Re: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the future)

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Sat Jan 03 2009 - 09:51:44 EST

Preston, I think you're partly right and partly wrong. Obviously,
integrating evolutionary science is an issue for all educated Christians,
and the ASA properly has a role here. I wonder, though, if the assumption
that the West will eventually deal with this most effectively is correct.
Maybe some of our brothers and sisters from parts of the world that aren't
so influenced by rationalism will some day offer some solutions that
*we*will need to integrate.

When we talk about "crisis," I always feel that we're ignoring history as
well as theology. The Church has always faced major challenges. Responses
always come, but they often take centuries of struggle. God is in control
of His Church, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail. This
doesn't absolve us of responsibility, of course, but I think it allows us to
exercise our responsibilities with some humility and perspective.

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

This is true right now, but the whole world is becoming more highly
> educated, particularly in places like China and India that are well into the
> development of a modern economy that can afford more education. That means
> that the intellectual problems that American evangelicals are facing today
> about evolution, the relationship of descriptive and theoretical economics
> to prescriptive economics (Biblical teaching, historical Catholic teaching
> and other moral voices on economics), environmental issues etc. are quickly
> going to be facing evangelicals all over the world.
> As on many other things, they will look to the U.S. because we are both
> highly educated and have a large evangelical population. It looks like to me
> that the ASA has a large role to play, because we have a number of people
> (some of them participate on this list) who have their lives centered on
> Christ and who are very well informed in multiple areas including the
> history of Christianity, theology and more than one area of science.
> There do seem to be areas of science (areas that are only "soft" [meaning
> not as mature as say physics or chemistry] because their subject matter IS
> so complex) where the ASA is weak. I suggested that our leaders should look
> at alliances with evangelical groups in these other areas because some of
> these big issues obviously involve more than one science. A joint meeting
> that included sessions on environmental issues with evangelical climate
> scientists and economists would be fascinating and very useful, after you
> got past the initial shouting that usually goes on between people speaking
> different languages. I think simple minded biochemists like me would
> probably go away thankful that we deal with things as simple and
> experimentally tractable as mere enzymes and cells, but the long term
> results for the church would be good. We should pay some attention to our
> Catholic brothers and sisters, too. They have been doing this kind of thing
> for a very long time.
> Preston G.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat Jan 3 09:52:18 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Jan 03 2009 - 09:52:18 EST