At 12:16 PM 4/17/98 +0100, William B. Provine wrote:
> You know I am not cynical, but very optimistic about the working
>atheists and deeply religious people of all persuasions. I think we can
agree on a
>wide variety of social goals of behavior and hope to get on with it. This
>have a meeting with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship to get a start going at
> I am not trying to pry Christians away from their faith. I am, however,
>interested in convincing them that their faith is a faith foremost. Most of my
>Catholic students say, "sure." Liberal Jewish students say "sure." And both
>religious observances and find them rewarding. Many of you on this listserv
>your belief in Christianity is a faith. How could I have an argument
Well as you have pointed out to me in the past, I want to have my cake and
eat it too. If I felt as you do that faith is merely faith with no
empirical evidence to support it at all, I would probably feel as you do and
become an atheist. I disagree that the is no scenario which could match
what the Scripture says and what is the data of history and pre-history.
Now, the obvious question here for me is how likely is my scenario? I don't
know. I do know that other scenarios have zero chance of making the
harmonization I want.
> By the way, students in the large evolution class I teach take me with
>grain of salt, and pay a lot more attention to my religious guests
>most certainly do not let me pry them away from their faiths. Ah, who among us
>academics has such power?
You have no power that the apologists and Sunday School teachers don't give
you. If a student comes to school thinking that there is no evidence of
speciation or relationship between the apes and men, then you, by
straightening them out on their factual errors, do pry them from their
faith. I don't blame you for this, because you are merely correcting the
observational stupidities taught by many christians to their young. This is
why I tell my fellow Christians that we need to get our facts straight or we
will provide an opening to your viewpoint when our young see that it is YOU
who is telling them the facts rather than their spiritual leaders.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, you ARE an honorable man and I respect
you very much. You are more honest with the data and the lack of fit with
the scripture than most of us believers. But I also can think of no better
strategy than to encourage Christians like Paul to continue placing
Christian children in an untenable position factually. It makes your job at
teaching them that their faith is nothing but faith very, very, very easy.
And once they believe that they only have faith, why keep it?
Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man
Foundation, Fall and Flood