Re: [asa] Adios, ASA List

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Mar 17 2009 - 12:17:25 EDT

This is a list devoted to discussion of issues related to relationships between science and Christian faith. While questions about civil liberties may come into the discussion, they are not supposed to be primary. Questions about ESCR are ones which - at least for Christians - involve both Christian faith and science, & political decisions about the matter should be informed by both. It's hard for me to see how there are any Bill of Rights questions about such research that could be discussed intelligently here without those components.

I respect & have appreciated many of David's contributions to the list. On this issue, however, he seemed intent on picturing those (or at least some of those) who disagreed with him as "biological reductionists" who thought that only science should matter in the ESCR debate. This was quite wrong - as far as I could tell, everyone who weighed in here thought that more was involved than science. Furthermore, David himself presented what was in effect (whether or not it was in intention) as a kind of theological reductionism: In the last analysis scientific knowledge about embryological development simply couldn't make any difference in a decision about the appropriateness of ESCR. I'm sorry to see him leave but at the same time I wish he'd been more open to considering his theological presuppositions in the light of scientific evidence.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Clounch
  To: gordon brown
  Cc: David Opderbeck ; ASA
  Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:18 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Adios, ASA List


  Thank you. I totally agree.
  I find myself wishing the folks on the ASA list would champion the Bill of Rights more often. Or the principles thereof, or the spirit thereof. Instead what I've seen is "lets find the right answer" followed by "lets bash everybody who doesn't have the right answer".
  David Opderbeck gave me hope that he was at least one person who recognized that preserving civil liberties and freedom of thought is more important than arriving at any sort of correct theological viewpoint. I think a civil libertarian would oppose shoving a theological viewpoint down the throats of the masses. I see an attitude of intolerance on the list. I felt David Opderbeck worked against that, and was refreshing. The ASA as an organization must promote tolerance.

  David Clounch

  On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 9:53 PM, gordon brown <> wrote:

    I will miss your contributions, David. My views are usually closer to yours than to those of many others on this list. I wish we had a diversity on this list that is more typical of the ASA in general. I don't think that this list represents a typical cross section of ASA membership, and when someone who thinks he represents a minority view on the list leaves, the imbalance becomes worse.

    Concerning my impressions of the general ASA membership, I think that there are many who are not passionate about the origins issue and have other scientific interests that relate to their faith. It also appears that there are a number of participants on this list who are not members of the ASA. A nonmember who joins the list may think that he or she is the only outsider on the list and judges the ASA by what is said on the list. I wonder how many might be discouraged from joining because of this seeming lack of diversity.

    Gordon Brown (ASA member)

    On Mon, 16 Mar 2009, David Opderbeck wrote:

      The recent discussion on this list about embryonic stem cell research has
      finally pushed me over the edge. I'm tired of being belittled, ridiculed,
      subjected to ad hominems, etc. every time I express an opinion that bears
      even a whiff of a "conservative" or "traditional" approach to a Christian
      worldview. I'm exhausted of having to defend the position that the Bible
      really does communicate truth about human history and the human condition in
      some meaningful sense. I'm sick of the culture of suspicion and scoffing
      that runs through our discourse. I need to break from the anger, arrogance,
      and self-indulgence of the flame wars that characterize this space.

      In the past, I've defended the ASA and this email list against attacks by
      various ID folks and others. I still don't think that all of the criticisms
      that have been levied against the ASA by those folks are fair. However, I
      think they are right that the ASA, particularly as characterized by this
      list, is hobbled by some kind of myopia. Yes, I know this list isn't
      representative of the ASA in an absolute sense, but it's an ASA-sponsored
      public discussion space, which is often a travesty. I've wasted too much
      time on it, and it's become spiritually not only unproductive, but a
      liability. Via con Dios.

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

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Received on Tue Mar 17 12:18:02 2009

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