In a message dated Mon, 11 Feb 2002 10:33:21 AM Eastern Standard Time, Walter Hicks <email@example.com> writes:
> But my question is this: It is really an honest debate? Or is just an
> opportunity to convince the students that science must be accepted
> without skepticism and anything that disagrees with it must
> automatically be wrong?
Walt, I think you are missing the point here. The *important* part of the debate, and the part that I think Ted Davis was talking about, isn't about the science. It is about getting Christians, especially young Christians, to see that a young Earth (and, for that matter, anti-evolutionism) is not the *only* valid Christian position.
If people start from the theological position that an Earth age greater than a few thousand years falsifies Christianity, or that the theory of evolution, if true, falsifies Christianity, then they are vulnerable to having that sandy foundation (and their faith) destroyed by scientific evidence. That sort of theological/philosophical position, which is advocated not only by the likes of Richard Dawkins but by Christian apologists such as Henry Morris and Phil Johnson and D. James Kennedy, seems to me to be the real enemy here, and the acceptance of such philosophical positions by Christians is the underlying cause for the endangerment of the faith of many.
I've said this before, but in my opinion the sort of sound foundation Ted Davis wants his students to get requires getting them to understand two points (neither of which is scientific) from a Christian perspective:
1) The Bible is not intended to be a science textbook, and we dishonor God and his Word when we bring questions to it (like the scientific details and chronology of creation) that it is not designed to answer.
2) God is sovereign over nature, so that a "natural" description of something (be it the evolution of stars or the evolution of life) does not exclude God. What we refer to as the "God of the Gaps" error is not just postulating that God is evidenced in things science can't explain, it is the position that such Gaps are *necessary* in order for God to be the Creator (in effect, a denial of God's ability to work via his sovereignty over nature).
Christians who (often unthinkingly) reject one or both of those points are forced to oppose the results of science as though the validity of the faith were at stake (because for them, it is). If Christians can be made to understand those two points, then the science can be debated but it is no threat to the faith either way.
Allan Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org
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