Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Feb 27 2007 - 11:21:49 EST

Ted, thanks for this. I don't think that many see the pernicious legacy of
the Warfare of Science and Religion and how both YEC ID and atheists as well
as the bulk of those who think they know what has happened between science
and religion.

There are lots more names to add both from the USA and UK - Polkinghorne and
liberal friends like Peacocke who have engaged atheists at the highest
level. Also many members of CIS Mackay of a previous generation, Berry who
gave the Gifford Lectures and many who do so in a quiet way - Michael
Reiss, Bob White and loads more.

"Debating" on the internet is as time consuming as writing papers etc and
few read what you write.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: <>; <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:04 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

>I really want to respond to Glenn, whose candor and ardor I have always
> admired.
> Like Keith and Bill, I don't do debates: they aren't helpful to most
> people, who listen to them rooting for one side and missing the truth
> coming
> from the other direction. As a Christian scholar, truth is my number one
> concern, whether or not it agrees with my preconceived view. God is a
> lover
> of truth, and if we forget that we forget God.
> I did make an exception to this follwing the Dover trial, when I told a
> local rabble-rousing preacher (whose name I will not provide here, but who
> is well known to people in Dover even though he lives somewhere else) that
> I
> would debate Kent Hovind on the big bang theory. (The debate did not take
> place; I never heard back from him, although he knows Hovind and brought
> him
> to Dover.) I meant that seriously. I have publicly called Hovind a
> "snake-oil" salesman who can't be trusted to tell the truth, and now I
> can't
> be sued b/c the courts have found reason to convict him for dishonesty.
> That is one debate that I believe I could "win," at least in the sense
> that
> I could show the audience precisely why it is stupid and inaccurate to see
> the big bang as the devil's instrument, and that creationists who compare
> it
> to creating an airliner out of an explosion in a junkyard (I would just
> sit
> there waiting for him to say it, and pounce on it) are either deliberately
> distorting the truth or just don't understand what they are talking about.
> But Hovind isn't an atheist (even though his antics probably help create
> some atheists), and that's what Glenn was talking about.
> So, Glenn, let me tell you about my Christian vocation. It may be
> relevant
> to your question--the same question that Denyse O'Leary constantly asks:
> where are you ASA people, esp you TEs, when it comes to taking on the
> atheists? Glenn, my view is that you and she both either fail to see what
> we do, or else fail to acknowledge what you see. In her case, I have
> already said on this list that it's the latter. I will let you answer for
> yourself, if you wish to. When (TE and former ASA member) Howard Van Till
> went after scientific atheism in his book, "Science Held Hostage," did
> that
> count? When Francis Collins (TE and ASA member) debated Richard Dawkins
> in
> Time magazine, did that count? When TE Robin Collins debates atheists (do
> a
> google search for his name and atheism), does that count? When a book by
> TEs actually gets some grudging respect on an atheist website that
> obviously
> rejects our views
> (, does
> that
> count? When TE Alister McGrath debunks Dawkins, does that count? When TE
> Ken Miller attacks his atheistic colleagues (see chap 6 in "Finding
> Darwin's
> God," the chapter that is usually ignored by his ID critics to such a
> degree
> that I wonder whether they even read the whole book), does that count?
> When
> I dismissively review a book by a sophomoric sceptic in American Scientist
> (, does that count? What
> actually
> counts, Glenn? Please be specific about what you are not seeing, that you
> need to see, before you admit that TEs do engage scientific atheists.
> As for myself, Glenn, please understand this: my entire scholarly career
> has been devoted to debunking the real lapdog of the atheists--not the TEs
> (see above), but the "warfare" thesis of science and religion. The whole
> cultural legacy of White, Draper, Huxley, and company, which takes two
> modern forms. One form is the aggressive, anti-religious polemics of
> Dawkins, Dennett, and the rest; the other is White's original, kindler,
> gentler warfare thesis, which claims that science and CHristian theology
> have never had and never will have a productive conversation. By showing
