I probably didn't write clearly enough in my original post. I heartily agree that we should not be dominated by creation/evolution discussion, and welcome other areas where science and faith intersect, such as the ones Lucy mentioned.
With regard to the recent "compassion" discussion, I agree that discussion of how we use our science and technology to help the people for whom God calls us to show compassion is important and in bounds. But, after the first few rounds, this particular discussion migrated into political and philosophical arguments with zero science content. It was at that point that I felt it had strayed from the purposes of this list [the degree to which people were insulting each other didn't help]. Your mileage may vary.
I'm just asking that people consider the purposes of the list (however they may interpret them) in deciding whether to carry a discussion in a new direction. You may not make the same call I would, but if everybody will at least consider that question before posting it may help the volume problems.
In a message dated Thu, 28 Feb 2002 12:08:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, Lucy Masters <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Allan Harvey wrote:
> "A good example is the current discussion of doctrines of original sin, which I consider OK because it has a significant impact on science/faith discussions. But extended discussions on topics pretty much entirely unrelated to science/faith issues (important though the topics might be) should stop. My opinion is that the recent discussion about compassion, welfare policies, etc. is in this category."
> Lucy responds:
> Allan, I could not disagree with you more. The recent discussion regarding compassion and welfare policies is **EXACTLY** what the science/religion debate is all about. I cannot imagine anything being more "on target." In fact, I spent two summers up at Princeton Theological Seminary studying just these kinds of topics precisely because (at the time) Princeton was the only seminary with an endowed chair created to explore these issues.
> "Compassion" is all about Christianity. And the particular welfare we were discussing, food aid, is all about science. Agriculture, transportation, antibiotics, caloric intake, and so on are all issues of science that mesh with our Christian perspectives and thus impact policy.
> The science/religion debate cannot be limited to the worn argument between creationism and evolution or to the newer argument between evolution and intelligent design. The purpose of the ASA, it seems to me, is to explore **all** science/religion topics, including stem cell research, euthanasia, emergency room technology that keeps people alive, the moral responsibility concerning reproductive rights with mentally retarded individuals in the face of technology that can prevent their ever becoming pregnant, and so on.
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