Re: [asa] ASA stance

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 15:02:28 EDT

George said: * 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.*
**
Fair point. Let me clarify two things: (1) I'm not proposing it; it isn't
my view; I just want to suggest it isn't *necessarily* impossibly
inconsistent; (2) The point about the Manichean heresy is well-taken.
That's why I was suggesting a notion of teleology to tie together as-it-was,
as-it-is, and as-it-will-be. Sin/Satan, etc. wouldn't be the cause of any
prior re-capitulation of creation, any more than they are the "cause" of
Christ's death, the final judgment, or the re-capitulation of creation in
the eschaton -- creation, fall and redemption remain encompassed by the
sovereign plan of God. As God will one day judge the world and usher in the
new creation, perhaps his judgment in the past involved a similar type of
event -- tying in some of the discussion we've had in the past about 2
Peter's parallels between the flood and the final judgment. This doesn't
solve the problem of theodicy, but maybe it is an approach to the exegetical
/ hermeutical problems raised by scriptures such as Romans 8 and 2 Peter.
OTOH, it probably causes more problems than it solves.

I do agree, in any event, that a mere "appearance of age" position seems
impossible to reconcile with scientific integrity. It seems to me that
scientific integrity, and prior to that a Christian worldview, require a
commitment to realism. We might nuance what we mean by "reality" and deeply
qualify our ability to accurately perceive and describe reailty (including
-- maybe -- that "reality" as a whole might include multiple layers and
histories that seem contradictory to us from a human perspective, not the
least of which involve the "spiritual realm"), but I find it impossible to
reconcile the notion that God would build into the deepest fabric of
creation a false history that is in no sense "real."

On 5/11/07, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
>
> 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 15:02:59 2007

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