Re: [asa] ASA stance

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 13:22:48 EDT

I think we have to be very careful here. "integrity in science" is
not a code for "believing whatever mainstream science believes". Nor
is the third plank of the ASA (We believe that in creating and
preserving the universe God has endowed it with contingent order and
intelligibility, the basis of scientific investigation.) such a code.

Don't get me wrong--I think that the evidence for an old earth is
convincing and it is fully permitted from a Biblical perspective.
However, for Christians who interpret the Bible otherwise, submission
to the authority of scripture requires them to admit that the
something is wrong with the science. They may not be able to pinpoint
it--it may in fact be "appearance of age" (I think we vastly overly
demonize this viewpoint--how old was the wine that Jesus created at
Cana?). This is not to say that we should tolerate bad scientific
arguments for YEC. We should expose them in a familial way. However,
as I have argued in other posts recently, the definition of science
is not such a clean operation. Big worldview questions do enter in.
What if something major has changed since the Fall that impacts the
question of age? All bets are off as to the reliability of our
observations. There's a potential discontinuity there that it's very
possible that science can't touch. Belief in a YE looks foolish to
the world, but then so does belief in a resurrection and in a God who
saves and in the Holy Spirit who changes hearts, etc. etc. etc.

The question is, is the recent creation interpretation of Genesis a
reasonable Christian position? If it is, then we must be open to its
advocates developing a science in light of that position. Such a
science may not be "shared" with those who don't share their
worldview. But that's the way of the post-modernist future and the
Reformed epistemological past. It is also why we must begin to take
pluralism seriously in our society.

I do think that we need to continue to be a place where we allow
multiple perspectives. We cause offense to YEC not because we don't
allow their position, but because we allow other positions. It is
generally the case the YEC's are exclusivistic. So we cause offense
to them because we're not and then they generally pull out or aren't
willing to join in with us.

I will be interested in seeing what Randy has to say. His inaugural
remarks had hints of a new direction for the ASA in this--one that
might make us rethink the impression that we are creating in our
Commission on Creation statement. Personally, I hope that's not the
case. While such diversity frustrates our impact (we can't
propagandize the way AiG or RTB or UcD does or even CTNS), it
provides a unique and necessary role.

TG

On May 11, 2007, at 7:12 AM, Ted Davis wrote:

> This has been a very interesting conversation to follow. It's also
> one of
> those cases (there aren't all that many, IMO) in which the
> conversation on
> this list actually does reflect, quite accurately, what nearly all
> members
> think. As far as I can tell, all but a tiny handful of our members
> are
> convinced (1) that the earth and universe are vastly older than the
> 10-12K
> years that is typically endorsed by YECs; and (2) that the ways in
> which
> many (not all) YECs promote that number is are not consistent with
> scientific integrity--that is, the information is presented to lay
> people in
> such as way as to provide deliberately misleading impressions of
> what the
> scientific conclusions actually are, and how they are arrived at.
>
> It would be easier to ignore this type of thing, if it weren't so
> influential, and if we weren't who we are (ie, an organization of
> Christians
> in the science who are committed to helping people understand
> science/faith
> issues while respecting the integrity of science. This doesn't
> mean that
> our members as individuals all agree that a given scientific
> conclusions is
> well supported, but it does mean that our members as individuals
> share "a
> commitment to integrity in the practice of science." That is what
> we all
> say we agree with.
>
> I urge all of our members to pay close attention to the op-ed piece by
> Randy Isaac, which will be in the June issue of PSCF. Once it is
> out, we
> will probably want to talk about the specifics here. Randy will
> underscore
> that membership in the ASA does not commit a person to affirming an
> "old"
> earth--there is nothing in our mission/identity that requires or
> implies
> this--but it does commit a person to integrity in how scientific
> information
> is conveyed to lay people. His essay will clarify where the ASA is
> on this.
> It is possible that we will lose some members over this, but the
> YE people
> I have met through ASA usually admit that scientific evidence does not
> presently favor their view, and that is consistent with our
> mission/identity.
>
> Stay tuned.
>
> Ted
>
>
> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Fri May 11 13:23:34 2007

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