Re: [asa] ASA stance

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Tue May 15 2007 - 15:08:32 EDT

This thread was very interesting and your comments were all very helpful.
This is an important issue for the ASA. Thinking about all that you've said,
at this stage I would probably recommend to the council that ASA's policies
are well stated, appropriate, and adequate. But we could do a much better
job of applying those policies.

An obvious problem is determining what it all means. What is "integrity in
science" vs erroneous thinking, or ignorance, or pseudo-science, or
well-intentioned misunderstandings? Or what is an "honest disagreement" vs a
dishonest disagreement?

In the big picture, the role of ASA is to stimulate research and dialogue in
all areas relating science and Christian faith. That doesn't mean, however,
that all ideas qualify for a seat at the table of dialogue. Some judgment
must be applied and it is in the application of that judgment that the
difficulty lies. This office receives many submissions from the entire
spectrum of thought. Many are easily dismissed, such as the geocentric Bible
which I mentioned previously. Others are not as easily discerned. For the
most part, the very diversity of ideas is valuable.

I suspect that the vast majority of YEC's in the pew do not lack integrity
in the sense that they have a self-consistent set of beliefs based on their
presuppositions. They may not be open to questioning those presuppositions
but that's where an important dialogue can occur. Many of us have been there
ourselves. Many scientifically trained authors of YEC material, however,
need to be held accountable for what can only be called a lack of integrity.
It is no longer a matter of erroneous understanding when basic well-known
principles of science are violated and one's own statements are
contradictory. ASA needs to be more vigilant in such cases and I hope the
June 2007 issue is a step in that direction.

ASA not only needs to improve its application of "integrity in science" but
also its emphasis on the statement of faith and its policy of "providing an
open forum where controversies can be discussed without fear of unjust
condemnation. Legitimate differences of opinion among Christians who have
studied both the Bible and science are freely expressed within the
Affiliation in a context of Christian love and concern for truth."

All of us on this list could and should improve significantly on this point.
Could I again remind us all to write our notes in a context of Christian
love and concern for truth? That specifically means dealing with ideas and
not writing barbs at people or calling them names or adjectives that do not
reflect respect. We tend to feel that our "condemnation" of others who
disagree with us is just while that of others is unjust.

ASA's original mission included "the review, preparation, and dissemination
of material" relating to science and Christian faith. In large part, it
seems that we have ignored YEC publications rather than reviewed them.
Perhaps we need to be a bit more explicit in respectful (of the people, not
necessarily the ideas) but candid reviews of YEC publications.

Randy

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Received on Tue May 15 20:49:31 2007

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