Re: [asa] An open letter to Bill Dembski and Denyse O'Leary

From: Vernon Jenkins <vernon.jenkins@virgin.net>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 11:22:22 EDT

Ted,

One would have supposed the pubication of Vladimir shCherbak's Arithmetic
inside the universal genetic code in the peer-reviewed journal BioSystems
[70 (2003) 187-209], together with the more recent realisation that his
findings closely match my own (among the 7 Hebrew words of Genesis 1:1),
that ID is already a slam dunk in the minds of those of this forum who have
read and assimilated the email report and page which pertain to these
matters: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200703/0597.html

Since no member of the forum has been able to offer a naturalistic
explanation of this interesting and potentially significant conjunction, it
is hardly likely that Richard Dawkins can! Ted, I trust you would agree with
me that these facts need to be brought to RD's attention, at the highest
level, and at the earliest possible convenience.

Regards,

Vernon

www.otherbiblecode.com

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <TDavis@messiah.edu>
To: <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
Cc: "William A. Dembski" <dembski@discovery.org>; <oleary@sympatico.ca>
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:50 PM
Subject: [asa] An open letter to Bill Dembski and Denyse O'Leary

> Dear Bill and Denyse,
>
> I do not think it is fair to criticize the leadership of the ASA on your
> blog, "Uncommon Descent," for calling attention to the following issue,
> which one of our members worded as follows:
>
> "The young-earth message has bitten deeply into the evangelical culture,
> and people trust this message. What will it take to show people believably
> that the young-earth view is not the only possible one, without
> undermining the Christianity or sincerity of those that hold that
> position?"
>
> In the context of the ASA and its history (since 1941), Jack Haas' letter
> is simply a matter of looking over our shoulders at the inroads that YECs
> have made in conservative churches since the 1970s, while we are engaged
> in our primary mission of advancing the cause of Christ in the scientific
> community. To the best of my knowledge, neither of you holds to the YE
> view, and it cannot be too difficult for you to understand the concern
> stated above. How one could construe this as an effort to attack fellow
> Christians is beyond me. The language is very clear; many in the ASA are
> concerned about "the young-earth view," but we are no less concerned to
> speak to that "without undermining the Christianity or sincerity of those
> that hold that position." I fail to see how one can fairly accuse the ASA
> of wanting to attack fellow Christians, on the basis of this document.
> Trying to convince people that there are multiple views about origins
> within the Christian community is hardly !
> equivalent to attacking fellow Christians. Indeed, would it not be fair
> to say that some ID advocates try to do precisely the same thing? Don't
> they want some fellow Christians to think that there are alternatives to
> TE? Or YEC?
>
> As for scientific materialism (here you picked up on Jack's words, where
> you apparently ignored them above), you need to understand two highly
> relevant points. First, ASA was founded at Moody Bible Institute by five
> men, a mix of OECs and at least one YEC (the late Harold Hartzler). Their
> concern was similar to that of leading anti-evolutionist Harry Rimmer at
> the time: to use what they took for genuine science to help uphold the
> faith of the youth. An excellent purpose then, and I still think so now.
> To the extent that you try to accomplish the same goal, I applaud. The
> problem was that their view of genuine science was far too Baconian, what
> I call the "Dragnet" view of science: "Just the facts, ma'am." The
> powerful coherence found in larger "theories" did not qualify in their
> minds as legitimate science, even though this has been a key part of
> scientific reasoning since the early 17th century. In the 1950s and
> 1960s, as people like Bernard Ramm, Elving Anderson, Ri!
> chard Bube, and many others moved into the ASA, and as a much larger
> number of professional scientists joined, the Baconian view no longer
> dominated the ASA. Most of us do not view H-D science, including the
> historical sciences, as inherently suspect; we don't identify them pure
> and simple with "materialism." This is what Jack was probably referring
> to. This context is vital to understand the point. If the ASA moved, it
> wasn't recently, it was at some point in the 1950s and into the 1960s.
> It's no accident that Henry Morris and some others left the ASA in the
> early 1960s to form the Creation Research Society. Whatever may be said
> about the ASA as we find it today, it is not possible to say that it is a
> "creationist" organization in the usual (popular) sense of that term. It
> isn't clear that it really ever was such, but it was friendlier to
> creationism in that first decade. It is also true that, especially since
> the 1970s, many in the ASA have primary interests in ar!
> eas other than "origins," although there is no lack of interes!
> t in tha
> t topic even today. I myself would say that is a primary area of
> interest, but many of my friends are much more interested in stewardship,
> bioethics, genetics, HPS (which is obviously my number one interest), or
> even theology. We're very interdisciplinary and more widely ranging than
> we were a few decades ago.
>
> As for genuine materialism, we have not lost our way, not at all. In
> response to claims that we don't confront atheism, for whatever stated or
> implied reasons (I won't review them here, except to say that gutlessness
> is not left out of the mix), I have several times in various places
> responded to this. Just this morning on the ASA list, I reiterated
> comments I have made before about multiple visions of Christian vocation
> among ASA members (including those members who advance ID) and different
> strategies that are used to respond to the larger cultural claims that God
> is a fiction and religion is not something that smart people believe. We
> entirely agree, you and I, about the offensive and dangerous nature of
> this claim. You have your ways of responding, I have mine, and other ASA
> members have theirs.
>
> But respond we do. I could literally fill this blog with examples, but
> let me limit myself to a few prominent, recent ones that many in
> cyberspace have probably noticed. Owen Gingerich's recent Noble lectures
> at Harvard (the same place where Pinker and others have prevented students
> from even taking one course on religion, perhaps the most secular
> university in the nation), published as "God's Universe", directly
