From: Ted Davis (TDavis@messiah.edu)
Date: Thu Sep 11 2003 - 10:38:47 EDT
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
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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