I have sometimes wondered about the apparent inability of Johnson and certain young-earth advocates to notice what Provine noted-their effectiveness as promoting atheism. The most extreme versions are the statements proudly proclaiming "atheists prefer debating/dealing with me rather than those theistic evolutionists". Johnson is a lawyer; surely he realizes that it would not be a complement if all the local attorneys clamored to have him as their opponent.
As to the relative frequency of views, in addition to the already noted tendency of extremes to be louder, there is the confounding factor of imprecise terminology. "Evolution is an undirected process"-does the speaker mean that God is not in control over it, or merely that evolution is a natural process and has no mind or goal of its own?
At the Paleontological Society short course on evolution and creation issues in 1999 (at the Geological Society of America meeting), the majority of those speaking up, either as speakers or in the audience, were in the theist, no conflict category. Probably the theologies varied a good deal. A few were inclined to the atheist, no conflict option.
As usual, the definition of evolution is problematic as well. Yesterday's Sunday school declared evolution wrong, but the only absolute sticking points were God's sovereignty and the special nature of humanity.
Dr. David Campbell
Saint Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Road
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001 USA
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"Mollusks murmured 'Morning!'. And salmon chanted 'Evening!'."-Frank Muir, Oh My Word!
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