Re: Snoke's response

From: janice matchett <>
Date: Sat Aug 13 2005 - 17:34:45 EDT

At 04:12 PM 8/13/2005, David C Campbell wrote:

>"...Science is very useful at addressing questions about these physical
>processes, but is largely unable to address questions of Christian
>theological interest. Thus, omission of theological aspects within science
>is theologically
>appropriate. ..."

### Which is why the NABT was forced to delete the words "unsupervised"
and "impersonal" from its creed. :)

"The diversity of life on Earth is the outcome of evolution: an
unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process." So read the
platform of the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), the
influential professional society of high school and college science

.....the NABT has excised the key words "unsupervised" and "impersonal"
from its creed, technically allowing for the possibility that a personal,
intelligent creator designed life, albeit through the mechanism of
evolution. ...

They merely removed some language that was too explicit in stating their
naturalistic philosophy."

Indeed, Wayne Carley, executive director of the NABT acknowledged as much,
saying the change was made because they wanted "to avoid taking a religious

That is an admission that demonstrates the truth of what Christian critics
have been claiming all along: The association's original platform - like
Darwinism itself - exceeds purely scientific conclusions, and embraces
distinctly religious ideas. ...

The word "unsupervised" implies that there is no divine oversight or
control of the evolutionary process - a direct attack on the theistic
evolutionary position, as well as all other theistic perspectives.

The word "impersonal" rules out any involvement of a divine person in the
evolutionary account of origins.

The fact that these words were promoted by the NABT leadership for some
time before the change is indicative of how entrenched naturalistic
philosophy ("nature is all there is") has become in the academic community.

...different groups would not agree on the NATB statement: for example, the
Marxists are entirely happy with the idea that evolution is unsupervised
and impersonal. ...

Some heated exchanges have taken place in the past few years, particularly
between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould (representing establishment
science and marxist science respectively). ...

The NATB retreat is essentially an acknowledgement that the naturalistic
philosophy underlying their original statement cannot be defended as
"science" itself.....

Naturalism will not voluntarily limit its interests to "how?" questions: it
will make the deduction that the "why?" questions are contentless (as there
is no ultimate meaning or purpose in a naturalistic cosmos). ... ~ David
J. Tyler (April 1998) & WORLD Magazine, January 24, 1998

"I lobbied the NABT board of directors to make the change because of both
my respect for science and my respect for the philosophy of humanism that
draws so strongly upon it. To explain requires me to reflect a bit upon
both religion and science.

Therefore, I agreed with the two
theologians who asked NABT to
take the words "impersonal" and "unsupervised" from its statement on
evolution. NABT was making a philosophical statement outside of what
science can tell us. Plantinga and Smith wrote:

[I]t is extremely hard to see how an empirical science, such as biology,
could address such a theological question as whether a process like
evolution is or isn't directed by God.... How could an empirical inquiry
possibly show that God was not guiding and directing evolution?

And they were right. If we are to say to postmodernist attackers of science
that they should not confuse science with positions or philosophies derived
from science, then we must be consistent and not equate science with
materialist philosophy.

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of science and religion, and why I
lobbied to take the words "impersonal" and "unsupervised" Out of the NABT

Consider: If to test something scientifically requires the ability to hold
constant certain effects, this means that omnipotent powers cannot be used
as part of scientific explanations.

....if science is limited by methodological materialism because of our
inability to control an omnipotent power's interference in nature, both
"God did it" and "God didn't do it" fail as scientific statements.

Properly understood, the principle of methodological materialism requires
neutrality towards God; we cannot say, wearing our scientist hats, whether
God does or does not act.

I could say, speaking from the perspective of my personal philosophy, that
matter and energy and their interactions (materialism) are not only
sufficient to understand the natural world (methodological materialism) but
in fact, I believe there is nothing beyond matter and energy.

This is the philosophy of materialism, which I, and probably most
humanists, hold to.

I intentionally added "I believe" when I spoke of my personal philosophy,
which is entirely proper.

"I believe," however, is not a phrase that belongs in science. ..."

Science and Religion, Methodology and Humanism
by Eugenie C. Scott
[In May 1998 Dr Eugenie C Scott, NCSE'S Executive Director, was awarded the
American Humanist Association's 1998 "Isaac Asimov Science Award".
Excerpted from her acceptance speech. Ed.]
Received on Sat Aug 13 17:35:38 2005

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