Re: So. Baptist Spin on BOE Vote

From: Bill Payne (
Date: Sun Jun 10 2001 - 00:57:36 EDT

  • Next message: George Hammond: "Open letter to prof. ROBERT ELLIOT POLLACK"

    On Mon, 4 Jun 2001 11:14:29 -0500 (Keith B Miller) writes:

    > You seem to be suggesting that the schools should either 1) teach all
    > held by students on any subject, or 2) avoid teaching on any subject in
    > which there are students who hold ideas contrary to consensus science.
    > This is not education.

    I think schools should teach empirical data and stay away from
    interpretations, unless they are prepared to offer competing
    > Bill, we've been through this before. There are a variety of
    > environments. Some clearly overlie paleosols, and most occur
    > with sedimentary facies bearing a whole spectrum of sedimentary and
    > evidence indicating various coastal, deltaic or fluvial environmental
    > systems. One of my areas of personal research is on paleosols, and I
    > state categorically that paleosols are incredibly common features of
    > geologic record. I have given you bibliographies of this literature in
    > past, for which you seem to have little interest.

    While I very much appreciate your help, the subject matter strikes me as
    fuzzy on the data and heavy on the interpretation. I'm sure I would feel
    otherwise if I were as deep into paleosols as you are, but with my
    limited time and with the local availability of coal seams, I have
    pleanty do to in my own area of interest.
    > >The current scientific consensus is an iron collar choking free
    > >Professionals in America get fired if they challenge the reigning
    > >paradigm. Ask me how I know.
    > That is false! One of the neat things about the professional
    > community is that it is a very independent and cantankerous group. I
    > seen some pretty intense arguments at professional geology meetings.
    > is no lack of scientists who would love nothing less than to bring down
    > some major consensus view in their discipline. I can't think of any
    > proposed hypothesis that has not been subject to very pointed public
    > critique in the scientific literature.

    I suppose the discussion of late does suggest that this is not as
    completely false as you said?

    > >If you cannot determine the age of
    > >wine created by Jesus, then why do you think you can determine the age
    > >the universe, also created by Jesus?
    > It seems to me that you are advocating the elimination of science. I
    > believe that as creatures created in the image of God that we have been
    > given the capacity to understand something about the nature and history
    > God's creation. I see this as part of our stewardship mandate.

    I work with a number of other geologists and engineers. I am not
    advocating the elimination of science. I am advocating boundaries for
    science; interpolation between data points is fine, extrapolation beyond
    the data should be clearly identified as such, and any weaknesses should
    be called out, not hidden. To fail to highlight weaknesses or offer
    alternate interpretations is to create a misleading impression, which is
    a violation of our (Alabama) code of ethics.
    > >I would certainly say that the "methodology" of science is flawed.
    > >the "scientific" methodology your describe to investigate the
    > >resurrection, we would have to conclude that the disciples stole the
    > >while the Roman guard was asleep; or that Jesus woke up, rolled the
    > >back, sneaked past the sleeping guards, and ran away. If your
    > >"scientific" methodology can't correctly describe a historic event,
    > >why should anyone accept your methodology for prehistoric processes,
    > >which may have occurred millions of years ago?
    > Again, you are basically advocating the elimination of science
    > Do you really belive that we can know nothing of the past except by
    > revelation?

    Based upon what I have said and upon what you should know of me by now,
    it strikes me as unfounded that you would say that I am "basically
    advocating the elimination of science altogether." Now that you have
    shoe-horned me into a corner, I'll answer your question: In light of the
    resurrection, yes, I do believe that we can *know* nothing of the past
    except by divine revelation. And where divine revelation suggests one
    thing, I would tread very lightly with alternate interpretations.
    Thanks, Keith, for bringing me to this point of clarification in my

    > >This is a non sequitur. You may be able to distinguish a worm borrow
    > >from some look-alike trace fossil, but are you able to predict the
    > >behavior of other humans? "Natural" intelligent agents "can do
    > >anything", and as such have no "predictive value." Yet we still
    > >for them in murder, arson, and SETI. Intelligent agents are very much
    > >part of scientific explanations, and to exclude one (supernatural) and
    > >not the other (natural - by your definition) is solely for the purpose
    > >protecting the current paradigm and for indoctrination. You have
    > >no defensible logic for excluding intelligent design from the science
    > >curricula. Care to try again?
    > Divine supernatural agents are by definition outside of natural law.
    > can indeed do anything. Human or other natural intelligent agents are
    > of scientific description and explanation. We have a fair knowledge of
    > capabilities of human agents. A reference to divine action simply has
    > _scientific_ usefulness.

    Keith, either you don't grasp the question, you are dodging the issue, or
    I am at a loss to understand what you are saying. In both the
    investigation of possible arson and the investigation of the origin of
    life, there could be a seamless string of cause and effect by
    non-intelligent agents. In both cases, an intelligent agent could have
    intervened. Your attempt to make a distinction between supernatural
    intelligence and what you call "natural" intelligence strikes me as
    unsatisfactory. Man was/is created in the image of God, so the
    difference is one of degree. Both are creative agents, and both are

    So once again, why is the possibility of an intelligent agent acceptable
    in an investigation as to the cause of a fire, but not acceptable in an
    investigation as to the cause of life?

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