Re: [asa] ASA stance

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 20:24:20 EDT

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

Huh? Where does this come from? In this thread I mentioned Vern Poythress
-- a Van Tilian inerrantist at Westminster Seminary Philadelphia -- just
about as anti-liberal as they come. We've spent lots of time in the past
talking about Luther's theology of the cross and Calvin's principle of
accomodation -- liberal? We've discussed B.B. Warfield's views on evolution
-- liberal? We've also talked about folks like Torrance (depends who you
ask if he's "liberal," I guess) and Alister McGrath. Is McGrath liberal?
True, others are often mentioned who have good insights but who aren't
fundamentalists or even inerrantists -- Polkinghorne, Pannenberg, etc. --
usually on matters of broader theology.

I suspect that of the active posters here, there's a broad spectrum
concerning the doctrine of scripture, which includes many who accept some
derivation of Warfieldian inerrancy and many who don't; but I also suspect
that there's a fairly conservative sense of hermeneutics, in that most folks
want to take both the text in its original setting, and information from
general revelation, seriously.

On 5/11/07, Donald F Calbreath <> wrote:
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> <>
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Received on Fri May 11 20:30:00 2007

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