RE: [asa] YEC social dynamics

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Wed Sep 06 2006 - 12:00:04 EDT

If quantum mechanics requires us to strain our minds to conceive the
wave-particle dual in Nature, image the orders of magnitude more
difficult to reconcile in our limited brain God, the Nature He created,
and how He interacts with it.





From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 10:38 AM
To: Don Winterstein
Cc: asa; Gregory Arago
Subject: Re: [asa] YEC social dynamics


It strikes me that one role ASA-type folks could play is to get stories
like the one Don relates below better known. Stories of real people,
real Christians, who at one time accepted YEC, but who have grown into
other views, while retaining a robust faith.

On 9/6/06, Don Winterstein <> wrote:

Gregory wrote: "...TE compatibility arguments may or may not be
acceptable all the time. There may be room for TEs to become ECs
(evolutionary creationists) or non-evolutionary theists (NETs),
especially outside of natural sciences...."


I suspect lack of acceptance is related to the speculative nature of the
compatibility arguments. That is, the TE, etc., argument (as I see it)
is that discoveries of science do not preclude God's involvement, so
let's assert that God was involved [in any of a number of ways]. From
the YEC perspective such assertions do not compellingly rule out what
they see as apparent underlying atheism. In any event the case for
theism is much less compelling from such compatibility arguments than
from a literal reading of Genesis.


I'm trying to recall my thinking back when I was a fanatical YEC. At
that time I recall saying I didn't care what the evidence was, I was
going to stick with Scripture. And that meant a fairly literal
interpretation throughout. To this day I firmly believe my motives were
above reproach. My hold on God was tenuous, and I absolutely required a
firm anchor. Scripture served as the anchor, and I came to see science
as evil.


Are YECs now like I was then? To a degree, I think. Some believe that,
if you start interpreting away biblical teachings for this or that
reason, you open the whole Bible to challenge. They're right. We who
are no longer YECs accept that challenge, but they can't. They require
a higher degree of certainty--a degree of certainty, in fact, that no
book can really give. They're extracting their feeling of certainty out
of the Book by force and in the process doing it violence.


But that's what I used to do also--and I can't criticize myself for it.
That's what I had to do at the time.




----- Original Message -----

From: Gregory Arago <>

To: Don Winterstein <> ; asa
<> ; Randy Isaac <>

Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 3:32 AM

Subject: Re: [asa] YEC social dynamics


In attempt to open up the question of 'what does it take?' perhaps it
would help to try internationalizing the discussion and this could shed
light on what is particular about the phenomenon of YEC belief in the
United States. There are people from other countries who visit this
list, and surely many of those who dialogue here have colleagues in
other countries. Why not ask them, especially scientifically minded or
scholarly Christians, how YEC beliefs differ in their respective
countries, where traditions of science and religion discourse are
uniquely non-American.


This suggestion follows from the idea of media ecologist Neil Postman
(Amer), who, following the work of Marshall McLuhan (Cdn) and Eric
Havelock (Cdn), claims that the United States in the most literal
country (nation-state) in the world. That is, the USA is based on the
written word ( e.g. Declarations, Proclamations, legal documentation)
more than any other country. The written word is a visual phenomena,
whereas the spoken word is an aural phenomena. Thus, in America the
expression 'seeing is believing,' turns into reading is supreme.


Following this logic, it is no wonder that so many American Christians
are believers in a literal Genesis and YEC. They confuse their theology
and their science because they read Genesis literally instead of
properly balancing what should be read literally and what should not be
read literally.

Does anyone agree this could be a factor?


I am sympathetic to Randy's transformation from YEC to whatever he is
today. Perhaps a church that doesn't put as much emphasis on the Word,
but on Christian tradition is more welcoming to non-YEC's?


Otoh, TE compatibility arguments may or may not be acceptable all the
time. There may be room for TEs to become ECs (evolutionary
creationists) or non-evolutionary theists (NETs), especially outside of
natural sciences. But there seems a fine line from what Don says, before
which 'without reference to God' one cannot understand the world or
their scholarly/scientific work.



p.s. was it P. Sorokin's massive work "Social and Cultural Dynamics"
(1937-1941) that perhaps inspired the thread's title?


        "Those of us who claim to find compatibility between the
doctrine of creation and an old earth, let alone evolution, are simply
turncoats and can't be trusted.

        I rejected YEC intellectually many years before I could reject
it psychologically and emotionally. Then I had to deal with the
emotional backlash I felt.
        But it isn't enough to help the ordinary churchgoer believe that
such a large segment of the church is caught up in a fantastic tale of
science fiction. What else does it take?"



        "At the root of the problem seems to be deep discomfort with a
world whose workings and origins can be largely understood without
reference to God. If you don't need to explicitly involve God, maybe he
doesn't exist. Because of this discomfort, the TE kinds of arguments
for compatibility between God and science are not acceptable. The
comforting solution is to assert that the scientific view of the world
is false." - Don Winterstein


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Received on Wed Sep 6 12:01:34 2006

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