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

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 19:48:30 EDT

I think a much healthier approach is to appreciate all the different
positions (YEC, OEC, etc.), rather than wishing them away. They will
always be there. If Hugh Ross becomes an evolutionist, there will still
be a healthy and vital OEC group. Same with Ken Ham and YEC. It is
nice to have these groups to put forth their best arguments for healthy
debate. Without them, we'd have to debate strawmen... not as much fun
or intellectually helpful. Hearing your opponent put forth their best
arguments will remind you why you believe what you do... or may educate
you to change your mind.



From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 3:14 PM
To: Stephen Matheson
Subject: Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)


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 <>

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

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


>>> "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <> 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
Dave (ASA)

On Thu, 17 Apr 2008 16:15:07 -0400 "Stephen Matheson"
<> 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" <> 04/17/08 3:36 PM >>>
> On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 12:21 PM, Stephen Matheson
> <>
> 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
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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 19:50:28 2008

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