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

From: John W Burgeson <>
Date: Fri Jan 23 2004 - 16:25:21 EST

George posted, in part: " Boy, you seem uncharacteristically combative.
I thought that I was agreeing with you that we couldn't deal with YEC
simply by ignoring it, but that we differed on how it should be

Sorry. But in this case I did not catch that which you were throwing. <G>

" If you will, I'm trying to provide some constraints for fleshing out
your proposal so that it doesn't result in making it seem as if YEC is a
viable proposal for mainstream science. That is very different from just
saying it won't work."

OK. Again, I never asserted that YEC be treated as mainstream science.

I wrote: " The boat is leaking. I say to you and the other sailors --
"Bail." You sit back and say "They won't listen.""

George: "If I said this I was referring to hard-core YECs like Ham et al.
 That does not at all mean that average conservative Christians who
accept YEC more or less passively can't be reached. Much less does it
mean that those who are uncommitted can't be kept from falling for it."

OK again and we agree. But my main point is that whatever we are doing
now is not working, and that our strategy must be rethought.

George: "My "plan," if I can call it that, is to tell students why good
science rules out YEC claims. But I see the problems with that - the
danger of appearing to engage in an attack on religious beliefs."

That plan, so far as you are able to implement it, is praiseworthy, and
in your position you need not worry much about the problem you mention.
Similarly with my situation. For instance, I taught the HS class here
three weeks using the material on page 7 of my web site -- very
controversial stuff in some churches, even to mention. I specifically
alerted the pastor, the youth director of my material -- both are far
more conservative than I am -- they had no problems with it. I also told
all the affected parents -- again -- no issues raised.

But you and I, George, are two of only a few people doing this, and
against the well-funded AIG and ICR "ministries," we are being outgunned
big time.
George: "...Briefly & precisely, how you propose to deal with YEC in the

The present posture is to marginalize the YEC scientific (not religious)
arguments by ignoring them.
This is not working.
My solution -- and I'm not an educator, so I cannot flesh this out, is to
stop ignoring those arguments.

On a wider scene, let the YEC scientific arguments be heard (and properly
refuted) wherever possible. Magazines, newspapers, etc. Whenever a
scientific matter is discussed, the YEC argument against it needs to be
stated, and refuted. Scientifically.

This is of particular importance in church publications. I admire your
own efforts in THE LUTHERAN along this line -- my brother frequently
sends me a copy. Somewhere among the ASA membership must be some Baptists
though. <G>

George: "What "inference"?"

Yours, as stated earlier.

George: " What part of "The gov't ought not take a stand for or against
any particular position, no matter how solid the science behind it" did I
misinterpret? If that's not what you meant to say, fine. Just say so."

It is what I meant to say. Suppose the gov't 150 years ago had come out
against evolution? In point of fact, at least one or two state gov'ts did
so at one time.

Or take the wildly novel germ theory of infection. At one time it was
"solid science" that this theory was bogus. Should the gov't have taken a
stand against it?

My point is simple. The gov't has no standing as a "person" to declare
any piece of science either bogus or holy writ. It has, as an
organization, to use current knowledge, and the arguments for/against any
idea, in a responsible way. In many cases that means direct and forceful
refutation of certain claims.
George: "Maybe, maybe not. If a store started carrying a book entitled
_Hitler was Right_ that glorified the Holocaust ... I think "get that
offending book out of there or we will make you look foolish" would be a
more effective (& quicker) response than writing a book to show that
genocide is bad."

You ducked my reification argument. Valid point, of course.
George: "I have not simply "rejected" it (my plan -- JB) but have offered
some cautions - to the extent that I can in its unfinished state. Flesh
out "Plan B" & we'll see. Maybe my concerns will be assuaged by

Fair enough. I did not read your posts a cautionary as much as "We cannot
do that!"

The arguments and ideas presented in FRACTURE contain some details.

George: "If you're going to explain why YEC is wrong, you have to present
the arguments that have led scientists to reject it. Of course I don't
mean that it would be necessary to go through all the fits and starts of
the historical process."

OK again.


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Received on Fri Jan 23 16:28:38 2004

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