Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 23:52:03 EST

I get a little different take on the matter, a claim that what comes from
those who do not see eye to eye with us religiously are ipso facto wrong
on other matters. I don't want to chuck relativity theory because
Einstein held to Spinoza's deity. Sounds like ad hominem to me.

On Wed, 21 Feb 2007 22:28:07 -0500 "George Murphy" <>
Which is to say that the type of evangelical leaders you describe (a)
have a view of the "special place" of humanity in creation that is so
special that it fails to take seriously the clear biblical witness that
links us with the rest of creation, (b) don't see that part of our
specialness is the human responsibility to care for creation for its own
sake & (c) have so conflated their religious & their political views that
they're no longer able to tell the difference.

----- Original Message -----
From: David Opderbeck
To: George Murphy
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:16 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

I agree with you ,George, that environmental concern doesn't have to
become a religious "ism" and is very much central to a Christian
understanding of creation and vocation. At the same time, it doesn't
take much digging to uncover the very anti-Christian worldview and ethics
underlying some aspects of the contemporary environmental movement.
IMHO, it is very hard, if not impossible, to make common cause with folks
who hold the view, for example, that human beings are ethically
equivalent to any other animal(ala Peter Singer), or that the earth is a
quasi-sentient "Gaia" organism. I think this concern very much underlies
the split within evangelicalism over global warming. One concern of the
"Interfaith Alliance" group (the group of evangelical warming skeptics),
I think, is that the evangelical leaders who accept global warming as a
problem are somehow ceding ground to worldviews that fail to give
humanity a special place in the created order. (Another major concern,
of course, is a deep political suspicion of government regulation, and of
international organizations in particular, which is probably way the
skeptic group includes religious right figures such as James Dobson).

On 2/21/07, George Murphy <> wrote:
Yes, environmentalism can be a religion. So can money, sex, the American
way of life & virtually anything else. So throw your money away, take a
vow of celibacy & become the man/woman without a country.

The fact that environmentalism can be a religion should not be countered
by denying legitimate concerns about the environment but by showing how
the calling to care for the natural world is properly understood within
the context of Christian doctrines of creation & vocation. See, e.g.,
the environmental statements of churches such as the Presbyterian Church
in the USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, & the Orthodox
Church (the latter, of course, a real band of wild-eyed liberals!)

I'm assuming of course that this concern about "environmentalism is a
religion" is real & not a red herring, though I'm not so naive as to
think that that's the case for all who raise this cry.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jack
To: Rich Blinne ;
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

Arent you at all concerned that environmentalism, just like atheism, and
materialsim, and any other numerous ism's, are a substitute for

You keep ignoring Holden's use of religious terminology. Why do you
think Holden spoke in those terms? Was it just an unfortunate choice of
words, or is he trying to encourage this to be a religion to his
followers, and to himself? After all this was a scientific conference
not a religious one.

I am concerned about the use of religious rhetoric in a conference such
as this. Everyone needs to fill their "God-shaped hole", and certainly
environmental zealotry would fit that bill. While I am not opposed to
faith/science discussions, I am concerned that Holden is subtly using
this human need for religion to advance an agenda, and by doing so is
leading people away from Christ. He may not be doing this, but I dont
think that we should be endorsing his use of relgious rhetoric.

Frankly I dont understand his point of tithing anyway. Shouldnt we be
using well more than 10% of our talents towards the good of humanity?
----- Original Message -----
From: Rich Blinne
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:24 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address


On 2/21/07, <> wrote:
Rich, hang on a second. I still think you are missing
Janice's point.

Even though tithe literally means %10, it is clearly
associated with religion, with churches, wouldnt you agree
with that?

Janice is pointing to Holdens use of this term as an
example of what Crichton is calling Environmentalism.
That is a zealous religion of defending the environment.

This has nothing to do with Christianity and rationality.
Crichton is trying to make the point that there are
environmental scientists that are zealots, and have their
judgement clouded. I dont agree with him, and you dont
agree with him. But unfortunately, Holden's use of a term
that has religious connotations, makes it appear that
perhaps Crichton is correct. That is Janice's point. It
has nothing to do with her faith, fideism, or anything of
the sort.

That's Janice's point but it is not Crichton's. Because environmental
scientists can be religious zealots, you still have to take one more step
in the argument and show how their judgment is clouded and why scientists
should not devote their time for the benefit of humanity and why the use
of religious rhetoric is bad particularly when science is supposedly
atheistic. Crichton short-circuits that analysis by making ALL religious
thinking suspect. Science, as defined by himself, of course, GOOD,
religion, BAD. Then he only needs to show that there is a religious
component and go straight to Q.E.D. Ironically, he gets to his conclusion
by mis-labelling scientific thinking as religious and vice versa.
Crichton is a dangerous ally for Janice and other Christian environmental
skeptics to have because of this. His cure is worse than the disease. If
Janice and others are concerned about the New Age influence in
environmentalism -- and I am not saying that concern is illegitimate --
then she should join me in my original proposal to coopt the AAAS
president's proposal. It should be Christians in science that
(legitimately) tithe our talents for the (true) good of humanity.

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Received on Wed Feb 21 23:58:02 2007

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