ASA's "neutrality policy"

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Wed Dec 14 2005 - 22:04:12 EST

    Thanks for the comment. It gives me an opportunity to discuss the ASA's
so-called neutrality policy. As it says on our website, our policy is: "As
an organization, the ASA does not take a position when there is honest
disagreement between Christians on an issue. We are committed to providing
an open forum where controversies can be discussed without fear of unjust
condemnation. Legitimate differences of opinion among Christians who have
studied both the Bible and science are freely expressed within the
Affiliation in a context of Christian love and concern for truth."

    I've gone on record that I fully support this policy and don't believe
we should change it. But we should think through carefully what it means.
We also state that we "share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a
commitment to integrity in the practice of science." We do and should take
a stand where this is not the case.

    In light of the above, many people ask about ASA's stand on YEC. Those
of you who have come across the ASA recently may not know this, while others
on this list were present on the occasion, but 1963 was the infamous year
when the "Team of Ten" left the ASA annual meeting to form the Creation
Research Society in Louisville. Eight of the ten were ASA members and seven
of those eight were ASA Fellows. Some, like Gish and Morris, continued to
be part of the ASA for another 10-15 years. They felt the need to found
another society because the ASA refused to take a stand in support of "Flood
Geology" and other YEC tenets.

    What is the ASA position today, more than 40 years later? As several
people pointed out, we do have YEC advocates in the ASA. I believe that
there are at least two ways in which the YEC belief can be consistent with
our commitment statement:

    1) The well-known apparent age belief. The world looks old
scientifically but God created it that way. This is claimed not to be
deception because God told us when and how he did it. We may agree or
disagree with that view of God but it does not violate our statement of
faith and ASA considers this an honest area of disagreement.

    2) The "science will come around" belief. Some say that the world
certainly appears old scientifically but that some day we will learn more
information that will help us see that the world is indeed young. We may or
may not agree but again it does not violate our commitment.

    However, when a YEC position is taken that the scientific community has
come to an erroneous conclusion about the age of the earth, whether through
deliberate intent to contradict the Bible or through other errors, then it
is tantamount to denying the integrity of science. We do not claim that
science is always right. Far from it. But charging the establishment with
bias and/or incompetence carries with it a very high bar of impeccable data,
very careful analysis, and reproducibility in several labs. Without such
quality of evidence, there is lack of integrity. In this case, it seems
that the ASA could and should speak out, without being in violation of its
neutrality policy. How to do that is another matter.

    Does this make sense? Have I erred somewhere in this thinking?


>But I found in all this a refreshing honesty; it's as close to a concession
>as I've heard from a young earth writer that science offers a lot of
>opposing evidence. Usually one hears how all the ancient earth evidence is
>flawed or any young-earth evidence is dismissed a priori or even ignored in
>a conspiracy. But Wise just lays it out like it is -- a theological
>conclusion for which much of science would have to be re-interpreted or
>even ignored. And I, for one won't join in the laughter. Because, while
>I didn't find his theology compelling, nor do I find compelling our modern
>attitudes showcasing a kind of scientific arrogance. .....
> --merv
Received on Wed Dec 14 22:06:24 2005

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