Re: [asa] Brownback on evolution

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sun Jun 03 2007 - 08:56:57 EDT

On Jun 3, 2007, at 12:18 AM, David Clounch wrote:

> Legitimate questions asked in good faith will be answered in due
> course. Stupidity will be ignored. If someone who is a member of
> the ASA wants to disagree with me, I am up for it.
> But this isn't the kansas citizens for science hate group.

Careful. I don't even know the person you are debating is a member of
the ASA. On the other hand, I do know a board member of KCFS, Dr.
Keith Miller, is a fellow of the ASA. What's missing from the debate
whether it's Senator Brownback or the Iowa statement is the precision
on the topic of naturalism that Keith has. It's too bad Keith didn't
help write the Iowa statement as they appear to make the same kind of
conflation error that the ID proponents do with respect to
philosophical versus methodological naturalism. BTW, Keith is
referenced in the Wikipedia article on methodological naturalism.
( )
It's worth repeating what he sent the Kansas BOE:

> Keith B. Miller, Board member, Kansas Citizens for Science
> Open Letter to the Kansas State Board of Education
> A pamphlet has come to my attention that makes blatantly false
> statements about Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS) and its
> advocacy for quality science. This pamphlet is being distributed by
> John Calvert, spokesperson for the science standards "Minority"
> group, contributor to and advocate for the state BOE's science
> standards, organizer of the Boards May 2005 "science hearings", and
> director of the Intelligent Design network, Inc. (IDnet).
> I will only address two of the false charges made in Calvert's
> flyer. Calvert states:
> "During the science hearings in May 2005, KCFS was the primary tool
> of the opposition and has been used and supported by national
> organizations to promote a materialist world view that seeks to
> demean the idea of creation. This effectively promotes non-theistic
> religions and worldviews over traditional theistic views and causes
> governmental institutions that employ the strategy to engage in
> religious discrimination.:
> Such a portrayal of KCFS is both false and a personal insult. I am
> a current and founding Board member of KCFS. I am also an
> evangelical Christian, a fellow of the American Scientific
> Affiliation (an association of Christians in the sciences) and an
> officer in the Affiliation of Christian Geologists. There are a
> number of other Christians on the KCFS Board, as well as members
> with other religious views. Calvert knows this, and yet he persists
> in portraying KCFS as advocating a materialist worldview and
> denigrating faith. KCFS has worked consistently to oppose this
> false portrayal of science and evolutionary theory as atheistic,
> and to combat the utterly false "warfare" view of science and faith.
> It is Calvert and the Intelligent Design (ID) proponents who
> believe that science is atheistic, not Kansas Citizens for Science.
> The ID proponents believe that just because science is limited to
> investigating natural causes, it implies philosophical materialism
> or atheism. This is why they eliminated the word “natural” from the
> definition of science. This association of the method of science
> with atheism is utterly wrong.
> Science is a limited enterprise and can only ask and answer certain
> types of questions. It only has the tools to study and evaluate
> natural causes and processes. Science simply cannot say that there
> is no God or that God is not actively involved in the natural
> world. It is completely erroneous to state that somehow science
> provides an argument against God.
> Science also cannot be used to prove God's action. I believe that
> God is always creatively active in the natural world and that the
> very existence of physical reality is dependent on God’s continual
> action. But that is not a statement that science can demonstrate or
> prove.
> Calvert and the Intelligent Design proponents use the term
> “methodological naturalism” (limiting science to seeking natural
> explanations) are being equivalent to philosophical naturalism and
> thus atheism. However, this is the exact opposite of the reason the
> term "methodological naturalism" was coined. The term was first
> used in 1986 by an evangelical Christian philosopher named Paul
> deVries at Wheaton College in order to specifically argue against
> philosophical naturalism by emphasizing that science cannot make
> claims about the existence or non-existence of God.
> So the Intelligent Design supporters use the term “methodological
> naturalism” in exactly the opposite way that it was intended. The
> understanding of science as described by Paul deVries is widely
> recognized by the scientific community, and was the basis for the
> description of science in the standards as proposed by the writing
> committee. What the ID proponents have done is to essentially agree
> with atheists like Dawkins and Dennett that science does promote an
> atheistic worldview.
> So look at the irony: KCFS and the standards committee support an
> understanding of the nature and limitations of science advocated by
> an evangelical Christian philosopher, while Calvert and the ID
> supporters promote an atheistic interpretation. Who is here
> supporting an atheistic and materialistic view of science?
> In this same pamphlet, Calvert charges that KCFS has a strategy to
> promote "unguided evolutionary change." He states,
> " the very idea they seek to promote, unguided evolutionary change,
> can not be defended in a truly scientific way that involves
> legitimate scientific critical analysis."
> But the science writing committee's Recommended Standards, which
> KCFS supports, does not say that evolution is unguided. It is
> Calvert and the ID proponents who added the word "unguided" to a
> statement about evolution. The science writing committee rejected
> this change, correctly understanding that such a religious
> statement is beyond the reach of science. However the word was
> reinserted by the state Board.
> Science simply cannot state that evolutionary processes are not
> directed by God or without divine purpose. The addition of the word
> "unguided" by the ID proponents is meant to reinforce the false
> popular view that evolution rejects meaning and purpose in the
> universe. The ID supporters have taken the arguments of atheists
> like Dawkins and Dennett as if they were representatives of the
> scientific community, rather than as advocates of their particular
> religious views. What they do not do is listen to the counter-
> voices of the many religious scientists such as myself; and thus
> they refuse to understand that people of very different religious
> views support the same conclusions about the validity of
> evolutionary theory.
> As a parent, I do not want my child told in science class that
> evolution is a meaningless and purposeless process that God has
> nothing to do with. Ironically the current Board standards ask that
> teachers do just that. In their misguided attempt to make God a
> part of science, they have instead instructed teachers to teach
> that evolution is a Godless process. How very sad!
> Sincerely,
> Keith B. Miller
> KCFS Board Member
> 1740 Fairview Ave.
> Manhattan, KS 66502

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Received on Sun Jun 3 08:57:38 2007

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