Truth or Power

Brian Neuschwander (
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 12:42:06 -0800


Your discussion with the participant on the LAbri list is interesting.
I also have corresponded with him. He is quite representative, in my
view, of many YEC people. But I try to be understanding of him.
Consider his professional orientation: As a Software engineer he tends
to see all matters of experience, be it faith or the cosmos, in absolute
terms--on or off--black or white--1 or 0--truth or error--is or is not.
This mindset does not lend itself well to dialogical inquiry in a world
of mystery and wonder. It tends to convey, IMO, a stridency that more
befits those of fundamentalist heritage. Perhaps this is why he is
apparently in that realm of Christianity, where there is little room for
vagueness or uncertainty, and rarely room for extensive inquiry or
change. I spent my early years of faith too closely connected to such

Perhaps from your professional vantage you have greater insight
regarding peoples' professional and socio-environmental contraints and
how that plays out in their participation in such arenas as the ASA or
LABRI discussion lists.

What I see your LAbri correspondent doing is similar to what the rabid
anti-creationists do: They make the rules and compel others to
unwittingly play by them. Then they make it a contest of throwing curve
balls. "If I throw more curve balls than you can hit RIGHT NOW, I win."

That is not a good praxis for seeking truth. It is more a game of using
some (and often incorrect or obsolete) information as an instrument of
power. This tactic is not limited to YEC or Anti-Creationists in
science. It is used everywhere in science, government, education, and
business. This is an issue of ethics, at its roots. However, many
people in religion and the sciences are blindsided by this power stick
because they are honestly devoted to their vocations and too often just
assume the goodness of their own work shields them from such base
manipulation. Would life be that innocent!

Of the many books I have read in recent years, Phil Johnson's "Reason in
the Balance" and Del Ratzsch's "The Battle of Beginnings" bring the
issues to the fore most clearly. I hope you have had time to read

To the points listed on which you asked for help, I have none, since I
am not a scientist. However, I predict the answers from helpful
scientist participants will show the majority of the "curve balls"
hurled at you were:

1. Based on bad science as demonstrated by later work in the field.
2. Old arguements long settled, but the results not know to those
outside the field (or those interested in knowing. read: YEC).
3. Misconstruals or non-issues when discussed and clarified by a group
of specialists in the subjects.

And, who knows, perhaps some of the issues ARE legitmate and will
convice hoards of non-christian PhD's to become YEC converts.

My interest in these discussions tends toward people, their
motiviations, and intentions. The science tends to morph where it
will. Since my academic background is in theology, philosohy, and NT
culture, I enjoy the people impact various current and historical
disputes in science and other fields have had within the Church outside
the community of Faith.

Your reading of Hawking is good. After I finished "A Brief History of
Time" I couldn't help but wonder if there is a threshold of theology
that needs thorough exploration here. I hope to get to "The Fire In
The Equations" soon, but I have another Grenz theology book to get
through first. (Not bad for a hobby, eh?)

When all is said and done, The Heavens will still declare the Glory of
God. And our names will still be written in the book of life. Thank

Brian W. Neuschwander