I see a few reasons for the disparity. I realize this is all opinion based
on my experience, but here goes.
1) Simple awareness. I would say that while people, maybe not a lot, in my
church circles know about the AIG, ICR, etc, none of them know about the ASA
or affiliated sites, at least I didn't know about it until a few years ago
when I was surfing for something else, and the ACG site popped up, but I
already knew about the YEC sites. The YEC groups, being very outspoken,
become lobbying groups for the Church's inquiring minds, while the working
scientists in the congregation tend to be working on more constructive
pursuits. These groups run a lot of seminars at church's. That certainly
2) Demographics. I am thinking about who the intended audience is. The YEC
sites have a lot of appeal to the church laity that don't know much about
the sciences. It provides a source of something that looks and sounds so
convincing as science to Christians that are not scientists but are
intrigued by science. These Christians have been preached to for many years
that "secular" science is anti-God. So now they have their own science.
What percentage of the general church population is actually doing science
as a profession, where the age of the earth really becomes an issue. (I
added that qualifier because as I wrote that, I recalled that I did have a
Sunday School teacher who was a Chemist for Mobil that was a staunch YEC.)
It would be a small minority. I don't know any other Geologists, Astronomers
or Astrophysicists at our church, and our membership grew to 28,000. That is
to be expected since they only make up a very small part of the population
in general. However, there are a lot of lawyers at my church;-). The ASA
site is primarily populated by scientists and not the general congregation
of the Church. The YEC sites are predominantly visited by the rest of the
3) Purpose. What seems to me to be the sole purpose of the YEC web sites is
to show Christians, who happen to be YECs, can have their beliefs validated
by "science," while equating any other view as being in error or atheistic.
Systematic arguments disputing evolution and the ancient age of the Earth
reinforce this position. After all, if the Bible is the Word Of God, then
scientific investigation should be considered valid until it conflicts with
scripture, or their specific take on scripture. This is part of their
The Laity, in its efforts to deny the E-word, has an understandable affinity
to Christian groups that claim to be scientific and hold to a young Earth,
because they are told that the "Word of God" demands this view. That in
itself is interesting simply because they do see some value to scientific
investigation of a real world, but just to a point. The YEC sites are
repositories of arguments for the YE laity involved in C/E debates. They are
a source in presenting apparent fallacies in "evolutionistic" science from a
Christian perspective. Certainly, if it is from a 'Christian" perspective,
it must be the correct view, right? The counter to that is offered from
other sites such as "No Answers in Genesis" and "Talk Origins." But these
can tend to be anti-Christian or more specifically anti-YEC, which of course
is used to bolster YECs arguments not to accept any evolutionary
explanations, equating evolution and atheism.
A major source of the YEC sites' hits are from both sides of the C/E debate.
Both creationists and evolutionists make up the huge number of hits.
The purpose of the ASA seems to be much broader than necessarily taking a
position either way. From its Statement of faith, "As an organization, the
ASA does not take a position when there is honest disagreement between
Christians on an issue." Is ASA's sole purpose disputing YECism as a
counterpart to the YEC sites?
From Richard Bube's paper
It should be well known to readers of the Journal ASA that the ASA does not
take an official position on controversial questions. Creation is not a
controversial question. I have no hesitancy in affirming, "We believe in
creation," for every ASA member.
Various views are held by ASA members:
Just looking at the sigs of these discussion list postings, participants are
primarily scientists, former scientists and science professors. The ASA site
generally caters more to working scientists that are Christians, than it
does to the general congregation.
Papers and discussions are very broad and can range from various science and
faith issues to philosophical positions on origins to environmental
ASA's broad scope is exhibited on its home page:
"Topic Collections feature papers from PSCF and other sources on themes
important to the discussion of Christianity and science."
Youth Page, Essay Reviews, Worldview, Mathematics, Creation-Evolution,
Origin of Life, Bible & Science, Psychology-Neuroscience, Historical
Studies, The Environment, Philosophy, Ethics, Astronomy-Cosmology,
Technology, Apologetics, Education, Dialogues, Physical Science, Science &
Technology, Ministry College Science Teaching & Research. That is pretty
broad and the C/E issue is only one of many.
Another purpose is that the ICR and AIG are money generating machines,
staffed by professional YECs. That in itself is an incentive to popularize
it. And who best to sell to, but a ready-made market of the Church laity,
already primed for the picking.
I guess all the reasons I have proposed are variations on a theme.
Stephen J. Krogh, P.G.
The PanTerra Group
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On
Behalf Of John W Burgeson
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2001 12:00 PM
The other day I noted that the young earth site, answersingenesis.org, is
receiving a reported 10,000 visitors a day.
I also note that the ASA web site has had about 80,000 visitors since
Assuming the answersingenesis reported number is inflated by a factor of
ten, and that the ASA site has been active for 3 years, that reduces to
80 /day for the ASA and 1,000/day for answersingenesis.
I could not find a visitor count at icr.org, but surely they must be
doing a comparable business.
I surmise we are being outgunned by a factor of at least 20 to 1. Very
likely a lot more.
At the occasion of the NTSE conference in Austin, in February 1997, ICR
put on a conference at a local Baptist church. There were 125 at the NTSE
-- the church was overflowing with a reported (this is from memory) 3,000
I surmise that although the YEC view has been thoroughly falsified
(unless one espouses the Gosse thesis), it is certainly not going away. I
had had visions of that happening as the Internet revolution began -- but
Gresham's law of $$ seems to apply even more so to rational discourse.
We can debate endlessly the amount of the beating we are taking; is it
"only" 20 to 1 or is it, perhaps, 100 to 1, but I think nobody here will
deny that rational discussions on origins ARE an uninteresting backwater
in current origins thinking in our country. We can also argue that this
does not matter because the academic / intellectual world is not so
polarized. Which may, or may not, be true.
Or those of us who care can try to do something about the current sorry
I don't have any magic bullets myself, but I have been discussing with
Jack Haas at least one fairly modest action we can take (I speak here to
ASA members) to work on the situation. That will be the subject of a post
I will make later.
In the meantime, comments anyone?
Burgy (John Burgeson)
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