Re: Full disclosure (was Grand Canyon Tears America Apart )

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Fri Jan 23 2004 - 03:12:04 EST

Burgy wrote:

"When you write that "the public will just see two sets of experts that
disagree on technical details" I think you are underestimating the
competence of the average person. Yes -- if one is a convinced YEC, it
will take some time to overcome what "he KNOWS to be true." We don't take
that time nowadays very often."

If your "average person" is a university student, yes, I'm probably underestimating. But if your "average person" is an average adult, probably not.

Also, if you're only talking about mainstream scientists' paying more attention to YEC teachings, then what I wrote was irrelevant; but if you're hoping to actually convert the average YEC to OE views, which I understood was your ultimate objective, then it's not irrelevant.

A case history: A local congregation invited a guest speaker not long ago to speak on the validity or lack thereof of the theory of organic evolution. The talk was well publicized and held at a convenient time.

The speaker was the most ignorant person I'd ever heard speak publicly on the subject. Almost everything she said was either blatantly false or questionable. I objected to several of her statements on the spot, but in every case she simply told me I was wrong.

Only four out of a congregation of more than 600 attended the presentation (not counting myself). At least two of those attendees were college graduates and, I understand, are fairly competent at what they do. (I didn't recognize the other two.) No one besides me appeared to have the faintest awareness of the speaker's blatant errors. (E.g., "no dinosaur had feathers," "archaeopterix is a fake," "the only evidence for great age comes from astronomy," etc., etc. And she'd never heard of famous mammalian fossils of the Cenozoic.) I suspect the others regarded my objections simply as uncalled-for rudeness to the guest.

Afterwards I sent emails to the two attendees I knew pointing out in detail a few (10, I think) of the speaker's most egregious errors, and I included specific references to literature they could easily access. (I even offered to show them my own copies.) I also referenced the AiG site that lists arguments against evolution that YECs are advised to stop using, because the speaker actually made several of those "obsolete" arguments in her presentation. The responses of both of my email recipients were on the order of a cool "we'll think about it."

I conclude from the minuscule turnout that topics of this sort are not on the average person's front burner. On an almost daily basis the local newspapers, in science articles, refer to organic evolution and the great age of Earth; but apparently the people of this congregation, most of whom I'm fairly certain are YECs, have long ago accommodated themselves to the views they're comfortable with and have no interest in further exposing themselves to material on the relevant subjects.

This apparent lack of any interest is certainly a part of the reason why I don't feel motivated to get on a soapbox. Why waste my breath? On the other hand, I fully agree with you that things are wrong here that need to be righted, and I'm glad that you and Glenn have the patience and motivation to tilt at these windmills. I'd like very much for YE to become OE in the minds of all Christians, but I know for sure I don't have either the patience or the motivation to try to make it happen. The best I can do at the moment is strongly recommend that all YECs take a geology course. But of course they're not interested.

Maybe people are much better informed where you live?? And more interested in ferreting out and correcting their own misunderstandings?


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: John W Burgeson<>
  Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:17 AM
  Subject: Re: Full disclosure (was Grand Canyon Tears America Apart )

  I wrote: "What I do call for is for mainstream science to pay more
  to the YEC arguments, by "welcoming" them into the discussion (in
  moderation, of course), and publicly refuting them in discussion."
  Don wrote: "A problem with this approach is that you're unlikely to
  effectively refute "informed" YECs in a public discussion. YECs will
  bring out their technical arguments, scientists will present technical
  reasons as to why those arguments are invalid, but the public will just
  see two sets of experts that disagree on technical details. Unless a
  member of the audience is unusually well informed and can follow the
  arguments, he will have little reason to change his mind. Furthermore,
  it's often the YEC who's the more practiced and effective debater, as
  debating skills are usually of secondary importance for scientists.
  There's no substitute for careful consideration and evaluation of the
  scientific evidence of the sort one should engage in when taking a
  geology course. Limited public discussion cannot cover enough territory
  to settle anything."

  I'm not much in favor of "debates" either. But when I use the word
  "discussion," I mean it in a wider sense than public debate. I mean it in
  the widest sense -- confrontation.

  When you write that "the public will just see two sets of experts that
  disagree on technical details" I think you are underestimating the
  competence of the average person. Yes -- if one is a convinced YEC, it
  will take some time to overcome what "he KNOWS to be true." We don't take
  that time nowadays very often. And all over this country kids are being
  taught nonsense in many home schools and not a few private schools, as
  well as in thousands of large conservative churches which will cause them
  to abandon Christianity when they grow up.

  I think that is sad. I think it is sadder that more is not done to
  counteract that. I applaud Ted's post of the seminar at Messiah College.
  That needs to be replicated thousands of times across the country. The
  YECs are very good at getting their message out. And they are winning.
  That's the bottom line.
  Burgy<> (Review of THE FRACTURE OF GOOD ORDER)

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Received on Fri Jan 23 03:07:56 2004

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