Re: [asa] self-introduction of new member (baggage)

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Wed Apr 15 2009 - 19:47:02 EDT

To Mr. Dehler (or Bernie, if you prefer):


I apologize for any offense given due to lack of clarity. When I spoke of "baggage", I was not saying anything negative about any particular belief in itself, but was referring to what Moorad called hang-ups concerning particular beliefs, e.g., enduring resentment against former teachers or former co-believers. For example, I am not a YEC and I disagree with some fundamental YEC premises, but I have no biographically-coloured reaction to YEC people or beliefs. They never had a hold on me and so I never had to rebel against them. So I approach YEC differently from someone who, e.g., was raised YEC, became something else, and still bears hostility toward parents or ministers or others associated with YEC. To me YEC is an inadequate position, but it doesn't set my teeth on edge. (In fact, I find it preferable to some forms of liberal religion.)


Nor does the mere notion of either theistic evolution or intelligent design set my teeth on edge. Just as some people here seem to have a visceral reaction against YEC which I don't have, so some people here seem to have a take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to discussing TE and ID, and I don't share that. It seems to me that TE and ID, in at least some versions, could be harmonious, whereas a lot of people (on both sides) seem to have a vested interest in portraying them as implacable foes. This attitude works to the detriment of understanding both positions (and to the benefit of atheist Darwinists who watch the bloodshed from the side). The nursed theological hostilities which prevent rational discussion between TE and ID would be another example of what I meant by "baggage".

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dehler, Bernie
  Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:53 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] self-introduction of new member (baggage)

  Cameron said:
  "I have no personal baggage concerning YEC, OEC, Creation Science, etc"


  If you can call YEC beliefs "baggage" then I think it would be fair for them to do the same for you, saying you have evolutionary "baggage." I'm a former YEC and OEC, but I never considered it "baggage." I like to think I follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it goes so far as to indicate there is no God. I'm a TE for now.


  I started life as a Catholic thinking the Genesis creation story was a myth, then after college (for 27 years) tended to take it as real history (YEC/OEC), then in the last two years as myth again ("myth" as defined by Prof. Waltke).




  From: [] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
  Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:33 PM
  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 19:47:42 2009

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