[asa] Clouser and fundamentalism

From: James Mahaffy <mahaffy@dordt.edu>
Date: Tue Dec 12 2006 - 03:25:08 EST


Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I would like some
feedback on Clouser's analysis of fundamentalism.

I would appreciate some feedback from folks more into the history of
science. I am part of a faculty group reading of Clouser’s Myth of
Religious Neutrality.

In his chapter on fundamentalism Clouser makes what I think is a good
point that fundamentalists tend to find the basis for their science
(he would say all subject matters) in their sacred scriptures. In
part I think this rings true to what you sometimes see in some forms
of YEC [young earth creationism] and what I see in Moslem

However I see a bit of a trend in the chapter of being ahistorical.
While fundamentalism may be a useful category I am a bit disturbed
that Clouser does NOT mention the historical context of North
American fundamentalism rising in opposition to a liberal theology
that was sweeping North American Protestantism and was doubting some
of the strong Christian beliefs [like the resurrection or deity of
God]. While some elements of this reaction do fit Clouser’s
category, sometimes the fundamentalist include the Princeton
theologians who were hardly looking for their science in the Bible.
Any reaction?

Clouser also brings up Richard Kirwan, the father of mineralogy, in
his 1799 Geological Essay. Clouser sees his looking to Noah’s flood
as a major geological event as another example of his definition of
fundamentalism. I haven’t read Kirwan, but if I am not mistaken,
this was the age of British Natural Theology, when the accepted
science saw God’s hand in world they were investigating and one of
the strong models at the time was to use Noah’s flood to account for
sedimentary rocks. I guess I can’t see using him as an example of
fundamentalism of even Clouser’s definition with out at least
mentioning the context of the science in which was working.

If Ted or someone else can comment on Kirwan as a fundamentalist or
Clouser’s lack of mentioning of the historical context, I would
appreciate feedback.

bcc to a couple members of the faculty group. As a bcc their e-mails
are protected.

James Mahaffy (mahaffy@dordt.edu) Phone: 712 722-6279
498 4th Ave NE
Biology Department FAX : 712
Dordt College, Sioux Center IA 51250-1697

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Received on Fri Dec 15 02:04:06 2006

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