Kick me (Was Re: Evolution wars)

From: George Murphy (
Date: Wed Dec 18 2002 - 09:45:06 EST

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    Prof. Dini's position seems considerably stronger than is called for by
    considerations about good science & good medicine. This is not
    surprising if, as
    someone indicated, he is a kind of "militant atheist." & if that's
    the case, chatting
    with him in a positive way as Jack suggests is unlikely to produce
    any change in his
    attitude, though it would certainly be worth trying.

            But the primary focus of Christians in dealing with problems
    like this should
    not be on folks like Prof. Dini. Our major problem is opposition to
    evolution in the
    name of Christianity. There is a tremendous amount of scientific
    support for evolution,
    & it provides our best scientific understanding of life on earth.
    (Of course that
    doesn't mean present theories explain everything, are problem free
    &c.) Thus opposition
    to evolution marks people & groups as either ignorant, prejudiced, or
    dishonest - or
    some combination of these.

            Anyone who insists that Christians _must_ oppose evolution is
    putting the
    Christian faith in the position of being seen as ignorant,
    prejudiced, or dishonest by
    non-Christians. It's like placing a big "Kick Me" sign on the
    church's back. We can
    hardly be surprised if Dini, Dawkins, Weinberg &c accept the offer.
    A statement
    like Dini's would get no play at all if Christians simply said,
    "Sure, evolution is

            Besides presenting a totally unnecessary offence to those
    outside the church,
    this also sets up young Christians for disaster. If they're told
    while growing up that
    they have to choose between Christianity and evolution, why should we
    be surprised that
    they abandon Christianity if they find out in high school or college
    that evolution
    seems to be correct? Matthew 18:6 is relevant here.

            (Some may object to my inclusion of dishonesty among reasons
    for opposing
    evolution. I do not have in mind anybody on this list in saying that
    but there are a
    few anti-evolutionists for whom the term seems appropriate.)


    Jack Haas wrote:
    > Greetings,
    > Instead of the usual knee-jerk reaction to such actions could we not find
    > someone(s) in that university to have a chat with him in a positive way.
    > Jack Haas
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Preston Garrison" <>
    > To: "ASA list" <>
    > Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 1:39 AM
    > Subject: Evolution wars
    > >
    > > Group,
    > >
    > > This was in the Texas-Oklahoma section ASA newsletter. Thought some
    > > of you might be interested.
    > >
    > > Preston G.
    > >
    > > ----------
    > > Discrimination Against Those Who Question Evolution at Texas Tech
    > >
    > > Free Market Foundation, a conservative political activist group in
    > > Texas, reports that Dr. Michael Dini, Associate Professor in the
    > > Biology Dept. at Texas Tech, Lubbock, refuses to write
    > > recommendations for students who do not affirm a personal belief in
    > > evolution, regardless of whether they can show mastery of the theory.
    > > His biology course is required for all biology students.
    > >
    > > Here are Dr. Dini's own words describing this prerequisite for a
    > > letter of recommendation:
    > >
    > > "If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of
    > > recommendation, I will ask you: 'How do you think the human species
    > > originated?' If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a
    > > scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my
    > > recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical
    > > sciences.
    > >
    > > "Why do I ask this question? Let's consider the situation of one
    > > wishing to enter medical school. Whereas medicine is historically
    > > rooted first in the practice of magic and later in religion, modern
    > > medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology first
    > > among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the
    > > theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution,
    > > and which extends to ALL species. How can someone who does not accept
    > > the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a
    > > field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how
    > > this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore
    > > or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary
    > > origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. The current crisis
    > > in antibiotic resistance is the result of such decisions."
    > >
    > > You can read this statement in its entirety by going to
    > >
    > <>,
    > > click "About Dr. Dini," then click "How to get a letter of
    > > recommendation".
    > >
    > > James Brink, the assistant provost, reportedly told Hiram Sasser of
    > > Free Market that "students with a strong faith or belief in
    > > creationism should not attend a public university, but rather should
    > > attend a Biblically-grounded university where their ideas are
    > > reinforced instead of scientifically challenged." The university
    > > president also reportedly refused to take action; the university
    > > issued a letter to concerned parents defending Dini's action as
    > > protected by academic freedom.
    > >
    > > There is a great article about this issue on the Boundless webzine by
    > > Focus on the Family, found at
    > >
    > <>http://www.boundl
    > >
    > > Free Market has contacted Texas Tech and asked them to make Dr. Dini
    > > change his prerequisites. At this time they are waiting to see what
    > > the University will do before they consider suing.
    > >
    > > There are two things we as ASA members can do at this time. The
    > > first is to pray; certainly this is a spiritual battle more than
    > > anything else. The second thing, if God leads you, is to contact Dr.
    > > Dini or the university and give them your view of his statement. Dr.
    > > Dini can be reached at
    > > <> Free
    > > Market's Hiram Sasser can be contacted at
    > > <>
    > >
    > > If any of you contact Texas Tech or Dr. Dini, I'd like to report on
    > > it. I'll keep you posted of future developments.
    > > ---------------
    > > --
    > >

    George L. Murphy

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