Re: [asa] ASA stance

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 14:18:56 EDT

Further comments on the issue, with reference to those who've posted on my original suggestion:

Ted D: I'm glad that Randy is going to be saying aomething about this in PSCF. However -
    a) That doesn't have the status of an official position statement of the organization.
    b) In any case, a concerted PR effort will be needed if we want an ASA statement (official or not) to have a significant impact.
Speaking of impacts, of course there will also be some negative fallout. But Dembski & O'Leary may have already gotten about as mileage from their disinformation campaign as they're going to get.

Bill H: First, I don't think that an endorsement of evolution should be made in connection with a statement in favor of an old earth. I certainly accept evolution myself, but it's possible for an honest, intelligent & scientifically literate person to hold some version of OEC or PC without the distortions or doublethink that YEC requires. Besides, separating the two issues has some tactical advantages. It would mean that we wouldn't have to provoke Christians who react viscerally to the E word.
        Second, adopting a statement on age doesn't mean that we have to kick YECs out of the organization. That wouldn't be part of the statement of faith. They could even be advised privately that they were welcome to stay. But including a welcome to them in the original statement would cloud the message.

Jack: I agree that "biblical interpretations that claim that the earth MUST be young, are incorrect," but don't think that we should state this explicitly. It would be better to stick to a statement about the science. Among other things, we should remember that most members of ASA are scientists & not professional theologians. OTOH, on drsyme's comment, I don't think we should make an explicit statement about their being multiple valid interpretations of scripture. That's true, but not all interpretations are valid.

Dave S: The theological commitments involved in our statement of faith include theological validation of scientific investigation of the world. (In a way the older statement of faith was stronger in that regard: "Certain laws are discernable in the manner in which God upholds the world. The scientific approach is acapable of giving reliable information about the natural world.")

Dick F & Jack H: I would hope that the council would give serious consideration to the type of statement I suggested.

David O: I can't say that I really understand the type of "old & young" view you're proposing but it makes me nervous. Any view that makes sin, or Satan, or any evil power responsible for the present condition of the world, including the way fundamental physical processes operate, verges on the Manichean heresy because it makes something other than God the effective creator of the empirical world.

James M: Offering fellowship to the few YEC scientists who honestly face the difficulties of their view would be fine, but we can't do everything. & at this point I think it's more important to maintain the public credibility of the ASA & if possible put a spoke in the wheel of the well-financed & publicized YEC movement whose integrity is, at the very least, open to question.

Terry G: The previous 2 comments also apply, mutatis mutandis, to your response. We can respect the fact that some Christians think the authority of scripture requires a young earth without remaining officially neutral on the subject.
I disagree with you about the viability of apparent age arguments (see my earlier post on Oklo) but don't want to get off track on that now.

Jim A: A young earth view is very helpful, though not essential, for anti-evolution. If the earth has only been around for ~10^4 years then significant macroevolution couldn't have happened. The type of statement I suggest would thus remove some support from anti-evolution positions, & so much the better, but we don't have to point that out explicitly.

Hope there are no stupid typos this time!

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

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Received on Fri May 11 14:19:27 2007

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