RE: ASA's "neutrality policy"

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 11:21:48 EST

Dear Ted and Randy:
 
Among the world's religions why have we chosen Christianity and stated
for everyone to see that we have selected the Christian message as our
message and the Christian religion as our religion? Are we open to
Muslim teachings? Muslims believe in Jesus. He has a prominent place
in the Koran. Mohammed wrote about Jesus, presumably under the guidance
of the angel Gabriel! Muslims think Jesus was a prophet which is only a
step down from our contention that He was God incarnate, but they
believe in God and we believe in God, so why not open our doors to other
faiths?
 
Let's just make a belief in a supreme being the only religious test, and
accept everybody regardless of whether they profess Christ or not.
What's the big deal? If we require no standards in science then why
have any unnecessary religious hindrances?
 
Why not demonstrate some consistency? Here's ASA. We require no
standards in science or belief. If we can accept YEC beliefs,
regardless of the rationale employed, let's be honest about it and
simply state we have no standards at all.
 
Why then have we decided that Christianity is so important that we have
made it a litmus test for membership? Whatever answers you come up
with, why do they not also apply when the subject is Science? What does
"integrity" in science mean?
 
It doesn't mean anything if you allow pseudo science the same status as
any legitimate scientific enterprise. How does ASA treat astrology, for
example? And astrology is fairly benign. It doesn't besmirch God's
character, implying He is a deceiver, as YEC clearly does.
 
Survey YEC literature and it should be instantly obvious there are no
rules in YEC consistent with anything close to consistency or integrity.
An answer to one problem conjures up other problems, but who cares?
YECs know most Christians are too dumb to figure it out and too lazy to
do any independent research. And they know they'll be trusted because
they call themselves Christian, pray out loud, sing hymns and quote
Scripture.
 
As a method of apology YEC is an offense to the body of science and
inconsistent with the Bible itself, as I (among others) have made clear.
(If you haven't read it, here is my article in PSCF: "Young-Earth
Creationism: A Literal Mistake.")
 
http://www.genesisproclaimed.org/downloads/articles/YEC%20Article.pdf
 
Just as there are false religions and Christian cults we recognize as
unacceptable, there are also pseudo sciences so labeled because we place
them outside the bounds of acceptable science. YEC qualifies as a
pseudo science if there ever was one, and as it stands as an impediment
to the gospel message, it has the same negative effect as any cult. As
an organization committed to the advancement of our religion and to
honest science we should rightly identify that which runs counter to our
goals and publicly condemn it.
 
You don't need to kick anybody out of ASA. Just state what you believe
and the membership will follow or leave as it suits them.
 
~Dick Fischer~ Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
www.genesisproclaimed.org
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Davis [mailto:tdavis@messiah.edu]
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 9:30 AM
To: ASA; dickfischer@verizon.net
Subject: RE: ASA's "neutrality policy"
 
>>> "Dick Fischer" <dickfischer@verizon.net> 12/15/05 7:02 PM >>>wrote,
concerning Randy Isaac's view on the ASA's attitude toward members who
advocate YEC:
 
In your heart you know what's right, but lack the stomach to fight
for it. Christ kicked the money changers out of the temple. That
should be our example.
 
Put it to a vote.
 
Ted replies:
You just did, Dick, you just did put it to a vote.
 
Here is what I said as the final paragraph (in full) from my ballot for
election to the ASA Council this year:
 
A second challenge comes from growing tension within the larger body of
Christ between advocates of "intelligent design" and advocates of what
is commonly called "theistic evolution" (and I recognize that some ASA
members and other people advocate views that might fit into both
categories). Throughout its history the ASA has facilitated helpful,
respectful exchanges of views on many aspects of the origins
controversy,
while not endorsing officially any one particular view. If elected, I
would
do what I can to help the ASA retain and enhance its role as an
effective
forum for the healthy exchange of views on all issues related to science
and
Christian faith, and to increase our visibility among the religious
press.
 
OK, I was talking about ID rather than YEC, but my overall attitude
toward
such controversy was clear here. We need to retain the historical role
of
the ASA as a forum for talking about (among many other things) various
views
on the origins controversy. Contrary to other organizations (such as
the
Creation Research Society or The Discovery Institute), the ASA has not
officially held or defended a specific view on "evolution" (I put that
word
in scare quote b/c it means different things to different people). The
CRS
requires members to reject common descent and an old earth/universe and
to
accept the flood as the primary cause of the fossil record and many
other
aspects of the earth's surface. TDI expects its fellows to reject
"evolution" in the "Darwinian" sense, where they define both of those
terms,
while staying away officially from the issues that the CRS focuses on.
The
ASA does neither of those things as a matter of policy. This leads lots
of
people to think we're just wimps who want to keep our cushy jobs and not
make a fuss with the scientific establishment, but of course that's just
so
much name calling, in some cases I suspect by people who are
intentionally
trying to give insulting and distorted pictures to those who know a
great
deal less about science, theology, and the history of their interaction.

 
This greatly limits our influence among those Christians who are focused
on
the "culture wars," in which those Christians who don't quite agree with
either "side" are seen as cowards or traitors by some. In fact, it is a
testimony both to our courage to stand for the pursuit of truth itself,
independently of the politicization imposed on the debate by many
others.
It is also a tribute to our commitment to open inquiry, within the
bounds of
an agreed definition of Christian belief. We will survive the current
"culture war" and continue to influence Christians in the sciences in
the
next century, if God wills it. People like Francis Collins (to cite him
as
one of many similar examples) will still need us to be there for them
100
years from now, and if we remain true to our identity as an open forum
within the bounds of an agreed statement of faith, we will still be
there
for them.
 
As for YECs in the ASA, I have known several over the years, including
some
who attended local section meetings in the 1970s when I first learned
about
the ASA, at least one of whom is still a member. I wish myself that one
of
my younger YEC friends would join, b/c of the open attitude and genuine
expertise (a doctorate in a highly relevant field from one of the top
programs in the world) he brings to these issues. Undoubtdly we both
agree
that the ASA would not welcome most YECs, b/c most YECs engage in the
kind
of misrepresentation of the state of the scientific evidence that Randy
mentioned. But not all do, and those who do not would IMO be very
welcome
here. B/c of our organizational history and b/c of the kinds of
articles we
have published since the 1960s and esp the 1970s, no one could fairly
claim
that we exist in order to promote YEC (this doesn't mean that for some
political purpose an unfair or misinformed person would never say it),
and
none of the YECs I know consider us friendly to the YEC position (an
accurate judgement). Since we do publish lots of articles in favor of
ID,
it's more likely that we'd be accused of being in league with TDI, but
the
fact is that lots of IDs *wish* we were in league with TDI when of
course we
are not. B/c many of our members find ID attractive, however, we have
and
should continue to publish well written and well argued essays that
support
aspects of ID as long as they respect the integrity of those who
disagree
with their conclusions.
 
I was elected to Council this fall, after making a very clear statement
about what I believe should be the ASA's attitude toward controversies
of
this nature. I can fairly assume that anyone who voted for me agrees
with
that attitude, or at least did not find it strongly objectionable. We
had
the election, Dick, and we did not decide to throw anyone out.
 
Blessings,
 
Ted
 
 
 
Received on Fri Dec 16 11:26:19 2005

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