Re: [asa] self-introduction of new member

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Apr 15 2009 - 10:55:22 EDT

Cameron -

Glad to have you with us. I think I speak for a lot of us on the list when I say that we would rather not have to spend time discussing the age of the earth, anti-evolutionism &c. It's kind of like giving more and more detailed arguments to show scientifically that water is wet and that Christians don't have to surrender their faith to accept that fact. Unfortunately YECism and related movements are serious problems for both church and society today in the US and there's a need to confront them in responsible ways. But it's good also to be able to discuss more substantial issues, and we'll be glad to have you as a participant in doing that.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Cameron Wybrow
  Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:32 AM
  Subject: [asa] self-introduction of new member

  Hello! I'm a new member of the ASA list. I've been following the discussions here, on and off, for a while, and have found them quite interesting. I've learned from the individual comments of many different people, and (to single out only a few of many fine contributors) I've been particularly impressed by the Hebrew scholarship of George Murphy, the historical knowledge of Ted Davis, and the scientific understanding of Mike Gene. I decided that I would like to join in, both to learn more and to contribute something.

  I'm a religion scholar with strong background in philosophy and a tad of math and science, and I've published two academic books in the area of religion and science. The books focus on the massive change in human thinking about nature that occurred over the course of the 17th century, and the connection of that change in thinking with new interpretations of the Bible and of Christian theology. The work I did on these books gave me a basis for further thought about the metaphysical foundations of natural science, and I've since tried to apply my understanding to grasp the essential elements of Darwinism, vitalism, teleology, theistic evolution, and intelligent design.

  I come at these questions from a completely different angle than that of some on the ASA list. I have no personal baggage concerning YEC, OEC, Creation Science, etc. For one thing, I'm Canadian and these positions have no cultural traction here, partly because the religious situation is so different here (sectarianism, fundamentalism, and literalism are all minor features of the Canadian religious landscape), and partly because we have no complex First Amendment jurisprudence and no evolution-in-the-schools issue. The other thing is that my study of evolutionary theory proceeded from my interest in the history and philosophy of modern natural science, not out of any need to attack or defend any particular religious view or any particular reading of the Bible. With this kind of religious and intellectual background, things like gap theory, day-age theory, concordism, and so on, are entirely off my intellectual radar screen, and it requires a large cultural adjustment on my part to understand why some people think it's important to debate these things when there are, to my mind, much more foundational questions in the philosophy of nature to be dealt with. So if some of my comments sound off-beat to some on this list, I hope people can make the necessary allowances.

  Thanks for having me here, and I hope my involvement will be constructive.

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Received on Wed Apr 15 10:55:59 2009

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