Re: ASA's "neutrality policy"

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Thu Dec 15 2005 - 17:13:59 EST

Michael replying to Randy
----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 3:04 AM
Subject: ASA's "neutrality policy"

> Merv,
> 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.

How do you decide if there is a DISHONEST disagreement?

 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.

This is the crucial point. For me the real fault of YEC and Johnson on his
description of Darwinism is their persistent inaccuracy and miscitation. I
find it difficult , if not impossible, to recognise the integrity of those
who persistently do this. When I read The Genesis Flood in L'Abri in 1971 I
first thought that they might be right and then I came across all the
misrepresentation and misquotation which M and W practice. I was hopping mad
and then I found more in books by Davidheiser and others - including a Boy
Scout called Stuart Nevins (guess who?) This lack of integrity pervaded
every YEC book I read then. I said so in a lecture at L'Abri and got
Schaeffer et al furious. Since then every YEC writing on science I have read
has similarly lacked integrity.

In one sense I dont care whether the earth is 4.6 by or 6000yrs old, but I
do care when writers show little or no integrity and then condemn me and
other because we dont swallow their garbage.

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?

I think what you have said is that the ASA is neutral on evolution and the
age of the earth but is not neutral on the lack of integrity. The logic of
your position is that ASA and of course CIS should criticise YECs for lack
of integrity.(one must distinguish activists from the many who are YEC
because their church holds to YEC. I faced this problem when teaching
geology in the Black Hills to Wheaton students who were YEC. They were full
of integrity but in the words of one student"I was brainwashed") Because of
the students integrity I could be laid back about their unwillingness to
accept billions of years. I am not laid back with a Ken Ham or Henry Morris.

One can also totally disagree with someone yet be convinced that they argue
with integrity and total honesty. Among these are my agnostic and atheist

How do we resolve all this?

> Randy
>>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 Thu Dec 15 17:22:05 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 15 2005 - 17:22:05 EST