Re: Tit for Tat?

From: Ted Davis (
Date: Thu Sep 11 2003 - 10:38:47 EDT

  • Next message: Steve Petermann: "Re: Tit for Tat?"

    Is is spiritually dangerous to teach YEC or TE, or some other position on

    This is a very important question. Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins
    believe that it is *politically* dangerous to teach anything even smelling
    like traditional religion, on any issue whatever; they have made
    inflammatory, intolerant statements about this that are well known.

    A large number of people in the ID community believe that Howard Van Till
    is an extremely dangerous person, spiritually, that he is (as it were) the
    person who takes your ticket to ride the "slippery slope" to disbelief in
    God. (I'm not saying anything Howard doesn't already know, he's probably
    reading this.)

    I myself see the antics and attitudes of several leading "creationists,"
    both living and deceased (I include here some YEC and some OEC, Harry Rimmer
    would be an example of the latter) as genuinely dangerous to some youth.
    Their biting sarcasm about a lot of real science and the hellfire they
    direct toward any view that conficts with their own, do in fact place
    students into tough spritual situations when they later/elsewhere learn
    something more objective about science. (My colleagues at Messiah all share
    this view, incidentally, which is one of the reasons why our dept statement
    on evolution emphasizes a multiple models approach.)

    Indeed, I think this question goes to the heart of the ASA. We exist in
    large part for the purpose of talking about these things, as far as possible
    without being dismissive of people (though I think we all know that some
    people dismiss themselves by their actions and statements). I only wish
    that some of the exchanges on this list were more in keeping with this
    spirit--which is generally characteristic of our journal and our meetings.
    It would be lovely, indeed, if we could require that people joining the list
    must first read the journal (ie, join the organization or at least subscribe
    to PSCF) or attend an official ASA function (the annual meeting or a meeting
    of one of the local sections).

    But life isn't as lovely as that, I doubt this will become policy.


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