YEC won't participate

John W. Burgeson (
Tue, 18 May 1999 12:50:19 -0600

My good friend, Glenn Morton, a self-identified TE, wrote:

" It is my observation that in general, big name
apologists, won't come and engage in the rough and tumble debate. Hugh
Ross won't, Phil Johnson no longer does, Behe doesn't anymore, Robert
Newman doesn't. Henry Morris doesn't, Steve Austin doesn't, Kurt Wise
doesn't. Duane Gish doesn't. ... Like the ICR folks, the present IDers
only engage in controlled debates which occur in front of small audiences
(the PBS
debates being a remarkable exception) but never in forums where wide
parts of the laity can watch or where experts of various disciplines can
shoot at the ideas. "

Glenn I have to take exception to the last sentence. But before I do, let
me agree (in general terms) with the overall message. This lack of
participation has been a VERY long standing posture. Twenty-five years
ago I, a PC, engaged in correspondence with some of the YECs above, and
others of their ilk. It was very frustrating. Long periods before a
response -- or, in many cases, no response at all -- except maybe to tell
me I was sadly deluded and needed to "get right with God,"

Three or four years ago I, and Joe Carson, took over the leadership of
Compuserve's Religious Issues forum, hoping to see some of the "names"
come forth. Joe "almost" had Phil Johnson involved -- but the deal fell
through. A few of the YEC "followers" came on the forum; were, with only
one exception I can remember, so inept that I sometimes felt really sorry
for them!

I don't resent particularly the YEC crowd having their own closed
LISTSERV; I can see the need for that. But their lack of interaction
elsewhere has certainly hurt their credibility severely. I tell Gish this
from time to time, BTW. He always pleads lack of time and sees the time
he would have to spend as better spent elsewhere.

But I will defend Phil Johnson, and the IDers, on this score. Yes --
Phil could do more on the LISTSERVs. But he did spend a great deal of
time and energy in the NTSE seminar two years ago in Austin; I understand
the papers presented there are still available online! And at that
seminar were advocates of about every origins position imaginable, all
politely arguing their cases to one another. It was my privilege to have
been there and participated. Yes, Glenn, it WAS a "rough and tumble
debate." But carried on in a civil manner, unlike some of the rantings I
read here and on EVOLUTION. For instance, at the NTSE, I never heard
anyone say to a critic, "You are clearly uninformed and should read the

It is the lack of civility (of some) on the LISTSERVs that keep some
folks from participation. Along that line, Stephen Carter, author of
INTEGRITY, has just published his latest book, CIVILITY. I look forward
to reading it.


PS: I see that James has also posted a reply to your comments with which
I most definitely agree. I have left EVOLUTION, as he has, for the same

You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
Get completely free e-mail from Juno at
or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]