ASA educational mission

Paul Arveson (
Mon, 8 Sep 1997 17:42:45 -0500

Robert L. Miller wrote:

"You have described an academic process, but how are we to educate the
non-academic Christian community for whom we are, in many cases, the only
organization that can give them reasonable answers."

After I gave a lecture at church recently, someone asked me, "OK, how do I
express your interpretation of science and the Bible for my 12-year olds in
Sunday School?

That's probably the hardest question I have heard. There is no guarantee
that it is even possible. Any takers?

Dennis Feucht wrote:

"2. We consider it part of our ASA mission to address "the waning faith of
modern youth subjected to the sweeping tide of scientific materialism."
(_ASA Directory, p. 2, "Background") Despite problems relative to the
science and/or theology of the Johnson/intelligent-design approach, Johnson
& Co. are challenging the scientific materialism of NABT, et al. and
(despite how well or badly they are doing) are drawing attention to
scientism and its underlying presuppositions. How can we address this
aspect of our mission in view of the forum-oriented aspect of our mission?
Is there any stand that ASA collectively can take that carries sufficient
conviction to produce crusaders having the determination of a Johnson or
Morris or Gish? "

The culture has changed somewhat since this mission was written; we are now
facing challenges from a totally different direction: radical relativism,
ethnocentrism, deconstructionism, and the New Age beliefs. Scientific
materialism is pretty much gone in the popular culture. Secular scientists
have also realized this, and as I suggested earlier, I think this is one of
the reasons for the 'warming trend' in the science-Christianity
relationship. We are both on the same side over against these new
challenges. In this light, the 'crusade' being carried on by Phil Johnson
and others may be an irrelevant academic debate. Perhaps it may not be
resolved so much as merely abandoned out of lack of interest; an aspect of
'the end of science'.

On a more optimistic note, I believe that it is quite possible for ASA to
publish all kinds of things semi-officially as long as it is clear that
these are individuals' views. In light of our educational mission, I think
it is best done by means of dialogue, where two or more peoples' views are
presented together. This creates the balance and (civil) criticism that
helps to inform people as to what is clear and what is uncertain.

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
(301) 227-3831 (301) 227-4511 (FAX)