Re: [asa]: YEC--What can we offer them?

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Sat Jun 30 2007 - 03:05:48 EDT

Gregory writes:
"For example, as a geologist, Christine, is there ANY
possibility you would consider either a 'young'
earth,' a 'young' birth of Adam and Eve (within the
last 10,000 years) or a view of 'science' that
accomodates (or at least doesn't disqualify)
'interventions' by (a) creator God in 'natural
processes'? In other words, are you 'closed' on the
viewpoint of an 'old' earth? Further, what are you
willing to do to either avoid or appease conflict?"

Christine responds:
"Fair questions. I will start by saying that
historical
geology was not my emphasis and that biology was (and
still is) my weakest science. That being said, from my
understanding of things, I find it very difficult to
believe that the "young earth" viewpoint will be ever
be supported by science. Of course, as a scientist, I
am always open to new research or data that would say
otherwise. Not sure what you mean by a "young birth of
Adam and Eve"--at the moment, I believe that it's very
possible--maybe even probable--that there were a real
Adam and Eve whose descendants became Israel and other
nations (if that was indeed your question), but I'm
still trying to learn more about the Biblical history.
I think I've made it clear from previous posts that I
do not discount, and indeed believe that God did
directly (miraculously) intervene during evolutionary
and natural processes (does this make me an ID? not
that the label really matters)--certainly as
Christians, I don't think we can say for sure with any
authority that He didn't. As for what I'm doing to
"avoid or appease conflict", my purpose in my original
post was to do just that--to compliment critiques
we've offered in previous threads with more positive
alternative perspectives in this one. Although, I
don't agree with your wording of "avoid and
appease"--conflict is not necessarily bad--in fact, it
can be a healthy part of all families, including the
Christian family."

Thank you for your responses. I find it helpful that
you are looking for constructive, positive
alternatives to the deadlock that seems to have been
achieved in many cases today. Science and religion
discourse will benefit from such an approach.

You write:
"I think I've made it clear from previous posts that I
do not discount, and indeed believe that God did
directly (miraculously) intervene during evolutionary
and natural processes (does this make me an ID? not
that the label really matters)--certainly as
Christians, I don't think we can say for sure with any
authority that He didn't."

You're right, that it perhaps doesn't really matter,
on a personal level, what the label is. But it
certainly matters to others how they label you and how
they perceive you as a result. When you suggest
'direct intervention,' I suspect that would throw off
some here on the ASA list. I might be wrong, but it
certainly seems to be a provocative position
linguistically and philosophically. When that word
'intervention' is used, people sometimes think
'violating natural law' or 'supernatural = not
science.'

As for me, I am not so fixated on the labels. I am not
an IDist. Neither am I a TEist (though people might
like to think that 'theistic evolution' is not an
ideology, but the TRUTH, it is just another way of
seeing or perceiving). If you wanted to label me it
would have to be as a neo-evolutionist and neo-IDist.
But there is no such category in most people's minds,
so I march along with critics and confusing remarks in
response. That's o.k. because people are still
actively debating/discussion ID and evolution, e.g.
the new "Explore Evolution" book printed by Hill House
Publishers (2007).

The earth might be 'young,' but I doubt it. I trust
the majority of scientists have this one right. As a
geologist, I trust you are probably right having
difficulty to believe a 'young earth' position will
ever (again) be scientifcally supported. Paul Nelson,
of course, would disagree, but the burden of 'uncommon
descent' is on him and not us.

But when geologists and oceanographers and physicists
and population geneticists and computer programmers
try to tell me about 'human nature' and behaviour and
emotions and feelings and groups and communities and
decisions and anomalies that their natural sciences
cannot or do not study, then I have a problem with
evolutionary theory being over-stretched.

I suspect that part of the reactionary character of
YECs is against the inflated presumptuousness of
evolutionists who pretend that evolution explains more
things than it does. And I would contend that YEC is
primarily reactionary, though it does attempt to
actively use 'science' to justify its position. So in
this case, spreading the message to YECs, as you
suggest, is fine, if also while acknowledging that
evolutionary theory, as all theories, is limited and
has its place and boundaries. Sometimes the boundaries
of evolution are not clearly spelled out, e.g. when
evolution is seen as synonymous with change. Social
scientists have argued about this at length -
evolution and change are not synonymous.

This gets at the problem of the over-stretching of
evolutionary theory into places where it does not
belong. It is not just people like Dawkins, Wilson,
Trivers, Ruse and Scott who are to blame. But also
theistic evolutionists who have tied their theology
and their religion too tightly together (they of
course, will deny this). One result is process
theology, but that's a touchy subject here, and one
that I am no more an expert on than many others.
Another result is universalistic evolutionism.

Most at ASA would admit there are 'things that don't
evolve.' I think admitting this to YECs would help
immensely because it would lower the rhetoric of
pretense that evolution explains all things natural,
including human beings and everything 'human nature'
is said to contain or reflect. We are indeed 'more
than natural.' So natural scientists will say they
only study the nature of humans. As a social
scientist, I study more than that.

Hopefully that helps a bit in your quest to discover
and to offer assistance to others.

Arago

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Received on Sat Jun 30 03:06:30 2007

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