Re: [asa] RE: Public questions for Denyse O'Leary

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Dec 21 2006 - 16:06:18 EST

I'd like to jump in here on something, though it will probably buy me an
argument. I really don't understand this aggressive stance, Denyse. I was
critical of many aspects of Collins' book, and Denyse you even quoted me in
one of your review posts. But I'd never call Collins an intellectual
lightweight. I'm not sure he's a "heavyweight," but then who is? He seems
like a smart and sincere person who has amazing expertise in some areas and
thinner knowledge in others.

And it just isn't true that a TE position necessarily involves making God
irrelevant. I really don't see much difference between TE and a "front
loading" ID position, for example, on this front. Nor do I understand how
the ASA could be called an "Iron curtain political church." I've made some
friends and learned alot from some folks on this list, and also from reading
the ASA journal. I'm sure that would even more be the case if I could get
to a conference.

Personally, I'm glad the ASA hasn't become a mud slinger in the culture
wars. The organization plays an important role, IMHO, precisely by not
taking that kind of stance. The sometimes nasty and often silly and crude
rehtoric on sites like Uncommon Descent -- things like Judge Jones cartoons
with fart noises, or people who criticize getting shouted down -- make
everyone who wants to engage faith and science together, whether from an ID
perspective (however an "ID perspective" is defined, which can include
everything from minimal front loading to YECism) or not, look bad.

On 12/21/06, Denyse O'Leary <> wrote:
> So, Denyse, let me ask you directly to respond to two questions. (1)
> What
> exactly would you regard as an appropriate response to Dawkins and
> company,
> a response sufficient to have you admit that we do not ignore the claims
> of
> scientific materialism?
> [From Denyse: How about making it a front and centre issue for 2007 to
> the point where you are louder than Dembski on the subject?
> I don't care if you don't. But IF you don't, don't expect me to cut any
> slack. The volume of this problem (Darwinism demands atheism) has been
> increasing for YEARS, as I have cause to know. I monitor such things for
> the publications I write for. ]
> and (2) Why exactly do you continue to bait the
> ASA? Is it simply b/c (apparently) our members generally do not share
> your
> views on some specific topic of great personal interest to you? Do you
> think somehow that we are advancing the materialist agenda?
> [From Denyse: ASA - as an organization - interests me because it
> functions like an Iron Curtain political church. It is - apparently
> intentionally, at some level - not where the action is. The youtube and
> godless movie thing is being used by Darwinists to promote atheism. Most
> ASA members are very fond of Darwinism and do not think Darwinism
> requires atheism. Shucks, I would expect to see ASA rush into something
> like this with both feet ...
> But I don't, do I? Dembski and his myrmidons, they do it. And ASA
> members, of course, criticize him and them.
> So I draw conclusions. Who wouldn't?
> Here's one: ASA stays out of the fray because it would get smacked down
> SO hard if it dared be relevant - and you are not used to that, are you?
> But it is worse than that. ASA has never wanted to acknowledge that the
> only reason it is let alone and the ID guys are not is that it does not
> really address the use of Darwinism to promote atheism in a loud and
> obvious enough way to represent any threat at all to those who are doing
> it.
> And I am supposed to take ASA seriously? Aw, come on.
> Go ahead. DO something. Prove me wrong. I'd love to write about that.
> For what it is worth, I wrote about Alister McGrath's takedown of
> Dawkins, and McG is no ID fan either.
> (Not a pin drops. O'Leary at last looks for a different topic for her
> upcoming column. ... )]
> Finally, Denyse, as per our member Francis Collins, whom you call an
> "intellectual lightweight." That is the last thing I would ever say
> about
> Francis myself. I would agree that his book is not a very deep
> treatment
> (in the intellectual sense, not the personal sense) of issues in science
> &
> religion, but neither is your book--which (as you know) I read with much
> care (and I am acknowledged in your preface).
> [From Denyse: My book - a journalist's investigation of a current
> controversy - is irrelevant, as I make no claim to be an intellectual
> heavyweight. People DO make such a claim for Collins (you just did) and
> it seems we agree that his widely read book does absolutely nothing to
> substantiate that popular view. I am glad we can agree on something.
> Merry Christmas. - cheers, Denyse]
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David W. Opderbeck
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Received on Thu Dec 21 16:06:34 2006

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