> just how wrong White was, and is, my work is exactly what you are missing.
> Almost everything I have ever written, in one way or another, works either
> directly against the warfare view by debunking it, or else indirectly
> against it by calling attention to the positive, constructive engagement
> of
> science with Christian theology. But in every case, to the best of my
> ability, simply by telling the truth, not by distorting it or inventing it
> or denying it. The truth. Not polemics. For examples, see my webpage.
> So, Glenn, do I engage in combatting atheism? I certainly hope so, and I
> definitely believe so. What do you think, my friend?
> Ted
> concerning evolution. We are seen as part of the problem rather than a
> fighter alongside them against the increasing secularization of the
> society.
> By standing with our YEC brothers against the atheists, we can do several
> things. If our arguments against atheism are better than the ones they
> have,
> we earn their respect and the right to be heard on other issues. We also
> will occasionally make the atheist think-not the primary goal of the
> debate,
> but an occasional nice piece of lagniappe (Go look it up. This is a word I
> picked up in a foreign country I lived in called Louisiana).
> We also can make it intellectually valid for people to resist the
> secularization of society which is eroding church attendance, traditional
> morality, and marriage. This is a phenomenon, I feel is largely due to the
> perceived lack of reality to our world view. All we offer are myths,
> poetry, allegory or false science. Hard to see why someone would reject
> that offering!
> When Burgy visited Houston in January, we had lunch and he told me his
> story. (Burgy, you can correct this if it needs correction) One of the
> things he said was that he took a class on christianity at a church and at
> the end, they had a test. Burgy was the top student.(Burgy is smart) The
> pastor asked him if he wanted to join the church. Burgy said "no" The
> surprised pastor wanted to know why. Burgy explained that he had mastered
> the material, but that it didn't have any 'reality' to it.
> I used this as a launching point to try to counter the main criticism of
> my
> approach to the scripture. I am often accused of being a literalist. I am
> not, but, if the account has no 'reality' to it, I am in the same boat as
> Burgy was that day. Indeed, society is currently in that boat. The YECs
> tell a bunch of falsehoods about science and expect everyone to become a
> Christian. But the rest of us tell them that the Bible is really not real
> history, and then we expect everyone to become christians in spite of that
> unreality.
> Atheism and secularism are spreading. Fewer go to church because they
> feel
> that there is nothing there except myths, poetry, allegory and/or false
> science. I can't fight the myth issue, but if I can get the YECs to see
> me
> as a brother, they might listen to my arguments about the falsity of their
> 'science'.
> Thus, there are more reasons to argue with atheists than the linear
> thought
> process would illuminate. We might get the YECs to pay attention to us;
> we
> might win an occasional atheist over and we might slow or reverse the
> secularization of society. From the responses I have seen, few are willing
> to do much against the atheists directly. Kudoes to those who are willing
> to
> fight.
> The question of what do we stand for is one of immense importance. Last
> year two Fox News journalists were kidnapped in Gaza. They were told to
> convert or die. (unfortunately the video has been removed) They converted
> to
> Islam and it was big news in the Islamic world because it was proof that
> the
> westerners stood for nothing and were willing to give up their culture so
> easily. Now, I don't know what I would do, and don't want to find out, but
> if one doesn't stand for something, someone else will.
> One thing I have learned in my life is that those who don't fight usually
> lose. This is one of the things which began to bother me about the ASA and
> why I have said it is a dying organization. We are insular and talking to
> ourselves. Usually people who talk to themselves are called mad. I don't
> want to spend my time talking to the converted anymore-time is too short;
> too short indeed. (No doubt this will tick people off again, but not to
> worry).
> With this, I am off the list again. Thanks for the fish, and thanks for
> the
> answers.
> glenn
> They're Here: The Pathway Papers
> Foundation, Fall, and Flood
> Adam, Apes and Anthropology
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Received on Tue Feb 27 11:22:59 2007

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