
Maybe you do so in a theological manner, ala Gould?
Can you bring in counter arguments that are theological? Remember, this is
a public school.
Can you, in short, discuss this issue fully, from all sides, or must you
avoid certain arguments?

I don't know the answer to this one. I know what I'd do, and that I might
get in the soup doing it.

What do you think?