Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 18:13:30 EDT

Or acknowledge that there is no alternative that "fits" at present but that
it's "ok" to wait for one.

As I've been up and down with these things, and as I've talked with friends
in the evangelical community, there seems to be very little chance of
evolution gaining even the bit of traction that old earch creationism has
gained in some quarters. I've been optimistic at times, but maybe not now.
The reaction is so deep and visceral. And honestly, I'm not entirely
convinced that the narrative of orthodox Christian faith and that of human
evolution can be reconciled. (No intention of suggesting heresy here by
anyone and no slight intended to the creative theological work folks like
George do -- just my own little mind's limitations maybe.)

But what I'd really love to see, at least, are some credible evangelical
voices do what Steve suggests and then say, you know what, it's ok if we
don't have this particular thing figured out yet. This would require a
shift in apologetics -- a willingness to say to the skeptic, "you got me, I
have no idea how to put that one together -- but I think I can put enough
other things together that faith in Christ is warranted even while I leave
this thing on the shelf for now."

On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 5:50 PM, Stephen Matheson <smatheso@calvin.edu>
wrote:

> My challenge to RTB is not that they "adopt" common descent, but that they
> acknowledge (as other creationists have) that it exhibits strong explanatory
> power. One can doubt an explanation, for any number of reasons, without
> claiming or even insinuating that the explanation is inferior.
>
> This is what all creationists must do, in my opinion, to be worthy of any
> intellectual/professional respect: simply note that common descent works
> extremely well as an explanation, THEN set about constructing an
> alternative. To assert that common ancestry is poorly supported by
> evidence, or is unworthy as a scientific explanation, is to publicly confess
> to being either ignorant or duplicitous. In my opinion, of course.
>
> Steve
>
> >>> "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <dfsiemensjr@juno.com> 04/17/08 5:13 PM >>>
> How can RTB adopt common descent when they are committed to the creation
> of every "kind"? They also hold to a strictly sequential day-age
> interpretation of Genesis 1 with inerrant agreement between science and
> scripture.
> Dave (ASA)
>
> On Thu, 17 Apr 2008 16:15:07 -0400 "Stephen Matheson"
> <smatheso@calvin.edu> writes:
> > "Guarded optimism?" Okay, I can do that. :-)
> >
> > And I'll go a step further. As disturbing as RTB's misconduct can
> > be, its apologists have consistently avoided culture war posturing.
> > They can't be believed when they say they respect biologists, but
> > they should be commended not just for this one letter but for their
> > steadfast refusal to heed the call to arms. I think this is partly
> > due to their apologetic/evangelistic mission and partly to the fact
> > that -- unlike the thuggish Discovery Institute crowd -- they seem
> > to be genuinely decent guys.
> >
> > It seems to me that it would take relatively little for RTB to
> > become respectable, with regard to intellectual integrity. They
> > wouldn't need to abandon any of their main themes or beliefs (as
> > silly and dangerous as many of them are). They would need only to
> > acknowledge the explanatory power of common descent, disavow the
> > kind of folk scientific dishonesty that characterizes their work on
> > biological origins, and correct their serious but not overwhelmingly
> > common errors. The Discovery Institute, by contrast, was built from
> > the beginning on culture war and intellectual dishonesty. Their
> > efforts are, in my view, unredeemable.
> >
> > Steve
> >
> > >>> "Rich Blinne" <rich.blinne@gmail.com> 04/17/08 3:36 PM >>>
> > On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 12:21 PM, Stephen Matheson
> > <smatheso@calvin.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > So, yes, kudos to RTB for eschewing the brainless and suicidal
> > call to
> > > culture war. But don't be fooled: Reasons To Believe is an
> > embarrassing
> > > repository of potentially dangerous folk science, and their
> > breaches of
> > > professional scientific integrity should be cause for significant
> > concern.
> > > And don't be too impressed by their claim to respect the
> > scientific
> > > community on common descent. Polite contempt is still contempt.
> > >
> >
> > Nevertheless, it is good to know there is a line there. Folk science
> > eschews
> > no argument if it advances the "ideology". In this case, the
> > evidence around
> > RTB -- namely that secular scientists are not oppressors -- overrode
> > their
> > folk science. And it's not merely the physics v. biology thing
> > either
> > because Dr. Gonzalez was one of the "expelled". Your blog makes a
> > compelling
> > case for folk science at RTB but -- call me naive -- I find this
> > letter as a
> > reason for guarded optimism.
> >
> > Rich Blinne
> > Member ASA
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >
> >
>
>
>
> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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>

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Thu Apr 17 18:15:24 2008

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