RE: [asa] ASA stance

From: Donald F Calbreath <>
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 16:23:43 EDT

I've been following the discussion about YECs, ID, ASA and who should be in it as well as all the connected issues for some time now. Let me see if I have everything straight.

1. You don't really want anybody who supports YEC or ID to be in ASA. You talk about allowing them in only as long as they don't say much or don't push their views.

2. You want a statement about the age of the earth that does not make any assumptions about evolution.

3. Many of you seem confused or uncertain about exactly when Adam and Eve lived, if they lived, or when a soul was somehow placed into humans, or when they became human, created in God's image.

4. You place a strong emphasis on scientific integrity, but seem to have some problems with placing the same emphasis on integrity of the Scriptures.

5. Various modern theologians appear to be the major sources of your Scripture interpretation (and they are all very liberal theologians).


Have I left anything out of importance?


Some conclusions I come to:

1. Apparently, you don't support the statements that ASA has made about positions they take and the importance of inclusion and theological diversity.

2. You are very disdainful of people in ASA who take different positions than you do on some of these issues.

3. I am having a difficult time seeing what distinguishes your position (is it Old Earth Creationism or Theistic Evolution or what?, I can't really tell) from the secular scientific community. It is not at all clear to me where God fits in to your position.

4. The recent conversations with AAAS and ASA must have been very comforting to the secular folks in AAAS (I have not seen anything specific about what was said in the conversation). My guess would be that they know now that they have co-opted a major Christian organization and can now get on with the task of eliminating any talk of God being involved in the world. If I am wrong, please let me know. I've raised the question at least once on this listserv within the last month and never got any response.

5. You are driving another wedge between science and conservative Christians. You will not convince more Christians to go into science; you will simply help many of them walk away from a story they already do not buy into.

6. After over forty years of being a member of ASA, I will be submitting my resignation when the "official statement" comes out in June if it reads anywhere close to what has already been clearly stated on this listserv. I definitely no longer feel welcome here.


Don Calbreath


From: on behalf of George Murphy
Sent: Fri 5/11/07 11:18 AM
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] ASA stance

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!
George <>

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Received on Fri May 11 16:25:36 2007

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