> challenge a nihilistic interpretation of the universe, and even appeal to
> "design" in doing so. Francis Collins' many activities, which you have
> (apparently somewhat grudgingly) acknowledged on UD, are so very important
> for their high visibility and for the contradiction that Collins himself
> represents to Dennett and the "brights." Not to be missed is Randy
> Isaac's important essay in the current issue of "Phi Kappa Phi Forum,"
> which we will shortly be adding to the ASA website. That is a very
> secular venue, but Randy's message is clear and to the point about D!
> awkins, Dennett, and Provine, not to mention the falsity of the "warfare"
> thesis about the history of science and religion. Speaking of the warfare
> view, my entire scholarly career has been devoted to debunking it, piece
> by piece and bit by bit, and to providing very helpful (I hope)
> alternative understandings of the rich and multifaceted historical
> relationship between science and Christianity. That is my own vocation:
> to undermine Dawkins and company historically, while at the same time
> providing ideas and examples (ie, examples taken from history since the
> mid-17th century) of Christians doing science and interpreting science to
> larger audiences in ways that are faithful to the science and faithful to
> Christ. I speak about this anywhere I am invited, including top research
> universities. (Next month, Owen Gingerich and I will be on a panel at a
> theater in Philadelphia, where another panelist is Harvard evolutionary
> psychologist Mark Hauser. We do what we can.) Sever!
> al other ASA authors have written very helpful defenses of Chr!
> istian t
> heism, including rebuttals of scientific atheism; and I don't need to
> remind you that quite a few ID authors are ASA members themselves. They
> have apparently found our journal, annual meeting, and networking helpful
> to advancing their visions of science as Christian vocation. On a
> different level, there are the apologetics ministries of Fred Heeren and
> Hugh Ross, both of whom are ASA members.
>
> In this context, it is vitally important not to miss the significance of
> teaching, mentoring, and being public witnesses on highly secular
> campuses. This goes under the radar screen most of the time, unless you
> know those campuses. But it's extremely important, since it influences
> lives and minds at crucial points of intellectual and spiritual
> development. These activities need to be seen, and credited, and the role
> of the ASA in helping these members carry out their vocations, by linking
> them with others of like mind and heart, is vital. Loren Haarsma, whose
> essay "Does Science Exclude God?" in Keith Miller's book ("Perspectives on
> an Evolving Creation") is one of the best I have ever read, has taught
> with his wife Deborah Haarsma courses on Christianity and science at
> secular colleges like Haverford and in China. They both teach at Calvin,
> which is not a secular school, but their enormously helpful and thoughtful
> materials are partly available online, and are being ma!
> de available soon in printed form to churches. Many others ASA members do
> similar things*again, perhaps not on your radar screen, in which case you
> might want to adjust the frequency. Ian Hutchinson teaches a terrific
> course about "the Faith of Great Scientists" at MIT; Walter Bradley, David
> Vader, Martin Price and so many others help initiate their students into
> meeting the basic needs of impoverished people around the world. (What I
> want you to see here is the power of this type of witness, in response to
> the empty morality of Dawkins and company. Actions really do speak louder
> than words.) You know of course about Walter's strong pro-ID stance; it
> is worth noting that he will be president of the ASA next year, when I
> will be VP. For much of his career (he is now retired), Dick Bube taught
> Stanford students about science and Christianity, wrote about it in
> several books, and edited the ASA Journal. Bob Griffiths and Gary
> Patterson teach courses at Carnegie Mellon, !
> David Snoke brings religious speakers to Pitt, Bob Kaita mento!
> rs stude
> nts at Princeton. And Nobel laureates Bill Phillips and Charles Townes
> (the latter not a member, but on our advisory board) speak against
> scientific atheism all the time; they just aren't as "in your face" as
> some others, and not as widely publicized.
>
> I could keep going all day, which I haven't got; I've left out so many
> others, even top names like Fritz Schaeffer and Elving Anderson. These
> are all ASA people who courageously bring Christian perspectives on
> science to very secular places, in various ways. They may not get on the
> radio opposite Dawkins or on the cover of Time magazine, but they count.
> Some prefer ID to TE, some prefer TE to ID, and some would say they like
> both. As for those who prefer TE, you may believe that a more aggressive
> response to scientific atheism, such as that represented by ID, would be
> more effective in the long run. If so, that would be simply a difference
> of opinion about strategy, not a failure on the part of ASA members to
> confront and engage the claims of Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and company.
> Some of us agree with you that methodological naturalism should be
> directly refuted, and some of us don't; but we all agree that metaphysical
> naturalism is a false religion, based on false as!
> sumptions about God, humanity, and the creation, and we all try to show
> the weaknesses of atheism while providing a more thoughtful alternative.
> Simply b/c most of us don't publish in "Salvo" magazine or get invited to
> debate Michael Shermer, does not mean that we don't confront the atheists.
>
> You have stated on your blog, Bill, that you won't let anyone "insult"
> Denyse there, and that those of us who participate in the ASA list (which
> you can post to anytime you wish) need to "watch your step" if we respond
> to her charges. You say that you are ready to "boot anyone at the least
> provocation." I can't imagine that any fair-minded person would regard
> this post as provocative, in the sense you seem to have in mind. I ask
> you, therefore, to post this entire message on your blog, as an
> appropriate response to Denyse. As you know, Bill, technical problems
> with your server have prevented my posts from going through. I'm sure
> your moderators can put this post directly onto the blog; or you could do
> it yourself. Please take care of this for me.
>
> For my part, this is all I wish to say, but I'll watch for any further
> comments on UD or the ASA list.
>
> Ted
>
>
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Received on Tue May 1 11:23:38 2007

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