Re: [asa] dialog with YEC brethern

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Wed Sep 06 2006 - 13:38:13 EDT

On 9/6/06, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> I think Bill, Merv, Iain, et al. are right. Yet I think Roger makes a
> good point about being clear in our position (as individuals if not as an
> organization). There's a time and place for both approaches, and there's a
> question of culpability in how we employ each.
> Folks like Bill, Merv, Iain and myself are involved in work and ministry
> with other believers who are at widely varying places in their understanding
> of the faith. We work in churches and organizations where much of the
> leadership perhaps has been sympathetic to YEC for many years. Most of
> these people we work and minister with aren't culpable concerning their YEC
> beliefs. They aren't trained scientists who should know better. They're
> regular people trying to live faithfully to the Gospel in a "wicked and
> perverse generation." Calling their YEC beliefs "crap" won't move them any
> closer to a more balanced view of faith/science issues, nor will it serve
> the many other purposes we *do* hold in common with them. It will only
> cause division.

I'll second that. Furthermore, this kind of thing limits the usefulness of
the forum as a way of helping out people like this. The person I mentioned
that I'm in dialog with is not the only one. He used to run the Christian
Group at where I work (which is a Science Park in Oxford, UK), until his
company went bust and he moved away to another job. But the remainder of
the group seem to have several people whose sympathies are drawn towards
YEC/ID and against evolution (even one of them, still a "seeker" and not a
Christian yet, who has a PhD in Molecular Biology, has declared herself not
to believe in evolution). The new leader of the group agreed with me to set
up an "Origins" email forum, to discuss the issues. The last post he made
to the forum was to recommend going to a presentation by Ken Ham in Oxford
last weekend. Great! Not.

A number of these people have questions to ask me (what did I think of this
or that YEC claim), and it's quite onerous on my time, having to look up all
this stuff. A forum like ASA could potentially be very useful for providing
answers to these people in a gracious way that doesn't threaten them or
insult their intelligence. But sadly the ASA forum isn't like that - people
on it think it's quite OK to use insulting language like "crap" and "braying
jackass" and so forth, and accuse those of us that object of being
"sanctimonious", "over emotional", "confusing love with sentimentality" and
so forth.

Because of that, I'd NEVER recommend to people like this to join up with a
forum like ASA until its members have learnt to behave better and show some
respect for our YEC bretheren, because if I may be permitted to use blunt
language for a moment, such disrespectful behaviour just pisses people off.
It certainly pissed me off when I was sympathetic towards YEC.

The (largely British) Christians In Science forum is much more gentlemanly,
and the members are still just as adamant in their rejection of YECism.
I've recommended that one, but definitely not the ASA listserv. Think about
it folks ... you are missing out on the opportunity to perform a useful
ministry. There are so many people on the listserv who work in such diverse
areas of science, that most people ought to be able to put people straight
on why this or that YEC claim is false.

 I know that in America, the ever increasing advance of YECism and their
anti-science attitudes is VERY frustrating and upsetting, and turns
Christianity into a laughing stock. It is very clear that many of you feel
angry about this, and justifiably so. I know it's frustrating for you all,
but please for a moment just think about what I have said. You'd all make
my job trying to reason with these people a whole lot easier if you could
act with some common decency, instead of giving into the temptation to spout


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Received on Wed Sep 6 13:39:03 2006

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