Re: statement on creationism?

George Murphy (""
Sun, 28 Nov 1999 07:25:09 -0500

Dick Fischer wrote:
> George Murphy wrote:
> >Dick -
> > Why not be consistent, bring matters to a head, & propose a revised
> Statement
> >of Faith for the ASA which will clearly rule out any YEC position? I suspect
> that such
> >a proposal would be overwhelmingly rejected by the membership, most of whom
> are not
> >YECs.
> No need to change anything. Article 4 of our Statement of Faith says: " We
> recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's creation, to use science
> and
> technology for the good of humanity and the whole world." Our mandate as
> Christians is to bear witness and spread the good news of the hope of
> redemption through Jesus Christ. Science can be useful as an aid to our
> Christian witness.
> YEC's present a method of apology that perverts the scientific process. It
> only drives away those whose knowledge and education forbids their acceptance
> of YEC's insane proposals. YEC bears bitter fruit, and therefore, is
> detrimental to the "good of humanity."
> Furthermore, we have published positions that go beyond the Statement of
> Faith.
> In the June 1998 issue, under the heading, "What Exactly is the American
> Scientific Affiliation," the first sentence says this: " The American
> Scientific Affiliation (ASA) is a fellowship of men and women of science and
> disciplines that can relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word
> of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science."

In a way I regret bringing in the ASA's statement of faith to make a point,
but I guess some point has been made: The logic of your argument requires that YECs
be barred from the ASA because of scientific & theological errors. I agree that they
are wrong, both scientifically & theologically. But if we are to start removing &
barring those we think to be in error, we're in for a blood bath. Do we toss out those
who hold to a hidden variable interpretation of quantum mechanics or bootstrap theory
adherents? Can those who don't think global warming is happening be removed because
their views are detrimental to "the good of humanity"? Are people who don't accept
the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation or baptismal regeneration
ASA is not a church, & its statement of faith is not intended to cover agreement
on all doctrinal issues, even those of some importance. (I was on the committee which
drew up the present statement, & this was one of the points we tried to keep before us.)
It is intended to include a broad range of of positions which can be called "Christian"
in a reasonably traditional sense. Even less is any scientific orthodoxy required -
good heavens, even the American Physical Society doesn't exclude people just because
they may hold to one or another bizarre view.

> YEC's have no scientific integrity - period! Furthermore, they have "no
> fidelity to the Word of God" they purport to defend. Here are some examples.

YECs are profoundly wrong in their science, but to say they have "no integrity"
suggests that they _know_ their position is wrong & that they argue for it anyway.
Though there may be a few pathological cases like that, I think there's no justification
for making such a general condemnation.

> Job 15:1. Eliphaz asked Job, “Wast thou made before the hills?” Would
> Eliphaz
> have used this question of digging sarcasm had he thought the age of the hills
> and the age of man were virtually the same, varying by a scant five days?
> Habakkuk 3:6. The mountains are described as “everlasting,” the hills are
> “perpetual.” The Hebrew words ‘ad and ‘owlam mean “long duration,” “ancient,”
> “forever,” and “continuous existence.” Nevertheless, YEC’s proclaim the
> mountains and hills are young! Maybe minor prophets don't count.
> Ecclesiastes 1:10: “Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is
> new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” Could “any
> thing”
> include an earth, for example?
> Psalm 90:4, Moses said, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday
> when it passes by, or as a watch in the night [three to four hours].” God’s
> timing and man’s timing are not the same declares Moses, yet YEC’s equate
> them.
> 2 Peter 3:3-8. The apostle warns of “scoffers,” and affirms the “heavens were
> of old,” and “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” Ignoring
> the
> words of the apostle, young-earth creationists scoff at the overwhelming
> evidence of earth antiquity, insist the earth and heavens are young, and
> assert
> that one day is with the Lord as 24 hours!
> In short, YEC's ignore the Bible, distort science, and are ignorant of the
> historical underpinnings of Genesis. Let their ministers of misinformation
> find their own publications. They have plenty. I don't believe the ASA is
> under any obligation to provide them a cloak of decency.

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that
is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the seventh day
and hallowed it.

Of course I'm not really going to argue for a 6000 year old earth on this
basis, but the idea that you can prove the earth to be millions of years old on the
basis of the texts you cite, over against others that YECs appeal to, seems to me
grotesque. If that were the case then we'd have to say that without any modern
knowledge of geology &c, serious readers of Scripture should _always_ have known that
the earth was old, & that Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, & most others up to a couple of
hundred years ago were heretics. That's quite a stretch.

George L. Murphy