Re: criticising scientific naturalism (fwd)...anecdote about science held hostage

From: Joel Cannon (
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 15:42:35 EST

  • Next message: Jonathan Clarke: "Re: criticising scientific naturalism"

    From: Loren Haarsma <>
    To: _American Sci Affil <>

    A little anecdote that might support Loren and Ted's contention that
    Science Held Hostage attacks naturalism. WHen teaching astronomy at a
    secular college, I assigned Science Held Hostage. I told students to
    write a critique of one chapter with the proviso that if they tended
    to be naturalists, they should review one of the three chapters
    critiqueing naturalism; if they tended to be Creationist, they should
    write on one of the chapters critiqueing Creationism.

    It happened that year that four of my best (and favorite) students
    were quite avowedly secular. These bright students (one was truly
    exceptional) were so agitated by what Howard said that they could not
    write a coherent paper. They even went so far as to question the
    character of that mean guy Howard Van Till (I think one said something
    akin to Howard being a "slasher").

    This was truly a delightful change for me since I was used to having
    fundamentalists attack the book (and myself for assigning it and
    liking it). I passed the papers on to Howard so he could have the joy
    of being attacked from the left for a change.

    On Tue, 11 Dec 2001 wrote:

    > You wrote <<let me just point to Van Till's book, Science Held Hostage, as
    > an ideal example of just this.>> An example of what? A critique of
    > evolutionism? It has been a long time since I read Howard's book, and my
    > copy is still in storage. But as I recall it, it was a criticism of creation
    > scientists, YECs, who were the ones holding science hostage. Howard can
    > correct me if I am wrong.

    >From the Table of Contents of "Science Held Hostage"
      Part I: Science as Practiced by Scientists
      Part II: Science Held Hostage by Creationism
      Part III: Science Held Hostage by Naturalism

    Just now, I looked at my bookshelf for the books written by TEs which deal
    directly or indirectly with issues raised by evolution. Authors include
    Walter Hearn, Charles Hummel, Donald MacKay, Kenneth Miller, John
    Polkinghorne, Howard VanTill, Clarence Menninga, Davis Young, George

    Interestingly enough, every single book in that collection devotes
    paragraphs and chapters to criticizing scientism / evolutionism /
    philosophical naturalism.

    When I think back over the published articles I have read over the past
    decade, articles which were written by the TEs who have been regular
    contributers to this discussion list, I can say the same thing. To the
    best of my memory, every single one of them has written criticizing
    scientism / evolutionism / philosophical naturalism.

    Loren Haarsma
    Calvin College

    Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
    Physics Department |
    Washington and Jefferson College |
    Washington, PA 15301 |

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