Re: [asa] Adios, ASA List

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Date: Tue Mar 17 2009 - 15:16:27 EDT

While we probably don't want to dwell excessively on this?meta-discussion, as a longtime part of this list I will make the following observations:

1) For my money, David O. was one of the most thoughtful and constructive people on this list.? If I saw something from him (or Ted Davis, George Murphy, Loren Haarsma, David Campbell,?a few others) I would be sure to read it, others I might not get around to.
1a) With that said, David was not entirely the victim in this latest incident; his slur at "Christian biologists" was (uncharacteristic for him) pretty un-gracious.

2) One thing that tends to happen here is that we can react to people based on incomplete information, influenced by the interactions we all have with people who are destructive in this sort of conversation.? It felt like the minute David?expressed a "conception" position, *some* people reacted like he was James Dobson when he was not?trying to be that kind of?"culture-war" combatant or taking the position in a knee-jerk manner.? Which is not to say that there were not legitimate contrary points fairly made, but there was also some rebuttal to arguments David did not actually make.

3) Some have said that those of a more "conservative" bent are treated harshly on this list.? That probably happens some, but:
3a) Sometimes people interpret disagreement with their ideas as a personal attack.? David did not typically do this, but I've seen it happen.
3b) It is easy for those who have been around these discussions for a while to lose patience and be un-gracious when somebody (again, I'm not talking about David)?comes to the list saying things that we recognize from experience as being harmful, like Discovery Institute propaganda.
3c)?Poor treatment does not only?flow?*at* the "conservatives", as for example?we have seen in recent months from a suggestion that those who think God used evolution in creating fail to "choose God", some of Gregory's behavior, Janice and her sock,?and anti-Obama slurs.

4) We all have logs in our eyes, and (as with all interactions in the body of Christ) should go the extra mile to be gracious and edifying here.? That doesn't mean being meek and silent if we feel there are wrong ideas that need to be opposed, but if we can't do so with more grace than Bill O'Reilly or Al Franken, we are a lousy witness (for the ASA and more importantly for Jesus).

5) David was/is just the sort of person the ASA *should* be effective in ministry to -- coming out of fundamentalism and seeking honest non-superficial reconcilation between faith and reason.? If we fail in our ministry to people like David, that is pretty serious failure.

6) I left this list, with a somewhat overlapping set of frustrations, maybe?6 years ago.? After a few months, I decided to come back with more limited participation, because there really are some positive things here despite the often poor signal/noise ratio (which will worsen without David).? I would be glad if David came to a similar conclusion.

Allan Harvey (ASA member)

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Received on Tue Mar 17 15:18:05 2009

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